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The Philippine Star: Leisure and History at the Oriental Leyte

The Philippine Star: Leisure and History at the Oriental Leyte

BY: DANDI GALVEZ (Feb 24, 2013)

As a traveler, it is imperative you stay in a hotel that is near many significant sights and discoveries. A good, luxurious stay is just one part of the equation — having some- where to go beyond your hotel room is the other. When it comes to tourist attractions and a comfortable relaxing stay, you cannot go wrong with The Oriental Leyte.

Widely known as a hotel brand which positions itself nearest many significant historical or cultural sites, The Oriental Leyte does not disappoint. A mere 50 or so meters away from the hotel‘proper is the famous MacArthur Memorial Park,

At the height of World War II in 1942, US Gen. Douglas MacArthur famously uttered “I shall return.” It was a promise fulfilled in October 1944 as the general strode up the beach of Leyte, signaling the beginning of the end of the Japanese occupation. Today, that same spot on the beach is marked by a giant bronze statue of MacArthur, along with other military personalities who accompanied him ashore at the time.

Located along the shore in Baras, Palo, Leyte, The Oriental is a true resort property, featuring wide-open spaces, clean and modern interiors, and rooms that mirror most luxury residential spaces. An Olympic size infinity pool faces the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Leyte and vegetation dots the area. It takes only 15 minutes to get here from the airport and the hotel distinguishes itself as the only triple-A hotel in the region.

Resident manager Anito Lanticse says corporate accounts comprise bulk of their guests. “(We cater to) the international market — conventions, seminars by the government, banks, private agencies, etc.” He adds that the hotel also has its fair share of walk-ins and regular clients Some are so happy with the place that they opt to stay for far longer. “Foreigners often stay half a month, to a month. They enjoy the place because of the serenity, the peace. We aim for a resort that is totally private and intimate The place is guaranteed safe and secure.”

The Oriental also has, by far, the longest beachfront property in the region. The entire property, including MacArthur Park which the hotel maintains itself, covers 10 hectares with a BOO-meter beachfront.

Day and night you can hear the soothing roll of the waves as they gently crash on the nearby shore. Enjoy this experience in a variety of rooms facing either the garden or the shore. Expect any- where from a 52-square meter to 92-square meter suite, just enough to stretch your legs at with their own living rooms, kitchenette, and a patio sun-roof with a glass-covered view of the sky.

An exception is the Governor’s Suite, a massive 185-square meter living space perfect for an entire family vacation. The size of each room makes The Oriental the ultimate destination for large groups, families and gatherings. Lanticse says, “In terms of facilities, this is the best hotel in the region. We have the long beachfront, conference rooms for seminars, conventions, etc. We are the only one with an Olympic-size swimming pool, a total holistic spa with licensed therapists, gym and exercise studio. Soon we will have the setup for the karaoke room. We have two additional smaller pools.”

For events, conferences and seminars, The Oriental has a number of facilities for you. The Pool Deck is perfect for outdoor parties and events and can hold a maximum of 300 people. Inside, the Oriental Grand Ballroom can host up to 800 people complete with state-of—the-art audio-visual equipment.

The Oriental Leyte reflects the environmental-friendly design aesthetic of its sister hotels in the country. Wide open hallways give room for air and wind to rush through. These “void decks” not only give a sense of space, they also help in ventilation. Trees that stood in the area before the hotel was constructed, remain, with the hotel built around them. This can be seen by the pool area and along the shore. Lanticse says Wilbert Lee, president of the LKY Group, also invested in a sewage treatment plant on the property “so that we don’t destroy our nearby environt.”

For dining, the in—house Jasmine restaurant serves Filipino and international cuisine. It should be noted that the Oriental makes its own bread and pastries and the Oriental Style Chef Salad is a must-try when you visit.

In the works is an aqua- sports center before the summer season. “We plan to have jet-skiing, kayaking,

Windsurfing, a banana boat, etc.,” Lanticse shares. Excursions and tour packages are also currently available. He continues: “For the half—day tour, we can take guests to an organic farm, the San Iuanico bridge, Sto. NIño shrine, the city proper, Macarthur Park, and also to the Palo Cathedral. For the whole day package we can go as far as Dulag and the WWII battlefields.”

With a great location and huge tourism potential, The Oriental Leyte is one hotel and resort to look out for this year. Don’t be surprised when

— after a stay — you start saying “I shall return.

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