MANILA -- There's a newly opened hotel in San Juan City that has self check-in kioks, has removed single-use plastics in its operations, and houses a community-centric restaurant and bar.
Summit Hotel Greenhills along Annapolis St. in San Juan City is moving toward the future of hospitality. And one of the innovations it employs are self check-in kiosks where guests can check-in by themselves.
The cozy non-traditional hotel lobby has a few seats, a standing table for front desk officers, and self check-in kiosks. No more hotel staff hiding behind counters and an unnecessary huge space.
The hotel is simply keeping up with the times as all transactions become digital. Guests receive an email containing all the details after booking. A reference number is used for the self check-in, and guests make their own key card as well.
It's a paperless transaction, which is also in-line with the hotel's sustainability efforts.
The homegrown Summit hotel brand is under the Robinsons Hotels and Resorts group, a subsidiary of Robinsons Land Corporation. The group has been making big leaps when it comes to sustainability.
“We're very big on sustainability. This is the first property in the group to have the soap dispensers instead of the single-use plastic containers. In all my years of experience, soap and shampoo amenities are really a big waste and you cannot reuse them because of hygiene reasons,” explained Summit Hotel Greenhills general manager Katrina Lardizabal.
Another green application the hotel currently employs is the removal of single-use plastics. All rooms use soap dispensers and pitchers instead of the usual plastic bottles. Two filtered water dispensers are placed in hallways in each floor.
“When we opened we had feedback from local guests they were asking why no water bottles. But on the second night, they actually appreciate the pitchers because it's easy for them to get water,” Lardizabal shared.
Because of this effort, the hotel is expected to eliminate 5,000 plastic water bottles a month and an average of 1,000 lbs. (453 kilograms) of plastic a year from the bathroom amenities alone.
“Even at the restaurant, we are exploring new ways to remove plastic. Of course in the kitchen it's much harder because you still have the plastic wrap but we're trying to have everything reusable or biodegradable. Even in the rooms, the trash liners, only the trash can in the bathroom has it but not the bin in the bedroom,” the general manager said.
Aside from this, the whole hotel use inverter air conditioning units, energy-efficient chillers, highly efficient heat pumps (water heater), LED lights, faucet aerators (conserves water), and dual flush toilets, just to name a few.
Summit Hotel Greenhills is also the first branch in the group to open an in-house restaurant, Cafe Summit. Previously, the hotel partnered with concessionaires for their food and beverage (F&B) needs.
Moving forward, the group will now operate its own F&B department with this restaurant brand. Older branches will also soon open a Cafe Summit while the restaurant will be the flagship restaurant of new Summit hotels that will open in 2020, in Naga and General Santos City.
According to the executive chef, Daniel Lachica, the restaurant will operate organically based on its location.
“What we want to create is a community casual restaurant. So friends and family, anyone can come in and find something familiar. We don't want to go directly to one cuisine in general. As a hotel we have customers from all around, foreigners and whatnot. We really wanted to create something for everyone. Taking your familiar dish and putting something different twist to it,” he said.
Ambiance-wise, the restaurant goes for the modern yet cozy setting. The hotel furnished the eatery with tables for solo dining, small groups, and big groups.
The menu is composed of international and local dishes. Chef Lachica believes in housemade food that is why everything is made from scratch.
The restaurant serves buffet breakfast for guests and walk-ins. One of its housemade dishes is the corned beef. The beef is cured and left in a brine for seven days, then slow-cooked for hours. It doesn't have that bright red color Filipinos are used to because chef Lachica doesn't want to put anything artificial in it.
But apart from the breakfast menu, the restaurant has signature dishes guests can try. One is the Biang Biang hand-ripped noodles. It's a Chinese dish that originated from Shaangxi province. It's made of broad, flat noodles and some kind of meat like lamb and beef.
It has vegetables as well and has a spicy seasoning. Hot oil is poured over the noodles to finish.
Chef Lachica is Filipino-American and was born and grew up in California. He has Italian roots that's why he knows Italian food as well. But one of his big influence is Mexican cuisine.
So expect dishes like chicken tortilla soup and pasta dishes. He put a Filipino twist to some of the pasta dishes like the sisig carbonara.
The restaurant also has a signature dessert, the calamansi cheesecake. It's a cheesecake with calamansi instead of the usual lemon, and topped with a sweet and tangy calamansi curd.
And in line with the hotel's sustainability programs, the restaurant is planning to source more of its produce from local farmers.
As introductory promotion, the restaurant offers a 20 percent discount until December 31, 2019.
ART AND SHOPPING HOSPITALITY
Another special thing about Summit Hotel Greenhills are the artworks. Art is displayed everywhere, from a huge mural-like painting on Cafe Summit's wall to the colorful paintings at the swimming pool area.
“There are so many paintings. We also want to be known as an art property. We promote art. Eventually around December, we'll be selling artwork. Our target is the upcoming artists in the Philippines to promote them,” Lardizabal said.
Since the hotel is located in a shopping district, they also have a shopping concierge. The concierge can pick up guests' shopping items at any nearby mall then delivered directly to the room. The hotel is just a few minutes walk away from Greenhills Shopping Center and a few minutes drive from Robinsons Magnolia and Robinsons Galleria.
This is the sixth Summit hotel in the country. It has 100 rooms (61 Deluxe Twin, 33 Deluxe King, and six Junior Suites), a restaurant called Cafe Summit and bar, a fitness gym, and an indoor pool.
The current promotional rate of Summit Hotel Greenhills starts at P2,888, which will last until November 30, 2019.
“Our slogan is enriching moments. Usually when you stay at a hotel, it's a place you want to have your celebrations with your family or normally you have an agenda like business. When you're in a hotel setting, the experience is elevated. Here at Summit we try in every way we can to make the stay truly enriching for our guests,” said Summit Hotels and Resorts senior marketing manager Lisette Arena.