New start for ‘value-chic’ hotels

Cebu Daily News (March 25, 2011) — The Islands Group, known for its cool, patriotic T-shirts, banca cruises and souvenirs, is entering a new sector with the opening next month of a hotel chain.

The first branch of the Islands Stay Hotels is envisioned as part of a chain of “value-chic” hotels that the group plans to operate in Cebu, Manila and Davao, said Jay Aldeguer, chief executive officer.

A P60 million to P72 million investment will jump-start the operation of at least five outlets in Cebu, another one in Manila or Davao within the year, he said.

The first hotel, along Archbishop Reyes Avenue, is right across Cebu Business Park’s commercial center–Ayala Center Cebu.

“The first outlet will have 35 rooms and will still carry our brand’s color, which is orange,” Aldeguer said in an interview at the sidelines of the Philippine Retailers Association Cebu Chapter membership meeting.

Another outlet with 60 rooms will open on May in Lapu-Lapu City across Marina Mall.

Each hotel involves a P10 million to P12 million investment.

Aldeguer described the Islands Group entry in the accommodation sector as offering “more of a value hotel” where they have “stripped those features that aren’t really that important and just put in those that are really expected.”

The hotels cater to people who check in to leave their bags and then go out the whole day to wander around the city, Aldeguer said.

“Basic amenities and services like WiFi connection, hot and cold bath and cable television sets in each room are available,” he said.

“Breakfast is not included but we have a cafe where you can order sandwiches and more.”

Rates start at P950 for a small room, P1, 450 for medium rooms, P1, 950 for a large room and P2, 250 for an extra large room.

Aldeguer said they are looking at other areas in Cebu where they can open three more hotels and another outside Cebu, where two are franchisable.

The hotels are a new business that forms part of a long-term plan to make the Islands Group responsible for “making travel in the Philippines an unforgettable experience.”

“All of what we are doing now is synergized and part of a whole strategy to achieve our goal of becoming known as a brand trusted by anyone for their travel needs,” Aldeguer said.

To date, Islands Group has seven subsidiaries including Islands Souvenirs, Philippine Islands, Islands and More, Talima Adventure and Waterpark, Islands Banca Cruises, Islands Magazine, and Islands Stay Hotel.