Waterfront Philippines Inc. is poised to complete the Waterfront Manila Hotel and Casino reconstruction by the end of next year. This project, which has faced several delays, will see its first phase completed by the fourth quarter of this year.

Acesite (Phils.) Hotel Corp., a 55.70-percent owned subsidiary of Waterfront Philippines, confirmed that the initial phase of the reconstruction would be finished by the year’s end, according to a report published by The Philippine Star. This phase encompasses public areas such as the lobby, several food and beverage outlets, and the casino area, spanning from the ground floor to the third floor.

Acesite emphasized its commitment to focusing resources on the reconstruction and restoration of both the podium and the hotel building, aiming for overall completion by the end of next year. The second phase of the project is expected to conclude by the second quarter of 2025, with the third and final phase anticipated to be finished by the fourth quarter of the same year. The latter phases will be funded through the cash flows generated from the operations of the first phase and bank borrowings if necessary.

The property, formerly known as Manila Pavilion Hotel, is located at the corner of United Nations Avenue and Maria Orosa Street in Ermita, Manila. In March 2018, a devastating fire broke out, severely damaging the podium and hotel building and halting hotel operations. The blaze, attributed to faulty electrical wiring, tragically claimed the lives of six PAGCOR employees.

Protracted Reconstruction Effort

Reconstruction efforts began in 2018, but the project has encountered multiple delays. Originally, the hotel operator Waterfront Philippines Inc had planned a phased reopening starting in the first quarter of 2022. This initial phase included the lobby, some food and beverage outlets, the casino, and four hotel floors. Subsequent phases, scheduled for late 2022 and early 2023, were to encompass the remaining hotel rooms, general amenities, and other guest facilities.

The delays have been attributed to multiple factors, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2021 news report quoted the company explaining the phased opening plan: “The plan for phased opening of the site was ‘based on management’s assumption that the travel and hospitality sectors, which are currently depressed due to the … COVID-19 pandemic, will return to pre-pandemic levels starting 2023, given that the vaccination program of the government will take until the end of 2022 to roll out completely’.”

The Waterfront Manila Hotel and Casino’s reconstruction marks a significant step toward revitalizing the hotel sector in Manila, promising an enhanced experience for future guests and also a boost to the local economy.