On the "port" of Waterfront Road, an imposing structure stands out to attract travellers looking for a place to stay, enjoy some rest, relaxation, world–class comfort, and the stunning views of Subic Bay.
It is aptly called The Lighthouse Marina Resort – named for a tower affixed to the main building of the hotel which is actually a functional lighthouse. At night, its apex blinks a white light that warns ships for miles while attracting every onlooker – it also adds a whimsical flavor to the hotel experience.
Located on the Moonbay Marina area of Subic Bay, this Mediterranean–inspired structure has 42 rooms which exude a refreshing beach aura, coupled with the minimalist sleekness of Asian boutique hotels.
Two Filipino businessmen "navigated" the concept into realization: Jun Avecilla and Max Tan – friends and shipping business partners brought together by a common love for sailing.
"They go to Subic every weekend to go sailing," said JR Avecilla, F&B manager of the hotel and youngest son of Jun. "Then one day, they thought, they should put up a place where they can drink and unwind after sailing. Initially, they wanted a bar, but a family friend who’s into running hotels, Cyndy Jarabata, convinced them to put up a boutique hotel." Clyde Chua, another close friend, joined after agreeing with the concept.
The lighthouse concept was an after–thought since they wanted to build an attraction and landmark which is closely associated with boats and sailing. Palafox & Associates did the architecture while Arlim de Guzman from Hong Kong did the interior design to come up with a unique boutique hotel this side of Subic.
World–class furniture from Cebu are tastefully appointed around the facility, from the airy lobby to the cozy guestrooms.
There are four types of rooms: Aqua Room, Aqua Terrace, Aqua Veranda and Aqua Spa Suite. Each offers plush features, including a 42" LCD TV mounted on the wall, a fully–stocked refrigerator, ultra comfort mattresses with lush pillows and fabrics, individually controlled airconditioning, coffee and tea making facilities, in–room personal safe, Internet access, and a stunning bay view for the Aqua Verandas.
"They actually intended this hotel for honeymooners, but surprisingly, there’s an emergence of business clients, like ship executives and engineers from other countries because Subic is a major shipping port and shipyard area," JR related.
After lounging in their rooms, there are plenty of things to do around and outside the hotel. A kiddie and adult pool with Jacuzzi is one option, while the daring ones can try water sports activities like sailing, cruising, parasailing, and jetskiing.
More dining and entertainment options are offered at the Sands Restaurant and Bar 720 found on the lower levels of the hotel’s lighthouse. Corporate meetings and activities can likewise be held at the hotel’s Viewdeck Boardroom on the second level, and the bigger function area, called the Admiral, found on the ground level.
The management is confident about hosting guests not only from the domestic side but foreigners as well. "Our market is looking for value for money, so they don’t mind paying a certain premium if they get the quality they want. We partner this with personalized service, because we always want to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests. They are not just another hotel room number. Here, we treat every guest as a new friend."