Last Updated: December 6th, 2017
Arguably one of the best looking heritage hotel still standing today is Luneta Hotel located along T.M. Kalaw Avenue in Ermita. Not only did it survive the Battle of Manila which destroyed most of Manila’s infrastructure, it hosted two of the most well-known men in history –U.S President Dwight Eisenhower, and urban designer Daniel Burnham.
Luneta Hotel still stands as a fine example of French Renaissance architecture and what can be achieved if both private and public sectors work to preserve our history and heritage.
1. First opened in 1918, Luneta Hotel was designed by Salvador Farre, a Spanish architect, and engineer. It was an elegant structure that, back then, towered over homes and warehouses in the district of Ermita in Manila.
2. The late U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower was one of the hotel’s most frequent guests. He stayed in the hotel for months long stretches in 1930 and once wrote, “To this day it [Luneta Hotel] lives in memory as one of the most pleasant, [sic] indeed even one of the most romantic spots, I have known in this entire world.”
3. Participants of the 33rd Eucharistic Congress held in Manila in 1937 preferred to stay at the Luneta Hotel. It was the first congress held in Asia and the Philippines during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. It was estimated that 1.5 million people from around the world attended the event, and pontifical masses were held in Rizal Park, and Manila Cathedral.
4. It was one of the few buildings that survived the Allied bombing during the Battle of Manila in 1945. After the war, it played host to the American military, becoming at the time a symbol of the country’s acceptance of new colonial rule after the Spaniards’ 300-year rule.
5. The Lacson family acquired the hotel in 2007, two decades after its was closed down and abandoned.
6. In an effort to restore it to its former glory, Luneta Hotel underwent retrofitting and restoration in 2008 with the help of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). And in 2014, Luneta Hotel once again opened its doors for business.
7. Luneta Hotel is the only existing example of French Renaissance architecture with Filipino stylized beaux arts in the Philippines.
8. When it reopened its doors on May 9, 2014, a historical marker was installed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. This, to signify its notable architectural character and for the part it played in the history of the Old City of Manila.
– The Manila Project
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