Last Updated: November 13th, 2018
Located just a few steps away from the infamous Manila Film Center, the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila offers some of the most picturesque views of the Manila Bay sunset matched by the silhouette of coconut trees. And while some of the Marcos-era edifices have been left in disrepair, this Locsin-designed landmark continues to stand the test of time.
1. The hotel was built by the Marcos administration to house the delegates for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1976.
2. It has been branded several times since its inception–from Hotel Philippine Plaza to The Westin Philippine Plaza to it current name, Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
3. It was designed by National Artist for Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin, the man behind the design of famous brutalist edifices–the Tanghalang Pambansa, Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas, and the Philippine International Convention Center–all located within the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex.
A native of Silay, Negros Occidental, Locsin was born on August 15, 1928, and went on to become one of the country’s most distinguished architects. Seemingly noticeable in his designs, Locsin’s heavy use of concrete is said to be influenced by American architects Paul Rudolph and Eero Saarinen. He met both architects during one of his visits to the United States.
Aside from the architectural landmarks in CCP, he is also behind the design of the UP Chapel in UP Diliman, the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Bukidnon, and the largest residential palace in the world–the Istana Narul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.
4. The hotel still features the famous Murano crystal chandeliers that were installed since it was inaugurated in 1976.
5. Renovations were initially done by The Westin Hotel Company in 1994 and 1995 with the goal of becoming an “outstanding business resort” and “leading convention center”. Part of the renovations done includes its meeting facilities, ballroom, health club, lobby, and spa center.
6. After its management contract with Starwood Hotels ended in 2005, a new management contract with AccorHotels was signed in 2006 and the hotel was then relaunched as the Sofitel Philippine Plaza a year later.
The Paris-based Sofitel brand of luxury hotels was founded in 1964 and now manages over 80 properties around the world. This includes the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, Sofitel Frankfurt Opera, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, and the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, among others.
7. In 2014, renovations commenced for its meeting rooms, winding staircase, and the Grand Plaza Ballroom for an estimated cost of US$5 Million.
8. Its most recent renovation was spearheaded by A. Ilustre and Associates in consultation with architect Raul R. Locsin–the cousin of Leandro Locsin.
9. The Sofitel Philippine Plaza hosted former US President Barack Obama in its Php 300,000 a night Imperial Residence for his 2-day state visit in April 2014.
10. Since its inauguration, the hotel hosted notable guests including Luciano Pavarotti (1994), Tony Blair (2009), Brunei Royalty Mohammed Bolkiah (2009), Hillary Clinton (2010), Al Gore (2010), and Justin Timberlake (2010), among others.
The Manila Project
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