Famous Filipino Hospitality at The Henry Hotel
"Being hospitable is second nature to us Filipinos” - August Samala
August Samala, the newly appointed COO of The Henry Hotel Manila, proudly boasts the famous Pinoy brand hospitality Filipinos hold. “I saw it through my parents. They would give up their beds for guests to sleep in, and would bring out our best chinaware for them to use,” he shared.
Samala has had two decades’ worth of hotel management up his sleeve and he has seen how the industry has changed over the years. “One of the things that frustrate me is how we have become so dependent on foreigners,” he observes. “For me, it’s quite sad because Filipinos are known to be one of the best hoteliers in the world!”
Samala recounts his early days in the industry saying, In the early ‘90s, we were trained to treat guests like kings. But today, we don’t really like that—we want to be treated as equals. Because when you treat guests like kings, it appears ‘fake’ or impersonal. And at The Henry, we like our service to be intimate, personal, and engaging.”
The Henry Hotel has two hotels, one in Cebu and another in Manila. The Henry Hotel Manila is secretly tucked in the bustling city of Pasay. The boutique hotel is quaint, and the 1940s-era mansion is surrounded by beautiful trees giving off a peaceful and tranquil vibe. Meanwhile, The Henry Hotel Cebu features an artsy vibe thanks to their colorful furnishings and vibrant art pieces decorating the space.
With the superb service and relaxing ambiance, The Henry Hotel is also proud of their dedication to showcasing Filipino products and artistry. “Our products are all Filipino-made, and we work together with social enterprises,” Samala shares. “Unlike at regular hotels, where one is greeted with a Snickers bar and a can of Pringles at the console table, at Henry, what we offer is Chocnut and Chicacorn.”
The Henry Hotel strives to go for a unique look and experience specially created in the environment their hotel is in. Samala explains, “We work with the best artists, designers, and architects from the area, and we bring to the project what is found in the area.”
As such, their hotel in Cebu features a special nook of local street artists such as Mark Copino, and their hotel in Manila features beautiful furniture and works by Eric Paras.
Samala shares his vision of expanding The Henry Hotel saying he envisions resorts in Dumaguete, Siargao, Panglao, San Vicente, Coron, and El Nido in Palawan, La Union, and a hotel in Malate.
His vision mirrors the beauty of specific environments. For example, the resort in El Nido will take inspiration from the limestone rocks prevalent in Palawan, the hotel in Malate will have common areas that will also be used as a museum to showcase Filipino artworks.
Every place is special and is certainly the best place to be for your next vacation.
“Our goal is to really highlight and champion the beauty of the Philippines,” Samala says, “and this includes the people, the talent, and the place,” concludes Samala. “In fact, our innkeeper, Henry Hotel owner Hanky Lee and I have made an agreement: we won’t hire expats. We want to harness Filipino talent.”