Sunday, 23 June 2013

Media Tour: Widus Resort & Casino (Clark Field, Pampanga)

Widus Resort & Casino

The postcard-pretty exterior
I recently received an invitation from Ms. Victoria “Tori” T. Vicente, Marketing & Communications Manager of Widus Resort & Casino, to join a media familiarization tour of the hotel which is located within the Clark Freeport Zone.  Its Convention Center will also be the venue of the concert, produced by Steve O’Neal Productions, of American 1980’s heartthrob singer and Broadway actor Rex Smith.  I brought along my son Jandy as my photographer and we all met up with Tori plus media colleagues Mr. Buddy Recio (with wife Divine and staff member Paolo M. Abellanosa)) of Travel Update, Ms. Denise Roco of People Asia Magazine, Mr. JC De Leon of GMA Online and Ms. Denise O. Calnea (with friend Ms. Jane de la Cruz) of Business World, at Starbucks in Greenbelt 1, Makati City. 
Widus Casino
We all left (11 AM) for Clark on a Sunday, so traffic was light even along the usually traffic-infested EDSA.  Along the way, we picked Ms. Marianne C. Carandang of Travel Trade. Traffic was almost non-existent as we traversed the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), arriving at the hotel’s Southeast Asian-inspired and naturally lit lobby by 1 PM, in time for sumptuous lunch at the Salt Resto, the hotel’s main dining outlet.  This wouldn’t be my first visit to this hotel, having visited it 3 times (twice in 2008, the year of its opening, and once in 2009) when it was still called Hotel Vida and managed by Fuego Hotels.   
During this tour, many things have changed since my last visit.   Aside from a name (the hotel’s new name, Widus, is actually a play on the term “With Us”) and management (it is now operated by Widus International Leisure Inc.) change, there are now new facilities.   Salt Resto is now expanded and newly-renovated.  

There is also an upscale, well-stocked and sophisticated bar (Prism Lounge); another coffee shop (Widus Coffee Shop), a small gym with modern equipment; a sundry shop; a business center and a spa (Aisia).  The hotel is also now accredited as a Deluxe Class Hotel by the Department of Tourism, the first such hotel in Pampanga, and was awarded as Travelers’ Choice Top 13 Luxury Hotel and Top 25 Hotel in the Philippines by 

Widus Coffee Shop and Prism Lounge

Aisia Spa
We were toured around the other new facilities by the new (since early May) Gen. Manager Alfred M. Reyes, formerly connected with the Four Seasons Hotel in Taipei (Taiwan).  

Now opposite the main building is the 24-hour Casino Widus which has 420 sq. ft. of gaming space and features 150 gaming machines and 27 table and poker games (2 for poker). Also within the casino is the Malt Bar and Coffee Shop.   
From the main building, we all walked, across the parking lot, to the Widus Convention Center.  This building, with the same modern, cutting edge design as the main building, has state-of-the-art facilities for up to 400 guests with 2 ballrooms – the 454.73 sq. m. Vegas Hall and the smaller 188.52 sq. m. Macau Hall.  The former ballroom was to be the venue for the “Simply Rex” concert.  Both versatile ballrooms can be converted into 5 convention rooms ideal for business meetings, training seminars and functions.
The Widus Convention Center

The Vegas Ballroom 

Sitting on 1.9 hectares of land, the hotel has 119 luxuriously appointed guest rooms - 47 Deluxe Rooms ( with twin or queen beds) and 40 Family Suites and 15 studio-type  Junior Suites, 16 One Bedroom Suites (with king beds) and 1 Presidential Suite.  Tori toured us around each room type. 

The Presidential Suite

Jacuzzi at the Presidential Suite
All rooms are equipped with state-of the-art amenities such as electronic entry lock; IDD/NDD phone; wi-fi access, in-room safety box; a spacious living room area with trundle bed, a kitchen and bar with 6 cu. ft. personal refrigerator, coffee-making facility and a microwave oven; a balcony, toilet & bath with bathtub and 8” ceiling-mounted shower head; and a flat screen LCD cable TV (sizes ranging from 29” to  32,” 50” for presidential suite) with DVD player. The presidential suite also has 2 bedrooms (one with king bed and the other with 2 single beds), a dining area and a jacuzzi. 

Our Family Suite (3503)

The swimming pool.  Behind is the 114-room 
annex being constructed
Most rooms have wonderful views of the adjacent golf course; the swimming pool or the serene, verdant and well-manicured landscape crowned with palms and a plethora of majestic, century-old acacia trees. Across the pool is a new building being constructed.  
According to Mr. Reyes, this new wing, with 114 additional rooms, is expected to be completed by October in time for the start of the Emirates’ non-stop daily flights between Dubai and Clark.  Aside from the two airlines and the low-cost carriers (Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia, Air Asia Philippines, Asiana Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Dragonair, Jin Air, PAL Express and Seair-Tiger) already operating, he also cited the interest of Qatar Airways to launch flights at Clark. 
Wooden bridge over the pool
After the hotel tour, we all checked into our Family Suites (Jandy and I stayed at Suite 3503 at the fifth floor), each with the same simple yet elegant Asian-inspired theme I was used to. 
Prior to checking in, we each made an appointment for a blissful massage, either within the Asian-themed spa or in the privacy of their rooms, after the evening “Simply Rex” concert (where we were each given complimentary, front-row tickets) or the next day.  
I took my pampering the next day while Jandy opted to go swimming at the large, beautiful, free-form swimming pool (adult and kiddie, with floating bar and water slide). 

Members of media at  the newly-renovated Salt Resto
Posing at the entrance of the casino

Widus Resort & Casino: 5400 Manuel A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga 2023. Tel: (045) 499-1000. Fax: (045) 499-0979.  Manila booking office: 2311 Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 V.A. Rufino corner Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City. Tel: (02) 840-1430. Fax: (02) 840-1429.  Website:

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