By NIKA ROQUE
June 10, 2019
To celebrate its centennial anniversary, global pioneer hotel chain Hilton mounted grand get-togethers all over the world, including Manila.
Guests were welcomed with an orchestra, cakes and cocktails, as well as large decorative pieces to mark the event. Hilton Manila’s general manager Simon McGrath opened the program to discuss their advocacies, services, and legacies beyond being a worldwide hotel chain.
“Hilton is the fastest growing hospitality company in the world, and a hundred years is something that any company can be proud of,” began McGrath. The general manager shared that the day of the anniversary was started early, with every employee part of the traditional cake cutting, which was also done across international branches. “Hilton is an innovator and has done things nobody has done before,” he continued.
“If you go back to the first Hilton in the world, they had cold running water in every room. That was a first and have come a long way since then. In 1947, the Roosevelt Hilton in New York became the first hotel to install TVs. In 1954, Hilton invented the piña colada. In 1959, Hilton built the first purpose-built airport hotel that is something that’s flourished that every other major brand has tried to copy,” McGrath shared, of the many events and ideas that the company has pioneered.
In spite of their success in business, Hilton emphasizes that embracing the community and creating impacts are very important parts of their work.
“We’ve recently been involved in the cleanup of Manila Bay, started a relationship with the Pasay Community Center where we’re looking to donate food to them. More importantly, we’ve embarked on a program called ‘Soap for Hope,’ where all those wonderful bars of soap you’ve had in the hotel, they get put aside and repurposed. The Pasay Community Center repress it, and take it back to the communities or sell it.
“We also issued the first ever Hilton Scholarship to Don Bosco. We’ve given them to two of the boys who have been working in the pastry shop here to come and join us and really experience the next level in a culinary scholarship,” explained McGrath.
To light up the night, there were performances by Dance Royalties, Singing Sensations, Ano Salsa, Spirit of ‘67 band, and a fashion show by renowned designer Mak Tumang and the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. The night was ended with raffles, wherein accomodations in Hilton hotels across Asia were given.
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