Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lobby talk

(First published at the Marianas Variety)
HOTEL lobbies speak a lot about a hotel. They help a guest decide to stay for a while or go, feel relaxed or stressed out. Hotel lobbies are mute witnesses to a lot of things — transactions, arguments, sweet nothings.
Photos by Raquel C. Bagnol
Photos by Raquel C. Bagnol
If only the walls and furniture could talk! Last week this page featured Laolao Bay Golf and Resort, and this time let us take a peek at the lobbies of the leading hotels on Saipan and Tinian.
Aqua Resort Club in San Roque has my most favorite lobby on island, but its distance is why I don’t spend much time there as much as I want to.
The Aqua Resort lobby does not scream commercialism but offers comfort, bliss and relaxation. It is one place that seems to portray the message to turn off your cellphones and just enjoy and let time pass by blissfully. Let your feet sink into the deep soft carpet and sit in any of the comfortable sets with throw pillows and have coffee with friends or alone. The best part of the lobby is the section where lounges are located. You can recline facing clear glass with a view of greens and colorful flowers outside. The ambiance just makes you drowsy. Views of blue sky, swimming pool and the ocean add to the X-factor of this hotel lobby.
The Marianas Resort Spa lobby is one where you feel at home. It is more of the sporty kind of lobby adorned with stylish wooden benches, a place where guests feel at ease flopping down straight from the pool so if you don’t want to get wet, check before you sit anywhere. The Marianas Resort & Spa lobby offers guests a killer view of a quaint chapel in the distance, swimming pools, game tables, restaurant and bar all within the scope of your view. The front side of the lobby offers views of the golf course and green jungles.
Hyatt Regency’s lobby has a sofa set facing the reception area beside lush greenery under a solar roof. It is just one place where you sit for a few minutes waiting for your car or for somebody. The Lobby Lounge is one choice to have coffee or meet someone else but if you are a non-smoker, better look for someplace else to go to.
lobbiesBut the Hyatt also has  breathtaking scenery: lush green gardens with its streams and ponds teeming with fish, birds and butterflies that are not scared of human intrusion, wooden bridges — a prime choice for family and wedding photo sessions.
The Fiesta Resort & Spa lobby portrays an island welcome with its huge murals and decorations depicting Palau, Yap and other islands in the region. Superb views of the swimming pool and the beach add to the relaxing ambiance. The sofa sets are comfortable enough but it’s not one place you would want to stay for the whole day. Too many people just come and go.
If you want to get a whiff of the fresh, soothing and relaxing breeze that is not sourced from an air-conditioning unit, spend a few minutes in the Hafa Adai Beach Hotel lobby in Garapan.
I love sitting in one of the wooden seats there and having my hair blown away by the breeze but if you want total relaxation, this lobby is not for you. Visitors talk in voices with volumes set like they are at home so if you want a quiet lobby, this one’s not it.
Moving further to Susupe is Saipan World Resort whose lobby is one, if not the busiest, hotel lobby here. It’s one place where people sit and watch TV from the huge screens and where come and go pulling luggage behind them. Entering the massive door of the hotel is like going into an enchanted kingdom. It is one lobby where you feel you can mix business with pleasure.
Kanoa Resort (formerly Saipan Grand Hotel) in Susupe has a lobby with an impersonal touch. The lobby seats, which are located in the middle of commercial stalls, are comfortable and ideal to meet friends. It’s one place where you can be on your own or get lost in a crowd.
The lobby of the Pacific Islands Club in San Antonio is another busy place where people come, sit and go. The warm, snug sofa seats with matching throw pillows, open windows and high vaulted ceilings give an air of spaciousness and make you want to stay around longer. There are no stores and stalls or coffee shops to give it a commercial feel.
Moving on to Tinian, the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino lobby is the most unique compared to the other hotels here. A circular lobby with a giant chandelier that sheds golden reflections on the well polished floors, one feels a certain enchantment in the Tinian Dynasty lobby. It is one place where your voice echoes so you will talk in whispers but still provides some sort of privacy.