Lucky Signs in a Casino Hotel | BusinessMirror

Saturday 22nd February 2020

With a heritage dating back to 1912, luck was always the name of the game at the San Lazaro Hippodrome where the country's premier horseracing events were held until 2003 when the track moved to its new home in Cavite.

Today, a new kind of excitement stands on the exact same spot in the form of Winford Manila Resort and Casino. And to this day, luck continues to play a major role in modern San Lazaro where thoroughbreds of the previous century once galloped.

Operated by the Manila Jockey Club (MJC) Investment Corporation, Winford Manila is a 22-story casino hotel that offers luxurious accommodation and world-class entertainment with 128 well-appointed rooms, three-level gaming area, outdoor heated swimming pool, gym, spa, fine dining, and retail outlets.

More than just a lifestyle destination for tourists and high rollers, WMRC has gained popularity for its MICE-ready capabilities -- mainly in the form of a 700-seater pillar-less ballroom ideal for seminars, exhibitions, and formal banquets such as debuts, anniversaries, and weddings.

Last year, expert celebrity feng shui master Hanz Cua performed a ritual at WMRC, during which he appealed to benevolent entities for their approval of all future activities and events held within Winford Manila.

As Master Hanz conducted the traditional geomantic ceremony in various rooms and areas of the property, certain fixtures and installations within the hotel caught his eye, prompting him to knowingly acknowledge the meaning and significance of each one.

"The amber floral chandelier in the ballroom happens to be the 'flower of romance' and signifies love throughout a blissful relationship and marriage," explained Master Hanz, while also commenting on the positive energy inside the ballroom which he found to be extremely palpable.

His observation validated Winford Manila's decision to promote their ballroom as a wedding venue, and the hotel has since held a highbrow bridal event to showcase its capabilities and developed wedding packages to entice starry-eyed couples to tie the knot within the confines of the massive and luxurious venue.

"Ting hun, or engagement, is achieved by three vases strategically positioned outside the ballroom in order to attract money, prosperity, and success. The same goes for the ballroom's gold carpet, which is a Chinese sign of 'wealth'."

Looking at Winford Manila's exterior, you'd be forgiven for seeing the striking resemblance it shares with some of the world's biggest names in the hotel and gaming industry. That's because Winford Manila was designed by The Gettys Group, a multi-award-winning design and development firm which has spent the past three decades earning its stripes in the global hospitality industry.

Serving clients from offices in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East, The Gettys Group is widely regarded as a leader in branding and development space, having collaborated with the world's leading hospitality brands in 32 countries.

With the design and development of Winford Manila, lucky signs abound from the moment you set foot into its marbled, minimalist lobby where an enormous dragon portrait hangs on one of the tall walls that, collectively, make for a satisfyingly high ceiling.

In Chinese culture, the dragon is a highly respected symbol, and one that connotes "fortune". A sculpture of this mythical creature is also prominently displayed in the lobby, setting the vibe and ambiance for an experience that is luxurious as it is auspicious.

One need not even enter Winford Manila to fully appreciate the lucky signs scattered within its four walls. To the Chinese eye, the hotel's logo alone bears the familiar 'Fú' character, an unmistakable symbol of good fortune in China, or "yong fu", which simply means "good luck".

As for Winford Manila's numbers, it would be an injustice to attribute its success to luck alone. As Jeff Evora, WMRC President & COO, says, "Despite the first quarter of the year being a typically slow one, business in 2020 has been better than expected so far, with hotel occupancy not suffering as big a blow as we had anticipated."

"Yes, a little luck might have a hand in all this, but we also cannot discount the fact that WMRC casino betting limits are lower than others, our service rivals renowned 5-star brands, and we are the only establishment that offers luxury hotel facilities, service, entertainment, and gaming in the City of Manila. We like to think of ourselves as the friendly neighborhood casino hotel run by locals, for the locals."

"Safety is also a top priority and we have teams of well-trained security with metal detectors and x-ray machines stationed at all points of entry, plus roving patrol guards throughout the property to ensure all areas are monitored by CCTV and security personnel at all times.

With luck and logic working round the clock at Winford Manila, small wonder a common observation made by those who visit refers to the positive juju they feel while inside the property. And while there may not be a foolproof formula to achieve this holy grail of customer testimonials, perhaps Evora sums it up best:

"I believe WMRC is where it is today because of all the hard work put in by a small but close-knit team of passionate and dedicated individuals who I am proud to serve and lead every day... with a little help from Lady Luck," he says with a smile.

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