Photo from the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila website

As Sofitel Manila closes its doors, employees assured of separation packages, skills training

The closure of the 48-year-old hotel designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin is ‘a significant loss to tourism.’

Aside from having to bid goodbye to an iconic property (and its well-loved Spiral buffet), there’s also the more pressing issue of what happens next to the property’s employees. 

To address these issues, executives of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila on Monday met with Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco at the department’s central office.

The iconic hotel is closing its doors in July. Photo from Sofitel Manila website

Frasco said the DOT is deeply saddened by the impending cessation of operations of Sofitel Philippine Plaza. The DOT agrees with Sofitel’s management, however, that the safety of employees and guests is of paramount importance, as stated in a post on the official DOT Facebook page.

“Thank you for all the contributions that you, and the institution that is Sofitel, have made to the tourism industry. It is one that has seen our country through many seasons, and has stood the test of time. We are in complete agreement in terms of prioritizing worker and tourist safety as that is paramount over and above anything else,” the Secretary said.

We have to bid goodbye to its beloved buffet restaurant, Spiral, too. Photo from

“We are very dismayed with the announcement of the impending closure of Sofitel, being an icon of Philippine hospitality for nearly 50 years. We heard the news with much concern, especially that we view our hotel and accommodation sector as a critical component of the industry, especially now that we are making efforts to elevate the status of Philippine tourism vis-a-vis our ASEAN counterparts,” she added.

The tourism chief sees the closure of Sofitel as a “significant loss for the tourism industry,” as well as for the employees and stakeholders “who have dedicated their lives and expended efforts” to provide exceptional service to guests.

During the dialogue, the Secretary expressed the DOT’s “grave concern” for the employees who will be losing their livelihood as a result of the closure. With this, she noted that the department, through its NCR office, is assisting Sofitel in the job fairs to be held for the affected employees.

“We want to assure you that we will help you and the employees in any way we can,” Frasco said.

DOT Secretary Christina G. Frasco (left) met with executives of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila last May 13 to discuss the hotel’s closure and ways forward for the employees.
Photo from DOT Facebook page

According to Esteban G. Peña Sy, Philippine Plaza Holdings, Inc. president and owner of Sofitel Philippine Plaza, they are grateful for the DOT’s offer of assistance, as quoted in an article on The Manila Standard. He added they remain optimistic of future developments, especially that the performance of the hotel “has had its best years ever in 2022 and 2023,” with occupancy rates reaching 86 percent to 100 percent in some months. 

He gave the assurance that separation packages would be offered to affected employees, as well as job training seminars “so they will be adequately equipped” as they shift to new roles.

Sofitel Hotels and Resorts are a French hotel chain of luxury hotels based in Paris, France, and owned by Accor.

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