There’s an ocean of choices for travelers and tourists apart from the five-star hotels and small inns found throughout the Philippines. A Swiss-educated Filipino hotelier, however, is giving weary trekkers a handful of great alternatives with a chain of budget hotels across the country—and has opened up his business to franchising.
Collectively, the Gran Prix Hotels and Resorts have rooms from economy first class, giving guests a range of options to satisfy their pockets. It’s how Jan Vincent Kierulf, president of the hotel chain, wants it to be. [Read about Resorts World Manila and its five attractions here]
“Conforming to the name itself, which means ‘grand prize’ in French, we want our clients to feel they received a grand prize in our rates and services every time they visit any of our branches,” says Kierulf, who gained his Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management at the IMI International Hotel Management Institute of Switzerland.
With a capital of P12 million, the 42-year-old hotelier put up his first econotel in Pasay City in 2004. Branches in Cubao, Quezon City— like the Pasay branch located near the terminals of Luzon’s major bus lines—and Cebu City soon followed.
Gran Prix also operates an “express inn” in Tarlac City for business people and transients and a “hideaway” in the resort island of Boracay. Its latest addition is a boutique hotel in Manila’s Ermita tourist district, which opened in December 2009. [Read about the new hotel projects of Discovery here]
The room rates for each branch vary, but the lowest starts at just P799 per guest a night for a deluxe room at the Tarlac branch. The priciest is for a suite in Boracay, at P5,580 a person a night.
Judging by Gran Prix’s expansion plans—it aims to double its branches to 10 in the next three years—its guests seem to be coming in droves. Kierulf says: “We are now looking at locations in Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Dumaguete, Bohol, Baguio, Ilocos Sur, Camarines Sur and Bicol for our future expansion.”
Page 2: Expansion Plans