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Manza Beach Hotel Digs Deep To Prepare For Clinton Stay

By: Sheila J. Vaughen

Date Posted: 2000-06-16

To prepare for the upcoming stay of President Clinton and the American delegation for the G8 Summit, the Manza Beach Hotel has spent a fortune to deepen a channel in Manza Bay, to construct a helicopter pad, and to build a Royal Suite fit for a world leader.

The Manza Beach Hotel, owned by the resort division of All Nippon Airways, has been preparing for the two-day stay of the American president and his entourage since the selection was announced in November of last year. The hotel is expecting about 500 people to stay at the hotel for the G8 Summit. The group will be comprised of the American delegation, various Japanese government officials and privileged members of the media previously selected to travel with the president.

Mr. Kenichi China, Summit Division Manager for the resort, spoke of the keyed-up atmosphere of the staff members at the Manza Beach Hotel. “Every employee here is thinking about and planning for this event everyday,” he explained. “I myself am proud to be involved in such an important aspect of the Summit. It is something I will be able to tell my grandchildren.”

In addition to physical renovations and projects, the resort has also invested in specialized training for their staff.

However, the largest price tag associated with the visit is by far the one billion-yen spent on expanding and upgrading the Royal Suite on the top floor of the hotel. Three large rooms have been added to what was already a five-room suite. A design firm from Tokyo, KKS International Co. Ltd., was contracted to develop the interior concept and select appropriate fine art, furniture and décor. According to Mr. China, the design team chose a contemporary Spanish-style theme that incorporates gray marble floors, whirlpool tubs, bright color schemes, and luxurious amenities throughout the eight-room penthouse.

In reference to the property’s future use of the Royal Suite, Mr. China said the penthouse would rent for approximately ¥500,000 when opened to the public following the Summit in mid-July.

The parent company of the hotel also footed the bill, of ¥44 million, for deepening a channel in Manza Bay. The purpose of the dig, completed in April, was to accommodate a US Naval ship expected to pay a visit to the bay in conjunction with the visit by the US President. The central portion of Manza Bay, marked by the popular lookout destination Manzamo Point, was dug one meter deep by 50 meters wide.

The deeper sea floor will allow the bay to accommodate larger cruise boats and for the hotel to add larger boats to their already broad menu of marine activities. The Manza Beach Hotel currently offers visitors rides on a sea-viewing submarine as well as fishing, diving and cruise boat activities. The property has also just installed netting around its main swimming beach area, which is designed to keep out jellyfish and other potentially harmful marine life.

To accommodate the on-island transportation of President Clinton, the hotel has already completed a helicopter pad, placed adjacent to the main lobby entrance of the hotel. While the property spent about ¥63 million to construct the pad, the management does not expect to keep it as a helicopter pad but instead intends to transform it into additional parking spaces for personal and public transportation vehicles.

Recognizing the benefits of making the best impression, the hotel management also invested in a series of training programs for their staff. Key management personnel, who work in front service positions were sent to the ANA Tokyo Hotel for professional training earlier this year. Additionally, service staff members from all departments of the hotel were offered English conversation classes at the expense of the hotel. Manza Beach Hotel hired a local language and translation firm, The Executive Link, to offer six different weekly classes, which met over a three-month term.

Summit participants will be offered special rates for breakfast and lunch at the Manza Beach Hotel but it was not yet known whether any evening dining or entertainment events were planned at the property.

Located in Onna Village, the hotel is coordinating with town officials and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to plan a welcoming reception. The event is expected to include traditional Okinawan entertainment such as Eisa dancers, taiko drummers and shamisen guitars.

When asked why the Manza Beach Hotel was selected, China said the location and physical attributes of the grounds were probably important determining factors. The hotel, the design of which resembles a sea shell, rests on the tip of a 1.4-kilometer peninsula which thins to approximately 450 meters at it most narrow point. These physical characteristics lend themselves to ensuring security for the delegation and entourage.

Besides logistical assets and stunning ocean views, the property offers many features expected of a five-star rated resort. Amenities include five restaurants, banquet and conference facilities, several lounges, numerous retail shops, game rooms and other services designed to pamper guests.

The Manza Beach Hotel will be closed to the public from July 18 for the Summit and will reopen on the 23rd.

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