THE deluxe US$118-million, 703-room Shangri-La Hotel in Manila has opened for business. On the corner of Makati and Ayala avenues in the heart ofManila's business and financial centre, the 28-storey hotel dominates the skyline and is distinctive by its pale pink-coloured facade. The hotel opens with 300 rooms, the Island Cafe coffee shop, Ibarra's Filipino specialty restaurant, Shang Palace Chinese restaurant, the Lobby Lounge and Conway's bar. A fully equipped 24-hour business centre is also available. There is a big outdoor swimming pool off the fourth floor and two tennis courts. Additional restaurants and bars include the continental restaurant Cheval Blanc and the specialty restaurant, Salathip. The Cheval Blanc opens this month and the Salathip next month. The Shangari-La Manila features the most modern and extensive meeting space in the city. Its huge ballroom, that can be separated into three sections, can accommodate up to 1,200 for a sit-down dinner or 1,600 for a cocktail reception. Six more function rooms for private receptions or seminars are also available. All guest rooms incorporate a subtle blend of Filipino-style craftsmanship and Western design. With rooms ranging from 38 to 46 square metres, they are some of the largest in the city. As well, the hotel has 95 suites, with a Presidential Suite on the 28th floor. The hotel will be marketed primarily as a business hotel for the corporate and frequent independent traveller. Recreational facilities include a comprehensive health club, which will open at the end of next month. Mr Nigel Grocock, the hotel's general manager, said the Shangri-La Hotel, Manila, was looking to set a new standard of service in Makati. This was Makati's newest hotel in 17 years, he added. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts manages two other properties in the Philippines: the 440-room Shangri-La EDSA Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, which opened in August 1992; and the 360-room Shanghai-La Mactan Island Resort, Cebu, which is to open inAugust this year. The group presently operates 22 hotels and resorts throughout Asia.