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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Saipan hotels light up the sky

More than 1,000 tourists and residents trooped to hotels on Saipan to greet the New Year and were rewarded with fireworks displays that lit up the island’s skies at the strike of midnight last Jan. 1, 2013.

At Kanoa Resort, close to 200 people rang in the New Year at the Barefoot Bar. Majority of the crowd wore clothes that had different hues of red as Kanoa Resort had a promotion that evening and early morning that gave away hotel stay, lunch buffets, and other gift certificates to people who caught general manager Mark Ratliff’s fancy.

After the barbecue dinner, the New Year countdown festivities started with DJ Fade spinning upbeat tunes at the corner of the bar.

The New Year countdown party also featured all-you-can drink beverage and chasers of chicken wings, lumpia, and nachos and cheese dip.

At five minutes before midnight, Kanoa Resort staff on top of the hotel’s rooftop lit up $2,000 worth of fireworks that last around 10 minutes.

“We had close to 200 guests for the [New Year countdown] party and for us that’s pretty good. The fireworks were beautiful, people were beautiful, DJ all night long. I’m just wishing everybody a really happy New Year,” Ratliff later said.

A stone’s throw away at Saipan World Resort, local sales manager Mike Babauta said about 300 people showed up for their fireworks display.

“For the countdown party we had probably 180, but during the fireworks display more than 300 people showed up. We gave free champagne to all. It was a very good turnout. We had the biggest fireworks display on island and everyone was happy and impressed.”

Babauta said World Resort actually hosted two countdown parties on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1—one for Russian guests at the Royal Taga Hall and another at its Sunset Garden for house and local guests.

Over at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, F&B director Das Krishnan said the Garapan landmark hosted 720 local and off-island guests at its New Year countdown party.

Of that number, Krishnan said about 560 are tourists from Japan who booked their reservations for the hotel’s New Year countdown party months back.

Aside from the island’s famous barbecue, the dinner show also treated guests to a spread of lobster tail, lechon, and king prawn, among others.

An eight-member band entertained everyone all evening, on top of a Zumba marathon, games for children, and a six-minute fireworks display worth $3,000.

Further north, Mariana Resort & Spa executive chef William Retardo said some 166 guests graced their countdown party. He said the Marpi hotel spent around $4,500 for their fireworks display that lasted 10 minutes. Guests were also treated to a fire dance show.

“We are very pleased with the turnout. We can only accommodate 200 people at the maximum, so we are already glad with our numbers,” said Retardo.

At Hyatt Regency Saipan, assistant manager for marketing and communications Luis Villagomez said about 700 people attended their New Year countdown. He said the hotel’s three-minute fireworks display was donated by Pacific Trading Co. and Pacific Wines and Spirits.

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