Mariana Resort hosts low-key New Year’s countdown


Rain showers failed to dampen the New Year’s countdown hosted by the Mariana Resort & Spa last Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

A small but energetic crowd made up of tourists and local customers either booked rooms or drove up north to the sprawling Marpi hotel to celebrate the coming of 2017 with family and friends.

Their choice of Mariana Resort to close out the year was rewarded handsomely with non-stop entertainment and a sumptuous buffet prepared by executive chef William Retardo and his F&B staff.

Performers include the Talofa Dancers, Father & Son Nolas & Travis, chef Leo, and the Multi-Image Band and the New Year’s countdown was capped off by a 5- to 7-minute fireworks display.

Former governor Juan N. Babauta graced Mariana Resort’s New Year’s countdown party and said he was glad he spent the last few hours of 2016 at the hotel. “I think it was nice for Mariana Resort to hold the countdown every year. Its loyal customers really appreciate that. The staff, although working, also appreciated that their loyal customers came up.”

Another guest who motored down to Mariana Resort last New Year’s Eve is Mount Carmel School teacher Filmah Buenaflor, who came with son Toby and husband Rommel. She said she appreciated the low-key and less crowded celebration of the New Year at Mariana Resort.

Mariana Resort general manager Gloria Cavanagh said the Marpi hotel’s New Year’s countdown for 2017 was more subdued and it was by design.

She said the management was just happy to host another countdown since they thought Best Sunshine International, Ltd. was going to take over the facility in late 2016.

Like Cavanagh, Babauta said he also noticed that the celebration was a little subdued compared to previous years.

“It’s understandable because of the uncertainties that face Mariana Resort. I think you can see it in the faces of the employees,” he said, adding that despite this tribulations hotel staff soldiered on to serve their guests.

Cavanagh said all directions point to Mariana Resort operating in 2018 and that means the Marpi hotel may just host another New Year countdown party as 2017 draws to a close.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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