It’s For Real: There’s A Boutique Hotel In Quezon City With Fantastic French Interiors
Celebrity followers may have gotten their first glimpse of this ornate space via the Instagram posts of Heart Evangelista. It is where the style star hosted her most recent birthday dinner with friends and family. The place is called Casa Juico, a gorgeous property in Roosevelt Avenue, San Francisco Del Monte. Once owned by the family of Felipe Sangil Juico, who established the first travel agency in the country, it has since been taken over by the family behind Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the Bataan resort anchored on a collection of heritage houses transported from different parts of the Philippines. The Acuzars are transforming the Roosevelt Avenue property into what will soon become a boutique hotel and events place.
The modern structure built by National Artist Pablo S. Antonio Sr.
Today, Casa Juico is a work in progress, awaiting its formal opening slated for December this year. But some of its areas are already snapshot-ready, as Ms. Evangelista’s guests found out, as well as select media during the launch of the Bruce Connor art shows spearheaded by Jam Acuzar in February.
Casa Juico is an extension of the Las Casas effort to preserve Filipino houses of importance. After all, not only is the property’s original resident a pioneering businessman in post-war Philippines, but the mansion at its heart was done by architect Pablo S. Antonio Sr., a National Artist.
The Roosevelt Function Room at Casa Juico, a boutique hotel and events place officially opening this December
From our sneak peek, the structure now has a Versailles meets a sort of Filipino Baroque aesthetic, with 19th century-style chairs, chandeliers, and tall Filipino paintings (an imposing Fernando Amorsolo portrait of the Juico matriarch Maria Ella regales guests in the elaborate dining room). Designed by the Las Casas architects under the guidance of the family patriarch Gerry Acuzar, there seems to be no rules here except to evoke the feeling of a rich distant past. Taking its cue from the Hotel de Oriente in the family’s Bataan resort, Casa Juico features a grand staircase with mosaic-style steps made out of wood cut in leaf patterns. There’s a room with a fully-carved ceiling and gilded walls. There is a carved version of a Gustav Klimt in one room, and in select areas, Oriental statues hold pride of place.
Richly detailed ceiling and walls reminiscent of Hotel De Oriente at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
French-style chairs abound in the mansion
A nook in the dining salon
The staircase with wood cut leaf patterns
The staircase against tall glass windows that offer a view of the garden pool
Decorative plates from all over the world from the Juico family
No spot, it seems, have been left unconsidered by the hotel's team of architects and designers. The portrait is an Amorsolo depicting Lily Juico in Filipina dress.
Construction for the mansion began in 1963 in what was once the city’s “out of town” resort area, San Francisco Del Monte (someone from the Bruce Connor lunch actually said the place has the feel of San Francisco in the US). In those days, family resorts like Tan Bee Kim was in nearby Del Monte Avenue. And it is believed that before the Poes took over the neighboring lots of the Juicos—the Poes being Fernando Sr. and Jr.—those too were swimming playgrounds open to the public. The Poes converted the property to a residence and the FPJ Productions’s movie studio.
Natural light bathes the ornate setup, enhancing the interior details
Being movers in the fields of business and socio-civic work, the Juicos hosted important guests in the Roosevelt mansion, among them poets, scientists, athletes, and even Philippine presidents, from Macapagal to Aquino III. Inside the house, one can find decorative plates from different countries, and artworks by the painter Elias Laxa who, like Felipe Juico, hails from Pampanga. While its interiors during the years it was a family home were kept simple, the outdoor areas were always lush, with a bounty of greenery and fruit-bearing tropical trees.
A brick wall that should serve as a beautiful backdrop to weddings
The pool area behind the dining room
With the Acuzar takeover of this storied home, the property takes on not only a new interior magnificence but also a new life: one that more people can avail of, experience, and yes, Instagram.
Photographs by Berwin Coroza