Finally, an Ayala hotel
The conglomerate throws its hat in the ring, launching its first wholly owned ‘urban lifestyle’ brand in Bonifacio Global CityBy Raoul J. Chee Kee |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Seda at Bonifacio Global City may have opened only last December, but it has already managed to attract its main market of businessmen.
“It usually takes hotels a year to ramp up sales, but we’ve managed to bring in our main market, plus a smattering of families that look forward to the shops and various activities nearby,” Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts COO Al Legazpi said.
Depending on whom you ask, the hotel with 179 rooms and suites is located “near Sentro and the Gap store at High Street”—a description that suits the hotel and its officials just fine.
Instead of the overused term “boutique hotel,” they want to brand Seda as an “urban lifestyle hotel” because people can now hold meetings in the area, schedule a lunch with the family, or put in some exercise with a 30-minute jog around the vicinity. When you stay at Seda, almost everything is within easy reach.
This elegantly laid-back lifestyle can be seen in the public spaces and guest bedrooms of the hotel, all of which were designed and conceptualized by Conrad T. Onglao, principal architect at C.T. Onglao Architects.
The 30-sq m guest rooms have a bed designed for maximum comfort, with a long alcove seat beneath the window.
The seat has a number of uses: It can double as a daybed; extra seating for visitors; or it can be used as luggage rack.
On the walls are photos taken by Tom Epperson and Paco Guerrero.
“I wanted to keep the palette black, gray, beige and bronze because I was going for a more contemporary vibe,” Onglao told Inquirer Lifestyle.
This was fairly apparent at Straight Up, the hotel’s rooftop bar that was the venue of the hotel’s recent launch. Conceptualized as a night spot, the bar has furniture by designer Ann Pamintuan, whose work has been featured in the prestigious International Design Yearbook.
Pamintuan’s signature design—the wire mesh—is in the main lobby, where a giraffe occupies a corner near the elevator bay.
The long-limbed giraffe almost didn’t make the cut because Onglao had wanted to put just one three-seater by Pamintuan in the lobby and not much else. This was in keeping with the streamlined, contemporary look he espoused.
Filipino design, creativity
The lobby has since evolved into a showcase of Filipino design and creativity. Aside from Pamintuan’s giraffe, there is a curvilinear chair by Kenneth Cobonpue. A large-scale composition by photographer and industrialist Jaime Zobel de Ayala hangs on the wall of the reception area.
“It’s been designed to be casual and inviting, and reflective of world-class Philippine design and hospitality,” Seda group general manager Andrea Mastellone said, adding that Seda Hotels is the first wholly owned brand of Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts.
Aside from the flagship in Bonifacio, the other operational Seda Hotel is Seda Centrio in Cagayan de Oro City. Seda Abreeza in Davao will open soon, while a fourth Seda property in Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, will be completed by the last quarter of 2013.
Onglao said that the interiors of each Seda property will maximize its location within the Ayala community. In the flagship hotel, for example, glass walls and al fresco seating give guests an inviting view of the hundreds of stores and retail outlets of Bonifacio High Street.
Note that just as the boundaries between hotel and mall have been blurred, the spaces of Seda BGC’s reception area, lobby and dining outlet, Misto, flow freely into one another.
“We’ve realized that guests today like working in the lobby or café and not in their rooms,” Onglao said.
An open layout makes full use of the cozy ground floor space while allowing guests to work, socialize with other guests, and dine or drink as they please.
Seda BGC is at 30th St. corner 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. Call 9458888; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.