The invitation said it was to light up the first Christmas tree ever, but the happy occasion seemed more like the grand inaugural of the Seda Hotel-Ayala Center Cebu.
Guests came in droves, welcomed by the beautiful general manager Gwen de la Cruz, and the equally lovely Frances Alfafara, director of sales and marketing.
Seda Hotel in Cebu is the result of the metamorphosis of what used to be the Cebu City Marriot Hotel. It is virtually adjacent to the Ayala Center, and that makes it very attractive.
Its lobby has palatial dimensions, with a very high ceiling. It is sweepingly elegant. The same motif is carried in the dining area.
The large throng of guests gathered way before the appointed time, listening to the Fidelis Choir’s Christmas repertory, enjoying cold drinks and delicious finger food.
Gwen took pride in presenting the Seda Cebu team: aside from Frances, Gabe Llanto, marketing communications officer; Grethel Polloso, senior sales manager; Ruvilyn Velasco, reservations manager; and James Lota, events manager.
More: Janese Desucatan, account executive; Harry Seno, executive housekeeper; Nestor Alcoseba, executive sous chef; Michelle Fuentes, assistant front office manager; Bobot Codoy, human resources manager; and Willy Cabuyao, engineering manager.
Very much present, too, were the Seda Group VIPs: general manager Andrea Mastellanel Melissa Carlos, director of sales and marketing; human resources director Wilma Estaura, and Junnie Jalandoni, head for commercial business of Ayala Land.
Gwen was with the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort Spa. Motoring all the way from Mactan on a busy traffic day was its general manager, Rene Egle, with wife Nelly. Joining them were Marguerite Lhuillier and Frances Siao.
This year, Seda partners with the Smile Train, an international charity that provides free cleft-palate surgery and care to those in need thereof.
Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, area director for the Smile Train in Southeast Asia, was around to explain the foundation’s goals and objectives.
The Christmas tree at Seda Hotel has been fashioned from varied native materials, designed by Basil Cabaral.
As Alfafara told me, “If you say this was quite an inaugural, think what the grand opening will be like.”
By then there may well be two Seda hotels in Cebu. Another structure is rising at Cebu IT Park, a project of Ayala Land.