A Tale of Two Sedas

In the heart of Cebu City, these Seda Hotels deliver seamless hospitality that is smooth as silk

Cebu, the storied Queen City of the South, has long-been known for its genteel yet gregarious brand of hospitality—warm and welcoming, with a wealth of winning ways. In the heart of the city, not one but two Seda Hotels—part of the impressive portfolio of Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts Corporation, the hospitality arm of realty moguls, Ayala Land, Inc.—brilliantly showcase this famed conviviality. Amidst settings steeped in the suave sophistication and seamless smoothness one can expect only of the finest of silks (the English meaning of the hotel chain’s name), Seda Central Bloc and Seda Ayala Center serve up Cebu’s vibrant spirit in generous measure.
I was fortunate to have been part of a media delegation invited to experience this Cebuano flair, Seda-style, over a weekend that brimmed with the bounty of home-grown hospitality.

Seda Central Bloc Cebu Façade

New Seda on the Bloc

Smack dab in the steady hum and hubbub of Cebu’s I.T. Park lies a harbor of urban sophistication—Seda Central Bloc Cebu, our first stop on the weekend escape. We received the warmest of welcomes from the team, which eased us right into our Cebu getaway. With 214 comfortable deluxe rooms and 58 capacious serviced apartments in a variety of layouts, Seda Central Bloc knows how to make every kind of urban adventurer feel right at home. Having opened in 2020, braving the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, this property is fairly new, yet going strong in every aspect.

A two-bedroom residence at Seda Central Bloc

Each of its guestrooms is perfect for busy business travelers and proficient professionals looking for a base in the city’s center of technology. Meanwhile, its thoughtfully appointed and fully fitted serviced residences are perfect for family staycations and long-staying guests. Whether you’re a BPO dynamo, a business-and-tech pro, or a family seeking a relaxing city hideaway, Seda Central Bloc rolls out the red carpet for all. Facilities like amply-sized meeting and function rooms, and a roof deck pool seal the deal.

Seda Central Bloc’s roof deck pool

“We have a very strong business market, from Mondays-Thursdays; on weekends, the staycation market, mostly families, is strong with us, Seda Central Bloc’s General Manager, Ron Manalang, said. “One of the things that sets us apart here in Cebu is the hybrid setup; our serviced apartments. That’s really working well for us, in terms of catering to the family market. And, the location is topnotch. It’s really our main selling point,” he added.

 Misto Show Kitchen at Seda Central Bloc

But it isn’t just the location and accommodations that draw guests to this hotel: it’s also the food. Seda Central Bloc’s award-winning gastronomy is a culinary adventure waiting to be savored. Their take on Cebu’s iconic SinugLaw and SuTuKil bagged the gold and silver places at last year’s Cebu Goes Culinary competition. The former dish is a combination of the Sinugba (grilled) and Kinilaw (ceviche) methods of cooking, while the latter is a mix of Sugba (grilled), Tuwa (stewed), and Kilaw (cevice) cusine styles.

Crisanto Palang Jr., Senior Sous Chef at Seda Central Bloc

The hotel’s chefs, with Senior Sous Chef Crisanto Palang Jr. at the helm, flex this culinary muscle at Misto, the Seda chain’s all-day dining restaurant. Now, I don’t eat meat, so I missed out on the hotel’s renowned lechon (pit-roasted pork). Misto’s show kitchen (which, as GM Ron recounted, was once nothing more than a storage room) has a cutting-edge griller capable of cooking an entire Cebu Lechon, the hotel’s signature dish. To boot, Chef Crisanto is a lechonero (one skilled at the art of pit-roasting) from Cebu’s Carcar City, famed for lechon. Meanwhile, my personal faves include the selection of freshly grilled seafood and the variety of flavor-packed pizzas at the lunch buffet, as well as the DIY Hong Kong egg noodle soup, the perfectly cooked omelettes, and all the breads (straight from the oven!) at the breakfast buffet.

Cebu Goes Culinary 2023 Gold – Best Regional Ingredient – Vinegar Category – Pork BBQ and Tuna Noodles, a SinugLaw dish

Yet another noteworthy aspect of this hotel is its commitment to environmental sustainability, not just in minimizing single-use plastic containers, but also in the overall power generation at the property. Its state-of-the-art 53 KWP (kilowatt peak) solar panel system utilizes to-the-minute Japanese technology. Dubbed “The Green Initiative,” this project takes up a remarkable 100 square meters of roof area and promises to majorly lower the hotel’s carbon footprint by balancing harmful emissions from LPG and generator use during power interruptions. With this in place, Seda Central Bloc Cebu solidifies its dedication to responsible tourism and environmentally friendly hospitality in Cebu.

Straight Up Bar’s al fresco rooftop deck

Of course, I do love my tipple, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the property’s rooftop bar, Straight Up—the only one of its kind in the I.T. Park, and among a few in Cebu City. Definitely a highlight for me! Perched high above the concrete jungle, it’s not just any rooftop bar; it’s a happening hotspot for those who like their cocktails with a side of captivating cityscapes and a hearty helping of barchow. Straight Up is open from 5pm to 1am, which makes it perfect for Happy Hour, dinner, and late night gimmicks.

The media group with Ron Manalang, General Manager and Thrina De la Calzada, Director of Sales and Marketing (Center)

“Versatile accommodations, memorable culinary experiences, and eco-friendly practices ensure we exceed expectations while contributing to the community’s well-being,” GM Ron emphasized, when asked about the guest experience at Seda Central Bloc

Seda Ayala Center Cebu Façade

Setting the Seda standard

Not 10 minutes away from Seda Central Bloc is Seda Hotels’ original property in Cebu City, Seda Ayala Center Cebu. Having reopened in 2018, following major renovation work, the property boasts 301 comfortably appointed guestrooms, across an array of room types—as well as decades of bar-setting hospitality. For its prime location in the midst of Cebu’s robust Business Park and next to the very vibrant Ayala Center shopping mall, the hotel effortlessly combines convenience with luxury. Moreover, its central location makes it 45 minutes away from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and 20 minutes from the port.

Comfortably appointed Deluxe Twin guestroom at Seda Ayala Center

“Our team works tirelessly to ensure that every patron feels valued and experiences the highest level of comfort and quality,” Gwen Dela Cruz, Seda Ayala Center Cebu’s General Manager, pointed out.

Seda Ayala Center’s expansive, elegant lobby

The media delegation spent Saturday at the hotel, until our departure back to Manila on Sunday. As soon as we stepped into Seda Ayala Center, we felt at ease in the expansive, light-filled lobby; a revamped oasis of modern elegance with distinctly Filipino touches. The sophisticated yet welcoming atmosphere set the tone for a pleasant stay, with every detail exuding refined charm and heartfelt hospitality. A well-stocked Lobby Bar completes the inviting ambiance.

The tropical-inspired pool area at Seda Ayala Center

Among the property’s best features, for me, are its tropical-inspired pool area, embraced by lush pocket gardens, with its poolside bar and live music from Thursday-Saturday nights, and its exclusive 12th floor Club Lounge. And yes, you can be sure I made good use of my access to the lounge, what with complimentary breakfast, all-day refreshments and light snacks, plus early evening cocktails, wines, beers, spirits, and canapés. The lounge is also equipped with a private meeting room; a feature that is very much appreciated by business travelers.

Seda Ayala Center’s 12th floor Club Lounge

As with other Seda locations, Misto is the hotel’s main restaurant. At this particular property, I especially enjoyed the well-curated food selection, with a strong focus on locally sourced sustainable options, and the impressive dining space. With high ceilings, an aesthetic that is as stylish as it is elegant, and a menu that celebrates the finest flavors of Cebu—featuring dishes like salmon inun-unan (a recipe in which fish is cooked in vinegar, along with ginger, vegetables and spices), linarang (fish stewed in a spicy and sour coconut milk-based broth with garlic, red onions, tomatoes, fermented black beans, chilis, and sour fruits), and Cebuano humba (braised pork belly slow-cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, black peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and fermented black beans, sweetened with muscovado sugar)—Misto at Seda Ayala Central is an epicurean delight. Owing to this, the hotel has become a lauded venue for celebrations, and special occasions, as well as for conventions, with a Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 300 guests.

Misto at Seda Ayala Center

True to the brand’s pillar of sustainability-minded operations, Seda Ayala Center does its part by collaborating with GUUN, a Japanese solid waste management and resource recycling company located in Consolacion, Cebu. They work together to convert the hotel’s solid waste into environmentally beneficial fluff fuel, a long-term alternative to traditional fossil fuels such as coal. This program establishes the hotel as a pioneer in Cebu for implementing environmentally sensitive procedures.

But in my books, what truly elevates Seda Ayala Center is its polished level of service that pivots on the Ayala Group’s corporate pillar of “Malasakit” (compassion); an ethos which flows from the hotel’s super seasoned GM, Gwen Dela Cruz. The dedicated team (many of whom have been part of this establishment for years) not only provides seamless service within the hotel, but also maintains an active presence within the community—especially in times of crisis, for which Seda Ayala Center has actually won a regional award. “We’re really about the ‘malasakit’ brand of hospitality, meaning we are here for you. This not only exemplifies what Seda is all about, but also what the Ayala Group itself is all about,” GM Gwen underscored, as we relished our dinner at Misto. “The award we won for Best Crisis Leadership and Management, given by the EPA (Employee Experience Awards) in Singapore in 2023 testifies to this; we were awarded the bronze. We were the only Filipino brand and the only hotel to win that award,” she elaborated.

The media group with Seda Ayala Center Cebu’s General Manager Gwen dela Cruz (3rd from Right)

Indeed, every interaction I experienced with the hotel’s team resonated with a genuine sense of care and connection, and this made all the difference in my making my stay a sweet, albeit short, one.

At the city’s iconic Abaseria Deli & Café

Savoring Cebu, Seda-style

Despite the proximity of each property to the other, GM’s Gwen and Ron were quick to point out that there is nothing but a spirit of support and shared pride between the two hotels, with each complementing the other in strengths and specifics—all of which are founded on a solid sense of service, delivered with silky smoothness. 

At Temple of Leah in the highlands of Busay

This gracious hospitality extended beyond the confines of each hotel—the Seda Hotels team took the time to show us around, as well, serving us a generous slice of their beloved city. From a delectable dinner at The Cliff in the highlands of Busay to a scrumptious lunch of Cebuano fare at the city’s iconic Abaseria Deli & Café, we feasted on dishes that bore witness to Cebu’s stature as a gastronomic giant. We also explored popular tourist spots in the highlands, namely, Temple of Leah and Tops; the latter stop, a mountaintop lookout, affording spectacular must-see panoramas of the city below.

At Tops lookout in the highlands of Busay

The weekend came and went before we knew it; we immersed ourselves in the charm of Cebu, as fully as the brief trip would allow, with the ever-hospitable Seda Hotels leading the way.  

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