THE SEDA EXPERIENCE
It was Spanish night at the Straight Up Roof Deck Bar of Seda BGC (Bonifacio Global City) in Taguig City and the all-female delegation from Cebu was enthralled by the charm of Mr. AndreaMastellone, Seda senior group general manager.
He was sharing his experiences in leading the team that is carving a niche in the hospitality business, which is often dominated by international brands— and how in the last six years, Seda by Ayala Land, has rightfully earned the right to be called the country’s hospitality flag carrier.
Come to think of it, there is not one Filipino brand in the hospitality business that proudly waves the Filipino flag with the capacity to expand and open several properties all over the Philippines and can take on the world stage to celebrate and showcase the Filipinos’ distinct warmth of service.
Not one, until Seda entered the market with Seda BGC in 2012 and then went on to open six other properties in Bacolod (Seda Capitol Central), Cagayan De Oro (Seda Centrio), Davao (Seda Abreeza) and Iloilo (Seda Atria), Seda Nuvali (Laguna) and Seda Vertis North (Quezon City).
“Filipino hospitality is unique. It cannot be copied. It is not something that we teach our employees because they already have it. That makes Seda very Filipino,” said Mastellone who holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland and a Master’s Degree in
Hospitality Management from the University of Rome (LUISS Guido Carli).
Mastellone’s confidence in the Filipinos springs from two decades of hospitality career which includes working for the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (Shangri-La Fijian Resort in Fiji Islandand Kowloon Shangri-La), Traders Hotel Hong Kong, Traders Hotel Chennai, Traders Hotel Manila
As a seasoned hotelier, he spent the earlier part of his career in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
He managed Grand Hotel Excelsior in Amalfi, Italy; Bravo Resorts in the Dominican Republic; and the pre-opening and opening operations of the Blu Hotels Group, Italy.
Mastellone speaks Italian, French, Spanish, and German. He also worked as a freelance Journalist for the Milan-based magazine “Jobs in Tourism”.
Mastellone is a hands on leader and he assures the the signature warm service of the brand will be extended to Seda Ayala Center Cebu.
The property will have 301 newly-refurbished rooms that is scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2018.
Cebu has been anticipating for the opening of this hotel, which previously lent its grandeur to an international brand.
While some Cebuano travelers have experienced the Seda in other cities, Cebu as a whole has no idea of what a Seda is, except for the fact that it
is an Ayala brand. So the weekend trip was like a look-see, feel-experience to judge the brand.
Or perhaps, that was just me; a proud Cebuano who thinks that my hometown deserves nothing but the best.
The invitation for a weekend trip to the capital was extended by Frances Alfafara, Seda Ayala Center director of sales and marketing.
Frances is like hot chocolate on a cold morning making her the perfect company for that rainy trip to the capital.
Seda Communications Manager Genny Puno joined us for lunch at Little Flour as we traded stories of delayed flight and wet pavements.
We checked in at Seda BGC and the night was capped off with that interesting exchange with Mr. Mastellone and overflowing wine and food.
My body took on an instant restful mood the moment I laid down on the bed. The next thing I know, it was Sunday and breakfast is ready.
It can get pretty busy at BGC and the breakfast crowd is one indication. Pia Seno, Cebu Daily News’ sales and marketing chief, and I attempted to burn the calories with a quick stroll around the area until the rain decided to make its presence felt yet again.
We bid adieu to Seda BGC a few minutes after 11 a.m. and headed to Seda Vertis North, the brand’s first five-star hotel.
It also the brand’s biggest hotel with 439 rooms.
Seda’s interior and design speaks volumes of its tribute to Filipino skills in general and Cebuano talents in particular.
The photographs of Ayala Group Chairman Emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala graces the front desk of each property.
In Seda Vertis North, we lounged on the creations of Kenneth Cobonpue, Ann Pamintuan and Vito Selma. Conrad Onglao is the interior design consultant for Seda Ayala Center Cebu with a promise to open with a brighter Seda look, feel and style.
Seda has come a long way since 2012 when it was built to fill the gap between the luxury and budget hotels.
The result was a medium-sized hotel of 179 rooms smacked right in the location of the busy, dynamic and ever expanding Bonifacio Global City.
The location is within a mixed-use development with modern amenities and convenient access to the city’s retail and dining options.
The formula worked and this was multiplied in various cities all over the country.
By the end of 2018, Seda’s total portfolio will be 10 properties which includes Seda Ayala Center Cebu, Seda Lio (Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido, Palawan) and Seda Ayala North Exchange (located in Makati and will be the brand’s first serviced apartments).
Seda Central Block is scheduled to open in 2019.
It was a wet, weekend trip to Manila but I was well-rested, well-fed with food and stories that the energy was enough to power me through the runway delay at NAIA Terminal 2.
We were stuck inside the plane for close to two hours before it finally got clearance to fly and brought us to Cebu a few minutes before 9 p.m.
From the airport, I headed straight to the Cebu South Bus Terminal to catch a bus that will take me to Dalaguete for a tourism race called “Lumba’g
Laag sa Sugbo.”
I was upbeat and excited for yet another work coverage.
Thank you Seda for bringing me all the best feelings in this part of the archipelago! I look forward to have you in Cebu.