Monday, September 25, 2017

Seda Vertis North: A Working Staycation and Finding New Angles on Things Filipino in QC

To say QC is on the upswing seems to be an understatement.  I live in Makati but acknowledge the fact that the more interesting eats seem to be mostly located north, especially in the Timog-Morato-Brgy Paligsahan-Maginhawa areas.  There's a wide array of accommodations for the itinerant traveler/foodie/tourist or the occasional staycationer as well, ranging from modest hostels to boutique hotels and more upscale digs.  Add one more to that latter category with the auspicious rise of Seda Vertis North.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  There's no better time than the traffic-ridden present to underscore this important criteria, when going from Makati to QC can become more like a journey to the hinterlands than to a neighboring city.  To test for accessibility, I forego getting a Grab ride and take the MRT instead, boarding down at the Trinoma station; afterwards, it's a short walk towards Astra Drive just adjacent to the Trinoma parking area.  Maybe I got lucky on a Saturday following a recent holiday as it took less than an hour from home to hotel.

Seda Vertis North is located near EDSA but slightly buffered by a sizable space.  I mention this as I've stayed in hotels right smack by the roadside and no amount of sound insulation (glass, drapes, sound-dampening walls) can really filter out the vehicular noise.  My room window faces the west but happily, it was hard to hear road noise from where I stayed on the 15th floor.
Homey, relaxing atmosphere by the sunny window
EXPECTATIONS.  Since I come from an advertising background, I believe in the importance of  names in setting up expectations.  Naming a Filipino hotel chain Seda which is Filipino for silk conjures up images of elegance and luxury (silk was, is and will always be a premium textile), and in terms of service, maybe a silk-like smoothness to the hotel experience.
Third Floor Hall Seating

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  The bright and airy lobby is matched with a helpful, very friendly front desk staff.  The chairs and sculptures near the elevators were eye-catching; their Filipino craftsmanship pedigree very much obvious at first sighting.   The rows of sleek, spanking new iMacs on long, high wooden tables also caught my eye -- lending the lobby some sort of Filipino design meets tech/industrial look and feel.  It's refreshing to see Filipino craftmanship displayed, showcased and more importantly, used in this, a luxury hotel setting.  Seda Vertis North may be part  of a homegrown chain but it's no less impressive and luxurious as those of the international chains.

Going up, I find the third floor hall ambiance soothing especially the light-painted walls, woven native baskets luminaire and wicker seats (I think these are Cobonpue creations judging by the design) adjacent to the spa and next to the gym.  Very apt for this is recreational space after all.  I had my massage post my first workout (very soothing and relaxing; if you can, book for Loreen; she's that good if you prefer a hard massage akin to deep-tissue manipulation) in-room after my first workout but I wouldn't have minded venturing down here.

ROOM WITH A VIEW.  I got billeted in a Deluxe Room facing the sunset (alas, the weather was overcast that Saturday) and at 32 sqm, it is indeed, very spacious (the term gets used very often here at Seda since it's a primary and premium selling point). I liked having a work table next to a sofa that can do double duty, if need be, it can accommodate an extra person in a pinch or seat visitors.  The air conditioning controls are easy to figure out and happily free from gibberish.  EDSA traffic noise is muffled, if you manage to hear it at all.   The loo is also spacious and well-lit; there's even a chair and a pull-out table cum drawer.
WORKING OUT.  The weekend was supposed to be a working staycation for me (I work online mostly) but first, I have to have my daily one hour workout.  With the meal treats ahead, I know I'm going to need it.  Needless to say, gym facilities can be sort of a deal breaker for me as far as accommodations are concerned.

Life Fitness machines on the far-end of the gym
The Seda gym is located on the 3rd floor, adjacent to the spa and pool areas.  Being a former gym-rat, I appreciate the fact that the gym didn't look like an afterthought; far from it.  It's spacious and rather well-equipped -- there are 7 Life Fitness treadmills, 4 stationary bikes, 5 elliptical trainers, a rowing machine, and several Life Fitness exercise machine stations including a Smith Machine with squat/shoulder press rack (there's no barbell bar though which I thought was a bit odd).  I use mainly free weights so I'm happy there's a rack of rubber-coated dumbbells with 2.5 to 50 pounders.  Since I usually find myself working out alone, I use the empty yoga room for stretching and cool-down.

As it was a weekend, the pool is almost always teeming with people.  Will try it out next time.
Chef Edward puts on the finishing touches on the main dish
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD.  One of the privileges of getting a sneak preview of the hotel's gustatory offerings is well, having a taste of things to come.  Sous Chef Kerpatrik Boiser and Chef Edward Enriquez literally cooked up a storm and gave us a really excellent dinner treat -- from the flavorful Balsamic Vinegar-infused Red-wine Marinated Pears with Mixed Greens, Candied Walnuts, Goat Cheese Chef Salad to the filling finale of Braised Salmon on Herbed Potato with Veggies and Foie Gras (more on this in a future post in Happyfoodies.com) which I hope, will find their way to the food outlets in the hotel.  The only downside as far as I'm concerned is the added weight.  Hmmm, the presence of the well-furnished gym now makes more sense.

A NIT TO PICK.  Since I work online most of the time, I need reliable Internet connection wherever I bring my work.  The hotel wi-fi in-room was slow (maybe clogged by fellow weekenders) even during the wee hours of the morning.  Tethering my laptop to my iPhone using an LTE connection was (surprise!) no different.  Considering this is Ayala turf, I would've expected more from Globe.  The connection problem can be a boon though; it gave me an alibi to defer working to the next day and enjoy the excellent bed longer. (PS. As it turned out, I could've requested for a LAN cable.  Maybe next time!)
Seda Vertis North Deluxe Room
DETAILS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.  • The floor in my Deluxe Room simulates wood (found out later that it's actually luxury vinyl tiles) which is nice to walk on barefooted.  I have severe dust allergies, hence, I try to avoid staying in hotel rooms that use carpeting. 

• Offering the Biltel Charging Kit in-room is a great idea especially if one forgets to bring along a charger/charger cable.  Yeah, I understand it has become fairly standard among hotels but oftentimes, I find the non-proprietary cables usually found in other hotels do not work with my iPhone and iPod (choosy gadgets these Apple products).   The phone does double-triple duty -- as alarm clock, radio or music player tethered to my iPod or iPhone.

• In-room, the Dilmah chamomile tea was very much appreciated at 3am (insomnia strikes yet again).

• The firm bed (I find soft beds inappropriate for my aging back) and really plump pillows are nice incentives to stay-in and sleep.
Seda Vertis North Poolside cabanas
SEDA VERTIS NORTH BY THE NUMBERS:  
   • 5 - Five minute brisk walk from the Trinoma Mall
     • 23 - Total number of floors excluding the rooftop bar and basement parking
   • 438 - Number of rooms available
   • 700 - Size of the hotel's ballroom (700 sqm)
   • 32-48-64-160 - Floor area sizes of the Deluxe Rooms, Premiere Rooms, Suites and Presidential Suite, respectively (in square meters).  A most interesting vital statistics.

TO BOOK/FOR MORE INFO:   
Visit www.sedahotels.com/vertis or www.sedavertisnorth.com
Call (02) 739.8888
Email: vertis@sedahotels.com
Address: Astra cor. Lux Drives, Vertis North, 1105 Quezon City

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