From my window up 15 floors, I see the EDSA traffic but thankfully couldn’t hear it. I’ve passed through this area time and time again, mostly onboard the MRT and what I remember is the long stretch of not-so-idle land in between the intersection of Quezon Boulevard and the corner in front of SM City North EDSA, as well as the space where an MRT train makes a detour, parked quite away from motorists plying the main thoroughfare Then, Trinoma happened. Now, a newer, more prominent landmark has opened this side of Quezon City — Seda Vertis North.
The hotel is the fifth for the homegrown chain owned by the Ayalas though it marks a radical departure from the boutique hotel mold of the earlier ones. You can say that Seda Vertis North is a grand celebration of sorts for the Seda chain’s fifth year as it is a bigger, even better iteration of the Seda concept of showcasing Filipino arts and craftsmanship, melding these with the Filipino’s unique kind of hospitality. The lobby alone is a large showcase, which while keeping to simple designs and a minimalist style, is nevertheless tastefully furnished with beautiful furniture created by Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma as well as sculpture pieces by Ann Pamintuan. The art is utilitarian as well, evidenced by guests who made themselves comfortable sitting on the eye-catching furniture.
Recreation on the third floor
On the third floor, there’s a sizeable gym, spa as well as the pool area. It may be overcast and months removed from summer but the pool seems to never run out of waders and swimmers. In stark contrast, the gym is almost always empty which is a shame since it is well-equipped, with shiny, new equipment to boot. There are Life Fitness machine stations, Smith Machine, a row of treadmills as well as a line-up of stationary bikes and elliptical trainers. On the far side, I find a rack of dumbbells. There’s even a yoga room on one end, nicely wood-paneled and lit with warm lighting.
Moving up, I find my Deluxe room on the 15th floor, all of 32 square meters which is already very spacious. It’s a bit mind-boggling to hear that accommodations here are big, bigger, even bigger, and humongous — the Premier Room is 48 sqm, the Suite 64, while the Presidential Suite is 160. The generous space philosophy is shared elsewhere in the hotel, most prominently in the 700 sqm ballroom but that’s getting ahead of the story.
The 32 square meters of my Deluxe room looks well-utilized. There’s a comfy sofa by the window stocked with pillows; adjacent to it is a round worktable with a round chair and a work lamp — the table does double duty for me, as work table for my notes and laptop and also a dining table. The telephone unit is a multi-tasking device: it plays my iPod playlist or broadcasts an FM radio station, serves as a clock and alarm clock (no reason to bother the front desk for wakeup calls). The loo is a bit roomy too, with space for a pull-out drawer with matching chair. Unlike in quite a lot of places I’ve been to, the air conditioning controls do not require language classes or an engineering degree to figure out. Same goes with the LED TV and cable box.
The floor looks like simulated wood which is nice to walk on sans footwear. I forego the hotel slippers and go barefoot most of the time.
Still, the heart of the room is arguably, the firm bed, the soft and warm sheets and the plethora of plump yet firm pillows. So comfortable so as to lull me to sleep and forget that I’m here for a working staycation.
As part of the media familiarization group, I was able to have access to the Club Lounge on the 23rd floor. Half of the floor area is dedicated to the lounge where it’s nice to sip coffee, eat dessert, read or just admire the QC skyline; the other half comprise of premier rooms. Another level up is the rooftop watering hole, the Straight Up bar which has indoor and alfresco areas.
A feast for the senses
For our welcome dinner, Sous Chef Kerpatrik Boiser and Chef Edward Enriquez prepared us a hearty, multi-course feast right there inside the kitchen where we can observe the kitchen action as well as savor the aroma of food cooking. The long table alone, with its cornucopia of fruits in crates, real asparagus spears in planter boxes, real tin pots of gotu kola and dill, is inspiration enough to expect the taste of good things to come.
For starters, we had Tuna Tartare to go with our white wine followed in short order with Salmon Recete Florentine with Pesto Cream Sauce, the wonderfully light Chef’s Salad of Red-Wine Marinated Pears, Mixed Greens, Candied Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Dressing. A hot and spicy Seafood Soup prepped us for the crispy-creamy Penne Tartufo. The light and refreshing Guyabano Sorbet freshened our palate for the main piece de resistance of Braised Beef or Salmon Plate with herbed potato, seasonal vegetables, and foie gras. For our finale, there’s the luscious Chocolate ala Bomba, capping the evening with the richness of Belgian chocolate on mixed fruit bits.
Thoughts and affirmations
Seda Vertis North has yet to formally launch and it seems that word has got around about its wonderful possibilities either for staycations or business as evidenced by the stream of people coming to and going out of the hotel, milling around the pool, or just having a grand time. I am inclined to think that this is due to a number of good reasons — the accessible location, the warm service, the wonderful food, the excellent facilities and accommodations. It’s high time that this side of QC gets a fine, luxury hotel, that it so rightfully deserves. Make it a world-class, homegrown hotel with a heart for Filipino arts and hospitality.
Seda Vertis North (Book Online)
Astra Corner Lux Drives, Vertis North, Diliman,
Quezon City, 1101, Philippines