by: Vernon Velasco
After a recent “staycation” at Seda Vertis North, we were asked by the hotel staff at the checkout counter: “How was your stay?”
How do you phrase an appropriate response? It’s a hard question, no matter how many times you’ve been asked the same and even if the answer would simply just be good or bad.
So I said, on impulse, “O.K., nice,” and the woman’s face waxed giddy and expectant. “Tell me more,” her eyes seemed to say.
I’m not sure what charmed me most about Seda. Was it the food? The bed? The pillow? The loo? The view?
To be more specific, was it the Cobonpue furniture centerpieces? The high-ceilinged lobby? The scenic al fresco bar 24 floors high? The intimate moonlit dinner at the poolside? A brand of hospitality that is uniquely Filipino?
Truth is, I could care less if the hotel I stay in has all the marbles in the world or the best butler service. Give me a $500-a-night room or 150, as long as I feel like a part of a family and not just a guest, it would surely register.
And in Seda it was just that.
My girlfriend Cobie and I stayed in the hotel in time for Halloween, when the order of the day was the children’s trick or treat party. And it wasn’t just the kids, really.
Apparently the hotel staff were also in the thick of it. No, they weren’t little pixies nor grumpy old trolls. (Well some were donning little ermine gowns and face art—that’s how far as it went—but it wasn’t about that!)
Rather, these people would constantly smile at you, so much so that you’d begin to wonder: “Are they wearing rubber masks?”
I’d been to this hotel twice so far, and in both times I was overwhelmed by that selfsame sense of wonder. Which means, for these people, smiling profusely is not a seasonal exercise. Then again, of course, it’s a hotel. Of course, anybody is required to be polite.
But in Seda, a smile doesn’t feel like it’s a requirement or a mere validation of a stiff corporate promise. More than an expression, it communicates a state of mind. Here, it is an invitation or an anticipation or the kind that makes you feel it makes them happy to know that you’re around.
For me, pampering takes a lot of getting used to, and more often than not I rather much tend to prefer to be left on my own devices. I understand that the world cares, especially during your stay in a hotel, to make you happy.
But in normal circumstances, I wouldn’t need help with something I am more than happy to carry myself or somebody to tell me where the elevator is when it’s already front and center.
That’s how most hotels do it. On the other hand in Seda, in my experience, they would rather be surprisingly at the ready when you actually “need” something, even when you think they didn’t notice or when they’re safely out of earshot.
If they’re not busy unobtrusively watching for signs you might be in need of something, they would even go out of their way to do random acts of kindness.
Take this young chef, who approached me while I was having lunch in Misto, Seda’s buffet restaurant, during my first visit. He was smiling, albeit nervously. I thought he would ask me how I liked the food.
But, instead, he walked up to my table, apropos of nothing, mustering all the bravado his body could hold, on his hand a plate of who knows what he said he himself concocted.
“Sir, it’s not in the buffet selection yet,” he pointed out, “but I would sure be glad if you’re going to try it.”
I began to soften.
I didn’t ask what it was. But “whatever it is,” I said, “I’m sure I’m going to love it.”
Seda Vertis North
Book Online via Agoda
Address: Astra Corner Lux Drives, Vertis North, Diliman, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 739 8888