Staff shine bright but rooms dim
No regrets in choosing this small, decent and friendly hotel in the newer suburbs of Iloilo for a 1-night stay on a quiet long weekend with my 12-year-old son.
First, the highlight of the hotel is the friendly and engaging staff, who spared no effort to make guests feel welcome and cared for. Special mention goes to Carlos the floor manager who was constantly checking on our welfare and offering to help with any needs; and Mariz, who took time to converse with us at the breakfast area, give helpful tips on how to maximize the half-day morning we had left, and brewed me a fresh cup of coffee that was sharper and better than the standard cup offered with the breakfast buffet.
The hotel’s lobby is inviting and bright, with some classy touches and comfy seating corners laid out in a relatively small space. (However, even short lines at the front desk block passage through the hall to the meeting rooms.)
Our 4th floor deluxe room felt small and cramped with two twin beds, and very little side space as each bed almost touched the walls on either side (I suppose a king bed room feels more spacious).
The décor is pleasant and cool, but the most disappointing drawback is the lack of lights: just two dim bed lamps between the beds, plus adjustable reading lights on each bed (those were good!), and then the hall light and a very dim desk light that looked snazzy/modern. No ceiling lights in the main room area, dark shadows in the corners --- a bit surprising since newer hotels tend to be good in the illumination area even if they’re budget or mid-range hotels.
The beds were fluffy and comfy with good pillows, although my bed sagged to one side after a while. There is a small but workable desk with desk pad, and a useful desk chair.
I don’t know why the hotel was designed with a relatively narrow room window on one side of the room only, but that only served to darken the room some more.
Amenities were OK --- they give you two bathrobes and two small water bottles (probably could have asked for more) and a fully stocked mini-bar (though I always clear out the stuff inside to make way for groceries I buy). The wi-fi was fast enough and free.
Some flaws or areas of improvement:
--- There were unsightly stains on the white upper wall of the room, near the ceiling
--- Towels look old and not quite white ---- yet this is a new hotel!
--- The clothes hangers are those frustrating types that are affixed to the rail (you could unhook them only be detaching the hanger from its hook) and hint that the hotel doesn’t trust guests
--- The lobby might be too inviting --- there were several caterpillars crawling on the brown lobby rugs (we counted at least five of them, but the hotel staff caught a few more).
--- The trashcan in the bathroom was not up to par, small and hard to use
Bathroom is a fair size compared to the room, with a spacious shower area and bright lighting (the irony!).
We checked in early at around 1030 am, having sent an early check in request by email the previous day. We had to wait for about 30 to 45 minutes before they could release a room, but that was OK … we relaxed in the lobby sofas (did some caterpillar-spotting, it seems!) and the staff gave us a round of free coffee to help us relax while we waited. Nice touch! Attention to some Hyatt Place and Mercure properties in the US and Russia: This is service you should emulate rather than charging exorbitant early check in fees.
Another good thing: Elevators were large, making it easy to roll in our bags.
Breakfast was a small scale buffet typical of a 3 star hotel, but the food was really tasty and the selection was better than expected .... there was a full egg station … Pinoy choices (chorizo, tocino, rice) plus bacon and molo soup plus a fish fillet with capers sauce that my son absolutely loved ... good juices including a refreshing dalandan juice … and that great cup that Mariz personally brewed for me. Overall, the eating area is pleasantly plush.
I would have preferred a downtown location, but the Seda Atria is in a relatively good (if quiet) spot on a traffic rotunda. Taxis wait outside constantly, and Grab taxis are usually a few minutes away when we called for them. You could also walk to the SM City Mall (about 15 minutes walk, though not on comfortable sidewalks), and it’s just a 10-minute stroll to one part of the riverside esplanade. Plus, there are a variety of eating places in the Atria mini-mall beside the hotel, and we found the well-stocked Metro supermarket to be a very handy neighbor.
My son wanted to give the hotel 5 stars --- he was really satisfied. A solid “3” rating is more apt in my view, with the friendly staff earning 4 to 5 stars. Just rethink the lighting in the rooms, improve the upkeep/maintenance a bit, and the Seda could scale up nicely.
Family - Oct 29, 2017