Hotel review: Seda Atria in Iloilo

Good food and a breathtaking roof deck bar are some of the wow factors at this new Seda hotel branch

By Celia Nachura

First impression. Conveniently located in Ayala Land’s Atria Park DistrictSeda Atria makes for a perfect basecamp for travelers eager to get a feel of the city scene and mingle with the locals from day to night. The seven-storey Seda is in a prime spot to do so with the restaurants and shops in Atria behind the hotel and the Iloilo River Esplanade, a five- to 10-minute drive away. Inside the hotel, a few guests sit reading newspapers or waiting for their rooms on the couches by the reception counter.

The lobby

Deluxe king room

Room. My deluxe king room on the sixth floor has tasteful interiors, warm lighting and a king-size bed that I immediately want to sink into. I find the space restful – closing the drapes of the picture window envelopes the entire room in darkness even in the middle of the day; at night, the room transforms into a cozy cocoon. A water heater for tea and coffee is available, and a few teabags and instant coffee, then a fridge offers several options of canned drinks and bottled water.

There’s a work desk for business travelers, speedy WiFi and – a big plus – a universal charging set that’s an absolute essential these days. The bathroom is standard but well-equipped with fragrant Eco Bliss toiletries, towels and hand towels, a glass-enclosed shower with hot and cold running water.

Chicken inasal and grilled tilapia fish

Food. Typical of the food lovers of Iloilo, guests believe the cuisine is one of the hotel’s greatest strengths. Chef Albert Ledesma calls their dishes a fusion of Ilonggo (from Iloilo) flavors – mostly sweet and sour – and Italian. The first dish of the special lunch prepared for our group was the chef’s own “Ilonggo” and sweet take on minestrone (Italian soup) that’s also similar to the more familiar local pochero (Spanish stew). The familiar flavors of native grilled chicken inasal is a highlight as well.

Misto Restaurant

I’m a bacon lover, but the fried danggit (dried fish) stole the show during breakfast at Misto: crunchy, flavorful (just the right amount of saltiness) and a perfect pair to the garlic rice and scrambled eggs. The breakfast buffet also had a surprisingly good selection of desserts including cheesecake and mango cream pie.

Straight Up bar on the 7th floor

Activities. Seda Atria sits within the Atria Park District, which hosts a wide range of dining and shopping establishments like a branch of Netong's, the classic La Paz batchoy (local noodle dish) place, a must-dry when in Iloilo.

At night, Seda is arguably the best place to hang out for drinks in the district at its Straight Up roof deck bar. Indoors, Straight Up has stools and tables and chairs and a wide-screen television for entertainment, but the al fresco area is the place to be with its pleasant view of the city lights and a fresh breeze – a reminder that despite the city comforts and luxuries you are in a charming provincial city.

The hotel also has a fitness center, and for parties and events, a well-equipped conference room and an events hall.

Service. Quick, attentive, warm and articulate. Hotel manager Joseph del Rosario is in tune with clients' needs and the rest of the team follows suit.

I like. The food, the service, the convenient location, and the awesome Straight Up rooftop bar.

Not so keen. A swimming pool would have been a plus, although travelers would probably rather hit the tourist spots around the city than stay indoors.

Verdict. Two thumbs up; Seda is a good choice for Iloilo City. The Ayala Land setting makes the area around the hotel great for people who don't want to be stuck inside the hotel all day. Highly recommended.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific has regular flights from Manila to Iloilo City. From the Iloilo airport, flag down a taxi to take you to Seda Atria on Pison Avenue, Atria Park District, Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Room rates start at P3,400 (US$76) with breakfast buffet. Call +6333 506 8888.

Published September 2016