In my first travel post of the new year, we’ll swing the spotlight on a June 2019 hotel stay in one of the Philippine capital’s poshest shopping districts. Although not quite in the low-budget range, this place offers reasonably affordable rooms in what can be an incredibly expensive area to stay the night.
Welcome to Seda BGC.
HOTEL NAME: Seda BGC (official site)
LOCATION: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metropolitan Manila, Philippines
CATEGORY: Four-star hotel (PH Department of Tourism grading system)
ROOM TYPE: Twin
DATES OF STAY: 01-02 June 2019
The Greater Manila conurbation is exceedingly vast and varied, with large swathes of neglect and decay struggling to coexist with perfumed enclaves of glass and steel and sky-scraping prices. One area of the latter sort is Bonifacio Global City (“BGC” for short), a former military base transformed into a modern business and leisure district.
The centrepiece of BGC is Bonifacio High Street: a long stretch of luxury goods stores, high-end restaurants and classy cafés flanking a garden strip. The prices tend to match the ambiance, but it is nonetheless a popular leisure draw for locals of all stripes, whether they’re swiping credit cards at the tills or swiping glances through the windows at the goods on display. Indeed, walk far enough to the east and you’ll find a plethora of budget-friendly options for both shopping and dining at the not-quite-so-upscale MARKET! MARKET! mall.
And just off to one side of High Street is Seda BGC. Part of the homegrown chain of Seda hotels, this place is a somewhat more moderately priced alternative to BGC’s luxury hotels and serviced apartments. Not at the cheap end of the scale to be sure, but easier on the pocket than a stay at the Shangri-La or the Grand Hyatt or others of that ilk.
Simple, no-nonsense exteriors. If façades are indicative of tariffs, Seda looks less expensive already than some of its brushed-aluminium-clad competitors.
The hotel has two entrances. There’s the front door facing the wide and busy 11th Avenue, directly across the street from the Serendra residential development…
…and the rear door just around the corner, leading in from a sheltered driveway next to Lane P (a narrow side street).
It’s important to note that the entrance configurations – amongst other things – may well have changed since our June 2019 stay. At the time, Seda consisted of just one tower, but they’ve now opened a second (visible at the final stages of construction in the exterior pictures above).
After enquiring with one of the hotel staff, we were directed to park our car in one of several roped-off spaces within a small parking lot just behind a High Street shop building. From there, we crossed Lane P and went in through the rear entrance.
Right, let’s check in. And might as well have a look round the public spaces whilst were here.
Rather nice interiors, I must say. Clean and elegant design.
Incidentally, the hotel restaurant where the buffet breakfast is served sits just behind the large black column in the last picture above. (I can’t comment on the breakfast as we’d booked a room-only option.)
Price and location are my key criteria when choosing hotels, rather than class or star category. That said, in case it’s of interest, I spotted a four-star plaque from the Philippines’ Department of Tourism next to the concierge desk.
Up to the room we go. For security, guest floors can only be selected after placing one’s card key next to the installed reader.
The simple, refined aesthetic of the lobby area carries up to the guest floors and bedrooms.
Tap of the card, and in we go.
Here we have a twin guest room, which I suspect is all but identical to the hotel’s doubles (with the beds reconfigured). Quite spacious and well lit from the east-facing window. It helps that the Serendra residential property across the street is of a lower height, allowing natural light to flood in unimpeded.
Speaking of which, that’s the Serendra compound visible through the window. The MARKET! MARKET! mall is just beyond that (curved roofs), and a small part of the much higher-end SM AURA Premier mall – think luxurious High Street shops stacked vertically in a sheltered, air-conditioned bubble – can be seen on the extreme right (white dome). Add to those malls the innumerable shops and restaurants of High Street close by (out of sight), and one really does get a solid impression of Seda’s very convenient location. (That is, if retail and dining and leisure are one’s main reasons for staying here.)
Bizarrely, I seem to have left out the room’s wall-mounted flat-screen TV in these pictures. But it’s there. 😉
The in-room amenities and mini-bar. We left the chiller’s contents untouched, given the (expected) extortionate prices. Walk to the nearest convenience store if your thirst needs slaking.
Let’s take a peek in the closets now. Just the usual suspects: in-room safe, bathrobes, slippers and so on. (Plus a fire extinguisher … you know, just in case.)
Here’s the bathroom and its glass-screened shower stall. Normal amenities for the most part: bottled toiletries, dental hygiene kits, hair dryer, etc.
All told, this room is a picture of modern comfort, rather than one of luxury. A cosy retreat in which one might take refuge after being overwhelmed by the lights, noise, crowds, and prices of High Street. Dart out to the shops, dart back in with shopping bags in hand. Zip out for a takeaway, zip back in and enjoy a meal in peace with a good show on the telly. Repeat as often as you like, until the shops close for the night or your energy runs out or your wallet goes empty (whichever comes first).
Backpackers and budget-conscious travellers might want to look in other parts of Greater Manila for lodgings, not merely due to expensive rooms but because of the higher prices charged for everything else (food, drink, services) in affluent areas like BGC or nearby Makati. On the other hand, those looking for an upscale neighbourhood and rooms to match will find them in the BGC area, with Seda offering accommodations at prices below the top end of the range.