PROPERTY giant Ayala Land Inc. has broken ground for a 150-room beachfront Seda resort-hotel—the first resort line under this homegrown hospitality brand—alongside a retail strip at master-planned Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido, Palawan.
“We are creating the beginnings of a tourist town destination,” Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni, ALI senior vice president and group head of commercial business, said in a text message.
Seda Lio, which aims to make El Nido more accessible to Filipinos with a target room rate of $175 per night, is expected to open by 2017, but the retail strip may open by the end of this year. It aims to serve families and the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) wholesale market.
The retail strip will have two buildings with two floors each, opening up 3,170 square meters of gross leasable area. It will have 36 retail slots offering daily essentials, homegrown dining options and various brands that complement resort living, based on an ALI primer. Ground-breaking was held on Jan. 29, said Jalandoni, who was present during the ceremonies.
“Retail will be localized and feature Philippine architecture,” Jalandoni said. “It’s quite exciting as it is the first of its kind in the Philippines.”
The upcoming beachfront retail strip is strategically located beside the jetty port and is a walking distance from the El Nido airport.
Both Seda Lio and Shops at Lio have frontage to Lio’s four-kilometer beach stretch and offer a maximum view of the scenic Cadlao lagoon.
Seda Lio is envisioned to be a model for sustainable planning and construction in Lio, with more than 75 percent of its four-hectare site to be retained as open space. In terms of landscaping, ALI is designing the site to make “conscious” use of Palawan’s endemic plants, based on the primer.
The resort-hotel will have only three floors and strictly follow the restriction of building at least 40 meters away from the coastline.
Seda Lio and Shops at Lio are part of the 325-hectare beachfront tourism estate Lio Resort Town in northern Palawan, master-planned as an ecologically sustainable community. It was earlier reported that ALI is investing P6 billion to develop within the next five years the first phase of the estate.
Lio spans Barangays Villa Libertad and Pasadena in mainland El Nido town and is envisioned to have a mix of hotels and resorts, commercial developments and residential communities that blend with the natural landscape.
ALI gained a foothold in El Nido in 2010 by taking over the parent firm of resort operator Ten Knots Development Corp. All in all, El Nido is expected to have a total of about 1,200 hotel, resort and bed and breakfast (B&B) rooms. The estate is master planned to cater to all market segments, from the backpacker-oriented B&B establishments to branded hotels.
Aside from ALI’s homegrown brand Seda, other midscale to luxury hotels, both international and local, will be invited to locate in large hotel parcels ranging from three to 10 hectares.
Ten Knots operates 192 rooms in four island resorts—Apulit, Lagen, Miniloc and Pangulasian. When ALI took over Ten Knots in 2010, the latter was operating only two resorts—Lagen and Miniloc. Apulit, formerly Club Noah, was separately acquired from another group while Pangulasian was newly built on Ten Knots’ unused landbank.