This hotel in Cebu, owned by an Italian, is proudly Filipino

Asmara Urban Resort, in Banilad, showcases the beauty of raw materials sourced in the Philippines, such as abaca fabric, coconut veneer, bamboo, raffia, shells and even banana skin

Carlo Cordaro has made a business out of exporting furniture manufactured in Cebu, so when he decided to put up a hotel in a half-hectare property in the city’s Banilad area, he wanted it to showcase the local materials he has been working with.

The Italian national, a founder of the Cebu Design Week Foundation, started building Asmara Urban Resort in 2020 but had to endure construction delays because of the pandemic.

It was only recently that Cordero was finally able to operate the 15 rooms in the three-floor hotel. Not surprisingly, Cordaro made sure to showcase the beautiful furniture sold by Cebu Fil Veneer as well as local materials he has come across with, such as abaca fabric, coconut veneer, bamboo, solihiya (basket weave) panels, raffia, shells and even banana skin.

“We are now officially a Department of Tourism-approved resort and waiting also for the Department of Health’s approval to accept guests who need to quarantine,” Cordaro says.  “We had our first four months of operations with guests from Japan , Singapore, Manila and Las Vegas, and the clientele feedback has been quite amazing and encouraging.

Apart from proudly using Philippine-sourced materials inall of Asmara Urban Resort’s rooms, Cordaro is also conscious about making it an environment-friendly establishment.

One of the hotel’s features can be found on an adjacent two-story building which house the reception as well as an Italian bar and restaurant. There, he carved out a glass funnel from the roof that collects rain water, which in turn in used as toilet and garden water. For this “spirit of innovation”, Asmara was shortlisted at the Bangkok-based 2020 PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award.

“Our hotel offers a retreat within Cebu City. Guests are surrounded by nature and tranquillity and give them the chance to detach from all the stress the days may bring,” Cordaro says.

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