Lured by its promise of being a hotel "like no other," we tried The Henry during our recent trip to Cebu. It's a 38-room boutique hotel in Banilad with an industrial, post-modern design aesthetic peppered with some vintage pop art references. Or at least that's what I think it is.
My Bibe and I both loved the place. I sure took a lot of photos and despite several rounds of "shortlisting" them, I still couldn't fit my selection into just one post. So before I post my actual review of The Henry, let me show you around the hotel first.
Previously known as The House of Cebu, the hotel is now under new management--Hospitality International, Inc. to be exact--and has reopened as The Henry in 2012. The building is leased and has since been repainted entirely in black, which I like.
All-black building with white accents: love the repaint job!
Industrial, post-modern design
While a black hotel building may already be a statement, inside, the unique artistic taste of The Henry is much more evident. Atypical of most polished hotels, beams, air conditioning, lighting and other fixtures are all exposed, giving guests that quirky, unfinished feel. The floors are bare concrete and in their natural color, something that extends to the walls and even the stairwell. There's some graffiti art, an accent wall made of thick, rusty iron, and many more offbeat touches.
Full disclosure: everything that's typically hidden underneath the ceiling is exposed.
No, you're not in some warehouse or abandoned building taken over by vandals; this is a hotel.
The front desk at the lobby.
The irony of vintage kid stuff juxtaposed against a wall of scrap iron.
Touches of art and quirk
Instead of fancy paintings and porcelain vases, this hotel uses old luggage, mannequins, barrels, chests, pop art paintings, and other vintage stuff, all perfectly accentuated by spotlights. In fact, the hotel employs all modes of indirect and mood lighting all throughout.
No dull corner here. This is beside the front desk leading to its in-house clothing and accessories boutique.
I love the nonchalant positioning of these chests as coffee tables at the lobby.
Lights, camera... where do they find all this stuff?
Even electric sockets are not spared from some artistic touch.
I really want this huge wall clock at the lobby.
Rica's, the hotel's restaurant, is a fantastic mishmash of different table setups, seating options, and lighting fixtures. On one side there's your diner-style setup, although revved up and elevated, a hardwood long table by the glass window, and a slew of different tables and chairs everywhere else. But my favorite has got to be that long wooden table with really huge high chairs. They're so high My Bibe had a hard time getting out of one.
High table, high chairs. For scale, just check out that toddler's chair on the left.
Perfect for tea and a tete-a-tete with someone, maybe somewhat like we see how government leaders do it on TV.
Lending some industrial vibe while dining, this is one really huge chain.
Empty plastic water bottles obscure any direct view of the kitchen from the dining area. Clever!
A pair of aluminum (or is it metal?) overhead lamps, just one of the varied lighting designs at this restaurant.
There's also a bar called Scrapyard on the second floor, though it was still closed when I went around and I didn't get another chance to drop by either. On the same floor is a ballroom and an art gallery.
A slice of the outdoors
However small this hotel may be, The Henry has managed to squeeze in a small pool and some greenery within its premises. Nothing quirky about the pool, though, but at least there's somewhere in which you can take a dip.
A view of the pool at night. I wanted to take home those two plastic balls with color-changing lights inside them.
On the upper floors where the rooms are, the hallways are marked by a different color scheme per floor. However, unlike the exposed beams elsewhere in the building, the corridors have proper ceilings. Furthermore, the sixth floor sports a different flooring.
Even the lifts have their own cute touches. Look at how they designed their floor directory!
The hallway on the fifth floor, where our room was.
Another floor, another color. This is at the sixth floor.
And oh, they've painted some buffalo silhouettes on the walls!
So with such a unique design perspective, The Henry is truly "like no other," at least in this part of the globe maybe. Its hip take on how a hotel should be is a refreshing departure from all the posh stiffness most of us are more accustomed to.
Want to see the rooms? That's for my next post, about the rooms at The Henry.
The Henry Cebu may be indeed "like no other" but it has just put its stamp of uniqueness in Metro Manila last December 2014. That one, too, is like no other. Check out my review of The Henry Hotel Manila and see how it compares to the Cebu original.