I have a board of pomelle sapele. Gorgeous grain, cost my something like $28/board foot.
I have only used for a couple of boards, this was the first. Used for the decorative edge. The picture does not do justice to the wonderful chatoyance of this wood.
If I recall, nothing special for a finish, likely polyurethane, or may have been General Finish Salad Bowl Finish. I just applied the finish.
Any oil or wax will make the pomelle sapele really shine.
You are correct that this should be used with decent other woods, not some cheap stained poplar.