For a recent Manila “staycation” we chose the new Hyatt Manila at the City of Dreams, a new gambling and entertainment development near the Manila Bay. After spending the weekend, I was wondering how much of a daytrip destination the City of Dreams can be for a couple or a family, enjoying everything it has to offer, without having to spend money for the hotel – read my full review to find out how to spend a perfect day there!
If you are visiting as a family with small children, your first stop should be DreamPlay, a Dreamworks themed playground with a big image of Shrek to greet you. From Shrek’s Swamp Stomp to dinosaur or dragon themed areas, the kids have lots to choose from. The little ones can even learn how to cook with gingy! There are family rooms to celebrate with your kids or you can drop the kids and nanny of for a few hours or the whole day! While I’m no expert, DreamPlay seems to be larger than similar venues I’ve seen in Manila and has many of the favorite themes covered.
With the kids in good hands, it’s time to focus on the adult options. DreamPlay is at the end of the City of Dreams (COD) mall, so you can wander the stores. You’ll find Rolex, Rimowa, Boss and other luxury brands, a total of around 20 stores to keep your credit cards busy. The mall is beautifully designed – I really liked to moving ceiling sculpture throughout.
You could continue your day at the spa, both the Crown Tower and Nobu Hotel offer massages, facials and other treatments. They offer special treatments for men and spa packages that can pamper you for a few hours. There is also Franck Provost’s salon, if you need a haircut to get ready for the rest of the evening.
Now that you are all relaxed and the evening is near, you should head to the rooftop pool and enjoy the sunset with drinks and snacks at the Wave bar and restaurant with views of Manila Bay in the distance.
From there, you can head to one of the many restaurants in the complex. If this day is celebrating a special occasion, maybe Nobu with Japanese food from the world famous chef would be the right venu. Or for European cuisine, you can head to the Tasting Room, a Michellin starred restaurant. For a more casual setting (and a lower price point) there are a number of restaurants on the mall level: We ate at Prego, offering very good Italian food in a nice setting. Erwin’s is a casual place with an American Diner feel and everything from burgers and milkshakes to salads and pasta. You’ll also find Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South East Asian and Filipino food. There should be something for everybody’s taste here!
After dinner, it’s time for some gambling at the City of Dreams’ main event, the casino. It’s located at the ground floor and accessible via the hotels. You have a full floor of slot machines and gaming tables for poker, blackjack, baccarat and other card games, as well as roulette. For high rollers there are the Signature Club and a VIP Club, Li Ying.
Once you have reached your gaming limit, you can enjoy some adult evening entertainment at three venues: The CenterPlay, a bar with a performance stage in the middle of the casino that offered live music during our weekend visit. Pangae is a marketed as an upscale “ultra lounge” with a grand piano and dj both. Chaos is a dance club featuring international DJs. Both get started late and have limited engagements, so you should check the schedules for Pangae and Chaos prior to your visit!
Now that you have an idea what is on offer at the City of Dreams, should you get your credit card ready and make plans to visit? If gambling is your favorite entertainment and only the best will do, regardless of cost, than City of Dreams is your ticket: From the casino to the restaurants, spas and stores, all of the venues are very high-end and charge some of the highest prices I’ve seen anywhere in Manila. It’ll make for a very special visit, including a very, very big price tag!
The limited number of choices and the high price point is the main issue when compared to other Manila venues with gambling choices, including Solitaire near the Manila Bay and Resorts World Manila near the airport. Resorts World offers a very similar range of entertainment options, but many more choices: the mall is bigger and there are more restaurants and shops to choose from. They also have more mid-level shopping and dining options, available at lower prices and more comparable to other places in Manila. And if gambling is not a must, you have many more and exciting options in Manila: From the high-end in Bonifacio Global City and Makati to Mega Mall in Ortigas and Mall of Asia at more affordable prices.
So, if you are planning to splurge on a special occasion for a day or a staycation, consider CIty of Dreams for a luxury experience. If value is one of your considerations, there are other choices in Manila to spend your time!