For a recent staycation in Manila, the gateway to paradise we chose the new Hyatt Manila at the City of Dreams, a new gambling and entertainment development near the Manila Bay. I’m usually not a big fan of casino hotels, but the Hyatt turned out to be a nice place for an adult weekend away in Manila!
Location: The Hyatt City of Dreams (COD) is located between the Manila airport and the Manila Bay – you can see either from the hotel. You’ll have easy access to the City of Dreams entertainment, mall and restaurants, all in walking distance. It’s a short drive (15 minutes) to the huge Mall of Asia and SMX Convention Center and about 30 minutes from Intramuros, one of the prime tourist destinations. If you are arriving by plane, it’s a 15-30 minute drive from Terminal 1 & 2 and about 30-60 minutes from Terminal 3, depending on traffic. If you have plans to visit the financial district Makati or Fort Bonifacio, traffic can be difficult and anywhere between 30-75 minutes, and you are better off staying in one of those neighborhoods.
Service: The service at the Hyatt was very good throughout our stay, very friendly and attentive. While you can expect that at most upscale hotels in the Philippines, the staff was also very well trained and professional, putting it into the top group of local hotels. They did struggle with some start-up issues during our stay: Both, during check-in and check-out, their computer system kept crashing, and it took a lot longer than it should. They did work hard to find a room for us for an early check-in. Housekeeping staff was on top of its game and the staff at the bar and restaurant was as good as at the front desk. Unfortunately, the Hyatt applies security protocols in line with local standards: that means, you have to go through a metal scanner (which I don’t mind) and staff will search your handbag/backpack with their “magic stick”, which I find intrusive and bothersome, especially as they don’t wait for you to open the bag for them. Because they don’t scan or search luggage, this contributes little to security and is inappropriate for an upscale hotel!
Room: The rooms are more modern and stylish than other upscale hotels in Manila. We had a standard, corner room in Tower 1. With floor to ceiling windows on one side and half windows on the other, it was very bright and friendly. The room is held in dark beige/brown colors with dark black-brown wood furniture. It all looks much better than most casinos that tend to be a little loud for my taste. The king-size bed was comfortable with nice sheets, if a little soft. The room had a comfortable chair and side table, a large desk, large TV, laptop safe and plenty of electric outlets. You have access to a minibar, but check the price list: The prices are highway robbery by Manila standards. There was a Alarm Clock with a new Apple Lightning connector for your phone. There were two bathrobes and slippers provided as well.
The bathroom was equally large and modern with a big, glass enclosed shower, toilet and a vessel style sink. Unusually, the bathroom had a large window as well. Generally, I like that, but in this case it was facing another hotel block very nearby, so you had to keep your shades drawn… The towels were soft and fluffy and standard “Portico” bathroom products. There were also dental and shaving kits and other necessities.
The hotel and room have free internet through the general “City of Dreams” network, without password need. It was fast (up to 25Mbps), but very unreliable. Out of measurements taken, 3 were great and 2 failed due to lack of connection, which provides an accurate picture of the experience – from great to painful…
Amenities/Restaurants: As an upscale, full-service hotel, the Hyatt has a lot to offer: There are bell boys to assist with your luggage or a taxi, as well as a concierge for any inquiries you might have. The hotel has its own pool with plenty of loungers around it. It’s located between U-shape towers, so you have a mix of sun and shadow. The pool water is pretty cold, more refreshing than a place to play for kids. The staff was attentive, assisting with towels and loungers and taking food and drink orders.
Near the Hyatt pool is also a small fitness center, open 24h, with cardio and limited weight equipment. It will be ok for a small workout, but can’t compare to the Westin-style gyms, my favorite.
If you are planning a special occasion, the Hyatt has the Salon by Franck Provost for your make up or hair. And you’ll have access to the Nobu or Crown Spa for massages, facials and a full range of treatments, both next door.
For your meals, you have lots of choices: The Hyatt has The Cafe as the main restaurant on the ground floor, serving breakfast and dinner buffet style. Near the entrance in the corner is the lobby bar, which looked kinda sad and not very inviting. It was pretty empty during our stay, despite the hotel being sold out. The pool bar Wave, shared with the Nobu, is a great place for sunset with cocktails, small plates and typical bar food of surprisingly good quality.
You also have access to all the restaurants, bars, entertainment and shopping at the City of Dreams complex – read my detailed review here! We at at Prego Italian restaurant for dinner and listened to live music at the CenterPlay bar and enjoyed both!
Conclusion: The Hyatt Manila offers very nice rooms and good service at the heart of the City of Dreams entertainment complex. We paid for the room with Hyatt points. The rate is 8,000 points, a very good deal considering the cash rate of $259 during our visit on a holiday weekend. You can typically book rooms for around $150/night in advance, which is reasonable for what is offered and competitive with other hotels in Manila. When budgeting, keep in mind that meal prices at City of Dreams are much higher than elsewhere in Manila. The next door Nobu hotel is a little cheaper, the Crown Tower a little more for the days I searched, neither has a comparable rewards program. In this category of hotel I expect flawless service, so the Hyatt has to sort out there system and internet issues soon to justify their prices! You have access to lots of restaurants, entertainment, spa and wellness, making it easy to spend a visit without ever leaving. If that sounds like a great weekend trip to you, it’s worth considering it as an alternative to Macau. While it’s a lot smaller at this time, it’s very nice, very upscale and makes for a great city getaway!