During our “staycation” at the Hyatt City of Dreams in Manila, we started with sunset cocktails at the Wave rooftop bar, had a wonderful Italian dinner at Prego and chose CenterPlay for some late evening entertainment.
On the ground floor of the City of Dreams complex is the casino with access from the surrounding hotels. And at the heart of the casino is CenterPlay, a bar with a stage for live performances. It’s a great design and stunning stage – in hindsight, I am surprised that I haven’t seen something similar at other casinos or hotels: CenterPlay has a large, semi-circular bar with lots of seating facing in. Behind and above the bar is the stage for live performances. But to avoid the abandoned feel any performance venue has when no performance is taking place, there is a “curtain” of lighted tubes that folds down from the ceiling to close the gap between bar and ceiling and to “hide” the empty stage. It’s a very cool design and makes great sense. Around that bar is stadium-style seating, with a long bench with high bar tables all around and two rows of table and lounge seating behind that. The layout looks good as a bar only and makes for great views from anywhere in the bar.
The cocktail waitresses in skimpy black outfits (what can I say, it’s a casino after all) brought the menu and took our orders quickly. Our cocktails took a while and were ok, but not memorable – I’d call that on bar with other casino drinks. Much more memorable was the performance. If you have ever been to a concert with a cover band somewhere in Asia, chances are you listened to a Filipino singer. Filipinos love to sing – you only have to go to a mall or fly Cebu Pacific to hear it – and there is an amazing number of great singers, both male and female. And it wasn’t any different tonight: the band and their male and female lead singers delivered some great renditions of the favorite Top100 songs in the Philippines, making for a pleasant end of our evening.
The only downside of the CenterPlay for us was that smoking is allowed in the casino, which is something I’m no longer used to and don’t like. The prices are comparable to other City of Dreams venues, which means high. If you are visiting, you should check it out – I think it’s the best choice for late evening drinks, easily making it more fun than the lobby bars and before the clubs get going.