Once upon a time, my best friend Jam invited me to a staycation at City of Dreams. Who was I to refuse? City of Dreams is a luxury integrated resort and casino, featuring three hotels: Crown Towers, Nobu Hotel and Hyatt, as well as diverse dining and entertainment facilities that can excite the youngest to the oldest of crowds. The chance to experience that (at a discount!) was just too good to pass up.
My adventure started at SM Megamall when I boarded the 11:30 am City of Dreams shuttle bus. City of Dreams offers free shuttle services from various drop-off and pick-up points, mostly from SM malls. Upon selecting my seat, a staff approached me and asked for my membership ID. I panicked for a second and blurted out that I was going there to stay at Hyatt. The guy just said okay and we were cool. A few minutes after that, I was very impressed that the shuttle left on the dot! What’s crazy though was that it took us an hour to cover that 12km distance.
Since I arrived too early for check in, I got the chance to check out the posh restaurants on the second floor of the casino. I settled for Café Society and had an overpriced Ham, Cheese and Tomato Panini Sandwich (P290) and an exorbitantly priced Apple Jasmine Iced Tea (P120). The sandwich was a bit salty and came with some kind of salad and some cassava chips. The iced tea tasted too much like my late grandmother’s perfume and came with a straw that wasn’t even bendy. At least they filled my stomach and helped me pass the time.Check-in had been slow since there were so many guests that weekend but it was okay. There were refreshments available like sweets, iced tea and bottled water.
Our room was on the same floor as the swimming pool! However, the Hyatt swimming pool was smallish and overcrowded. The Nobu pool was nearby but we were told that we had to pay an extra P800 just to swim there. However, when we hang around the bigger Nobu pool for a bit, taking photos, we didn’t notice anyone taking tabs on where the people were checked-in. But we still decided not to risk it and stuck to the Hyatt pool. Later on, we would see the even bigger and prettier swimming pool of the Crown Towers.
For dinner, since the restaurants at the City of Dreams were too expensive, we decided to take a shuttle to the SM Mall of Asia. There I got to try Ramen Nagi. And boy was I shocked to find out that they only had 5 choices of ramen. Looking at the menu left me wondering why this restaurant seems to be very popular these days.
After dinner, another free shuttle ride back to the hotel. It was too early to sleep so we decided to try the ice cream at Café Society. Of the two flavors we had, I’d recommend the Praline and Cream. The Butterscotch ice cream tasted like something burnt along the way.
Morning means breakfast. And what’s better than breakfast? It’s breakfast buffet. Unfortunately for me there wasn’t much choices (although breakfast rice eaters would disagree), but I still liked their bread selection and cheese platter. The coffee and hot chocolate were good, too.
Since there’s still plenty of time before check-out, I tried out the fitness room. But I made a huge blooper on that: I used the Nobu fitness room instead of the Hyatt one, which was near the Hyatt pool. But the Nobu staff was cool about it; they only told me about my mistake after an hour on the treadmill.
Finally it was time to go. Check out was a breeze. There wasn’t much people at the counter and I think it took me less than 3 minutes. And while waiting for the shuttle back to the real world, I bought some pasalubong items for my niece and nephew at the Dream Shop. Most of the items there were stuffed toys, water bottles and shirts. They’re also on the expensive side, but not very far from the prices of souvenirs at the Universal Studios Singapore.
My staycation at the City of Dreams had been quite enjoyable. Aside from the fact that I got to stay there at a discounted rate, I got to enjoy the company of my friends and take advantage of hotel amenities like I’ve never had before. Although the restaurants at the City of Dreams were too pricey, free access to cheaper options was still provided through the free shuttles. And these shuttles also reduce the hassle of commuting and are very commendable in their timeliness. All in all, I do hope to get the chance to stay there again.
City of Dreams Manila
Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard,
Entertainment City, Parañaque 1701,
***Photos were taken using GoPro Hero4 and iPhone 5
May 23-24, 2015