This is a guest article.
Every so often – and when the wallet will allow – it’s worth going long-haul and discovering a place that completely shakes up your average, ordinary and every day. One of those places for me was the Philippines, specifically Manila, where an amazing quality of life goes together with extremely affordable prices.
One of the biggest culture shocks was discovering how much money is currently being invested into building state-of-the-art entertainment resorts, and the fervent gaming culture that has enveloped the city over the last few years. Property developers are literally going gaga to build the next biggest and best complex, and the City of Dreams Manila is about as big as they come: a massive luxury integrated resort in a quickly developing gaming and entertainment resort hub in Metro Manila, Philippines, just minutes from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The $1.3 billion property was built on 15 acres of land at Aseana Avenue and Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque, nearby the city’s waterfront, where a series of newly-built casino properties have opened, with many more planned. Along with City of Dreams, the also newly constructed Solaire Resort & Casino and Okada Manila are integrated resorts built as a part of the Philippine’s Amusement and Gaming Corporations plan for a Las Vegas-style development called PAGCOR Entertainment City in the area.
The master plan for the development includes turning it into the entertainment capital of Asia filled with hotels, convention centers, casinos and even an amusement park, and with City of Dreams, Solaire and Okada already up and running, it is well on the way to claiming that title.
The equally large casino resort property Resorts World Manila is also just minutes away, as is the massive SM Mall of Asia shopping mall.
City of Dreams opened to the public in February 2015 with no less than three hotels on the property. Crown Towers, the Hyatt Hotel and the celebrity-chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa-styled Nobu Hotel, partly owned by film star Robert De Niro, host 940 total rooms in six separate towers. The hotels are each up to the level of luxury expected from the International brands. And to give you just an idea of how much love there is for these resorts, over 30,000 people turned up for the opening.
The massive gaming floor inside the casino includes as many as 365 gaming tables, 1,680 slot machines and 1,680 electronic table games. There is also a poker room run by online gaming giant PokerStars on the upper floor and the property has already hosted some large International poker events on site.
There’s certainly no shortage of food options, with 16 restaurants on the property, ranging from the affordable food court offerings to the World Class and member-only elite dining experiences. Everything from local Filipino favorites to Nobu’s World renowned Omakase featuring his best sushi and signature dishes can be found on the property.
If the less-than five-minute taxi ride or free shuttle to SM Mall of Asia appears too daunting a task, there’s a shopping mall on site as well. The Shops at The Boulevard is home to over 100 luxury and International brands and retail outlets. Louis Vuitton, DIOR, Fendi, PRADA and Tiffany & Co. are just a few of the top brands represented at the 80,000-square meter mall.
The Fortune Egg you can see from the outside is more than just an iconic architectural feature on a bridge connecting two parts of the property. It is also the center of nightlife at the City of Dreams. In fact, there are two international nightclubs inside. Chaos and Pangaea were both developed by International King of Clubs Michael Van Cleef Ault and Los Angeles’ AK Design firm.
The on-site entertainment almost never stops with three entertainment venues on the property, including and a live performance lounge in the middle of the casino floor.
City of Dreams Manila is about to mark its second anniversary in February 2017 and its reputation for bringing the best of what the World has to offer in gaming, food, accommodations, and entertainment still endures.