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The Nobu Manila… Golden window-panel covered buildings stood like gleaming mirages reflecting the busy city beyond, withholding the secrets within. A city within a city. We knew there was something special about it when we first passed by, one of the most identifiable of the hotels in Manila, Philippines, though we hadn’t yet had the chance to peek behind the gilded curtain of the gleaming towers. When we finally had the opportunity to venture within the buildings that had beckoned us since our arrival, we learned that it lived up to the promise of its name… we had found a City of Dreams.
The Nobu Manila – Decadence, Luxury and Elegance Within A City of Dreams
It’s hard to miss. The City of Dreams Manila, a large golden complex and its 6 shimmering towers can often be seen while driving the busy and chaotic streets of Manila, Philippines. The gold-tinted windows of the elegant towers immediately draw the eye and awaken the imagination.
Of the 5 star hotels in Manila, this integrated casino resort hosts three, as well as a casino, a range of dining options and a shopping complex, just to name a few of the many features to be found within. But it wasn’t until we entered the doors of the Nobu Manila, after we had stepped out of the car and handed over our bags to the patiently waiting bellman, that we realized the extent of the grandeur and elegance to be found in one of the most luxurious hotels in Manila.
The Nobu Manila is inspired by renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his array of world-famous restaurants. The accommodation arm of Nobu is now reaching ranks with some of the most modern and most luxurious hotels in the world, and we were excited to be able to experience the decadence, luxury and elegance the brand is known for.
One thing we always look for in accommodation, along with the comforts and luxury, modern decor and aesthetics, is that unique feel. We like experiencing something different, something that makes a place stand out for us and helps make our time in that place more memorable. It’s that certain “je ne c’est quoi” that the best luxury hotels in the world have, and it was that same “I don’t know what” that we found at the Nobu Manila.
That ‘Je Ne C’est Quoi’ of the Nobu Manila
Sure, “je ne c’est quoi” suggests an unidentifiable “something”, but often times it’s not one intangible element but instead, a host of well-crafted, well-executed ideas and an attention to detail that make an accommodation standout, make it superior.
From the front lobby of the Nobu Manila, where staff greet you wearing beautiful outfits and warm smiles, the Japanese-influenced design begins its flawless integration into the modern and elegant decor and the incredible combination of great service and impeccable style resonates from every inch of the property.
After our incredibly quick check-in, we were lead through the lobby of earth tones and subtle cherry blossoms, to the south tower and made our way to our room.
A Room of Added Touches
We were immediately impressed with the room which exuded all the charm of a boutique style room and none of the, often soulless, feel of a hotel chain. The crisp white linens, the continuation of the cherry blossom and Japanese-inspired motif, and the neutral colours with modern lines and touches made the room elegant while the attention to detail, like the welcome bowl of fruits, the specialty tea, the variety of toiletries and the personalized message on the television added a whole extra level of welcome and comfort.
We also loved the added touches we just kept finding. Opening the drawers of the nightstand we found tea and coffee, wine glasses and a bottle opener, and a whole snack bar with some extras, like an intimacy kit, for purchase.
There were outlets aplenty and even a master light switch near the bed eliminating the inevitable fumbling around in the dark that always happens as you search for a light switch in a new place. Luckily, the room was spacious enough, it wouldn’t have been a problem even if there wasn’t a master switch close by. The bluetooth/docking station was also a great addition and was probably the first feature we used, streaming out music while we sat to enjoy our welcome tea and fruit.
The large bathroom too was fitted for comfort. Many plush towels, the essential toiletries (plus some), a spacious shower with a rain-shower head and two of the most comfortable, soft-lined bathrobes we’ve had the pleasure of donning.
After seeing the room and the bathroom, you would think it couldn’t get much better, right? That’s what we thought until we opened the curtains and looked out at the view. Facing inwards towards the pool, the view was fantastic and when the sun set and the lights of the ‘Fortune Egg’ and the rest of the City of Dreams were illuminated, it made for a fantastic, and romantic, evening scene.
Nobu Restaurant – An Experience In Itself
Nobu Restaurant. Our stomachs are still singing its praises. Since our accommodation package included breakfast (guests of the City of Dreams and visitors can also purchase breakfast here separately), we had the pleasure of dining here and enjoying some of the style of food Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is so famous for. The restaurant is set up buffet style for breakfast with a range of options from traditional Filipino food to American fare to Japanese-inspired dishes and everything in between. Salads, vegetables, noodle dishes, pastries, breads, okonomiyaki, and a pancake station with some incredible toppings, like their pecan butter. There was something for everyone and, being the passionate food lovers we are, everything was for someone like us.
Nobu Restaurant steps it up a game though with their ‘Breakfast Minis’, a menu with additional small plates. While it is included in the breakfast buffet, these are ordered individually. Each item we tried brought together wonderful, often unique flavours and several of them were so memorable we are still talking about them.
The Eggs Matsuhisa, a poached egg with spinach and bonito egg sauce on a toasted bao, looked simply stunning and, with a perfect poach on the egg, didn’t disappoint. The Nobu Style Cheeksilog, a miso braised Wagyu cheek with garlic rice, popeye relish and a fried egg did justice to the traditional Philippine dish while fusing Japanese flavours perfectly. Our favourite of them all however, was the french toast. Thick and fluffy with a light yuzu custard, whipped cream and tomato jam. This dish had us fighting over each bite.
From the clean and modern Japanese decor to the good-to-the-last-bite food, the breakfast at the Nobu Restaurant was exactly like the rest of our experience at the Nobu Hotel Manila: decadent, wonderful, comfortable and truly memorable.
Relaxation & Refreshments Under The Golden Towers
Stepping outside as we headed to the pool area, the glimmering of the golden towers once again cast their spell but this time, the sound of the trickling water from the fountains and the pool, the warm breeze on our skin and the smell of something delicious being cooked at the nearby poolside restaurant, Wave, had us fully engulfed in the moment and appreciating the experience those buildings of gold contained.
While each hotel has their own pool, the Nobu is at the centre of the property with a decent sized swimming area, a lifeguard on duty and many deck chairs and couch-style seating for guests to enjoy.
We sat for a bit by the pool, enjoying the view, the breeze and the peace of the area before our stomachs got the better of us and we moved to the restaurant, Wave, for some poolside-meets-patio dining. Since we’re always on the hunt for a good burger, we decided to try one out, along with a caesar salad and boy are we glad we did! One of the best burgers we had during our time in the Philippines, the burger at Wave came perfectly cooked, topped with flavourful caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, pickle and onion rings and some pretty great tasting fries. The Caesar salad was also well prepared and we loved the crispy, real pieces of bacon.
Gold-Plated, Luxury-Filled Experience of a Lifetime
There is more to the Nobu Manila however, above and beyond being a gorgeous luxury accommodation with a restaurant that makes stomachs grumble in memory by its mere mention. There are other things aside from the fact that it features a fitness centre and a spa allowing you to get a bit of pampering in during your stay.
What elevates the experience at the Nobu Manila to the next level is the fact that it is a full-service hotel located in the City of Dreams and, as we touched on, that means access to a whole world of activities and experiences beyond the doors of the Nobu Hotel itself: an impressive casino floor, a variety of excellent restaurants, shops, clubs, and Dreamplay, a Dreamworks-inspired interactive play space. Whether you are there for business or leisure, a stay-cation or vacation, the Nobu Manila has everything you need and want.
As a couple exploring the city of Manila, we ended up experiencing a side to this busy capital we weren’t expecting. The city within a city, where one needn’t wander further than the lobby of their hotel, though the city beyond is only a free shuttle ride away; where you can escape the intensity of Manila and head to one place where comfort, food, culture and entertainment come together.
The entire complex containing the Nobu Manila is a gold-plated, luxury-filled, experience of a lifetime and on that first night, when we finally slipped between the crisp sheets of the extra-comfortable bed and laid our heads on our pillows, we did so with a sigh of contentment and a smile in appreciation for the day and anticipation for what else we would be experiencing in this City of Dreams.
Want to stay at the Nobu Hotel Manila? Or dine at Nobu Restaurant?
Find information about the Nobu Hotel Manila, the City of Dreams and the Nobu Restaurant:
Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City,
Parañaque 1701, Manila, Philippines
Phone: +632 800 8080