From Macau to Manila: A City of Dreams Realized

Entertainment City in Parañaque still has a long way to go, but so far things are moving forward as far as developments in the area are concerned. Solaire Resort and Casino has been doing well so far as a new player in the area emerges to stir up the landscape there, so to speak. The fact that this new player even made an effort to put up an ad featuring Academy Award winners in the persons of director Martin Scorcese and actors Robert de Niro and Leonardo Di Caprio is indication enough of how serious it is.

With that ad that went viral in the first few weeks of 2015, City of Dreams Manila has managed to create quite an impression as it gears up for its grand opening today. Unfortunately, the Urban Roamer will be missing out this event. However, I did manage to check it out a few days past during its soft opening.

City of Dreams Manila is a joint venture project between the SM Group (which makes the conglomerate’s first foray into in the gaming business) and Melco Crown Entertainment, which has developed a number of casinos in Macau, most notably the City of Dreams Macau. Melco itself is helmed by two prominent names in the gaming business in Asia-Pacific: Australian James Packer and Macau’s Lawrence Ho, AKA the son of Macau gaming mogul Stanley Ho.

Lawrence Ho and James Packer (courtesy of AP)


This marks the first time the City of Dreams brand is making its presence felt outside Macau, and the people involved are making sure that it will be a successful one, banking on the prestige of Melco Crown and what it has done so far, especially in City of Dreams Macau, as well as the resources of the SM group, like shuttle service to and from some of its malls.

In terms of architecture and design, City of Dreams Manila aims to stand out as you cannot avoid the complex’s gold motif set in the facade glitters in the sun.

Then there is the hard-to-miss landmark in the middle of the complex, an egg-shaped dome which has been a butt of jokes during the time of its construction. From what I’ve gathered, this area (dubbed the “Fortune Egg”) will be where the night clubs Chaos and Pangaea will be located; it will be interesting to see how it will look  from the inside.

The lobby itself has a grand and spacious feel with the interior design put into it.

The complex features two levels for gaming and a center stage located on top of the bar, a set up similar to Resorts World Manila’s gaming and entertainment area. There are also a number of restaurants and shops located in the area, though some of them have not yet opened at the time I was there.

Apart from the casino, City of Dreams Manila boasts of having an “edutainment” (educational entertainment) area dedicated to kids opening soon called Dreamplay by Dreamworks. Yup, Dreamworks as in the studio behind the hits Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and How To Train Your Dragon. This will actually be the first Dreamplay venue to be opened; it will be interesting to see how it will turn out.

Apart from gaming, shopping, and entertainment, City of Dreams Manila also has facilities where one can stay while in the city. In fact, 3 hotels are located in its premises: Melco’s own Crown Towers Manila, Hyatt Manila, (the first Hyatt brand hotel to open in the country, which should not be confused with other Hyatt brands like Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency) and Nobu Hotel Manila.

Nobu Hotel Manila is probably the most noteworthy of the 3 as the Nobu group which runs the hotel happens to have Robert De Niro as one of its key people. (which may partly explain his presence in the City of Dreams Manila ad) The other key person in the Nobu group is Nobu Matsuhisa, who himself is an accomplished chef and restaurateur who runs the restaurant brand also named Nobu. So yes, there is also a Nobu Restaurant to open in its premises as well.

As it is at this time of writing, it remains to be seen how City of Dreams Manila will turn out once all the elements are in place and fully operational. But so far, the efforts have been impressive to say the least. The Urban Roamer can’t wait to see what is to come…maybe after a few weeks or months ahead.

City of Dreams Manila has a website you can check out at

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