Review by Philippa Langrish
Why you’ll love the Nobu Hotel
Located within the City of Dreams, a 6.2-hectaure luxury resort and casino complex, Nobu Hotel is the star-studded creation of celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Academy award winner Robert De Niro and Hollywood producer Meir Teper. Not surprisingly, therefore, the hotel is rather swish.
A strong Japanese theme runs throughout the hotel and we particularly loved that we could eat at the famous Nobu restaurant at dinner and breakfast – enjoying the best Japanese cuisine without having to fly to Tokyo! If you are not into Japanese there are 20 other restaurants in City of Dreams to choose from.
The hotel’s vibrant edge, clean lines, boutique feel and on trend music all come together to create a luxury urban crash pad with a holiday feel. The pool area is more spacious than most downtown hotels and our kids loved swimming as well as running around the manicured gardens and poolside bar area.
Owing to its position near the airport, there are sea (rather than urban) views and this – plus the incredible sunsets over the bay – can but inspire a holiday mood. Particularly beautiful, is the reflection of the golden sunset on the glass-fronted hotel. We loved chilling out by The Wave poolside bar in the evening.
Looking for more things to do in Manila with kids? Take a look at our suggestions!
Why the kids will love the Nobu Hotel
For our kids, staying at Nobu Hotel was all about the elephant sculpted towels, breakfast pancakes and of course Dreamplay, a 5,000-sqm indoor interactive play centre inspired by some of DreamWorks’ biggest films including Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. The kids spent four hours at Dreamplay and they could have spent much, much longer; my daughter Maya keeps asking when are we going back!
Before heading to the indoor theme park, two friends joined us for breakfast at Nobu. Breakfast here is a divine way to start the day and the food is sublime. It’s also quite reasonable (under 1,500php per head) and kids under 6 eat for free.
The activities on offer at Dreamplay are endless; kids can build dragons and watch them fly, make gingerbread men, learn Kung Fu dance moves, animate their own film sketch, watch a 3D movie and puppet show and much more. Little Olly (4), Maya (4) and her friend Anais (5) were amazed, inspired and worn out by the end of the day. They spent hours in the soft play area, before re-fueling at Kung Fu Panda’s noodle bar in order to follow dance moves as instructed by interactive animated characters. We eventually managed to persuade the kids to leave after our four-hour time slot with the promise of ice cream at Café Society on the same floor of City of Dreams.
The hotel itself has a wonderful poolside area that our children loved. The infinity pool entertained Maya for a good couple of hours. I had a little dip with the kids and then took Gillan around the beautiful Japanese inspired gardens.
The Nobu Hotel Manila opened in December 2014. It is the first Nobu Hotel in Asia and the second in the world (the first is in Vegas), making it a destination in itself. Imagined by Robert de Niro, Meir Teper and Chef Nobu the hotel boasts some of the best Japanese cuisine outside Japan. Nobu now has 36 restaurants around the world, welcoming many famous faces through its doors.
Nobu Manila is housed inside the famous Casino, City of Dreams. Children are not allowed on the gambling floor but the areas are so delineated it’s not an issue. City of Dreams is an imposing golden glass fronted building overlooking the ocean, in an up-and-coming area near Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
If you are staying more than a couple of nights the hotel offers free shuttles around Manila, making trips to China Town, Intramuros, Makati and Moa (Mall of Asia) easy and safe to organise.
There are 321 rooms divided into four categories:
All rooms enjoy a monochrome palette accented by deep purples and greens, including beautiful purple orchids. The huge windows are reflective (so noone can see in) and dressed with sleek horizontal blinds. Prints of Mt Fuji and giant Koi fish hang on the walls – and made me want to book a holiday to Niesko there and then! Above the headboard is a huge Japanese ink mural. The bathroom furniture is dark wood, complimented by cream tiles.
Nobu made our family feel really welcome by including a kids colouring set, baby bath, toilet training seat, welcome coffee, cake and sake, and an overflowing bowl of fruit.
Best Rooms for Families: All the rooms are great for families. If money is no object, opt for the suite with Japanese inspired auto wash-jets – guaranteed to amuse the kids! Alternatively the Deluxe Double Queen and Executive Rooms are good options for families.
If you have read any of my other hotel reviews you will know that I have a passion for breakfasts and breakfast at Nobu certainly did not disappoint.
Breakfast at Nobu is served in the famous Nobu restaurant and from day one I was in heaven! Forget traditional toast, jam and cereal, this is your opportunity to feast on Nasu Miso (grilled aubergine with sweet sauce), Yaki Udon (noodles), Okonomiyaki (omelette with miso sauce), Umami Chicken wings with hot sauce, Miso Soup, Coconut Umebushi, Green Tea Pudding, Yuzu Pound Cake, Rice Cake Bagel and Lox in addition to traditional western bacon and eggs, cereal, toast and juices.
However, the absolute must try is the freshly made French toast and Miso pancakes. The children loved creating their own pancakes and choosing fruit, sprinkles and sauce toppings.
Lunch & Dinner: There are 21 restaurants in City of Dreams, including The Crystal Dragon (Chinese), The Tasting Room (Western) and Red Ginger (S.E Asian). I would recommend using the hotels babysitting service in order to enjoy dinner for two at Nobu. The tasting menu is fantastic. Otherwise try many of the different varieties of sushi, sashimi, and tempura.
For Kids: For an easy kids dinner the poolside Wave restaurant offers a great kids menu which includes pasta, grilled chicken and salmon, mini Angus burgers and Hawaiian pizza.
The City of Dreams casino is a big draw although not a great one for kids! Instead, take them to Dreamplay, an interactive play centre created by Dreamworks based on some of their most popular movies including Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon. Nobu Hotel has a lovely swimming pool suitable for all as well as a gym (mum and dad only).
A/C, babysitting, common rooms, baby cots available, doctor on call, interconnecting rooms, laundry, pushchair-friendly, shop, spa, swimming pool, travel desk, wheelchair access, WiFi (complimentary and available throughout the property).
Environmental measures and social responsibility: The resort has an energy saving towel and sheet changing policy.In addition, Dreamplay supports a local orphanage as part of its CSR programme.
When to go:
The best time to visit the Philippines is between December and February in the cooler months. The wet season is from June onwards. Be careful travelling in the months from September to December as this is when the typhoon season is. Temperatures range from 27 – 40+. Avoid travelling in the busy holy weeks of Easter and Christmas.
Location & Travel:
Nobu Hotel is located in the City of Dreams, Paranaque, Metro Manila, The Philippines.
Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport is the closest airport located 3.6km (2.3m) away.
1) Go to breakfast hungry! The three-course breakfast indulgence is sublime and remember, you have all day to work it off!
2) Take the kids to Dreamplay for the entire day – they will love it (and you!). Remember to bring socks for the kids.
3) Make the most of the hotel’s babysitting service so that you can dine out at Nobu or one of the many restaurants located in City of Dreams.
Disclosure: Philippa and her family were offered a complimentary stay at the Nobu Hotel. Opinions are, as always, entirely our own.