Blogafest 2019 took place at The City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque City, Metro Manila. Along with some of the event’s regional bloggers from all over the Philippines, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a weekend stay at the luxurious Nobu Hotel, the first-of-its kind boutique hotel in Asia.
Safe and Secure
The first thing I noticed with Nobu was how safe and secure the place felt. Entrances going into the hotel and even between establishments (say, going into The Garage food park for example) required you to deposit your bags for a security scan, as well as having another guard check you personally. Even the entrance towards the casino areas, which had neither physical doors nor barriers, were manned by security detail. Even folks who mistakenly went inside the Exit doors were informed by the security of the proper entrance areas.
But more importantly, apart from doing their jobs to secure the location, my interactions with some of them to mainly ask for directions have been warm, with courtesy and welcome (as with the rest of the hotel’s staff).
After a breezy check-in process, off we were to our designated rooms walking on carpeted floors and air-conditioned hallways. Do note, however, that one’s keycard can only access its assigned floor and those open to the general populace of Nobu Hotel guests (e.g. the pool area, casinos, restaurant).
The interiors live up to the complex’ posh style, with an elegant and contemporary aesthetic.. After turning on the lights and A/C, it’s time to just sit back and relax. One can take off one’s shoes and have them safely stored inside the closet (large enough to fit even your luggage), and either go barefoot maybe for just a bit (my feet welcomed the carpeted floors) and/or wear the indoor slippers they provided.
Nobu doesn’t fall short when it comes to the room’s amenities: necessary toiletries have been provided as well as bottles of water; a blow dryer is ready if you need to dry your hair quickly; an iron with an ironing board is found inside the closet to straight out clothes crumpled from being stored for hours in our luggage; bathrobes are in there as well for one to wear and comfortably lounge in; towels for the face and body are available to dry one’s self off after a relaxing hot or cold shower.
Side note: Mind you, I was impressed with how big their body towels were as they wrapped my big o’l self quite well.
For one’s entertainment a large 47” flat-screen TV hangs on the walls opposite the beds, so you can just either sit or lie down comfortably while you watch some shows. But more importantly for those of us who are digital-savvy or have some bit of work to do, the Wi-Fi connection is fantastic and having access to social media and streaming services were enough to get me entertained. (And with the plenty of sockets available, I just left my camera and power bank to charge while I was busy diving into the digital world.)
With a full day ahead of us for Blogafest, I fell soundly asleep in the coziness of the room’s cold and the comfort of the bed. We didn’t pull down the blinds before hitting the sack, so sunlight warmly woke me up the next day, giving me a bustling city view that I kind of missed seeing.
Time for Breakfast
I suppose this may be the part some of you are waiting for – and you’re not wrong, I too was definitely looking forward to the hotel’s breakfast buffet.
The breakfast buffet is served inside the Nobu Restaurant, located at Level 1 of the hotel’s North Tower. With our rooms situated at the South Tower, the easiest way to get there is by going down to Level 1 of the tower, making your way through the pool and garden areas (which we’ll go back to shortly after this). The staff will simply need your room number and name at the entrance to confirm your slot for the buffet and you’re ready to go.
Overall, one has a myriad of choices with Nobu’s fusion breakfast buffet.
Before I dive into my favorites, let me somewhat enumerate your options at the buffet. For a light breakfast, one can go with muesli or cereals and a choice of whole or skimmed milk, and select from the variety of fruits (and some dried ones), nuts, and yogurts (with some coulis or puree to pair it with) up ahead. Freshly-baked bread and pastries, along with some jams, are next in the area, for those looking to bite into their crisp yet chewy layers. If you want some salad first thing in the morning, you can definitely make one that suits your palate. And way up ahead there’s a section where one can find rice, soup, noodles, vegetables, and bacon. Then finally, there are two designated sections dedicated to making eggs your way, and for some toast, taho, and pancakes. Oh, and with the drinks there are plenty of options as well – from juices to your choice of coffee.
Now for my favorites; my I-wish-I-could-take-you-home-with-me pieces.
I guess we can start backward from how I listed what’s available earlier? I just loved their toast, pancakes and taho. With the taho even, it’s up to you how much silken tofu, syrup, and sago you want in your bowl, and enjoy it while it’s still warm. The wait for a fresh batch of toast and pancakes is so worth it. With the toast, its warm custard greets you as you munch through its soft exterior. The pancakes may be light and fluffy but they can be quite filling. What made my experience with both of them was by slathering them with generous amounts of Nobu’s Calamansi Whipped Cream. One would think you’ll only bring a sour patch to your otherwise sweet pancake or buttery toast but no, the flavor is quite subdued and far from overwhelming. I felt like I couldn’t get enough of it – it was just so enjoyable and addictive!
For the meaty, hearty part of my breakfast, I relied on the buffet’s bacon, sausages, eggs and fish and ate them Filipino-style – with a generous-enough amount of rice. With the eggs, you can request to have it served scrambled and with mine, I sprinkled some Bacon Furikake on it for added saltiness and crisp. I also tried the Umami Ketchup, which honestly intrigued me, only remembering that it bore a slight spicy-sour flavor, and a lighter, thinner consistency as ketchup (close to sriracha I guess, but not quite), though sadly I wasn’t able to savor and figure it well on my own. (My tongue needs more flavor training I think, and that I forgot to chat up the chef at the station to ask for more knowledge about the condiment).
By then I could only wish to have more space for the bread and pastry pieces, with only the Kiwi tart having made it into my belly. (I will really, really try my best to make space for more bread next time around, I promise!) I capped off my meal with a mix of fruits – kiwi, orange, and pineapple slices – some pecan nuts, dried cranberries, and yogurt with chia seeds. A healthy sweetness.
And my drink this whole time? A wonderful cup of espresso to wake up my soul and seize the day. (Though I didn’t forget to drink water; we know how important it is to have a generous gulp of it when the day starts.)
The breakfast buffet starts as early as 6am, ending at about 10am.
Taking a Quick Dip
The Nobu Hotel pool simply looked inviting, and I couldn’t resist giving it a try before we headed back home.
So in the morning of our departure, I made sure to wake up early, take a dip in the pool before things got busy. Funnily, I brought my room towel to the swimming pool area, only to learn that guests will be provided a separate towel for drying up after swimming, along with two small bottles of drinking water. Awesome! The water was still a bit cool, the area uncrowded with only one family’s kids swimming on the other side, and me simply lounging around my corner of the pool and relaxing on its edges.
After my relaxing dip, I made my way to the shower area to take a bath and change into my proper morning outfit. As expected, shampoo, body wash, and conditioner are available per shower stall, along with hot and cold water. The room was spacious, had lockers and was obviously quiet since I was the only one around then. The most amazing feature for me with the shower room is that it has a manual dryer for your swimming clothes. Yes – you don’t have to worry about lugging around wet, dripping swimsuits and shorts! You only need to follow its instructions; press down on it, hold, and wait for the round to be done.
After feeling refreshed and ready for the day, I quickly checked out the hotel’s pretty neat gym and took a stroll around its beautiful garden and capture its flora.
What Dreams are Made Of
Looking back now, our stay at the complex’ Nobu Hotel feels surreal. From the courteous and helpful staff and security, to the comfort of our rooms and its satisfying amenities – the experience may sound like the stuff of dreams, but it is as real as it gets. The City of Dreams and Nobu Hotel experience awaits those who are looking for a luxurious, relaxing escape without having to go far and wide for one.
The Nobu Hotel is located at Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque 1701, Manila, Philippines. For general inquiries, you may contact them at (+632) 800 8080 or send them an email at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Our stay at the Nobu Hotel was sponsored/subsidized, courtesy of Blogapalooza and City of Dreams, so we could attend Blogafest 2019. The statements and opinions expressed in this article are all my own, without copy approval from either of the sponsors.