When I traveled to Manila, Philippines earlier this year, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stay at the wheelchair accessible Hyatt City of Dreams. After discovering how unfriendly the city, its sights and attractions are to wheelchair users, I was glad to be stuck this true urban resort.
The Hyatt City of Dreams Manila feels like a 5-star hotel, though I am not sure it has been rated. Located in Entertainment City alongside Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the hotel is connected to the City of Dreams casino and shopping complex. The equally luxurious Nobu Hotel Manila is also a part of the development.
While the city itself may not be wheelchair friendly, the entirety of the Hyatt hotel and the surrounding City of Dreams is. So, whether you want to partake in some casino gameplay, visit the Chaos night club, get pampered at the spa or partake in delicious cuisine at the many restaurants onsite, you’ll find a comfortable home away from home at the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila.
Reservation & Check-in
I made my reservation on the hotel’s website, but split my stay of four nights across two separate reservations. For the first night, which had a high room rate, I took advantage of a cash & points rate in the World of Hyatt rewards program. Because the hotel is a category 2 property, I only had to spend 4,000 points plus a $55 USD cash copay. This is a fantastic deal.
For the remaining three nights, I booked another reservation. The rate was 6,450 Philippine Pesos (PHP) per night, or about $130 USD. The rate was an advance purchase, non-refundable one, but I wasn’t worried about missing any of my connections. I flew to Manila on Qatar Airways, which was a great experience – even in economy class.
After making my reservation for a standard room with a king-size bed, I e-mailed the hotel to request a wheelchair accessible room with a roll-in shower. You can find the hotel’s e-mail address in the contact information, provided at the end of this article.
I rode in a local non-profit organization’s wheelchair accessible Wheelmobile taxi from the airport to the hotel. Upon arrival, I was made to go through a security screening. I was told this security was put in place to protect the casino from would-be criminals. My bags were scanned in an x-ray machine, but I was not asked to submit to any personal screening myself. Able-bodied guests are expected to walk through a metal detector.
Check-in took longer than normal – 10 to 15 minutes, at least. I’m not sure why this was, but I was pleased to find my hotel room as described when I arrived.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room #1731
My room, #1731, was on the first floor (lobby is ground floor). It was wheelchair accessible and contained a king size bed. Because the hotel was in the Philippines, it wasn’t subject to strict design requirements (like those found in the U.S. ADA law), but it was clearly constructed with accessibility in mind.
Although the king size bed sat high and on a platform base, the struggle to get into the bed proved worthwhile. I felt as though I was resting on clouds, and the Hyatt Grand Bed was just as comfortable here as in the United States.
Power outlets were located on the wall, above the nightstands on either side of the bed. This is where I plugged-in my power wheelchair for charging. Power outlets in the Philippines supply electricity at 220 volts. If you are traveling from the United States, where electricity is supplied at 120 volts, you’ll want to protect your wheelchair and battery with a step-down power transformer. I recommend the 500W Rockstone power transformer – this is the device I use when traveling abroad.
The in-room lighting, lamps and window shades are controlled by a series of switches next to the bed and above the nightstand. The lighting could be adjusted to set different moods, and it was really a nice feature of the room.
A wheelchair accessible desk in the far corner of the room was a great place to work and do some wheelchair travel blogging. Power outlets were easily accessible here as well.
On the wall directly opposite the bed was a stunning high definition television. It measured at least 55 inches and was stocked full of entertainment, including live TV and pay-per-view Hollywood movies.
In the photograph above, you’ll notice the room’s spacious interior hallway. My hotel room offered plenty of open space to safely maneuver my power wheelchair, and I was happy not to feel cramped.
I arrived to a welcome amenity consisting of bottled water, fruit and a container of delicious chocolates. There was also a friendly note, welcoming me to the hotel and Manila.
A minibar was also placed in the room, stocked with a diverse selection of beverages. The soda pop choices were Coca-Cola and Sprite, which is odd for Hyatt, as they have a corporate contract with Pepsi.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The wheelchair accessible bathroom was large and, while modeled after the ADA, would not have met all of the code’s requirements if it were inside a U.S. hotel.
The roll-in shower was large and featured all of the amenities I would expect to find in a high-class hotel. Although the shower chair was only a portable bench, there were grab bars to assist in transfers to/from my wheelchair. The water/temperature control and a hand-held shower nozzle were within reach.
Two curtains could be pulled together to protect the rest of the bathroom (and my power wheelchair) from the spray of water. The shower drained well into the floor, and I felt it was nicely designed. It would be nice for the hotel to invest in a more substantial shower chair, however.
The bathroom toilet, pictured above, was nice and featured a bidet shower. I wish these would catch-on in the United States! Unfortunately, there were no grab bars around the toilet, which made transfers dangerous and difficult. The toilet paper roll was within reach, though.
The bathroom sink sat atop a large counter, which was set at the perfect height for wheelchair access. Towels were rolled up and placed on the counter, which made them easy to reach.
Due to my status as a Globalist member in the World of Hyatt rewards program, I received complimentary admission to the hotel’s club lounge. Guests without status can purchase admission for an additional nightly fee. The lounge offers a place to wind down, and serves complimentary food and drinks throughout the day.
I spent at least two hours every evening in the lounge, either relaxing or working. Each night, the lounge offered a selection of two to three appetizers, which proved to be quite substantial. Pictured above are some of the courses, which drew from both Western and Asian influences. They were so good, I was able to make a meal out of it each night. Beer and wine is served and is complimentary during this time.
The staff were remarkably attentive and helpful, and I made friends among them during my stay. If there is one reason why I am most interested in returning, it’s to interact with the amazing executive lounge team!
Casino & Shopping Mall
Pictures in the casino, which is connected to the Hyatt hotel lobby, were not allowed. As I took my first photograph, security surrounded me and asked for it to be deleted. Because I was there for 5 days (4 nights), I thought it best to comply and forego the risk of being kicked out. Thankfully, there is a great stock photo that I am able to share:
While the Casino wasn’t as large as those you’ll find in Las Vegas, it took up thousands of square feet and offered both table games and slots. I spent the majority of my time on the tables, but had some good luck on a slot machine over the course of a few days. In the end, though, the casino still beat me – but, not too badly.
In addition to the casino, the hotel was also connected to the City of Dreams shopping mall.
The mall featured mostly luxury brands, including BVLGARI, Stuart Weitzman, ROLEX, Rimowa, Porsche Design and Hugo Boss. While the mall is small in size, you can certainly spend an hour or two shopping – if shopping is your thing.
In addition to the shopping, there are also a wide range of restaurants on the property, touching all price ranges and tastes. For more information on all there is on offer inside the City of Dreams complex, visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.
Location & Transportation
The street address and contact information for the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila hotel and resort can be found below:
City of Dreams Manila, Entertainment City
Parañaque, 1701 Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 (2) 691 1234
While there is no wheelchair accessible public transportation in the area of the hotel, you can reserve the Wheelmobile, a wheelchair accessible taxi in Manila.
Alternatively, you can hire a regular taxi (if you can transfer in/out of a car and have a manual/collapsible wheelchair), or you can hire the hotel’s car service. I actually used the hotel’s car service on a trip back to the airport. My power wheelchair was stored in the back of a Mercedes van, and I rode in a standard passenger seat. The bellmen and hotel staff were very kind in helping me into the van, and lifting my very heavy power wheelchair!
My stay at the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila was lovely and relaxing, which is how everyone should feel when staying at a resort. Although the Philippines isn’t a country I would recommend for the wheelchair traveler, the Hyatt is a great place to stay if you do find yourself there.
It’s safe to suspect that, as time goes on, accessibility in Manila will increase, particularly as they make continued investments in the expansion of their public transportation system. I can only hope that this will prove true, as I’m eager to explore the city under more accessible circumstances.