Originally posted on March 15, 2013
THE much talked about Entertainment City Manila in the Manila Bay Area in Parañaque City is no longer a dream or a grand plan envisioned by the government as a special economic development zone. Tomorrow (March 16, 2013), it becomes a reality when Solaire Resort & Casino opens its doors to the gaming and dining public in grand fashion.
To make sure it’s ready for the big time, Solaire made a smart dry run two days prior to its grand opening by hosting a media preview of the huge and luxurious property, whose first phase of construction is almost complete.
The first integrated resort to open in Entertainment City Manila, Solaire, whose name means “the breeze from the sun” in French, combines lavish accommodations in a resort setting with a great selection of restaurants and premium gaming facilities that set a new benchmark for lifestyle and leisure experience. Luxury is written all over the place, so Solaire’s slogan – “The Game Is About to Change” – is no empty promise. It’s the kind of luxury that high stakes gamers get only in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas.
Owned by Bloombery Resorts spearheaded by ports tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., Solaire leaves no stones unturned in ensuring that it offers the best in everything. Master-planned, conceptualized and designed by world-renowned architect and designer Paul Steelman of the Las Vegas-based Steelman Partners, the resort offers over-the-top accommodations in the form of deluxe and grand deluxe rooms (each measuring 43- to 55 square meters), suites (all of 87 to 165 square meters of luxurious living space per room) and bayside villas (an overwhelming 600 to 900 square meters) with the most pampering amenities one can find in Manila. The bayside villas, which are the most exclusive, even offers 24-hour butler and chef services, a private pantry, a spa and fitness room, a lounge and entertainment area, a private Jacuzzi and pool, and a private terrace overlooking Manila Bay.
Set in place are exceptional recreational facilities such as an expansive 72-meter-long swimming pool, a fully equipped 1,300-sqaure-meter spa and fitness center, and 24/7 spa services, among others.
Targetting high stakes gamers from foreign countries who frequent casino capitals such as Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas, Solaire has made sure its casino is one of the best in the world. It offers 1,200 of the latest slot machines and close to 300 table games in a spacious casino floor, luxurious high-limit areas, private gaming salons and an outdoor-themed casino and entertainment bar. Guests can thus play their favorite games, such as Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, Pontoon, Craps, Caribeean Stud Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, Casino War, Sic Bo and Money Wheel, as much as they want.
Dining is never a problem, as restaurants have been designed around the gaming areas to make sure they’re just a few steps away. Solaire is proudly opening Fresh (a 24/7 dining facility with seven live cooking stations serving an international buffet and a la carte menu), Strip Steakhouse (a grand steakhouse that brings back the authentic steakhouse dining experience, offering nothing less than prime steaks from the United States, Australia and Europe), Red Lantern (an authentic Chinese restaurant), Finestra (a classic Italian restaurant serving pasta and pizza made from the finest ingredients imported from Italy), Yakumi (the signature Japanese restaurant featuring a sushi and robatayaki counter, two private rooms with teppan tables, and a large selection of sakes), Lucky Noodles (a bright and colorful dining place serving Asian comfort food, such as noodles and rice dishes), Dragon Bar (now serving light breakfast in the morning and pastries throughout the day, as well as cocktails and imported teas and coffees), Eclipse (a 24-hour bar with innovative cocktails and live entertainment every night), and Sunset Bar & Grill (serving light fares and fun beverages in exclusive cabañas), and, soon, Food Court (that offers a number of Asian and Western quick-serve dining choices).
On media preview day yesterday (Thursday, March 14, 2013), we got to sample what Fresh has to offer. Its seven live cooking stations were fully operational for lunch, and all its food – from the pizza, sushi and sashimi (there’s also temaki, or rolled cone-shaped makis, which I love), appetizers, cooked seafood on ice (which was teeming with prawns and lobsters), the cheese platter, soups and salads to the Chinese dim sums, popular Filipino dishes, grills (I had salmon and prawns grilled a la minute) and hot dishes, all the way to desserts) – was picture-perfect and palate-perfect, too.
The food looked good and tasted as good as they looked. Solaire’s culinary director, Chef Wolfgang Fischer, pays as much attention to food presentation as he does to the flavors that go into each dish that comes out from his kitchen.
The dessert selections, I must say, are among the most extensive among hotels offering luxurious lunch and dinner buffets. Cakes, chocolates, single-serve desserts in shot glasses, macarons de Paris in different flavors, ice cream… Name it, Solaire has it, and for a dessert-lover like me who’s also extremely fond of baking, Fresh is dessert heaven.
After a leisurely lunch at Fresh, media guests were given tours around the resort in batches and got a chance to meet Solaire’s top executives and ask them questions, too. The tour took up the whole afternoon and culminated in a Japanese dinner at Yakumi. Too bad I had to leave at mid-afternoon to catch another event taking place over at the National Museum. But from what I saw, Solaire is on track towards fulfilling its promise. With its grand opening tomorrow (March 16, 2013), the game is about to change indeed!