As soon as we arrived the concierge took my car keys while a porter took our luggage. The check-in was as it should be: efficient, effortless and fast. A comfortable sofa to sit on, along with a complimentary drink and cold towel, while paperwork was being completed was a great way to ease into relaxed resort mode.
We were a little early for the room, so opted to have lunch at the Trilogy Restaurant overlooking the pool. I chose a Wagyu Steak Burger with foie gras and caramelised onions for a tasty but fairly light lunch. My partner went for a traditional Pad Thai. Although at opposite ends of the culinary spectrum, both were cooked to perfection.
After lunch, we headed up to our 6th floor room to change and then on to the 350 sqm. Sanctuary spa for a 30 minute body scrub, followed by a 90 minute deep tissue oil massage. I didn’t realise how badly I needed that, after an extra-stressful week at the office! Pure heaven – and so relaxing that I nodded off a few times and had to be gently woken up to change positions.
If you have time, you might want to explore Dream Sanctuary’s “Five signature journeys… to awaken the soul and senses for total mind and body transformation”. Whichever way you look at it, a team of friendly professionals ready to pamper you is indeed something to be treasured.
It’s amazing how quickly the time passes when there’s such variety in your day. We found our room to be perfectly balanced, offering simple relaxation, yet with a fresh, minimalist feel to it – but we spent so little time there! Our next brief visit to the room was to dress for cocktails at VU Rooftop Bar. This is THE best place to be to sip cocktails at sunset.
Our plan to dine at VU was changed by a brief, but untimely, tropical shower. No problem! Guests at Dream enjoy abundant dining choices: VU, with an easy-eat menu and chill music, Trilogy Restaurant with extensive evening menu and middle-of-the-road music, Indulge – a gentleman’s bar downstairs with a tapas menu and jazz / blues tunes. And of course, there’s a full 24-hour à la carte room service option, or even your own private chef cooking in your room – which comes equipped with oven and counter top with crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils provided on request.
We relocated to the ground floor to Indulge wine lounge for dinner. I started off with a bourbon-based Dream signature cocktail called Naked, while my partner had a Dreamosa, a concoction of Tanqueray gin, orange basil, Thai syrup, lime juice and sparkling wine. We kicked off dinner with a flavoursome Lobster Bisque and for main course we both ordered a medium/rare Rack of Lamb, accompanied by a wine sauce and garden vegetables. Dessert was coffee and a Tiramisu for me and the Thai classic dessert, Mango and Sticky Rice for my partner.
The décor was very much old traditional gentlemen’s club style, with comfy leather chairs and loungers, a cigar cabinet and a meeting room adjoining. All of the restaurants had extensive wine, champagne, spirits and beer menus.
The night was still young and we heard from the staff that there was a visiting group of 240 sailors partying at Dream Beach, so we decided to tag along and took the Dream BMW to Dream Beach. They are in the process of importing a traditional Filipino ‘Jeepnie’ for guest transport to and from Dream Beach, which will make for a more colourful option for the short hop.
Dream Beach was throbbing when we arrived, with a mix of DJ chill music and DJ backed by a brilliant saxophone player, who hopped onto the bar impromptu and played along with the tunes. The pool was full of dancing guests having a great time. The venue soaked up these 240 guests and more with ease and could easily handle at least double that before it would start to feel a bit crowded.
We ended our night at around midnight and took the complimentary transport back to the hotel for our first real chance to explore our room.
In our absence, the bed had been turned down, slippers and a mat placed just where needed and a complimentary packet of dried fruits on hand. We discovered that we could dial in a ‘Dream music programme’ with music on request including Chill, Contemporary, Classical and Jazz. The Dream team sets up an iPod and docking station in your room and your selection is played at turndown service in the evening.
Another cool feature was the opportunity to choose your style of pillow – so to avoid that next-morning painful crick in the neck. Available options included buckwheat (remains cooler than down/fibre or foam pillows), neck (posture shaped), cotton (soft and gentle) and non-allergenic (synthetic hollow-fill microfiber). We chose the cotton pillows which, together with the impressively comfortable ‘memory foam’ mattress, gave us a perfect night’s sleep.
When it comes to hotel rooms these days, the finer touches make all the difference. The dual control air-conditioning was a bonus, together with the ceiling fans. We were able to set the air-conditioning temperature fairly high and the fans on low speed – a good combination. But we were caught in a quandary: stay in our luxurious room and enjoy the amenities, including the large made-for-two stone bath tub, standing alone in the middle of the open bathroom, or go out and enjoy all the other amenities Dream has to offer. I am glad all my decisions are not so difficult!
A choice had to be made – it was morning now and breakfast beckoned, so we reluctantly dragged ourselves out of bed at around 9.30 and headed off to Trilogy. I enjoyed a big à la carte big breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs, bacon, hash browns, fried cherry tomatoes, toast and coffee. My more restrained and health-conscious partner was happy to be served yogurt with cereal, fruit, juice and tea. Each to his or her own…
One thing we noticed throughout both the beach club and the resort was the careful attention given to an even floor, with no tricky, hard-to-see dips and rises. Both places are disabled-friendly, with ramps where needed. There are also special room facilities for guest with impaired mobility. Doors are wide and lifts are strategically located.
Out of curiosity, I asked to see a dedicated room specifically set up close to reception for those with mobility difficulties. The doors were sliding, there were ample rails in the bathroom and plenty of turning space, with phones handy on the wall. There are a lot of smart things going on at Dream, not directed to any particular age group. Every detail is dedicated to the guests’ wellbeing, no matter who you are.
Checkout time was midday so we had time for a last swim and relax at the poolside bar. Not being daytime drinkers, we opted for a couple of fruit smoothies – a Mango a Go Go and an Orangasm, both enjoyed while we were partly submerged on our bar stools in the pool. We then transitioned to the poolside, partly-submerged loungers and then to the poolside salas to make sure we had our fill of relaxation before returning to our room. We looked at, but didn’t try, the well-equipped gym… there’s only so much time in a day.
Back to our room for a final freshen up and a dip in a frothy bath full of bath salts for 30 minutes or so and we were ready to check out. We must have packed in three days of activities in just one day and night, yet still felt totally relaxed and refreshed. We definitely felt like we’d had a good, albeit short, break from reality at Dream – where the staff were knowledgeable, personable, courteous and, although unobtrusive, always there when needed.
Fond memories and good experiences travel well – and we took a number of each away with us.