I have been a member of Trip Advisor for almost 6 years now and I'm usually inclined to submit a review once I'm back at home and settled into my normal routine. That way, I find that I can write a balanced and fair account of our holiday.
But today, lounging here at the The St. Regis, and currently at the adult pool area, that inclination has evaporated due simply to the good times my wife and I are experiencing every minute of our stay. Moments ago I found myself making an innocuous remark to her about our holiday, thus prompting me to reach for the iPad.
We arrived here at around 9pm last Sunday evening via a private taxi from the airport. For 70 AED (around £13) we rode (at quite some speed I might add) in a 7-series BMW and in absolute comfort. I noticed the driver changed the radio channel to BBC radio 2 in an apparent effort to make us feel at home.
20 minutes later we arrived at the hotel and were greeted by a small army of staff quite obviously intent on making our arrival here memorable. Mission accomplished. Our car doors were opened by two porters, one of whom promptly collected our luggage (double-checking he had all the pieces - a smart attention to detail) and the other greeting us warmly.
Next, a few feet away at the commanding main entrance, 2 more smartly-attired doormen opened the huge doors to the lobby with polite greetings and smiles, accompanied by a very welcoming waft of air-conditioning.
Moments later we were at the check-in desk. There was a barely noticeable and playful fight to see who could greet us first (The delightful Stephanie won the contest) and we quickly completed the necessities before a butler was summoned to take us to our room. If you decide to stay here be sure to read a little of the St. Regis legacy and the 'invention' of their signature butler service.
A tiny mix-up did occur at check-in; we were told we'd been upgraded to a sea-view room, when in fact we had already booked a 'superior sea-view room', so that was a little confusing - and for a very brief moment I thought a suite was beckoning. Not to worry.
If I was disappointed though, that quickly subsided when I walked into our room. Immediately very welcoming, beautifully lit and appointed with fine quality decor and furnishings. The bed has proven to be the most comfortable of the many we've slept in throughout our travels and the linens are sumptuous.
The bathroom/shower area is really very lovely. A deep-fill bath, an open walk-in shower and beautiful tile decor everywhere you look makes you feel very special.
We have been fortunate over the years to have stayed in some fine establishments and this year in particular have enjoyed holidays in Las Vegas (A suite at the new Aria hotel), the Turkish Mediterranean Coast (in two separate and delightful hotels) and we were most recently in a suite at the Canaves boutique hotel in Santorini, Greece.
Whilst the aforementioned all have their own unique delights, the St. Regis has a certain edge over all of these properties and for a variety of interesting reasons. One may gain clues of precisely why from reading the Trip Advisor reviews that have a clear air of authenticity (over perhaps some of the more pompous-sounding accounts) but for us, I must choose to single out a few of the staff who we have met during the first half of this holiday.
Julius, one of the butlers here is one of the most genuinely charming people I have met on our travels. I have enjoyed several conversations with him about this hotel, the typical clientele, about Abu Dhabi and about his home country of the Philippines. He was at all times honest and diplomatic (not an easy task for anyone) and a delight to converse with.
On duty at the main door each evening this week is the imposing Vlad from the Ukraine. Once again, so obviously genuine in his warmth and charm and wanting only to be sure we have everything we need and wish for to make our holiday memorable.
There is that word again - memorable - and again, mission accomplished.
Both Julius and Vlad, like many here speak excellent English putting us lazy Anglophiles to shame.
We have a little time remaining today and just two more days to go and there is little doubt that we will return. For us two seasoned travellers, It has actually proven impossible to leave this hotel and a quick explanation of why follows:
Early alarm bells ring around 6, we visit the gym around 6:45 (we are not members of a gym at home but the facility here is world-class and again, all the staff are just a delight) so it would be foolish to ignore. Even if you don't 'gym' you may use a fabulous new sauna, a steam-room or lap pool.
Breakfast at around 8:30. A complete choice and top quality food and beverage is everywhere you look at the Olea buffet.
We then spend much of our day at one of four swimming pools. The adult pool with it's shaded jacuzzi areas, classy dark blue tile and smart angled design is one of the best we've seen. Choose the huge family pool if you have children and also there is a fantastic facility for very young kids as well.
AGAIN, the staff in and around the pools are so nice. They seem to have ESP because they know you're thirsty a fraction of a second before you do yourself. They will make up your sun-lounger for you, they will move it to shade when you need it and they work very hard in the searing heat to make your stay as comfortable as possible. If its too hot, there is so much shade for you to enjoy so please don't worry.
The beach. Aside from a few stones that have in some places washed ashore - the hotel will help you with water-shoes for that eventuality - the beach here is simply beautiful. The temperature of the water is 'warm bath' and the colour of the sea is the same as you see on the web site - something of a rarity I think you'll find.
There are options for you to choose if you (for some crazy reason) feel the need to leave the hotel. Today we gave in and explored (via the free-shuttle service) the Grand Mosque. A most beautiful building with wonderful craftsmanship. It put me in mind of the Taj Mahal but on a grander scale. Details and photographs will simply fail to do justice to this awesome sight. Please be sure to visit (for free) if you come to Abu Dhabi.
There are several large shopping malls and the Ferrari World theme park, Yas Island, etc should you so desire to explore further.
Our objective for this week was simply and only relaxation - although we've very happily settled into the gym routine and thus, feel so darn good about ourselves it's been a really pleasant (almost revelatory) surprise.
If you are coming to the Emirates and want luxury, class, and a truly personal touch, then come here. Check the website for this hotel and read about the spa and the restaurants and about everything I've missed in this review.
This review is by no means exhaustive. My objective was to try and get across why this hotel has the 'edge' on others we've experienced. We very nearly didn't choose this particular destination but are so glad that we did.
Here's to our last two days. If you have any questions please feel free to message me any time. Happy holidays.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The St. Regis Saadiyat Island is your new address in Abu Dhabi overlooking either Saadiyat's pristine beach or the impressive Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, designed by the golfing legend, Gary Player. The resort provides unparalleled accommodations and service along with food and beverage outlets that provide sumptuous meals and refreshing drinks. ... more less
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