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“Great Hotel but horrible restaurant and service needs improvement”

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The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Ranked #31 of 127 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 October 2012

We stayed at the hotel during the soft opening and recently last week (Eid Holiday Oct, 2013). The room is fabulous, well-furnished and beds are very comfortable. Bathrooms are awesome. Hotel Staff are very pleasant and always keen to help. The beach is beautiful with sift sand and clear waters. There is a just a strip of rocks as you enter the water but it is good on both sides of that narrow strip, wear water shoes to help.
The Thai restaurant is great, excellent service and food.
The three areas that they desperately need improving are:
1- Turquoise Restaurant: this is a recently opened and very nicely situated restaurant close to the beach. Outdoor seating is nice. If you were a teenager with a great love for loud techno music , this place is right for you. If you were not and appreciate the serenity of the beautiful setting of the restaurant then you would find it not just annoying but a painful experience. the service was nothing short of horrible. It took close to 2 hours to get our main course! A great contrast to the rest of what the hotel has to offer. The restaurant seems lacking in identity. Part of it wants to be a bar and part of it wants to be a nicely dressed romantically set sea food beach restaurant.
2- Hotel operator: Calling from the room is hopeless. The rings time out and I get disconnected several times but with persistence , the call gets finally answered after several attempts and long wait.
3- Bell boy service: granted our arrival was during a busy weekend, but after the bell boy insisted strongly to take our luggage on check-in and assured us that the bags will be there minutes after we check in, it took over 45 minutes to get. This is even after I called down and asked them not to bother as I would go down and pick it up myself. When I finally went down , I found the bags were not there as they had just dispatched them to the room.

All in all we love the hotel and setting and management assured us that our comments will be addressed. We will go again and report. I highly recommend the place,

Room Tip: Sea View, central section. Make sure you go to the beach early to resrve a spot. You can leave the...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank gizmoguycdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.
Thank you for recognizing our staff and the dining experience at Sontaya, our Southeast Asian restaurant. I would also like to extend my sincere apologies for the shortfalls experienced in service in some areas. We constantly strive to improve guest experience and your feedback is highly appreciated. Rest assured, your stay with us next time will be excellent in every aspect.
We are looking forward to your return.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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1,804 - 1,810 of 2,553 reviews

Reviewed 29 October 2012

I’m not sure, if it’s us or whether all the other guests at this hotel faced the same issues. it could very well be because we were there over a very busy period that these issues were faced, but nonetheless, below is an overview of our stay.

We checked in on 25th October – 1 day before the Eid holidays – and spent 1 night there only. At check-in, we were told that the non-smoking king size bedrooms were not available. The only room they could offer us was a twin bed in a smoking room – not good if you are travelling with an 8 month pregnant wife. After showing the lady at the check-in desk our reservation email, she reluctantly went to the front desk manager who then was able to arrange a room as per our booking on the condition that we checked out by 11am the next day – 1 hour before the required checkout time. As we were excited to be there, we accepted.

The room was excellent. With all the modern amenities and an fabulous size. We stayed in room 582. We didn’t use the butler service as we weren’t informed of it at check-in – the checkout desk clerk asked us about it and that’s the first we learnt of the service.

On reaching the beach, we asked if there were any deck chairs for us and we were told that they had all been taken and the staff couldn’t organise anything on the beach, but they could get us a few chairs around the main pool. We declined and decided to put our towels on the sand. While doing so, we found a few chairs which were unoccupied and promptly took possession. While on the beach, the staff didn’t come to offer us any drinks/ menu/ water etc.
The beach, generally has a wonderfully white sand – but you have to be careful as there are well camouflaged rocks hiding there. The waterbed too has a few rocks, but once you are about 10 feet in, the rocks disappear. So not much of an issue here.

The shisha around the adult pool was probably the best I've ever had. Very smooth and you didn’t have to call the attendant to replenish the coal – he was always there. Recommendation for the adult pool – get there early to enjoy the cabanas – these get booked out very quickly.

We had dinner at the 55 and 5th restaurant. My wife and our friends ordered the 55 and 5th steak sauce to accompany the steaks after checking with the server that it was a peppercorn based sauce. What they received was a Thai chilli sauce. On objecting, the restaurant assistant manager came around and told us that the Thai chilli sauce was the 55 and 5th steak sauce. We then asked for a different sauce. A while later, when we had almost finished our meal, the original server approached us with a peppercorn sauce and said that the 55 and 5th steak sauce wasn’t available on the day due to some missing ingredients. We were really upset with these events and called for the manager. The manager was apologetic about the entire event saying that she too wasn’t aware that the ingredients were missing and the sauce not available. When we said we’d like to lodge a formal complaint, she offered us a 25% discount on the food items. I must add here that the steaks themselves were excellent.

The next morning, we checked out without much further issue and were given special rights to use the premises for the rest of the day. the brunch was brilliant – excellent food quality spread over 6/7 different cuisines. That afternoon we headed back to Dubai.

On the 28th, while checking my credit card statement, I found that the hotel had charged me an extra Dhs 1,200. We have spoken and written to the hotel, but as of yet, we haven’t received any response from them.

Overall, the facilities are excellent. The service – what we received was extremely variable – either excellent or very poor. I would probably return to the hotel – but only because I am willing to give them the benefit of doubt that it was a very busy weekend for the hotel.

Room Tip: check out the adult pool - its an excellent place to relax
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Kabsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2012

Thank you for taking the time to post a detailed account of your stay with us. Whilst I am glad to read that you enjoyed and appreciated our facilities, I do apologize for the shortfalls you experienced with service. It was indeed a busy weekend at the resort but that is no excuse.
With regard to the charge, if it hasn’t been resolved, please do not hesitate to contact me at StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com, and I will be happy to personally look into the matter.
I’m confident that your next stay with us will be seamless in every aspect; and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome you again.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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Reviewed 28 October 2012

Have just spent a very pleasant two nights at the St. Regis Saadiyat island. As it was the Eid holiday the hotel was fully booked and given its size that meant a lot of guests. The staff were all very well trained and the service was first rate. The restaurants are excellent and it is also very child friendly.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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Thank GideonR199
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, Front Office Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2012

Dear Gideon,

I am pleased to read you had an excellent stay with us during the Eid holidays. Thank you for your appreciation of our staff, our biggest asset that sets us apart.
Thank you for your review and I am looking forward to welcome you back.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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Reviewed 28 October 2012

currently staying at the Shangri-La and decided to come back for new year so headed out to saadiyaat to try the st regis for dinner. sadly disappointed with the whole customer experience which was non existent. There was no-one on the door to greet us so had to look for reception. Went to ask if we could eat there to be told everywhere is fully booked and why dont we try the Hyatt!!! this was at 10pm. having leaned over the atrim to see plenty of tables free we went and found someone else who then found us a table. On arriving downstairs there was no explanation of how the buffet works etc and the opportunity was completely missed to show us round so we could book our next stay. As a Head of C.E. myself maybe my standards are high but I expected much more.....

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank nickihus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2012

Dear Nicki,

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.
I apologize for the shortfalls in service during your recent dining experienced with us. At our property we continuously strive to offer exceptional levels of service, which in this case it appears we have failed to deliver. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues further with you and can be contacted at
StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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Reviewed 27 October 2012

Just had one fabulous night in a St Regis suite, but came away feeling so relaxed and pampered.
The staff are very attentive and super friendly, nothing is too much trouble.
Our stay was at the beginning of Eid, so the hotel was really busy, but the service was impeccable.
Dined in Sontaya and it was superb. The ambience, the staff and the food all top notch.
Breakfast buffet equally superb. Can't fault this hotel and can't wait to escape there for another breakaway.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank bearclan04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.
Thank you for your kind review as you have indeed managed to capture and experience the essence of our resort’s Mediterranean ease. I’m glad that you could unwind and relax during your stay with us.
I am sure upon your return you will enjoy Turquoiz, our latest addition. Turquoiz is a vibrant beach restaurant and lounge that affords amazing sunset views and serves a large selection of fresh seafood.
We look forward to welcoming you back very soon.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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Reviewed 27 October 2012

We are a family with two children under two and so traveling is such a hassle that it is easier to stay home... But, we decided to give this place a try as they have a children's area however, they don't put enough information about this on their website--so, we were uncertain as to what we would get. IT IS PERFECT AND WONDERFUL FOR YOUNG CHILDREN. Sorry about the all caps, but I want to emphasize it!!! it is set up in such a way that we could enjoy time with our little ones instead of being body guards saying 'don't go there, don't touch that... etc" We even booked a couple of hours of their baby sitting service so daddy and i could have a cheeky cocktail or too in the lovely and serene adult pool area. Would LOVE to go back, having said that, it may be a while as it is really quite expensive. Breakfast buffet is stunning with high quality food. You can tell that the place is exceptionally well-managed. We live in Dubai and we are familiar with the cycle of great places that start off well with trained staff and then deteriorate as they try to employ cheaper, less-qualified staff. Not the case here. I just wish they were a bit cheaper--it is really expensive.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank newmamaagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2012

Thank you for your feedback and I am glad you took the time to enjoy our facilities, especially the Sandcastle Club with your children. The team at our children’s club will be very pleased with your kind recommendation.
I am also delighted to read that you utilized our baby-sitting service which allowed you some time to yourself at the adult pool.
We look forward to welcoming your family and you for another indelible stay.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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Reviewed 26 October 2012

We arrived 10am. Waiting for rooms till 4pm. No access to swimming polls and no solution from management. We have left the hotel and our vacation was spoiled. management has no idea about customers satisfaction and how to handle. Very disappointed.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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8  Thank tfarouk_99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John_Pelling, General Manager at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2012

Dear Farouk,

I am truly disappointed to read your comments and of course I am sorry for the shortfalls in service experienced during your recent visit.
You have a dim view of the hotel which is regretful and I would welcome an opportunity to discuss further with you. I can be contacted at StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com and I will attempt to change your view.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Address: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #31 of 127 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: £233 - £1,127 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 377
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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