This was my second visit to St Regis Saadiyat for work. Having been impressed by its magnificence (and friendly staff) the first time - and it being the weekend - I decided to stay overnight. My husband joined me as we were keen to compare it with the Park Hyatt next door, which we adored (especially the Park Bar & Grill and the Beach restaurant).
Topline: the Park Hyatt has a sleeker, more grown-up designer feel - great for elegant couples - and a wilder, more beautiful stretch of beach. St Regis is better suited to families and groups and is right on the golf course. It also has a cracking Thai restaurant and an excellent if expensive steakhouse. And I think the service is slightly better. Didn't try the spa.
St Regis is a beautiful hotel and even the standard rooms are gloriously spacious and comfortable. Unfortunately it also reminded us of some things that really get on our nerves in hotels (everywhere, not just the UAE)...
ZIPPY BEDS. We chose a King over a Twin room. So we didn't expect a zippy bed. The bedding was lush and I slept well but my husband kept rolling into the inevitable dip and waking up. It's our firm belief that if a King bed consists of two beds zipped together this should either be stated at time of enquiry OR disguised with a Princess & the Pea-thick mattress topper so that you would never guess. Big fail!
ENDLESS HOUSEKEEPING CALLS. Sometimes you just want to be left alone, right? While I worked, my husband tried to watch TV, read, rest, snooze etc. Housekeeping swung by 3 times to deliver a) two chocolates b) a really unattractive white banqueting plate of fruit (apple, orange, dried apricot)) and cheap nuts c) turndown service. Why not just one call? There could have been more 5 attempted calls for all we know... but by now he'd found the Do Not Disturb sign.
UBER SERVICE. St Regis has divine, spacious bathrooms (with loads of storage for toiletry bags, hurrah) and huge egg-shaped bathtubs, super-deep, with excellent water pressure. However, no bubble bath or bath salts are provided. So my baffled husband used shower gel to get bubblicious. When I reminded him that the lady who showed us to our room said "if you would like to use the tub please call the Butler who will prepare your bubble bath for you". he said "Seriously? I thought she was joking!" The Butler service, supposedly the hotel's killer app, is a little over-hyped; when we called the Butler to make restaurant reservations there was no reply. Next day we waited so long for a response re late checkout that we had to call back to ask again. They did offer to unpack our bags though, which is nice, but when we got back from lunch 2 hours later our bags still weren't in the room so everything was creased.
POOLS WITH TOO MUCH SHADE. St Regis has an elegant adult-only navy-tiled swimming pool with jet beds, water loungers, giant hammock, massage cabana etc. It's genuinely peaceful, with a decent food and drinks menu. If you don't have children in tow this pool alone is a great reason to visit St Regis. But it's sadly mostly shaded by the hotel looming above, at least in January. Sun worshippers beware!
QUEUING FOR BREAKFAST. We must have waited 20 minutes for a breakfast table (partly because there was a 250-strong corporate group staying in the hotel). It was worth the wait though, with one of the most varied and cosmopolitan spreads we've seen. I'm ashamed to say I dipped into smoked salmon hash, turkish eggs, a zataar & feta pancake, a cheese tagine and a mango yoghurt. It was all fabulous but (apart from the freshly prepared pancake) cold as this was the end of breakfast service. It must be amazing at 9am!
UNINTUITIVE PHONE SYSTEMS. The telephone system is pretty complicated. On the upside, the lighting is much more straightforward than at, say the Shangri-La or the Fairmont.
TripAdvisor brings out the whinger in me but niggles apart, we'll definitely return. It's a gorgeous hotel and offers a thoroughly pleasant and relaxing experience.
- 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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