The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi: Review

The St Regis Saadiyat Island, located on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, is the luxury brand’s first property in the emirate and the region. In true St Regis style, the resort captures nuances of its location throughout the property. At the St Regis Saadiyat Island, guests are welcomed with a splendid view of the Arabian Ocean, as the hotel lobby overlooks the sea, while various design elements of the sea have been captured in flooring patterns depicting seaweed.

This St Regis property truly reflects what Saadiyat Island is poised to become – opulent and beautiful. In the years to come, the island will be home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim labs and a host of other developments, including luxury villas, the second Monte Carlo beach club in the world, and more.

At the hotel, we were welcomed and ushered straight into our rooms as St Regis offers in-room check-in service where all the necessary formalities are done in the comforts of our room. First impressions – From the moment we landed in Abu Dhabi, St Regis has kicked in its top-notch service as we were seated and driven to the hotel in a Mercedes S-class from the airport. This is an added service for those who like to arrive in style and can be availed at Dh250 ($68). We were impressed by the staff they were very polite and took utmost care in making our stay as comfortable as possible. We were offered a complimentary fruit plate upon check-in and a pair of milk chocolates on the side of the bed in the evening.

Rooms – We stayed at the hotel’s Superior Sea View Room, overlooking the resort’s outdoor pool and the Saadiyat Golf course. The serenely decorated rooms complement the neutral beach palette with cool browns, cream, and sand. Modern, clean-lined furnishings create a comfortable and inviting space while state-of-the-art technology, including a 42-inch flat-screen television, iPod docking station, and complimentary Wi-Fi, are available to all guests. Comfort is key as guests retire on a signature St Regis bed topped with opulent 300-thread-count linens, feather-down comforters, and plump feather pillows. Each room (55sqm – 60 sqm) has an individual terrace with chairs and a table overlooking breathtaking views of the turquoise blue ocean.

The rooms offer spacious marble bathrooms with double stone sinks, an oversized bathtub with views over the golf course, separate centralized rainforest showers, and premier Remède bath amenities. A fully stocked refreshment center and always-on-call St Regis Butler.

One of St Regis trademarks, the butler service ensures guests have everything they desire, from packing or unpacking, preparing a cup of perfectly brewed coffee to fix you a bubble bath, or planning an itinerary for a day in the city.

Leisure – There’s plenty to do for guests at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Golf aficionados can make use of the 18-hole Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club course, which caters to players of all levels, it is one of the most challenging and rewarding golf courses in the world.

Guests also have access to five pools across the property, ranging from an outdoor adults-only pool to a family pool to both indoor and outdoor lap pools and a children’s pool. The indoor lap pool might be ideal for those trying to escape the scorching midday sun. The heated pool is overlooked by the health club.

For the kids, the Sandcastle Club is an adventurous play area offering activities tailored for younger guests. Set within a themed cave with play areas, a sandpit, and an outdoor pool, the club is ideal for kids up to the age of 12. A nanny service can also be arranged.

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Highly Recommended – The Saadiyat beach, with its pristine white sands and sparkling blue waters, is a must-visit for all guests with its pristine white sands with sparkling blue waters. Available exclusively to resort guests or members of The St. Regis Athletic Club, beach facilities include food and beverage service from the pool and beach menu, which can be enjoyed while watching the sunset on the complimentary beach beds and beach cabanas. The resort also offers several beach activities, including volleyball, beach soccer, bodyboarding, and surfing.

Spa – A definite high on our to-do list at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort would be to experience the Iridium Spa. With 12 treatment suites, including couples treatment rooms and three themed Spa Suites with private terraces, time comes to a standstill as you enter this sanctuary.

The three specialty suites come themed as the Thai Suite, with bamboo and jade, the Moroccan Suite with rich gold and bronze glass and metals, and the Contemporary Suite with white fur, leather, and modern crystal. The suites offer customized interiors and amenities and a spacious living room, bedroom, and expansive bathroom. Other features include a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a well-appointed refreshment center, making it the perfect choice for a couples weekend getaway or a bridal party. The St Regis Butler Service and the 24-hour Private Dining services are available to guests at these spa enclaves.

At the Spa, we chose to experience the Iridium Signature massage, a results-oriented massage with deep-tissue work which incorporates penetrating kneading techniques, cross-grain strokes, and trigger-point releases. The pressure can be adjusted to our requirements. The treatment, which lasts close to 70 minutes, was extremely soothing and relaxing. Post-treatment, guests can access the Spa’s steam and sauna room and the Jacuzzi – lit to depict the night sky. The Experience Shower was an experience in itself, with four mammoth LED-lit rain showers and side showers.

Dining – Dining at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is an experience in itself. With six worldly dining venues, guests are spoilt for choice. The Manhattan Lounge, the social hub of the resort serves up some bespoke beverages including the hotel’s Signature Bloody Mary Cocktail – the Arabian Snapper.

The resort’s signature venue, the 55&5th Grill, is a classic grill and lounge and inspired by the original St Regis New York address. With private dining rooms, an exclusive cellar, complete with Jazz music, cigars, and bespoke service, guests can experience some true Manhattan-style epicurean cuts. Some of its renowned main dishes include Wagyu 72-Hour Braised Short Rib, Saddle of Rabbit, and notably a specialty menu of Vintage Aged Beef, featuring both grass-fed and grain-fed beef. The decor is grand, with soft blue lights, bubble chandeliers, and live classical and jazz music.

For vegetarians like myself, Chef Lee recommended some fresh Taleggio Agnolotti, which was delectable, and I finished off dinner with a classic, perfectly made Chocolate Soufflé.

At the Sontaya, the experience takes a 360-degree turn. With its indoor/outdoor dining, with pavilions that float amidst interconnected pools, the restaurant brings South East Asia’s finest to the table. From dishes like Singaporean Pot Stickers and Char-grilled Satay, Malaysian Sambal Seafood to Crispy Duck to Green Prawn Curry to Wok-Fried Lobster, the menu does not disappoint. We highly recommend some of their exotic cocktails like the ‘Jasmine essence, basil, and gin cocktail,’ which you might not find on the menu!

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Situated on the lobby level, The Drawing Room serves the timeless Afternoon Tea, another St Regis institution founded by Caroline Astor, mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV, the founder of the original St Regis in New York. Comfortable and elegant, the Drawing Room is open for its fine teas paired with some classic savories like petite sandwiches, freshly baked scones, pastries, and petit fours, all presented impeccably by signature St Regis Butlers. With its location on the lobby level, guests can enjoy this time-honored culture with stunning views overlooking the resort pool and ocean beyond.

Turquoiz is the resort’s beachfront café with rustic stone walls and Barasti-influenced wooden ceilings. The restaurant offers various seafood specialties, including local produce, light meals, and snacks cooked simply with passion and expertise.

The resort’s all-day dining Olea is located at the lower lobby level of the resort, overlooking the resort’s pools while opening up to the restaurant’s outdoor stone dining terrace. The Olea is designed to reflect the sea waves outside in a three-dimensional wave molding that sits above the restaurant’s live cooking stations. Breakfast is a grand affair at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, with a lavish spread of Continental, American, British and Arabian favorites, including an à la carte menu to cater to your requirements. We were extremely pleased with our made-to-order vegetable grilled sandwiches. Olea also serves up a grand lunch and dinner buffet which includes Mediterranean-influenced dishes.

Olea can be accessed through the hotel’s grand staircase at lobby level, another St Regis trademark feature seen in several of its properties. Just like at its other properties, the staircase has no support column.

To splurge – The Resort is also home to its royal Suite, the largest hotel suite in the UAE. Spread across 2,100 sq m, this mammoth double-story, four-bedroom Royal Suite occupies the top two floors of the resort’s west wing and is priced at Dh130,000 ($35,000) per night. Inspired by the Sea, the Royal Suite features a warm earth-toned palette with sea mist, teal, and blue shades. Guests enter its palatial living room with a Steinway grand piano before stepping into the regal 12-seater dining room with grand views of the ocean. A stunning spiral staircase with a reflective water feature at its base takes you to the master bedroom, which takes up the entire lower level with a private balcony offering ocean views. A room also features a spacious bathroom with a walk-in double shower, ocean-facing bathtub, an expansive walk-in closet and dressing area, a Spa room, and a sauna. On the upper level are three individual bedrooms, a private study, a mini-cinema, a games room outfitted with a billiard table, and an outdoor swimming pool. An additional airport pick-up service in a Bentley is available for guests at an added cost of Dh800 ($217).

Did you know – Each of St Regis properties boasts a unique fragrance that welcomes the guests. When we asked the hotel staff about it, they said it was a secret, but it smelled like a mixture of some fresh scents with Arabian musk from what we could make out.

The address – The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, P.O. Box 54345 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Phone – (971)(2) 4988888
Web – St Regis, Saadiyat Island Resort.

Chef Lee from 55&5th Grill strikes a pose at the Restaurant’s entrance.

The view from the room balcony.

The indoor lap pool

Sontaya Restaurant

The Luxe factor is

9 Rooms
10 Location
9 Service
8 Value for Money
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