Bling it on: St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island

Introduction
British Airways Terraces Lounge Seattle
British Airways First Class Seattle to London Heathrow
Emirates Lounge London Heathrow (after a surprise!)
Emirates First Class London Heathrow to Dubai
Grosvenor House Dubai
Afternoon tea in the Skyview Bar at Burj Al Arab
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Qasr Al Sarab
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Abu Dhabi to New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK
Cathay Pacific First Class New York JFK to Vancouver


The St. Regis is basically right next door to the Park Hyatt and while I was ideally only planning on spending two nights on Saadiyat Island, I figured it was worth spending an extra night to experience the St. Regis. The St. Regis is a category five Starwood property, and cash & points was available, so my stay cost just 4,800 Starpoints plus $90USD for the night.

We took a taxi from the Park Hyatt, which took all of two minutes. We would have walked though the area isn’t really walkable with luggage, but a taxi was cheap enough.

The design of the St. Regis is much different than that of the Park Hyatt. While the Park Hyatt felt very “Arabian,” the St. Regis looked a bit more conventional, like a nice resort in Hawaii. I also noticed just how massive the St. Regis compound is. While the hotel is already huge at 377 rooms, it felt even bigger, in my opinion.


St. Regis exterior


St. Regis exterior

Once at the hotel we turned right towards check-in. Much like the outside of the hotel, the lobby felt much more conventional than the Park Hyatt.


Lobby

As is the case at many St. Regis properties, check-in formalities are taken care of while sitting down, and we were offered cold towels by a butler during the process. The agent claimed no suite upgrades were available, so we were offered a seaview room. I won’t get into this in too much detail as I covered it in a previous post, so instead I’ll just share a summary.

Platinum members are entitled to the best available “standard” suite, which is defined by each hotel. Before my stay I was considering using a Platinum suite night award, and noticed it would allow me to confirm into a St. Regis Suite or Ocean Suite. My interpretation of the T&Cs suggested that if a hotel offered a room through a suite night award then it falls within the categorization of a “standard suite.”

I decided not to use a suite night award, since there were lots (9+) of Ocean Suites left for sale, and I figured I’d save a suite night award for when an upgrade otherwise looked unlikely. Basically the hotel said that they were out of St. Regis Suites and only had Ocean Suites, except those were only available when using a suite night award. Guess I learned that the hard way, since I would have used a suite night award if I knew a Platinum upgrade couldn’t have otherwise gotten me into the suite. So while I can appreciate that hotels are actually making better than standard suites available to Platinum members using suite night awards, I do wish they’d clarify which suites are standard upfront.

Anyway, we were allocated a sea view room on the 6th floor. I felt like the hallways and rooms were decorated kind of like a slightly-past-its-prime Hawaii hotel (which is odd since the hotel just opened) or even a bit like a cruise ship.


Hallway

Maybe I’m just not a huge fan of wood finishings, but the room just felt a bit “bleh” for a brand new, glitzy property in the UAE. The room was a decent size with a small table near the entrance, king size bed (which was extremely comfortable, by the way), and day bed.


Sea view room


Sea view room


Flat screen TV

On the table was a welcome amenity of fruit.


Welcome amenity

Just past the day bed was a small balcony with two chairs and a view of the hotel’s pools and the Gulf.


Balcony


View from the balcony


View from the balcony

Both the highlight and most puzzling part of the room had to be the bathroom, which was as long as the rest of the room. At the very end of the bathroom was a tub, then a sink, then the walk-in shower, then a sink, then the toilet/bidet.


Bathroom


Tub


Sink


Shower


Toilet/bidet

A few minutes after arriving we ordered some tea, which is complimentary at St. Regis hotels 24/7. It was late afternoon which meant jetlag was getting the best of me, so it was a great caffeine source.


Complimentary tea

I eventually got a call from the assistant front office manager who had heard I wasn’t happy with my room. I explained my interpretation of the rules, and while she indicated that this hotel only offers Ocean Suites to those using suite night awards (wish I had known that before), she offered to move us nonetheless. I usually wouldn’t move for a one night stay, though for the sake of reviewing different room types I figured it was worthwhile.

The Ocean Suite was on the other side of the sixth floor.

The suite was big and decorated in a similar way to the previous room.

At the entrance was the living room with a desk, sofa, and dining room table.


Living room


Living room


Desk


Dining table/couch

The living room connected to the bedroom via a set of doors, though there was also a vanity mirror blocking a direct view of the bed.


Entrance to bedroom


Bedroom


Bedroom looking towards living room

Oddly I kind of preferred the bathroom in the standard room, since it had windows and a tub facing the sea, while this one didn’t have any windows. It was spacious nonetheless, with double sinks, a tub, shower, and toilet/bidet.


Bathroom


Double sinks


Shower


Toilet/bidet

The highlight of the room was probably the double balconies overlooking the Gulf.


Main balcony


Bedroom balcony


View from balcony

Maybe I’m off base, but given that this is a St. Regis (a generally glitzy brand) in the UAE (probably the world’s glitziest country), I thought the room was remarkably blank. Would be curious to hear what you guys think.

After that it was off to go exploring the hotel. Like I said, it was massive, so that took a while!


Hotel from near beach


View of Gulf from hotel

I’m fascinated by the number of decorative bodies of water between here and the Park Hyatt, as one of the hotel’s restaurants was surrounded by something that apparently wasn’t a pool. Who knew?


Decorative pond

The pool was large and quite busy in the afternoon, though I didn’t actually end up swimming, as we instead opted to go into Abu Dhabi.


Pool


Pool


Pool… I think. Or another decorative body of water?

The hotel also has one of the most amazing gyms I’ve seen, though it’s located in a separate building which I think is actually connected to the residences.


Walk to gym

The gym was huge, and featured an indoor lap pool, racquetball courts, and as much equipment as a membership gym back home.


Lap pool


Gym


Gym


Racquetball court

There was also a really spacious jacuzzi.


Jacuzzi

As a Platinum member breakfast was included (or rather an option as a welcome amenity) at Turquoiz, the hotel’s main restaurant. We decided to eat outside, given that it was a beautiful morning.


Turquoiz


Turquoiz

No words can do the breakfast spread justice. I’ve experienced some amazing hotel breakfast spreads in my life. But this spread was downright ridiculous.

It was so outrageously massive that I nearly had a panic attack. As I usually do, I first toured the entire buffet (this one should have had mile markers, in my opinion, as it was easy to get lost), and then as usual selected some stuff for my first plate. However, I did something for the first time ever — I only returned with a couple of pieces of fruit, because I simply couldn’t decide where to start. I was flustered. I was frustrated. I was about to lose it.

This buffet makes the menu at the Cheesecake Factory look like the menu at In-N-Out (worry not, I’ll keep my day job!).


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet

Anyway, on the whole this is a nice resort, though I think I prefer the Park Hyatt. The breakfast buffet here was amazing, though I just wish it felt a bit less Hawaiian and a bit more Arabian.

Comments

  1. Antonio says

    Are you sure that was a jacuzzi? It looks more like an ice-cold plunge pool to me. Did you touch the water?

  2. Dan says

    Also, it seems your photo (though its a little tough to judge depth) of the squash court may actually be a racquetball court. The former has a ‘shallower’ field of play.

  3. lucky says

    @ Antonio — Didn’t touch it, though the guy giving me the tour specifically said it was a jacuzzi. Looked like a plunge pool to me too.

  4. Wendy says

    The pics of the breakfast buffet are making me hungry. Did you bring any of the Pecan Rolls home? I’m craving them since I saw them on the buffet. I’m too lazy to go make them from scratch the way my niece does. I drive 2 1/2 hours each way to her house on Thanksgiving and Christmas just to get a pecan roll.

  5. James K. says

    Lucky, you had it right in the first place . I play squash and that’s a textbook squash court.

    Not that it matters at all, but google both terms if you don’t believe me.

  6. Nathaniel says

    That may be the best comparison ever, as a fan of both the Cheesecake factory and In N Out.

  7. ffi says

    Lucky
    You should try out the La Meridien Giza when things settle down
    There were 3 separate areas with cuisines
    Continental, Egyptian and Asian
    This ones looks like as many choices

  8. Lcuky says

    Completely agree. It looks like a cruise ship in the hallways. Hotel exterior looks like a mid-rise apt building. Bleh.

  9. DeltaATLTraveler says

    It reminds me of a British Colonial room from many years ago, albeit with modern comforts. They didn’t do a good job blending traditional wood paneling and contemporary furniture/colors. It is dark and lacks warmth in the space.

    One has to be careful when using wood paneling or they’ll make the room feel like a washed out study in a beautiful home or in this case, a 1980’s Cruise Ship with a much nicer bathroom.

  10. Chris says

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s definitely a squash court, which is recognizable by its shorter length and service boxes. Definitely a cool feature.

    Also, there is a fairly comparable (though not quite as extensive) spread at the Tambo Del Inka near Machu Picchu in Peru, which is a hotel I would highly recommend taking up sometime. It’s a category 4 Luxury Collection property that acts like a St. Regis in many ways.

  11. says

    I didn’t know about free tea anytime at all st Regis? That’s pretty nice, I’ve been doing mostly hyatt this year. St Regis just seems like a big waste of points. Usually 20K and 8K plus 150 is not too appealing. 22K for hyatt is a lot more appealing.

  12. lucky says

    @ mary e. — Yes, it was about $50USD with service charge.

    @ RomsdeAls — Yep, standard offering at all St. Regis properties.

  13. Peter says

    Lucky, thanks for the review. You used “the Gulf” in the review, however the correct (in historical sense) name is “the Persian Gulf”. I would like to ask to please correct that in your review if you don’t mind. I’ve been hearing “the Gulf” from most of the arab countries but it’s simply not accurate.

  14. Kevin says

    Jeff, SPG probably was one of the first in the hospitality industry to dedicate someone (StarwoodLurker) to be active with their users online before Facebook or Twitter were part of the mainstream. Now with many companies relying on social media a quick tweet or post on a corporate Facebook website can garner some quick attention. Sadly as I think other SPG Plats will say sometimes hotels are not upfront when it comes to Platinum upgrades. In this case lucky knew the rules and he called the hotel out on it.

  15. Craig says

    Squash court. You can tell by the glass back wall not being connected to the ceiling and the “tin” below the bottom red line.

    Cheesecake factory? You eat there? When you’re in the U.S., you have to lay off the chains! Get some local food! Haha JK

  16. TheBeerHunter says

    LOL “though for the sake of reviewing different room types I figured it was worthwhile” (to switch to the suite)

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Lucky. What a trooper ;)

  17. jay says

    @kevin – no, lucky was wrong (as he omitted)… the gave him another upgrade for customer service reasons, not because they were at fault.

    i’m miffed that some people still haven’t gotten it yet. SNAs and standard suites can pull from different buckets. how many more times do you have to have it explained?

  18. sjs says

    Funny that y’all are already having the discussion – opened up to post that it was a squash court, not a racquetball court!

  19. morris says

    Lucky-
    Sorry just curious, will you being do a full TR from your trip down to Chile and South America? I remember the solo posts on your issues in the W Santiago – but a full TR i’m guessing would be super interesting…

  20. lucky says

    @ morris — For the time being I’ve only reviewed the hotels since I was just there for a few nights. I hope to return to South America for longer in February on LAN’s 787, and plan on writing a more detailed destination post at that point.

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