Stayed at the St. Regis for a short weekend break. Very nice architecture (love the huge window wall in the lobby, allowing great views of the garden and sea) and tasteful interior design. Swift and very professional check-in process. Room was a sea view room with a balcony overlooking the pool area. All standard amenities for a 5-star hotel chain of this reputation in place, though the room seemed to be prepared for one guest instead of two seeing that there was only 1 small piece of the bathroom amenities (showergel etc.) provided. Funny was the "welcome" letter on the desk which was addressed to a different guest. What was less funny though was for us to find a previous guest's clothes and dirty laundry in our closet, with the laundry form incl. name still attached to it (though it was a different name than the one on the wrong welcome letter)... Called the butler who came and provided the explanation that the clothes were of a guest who stays in the hotel for longer and leaves his things in storage. Neither the butler nor lateron at check-out the receptionist seemed to be particularly bothered by the fact that their long-term guests clothes were not put in storage but actually kept in a room that was rented out, risking the privacy of their guest and also his property as it's not clear who else could have had access to the things. The fact that the laundry form was also 1 day old and the laundry clearly hadn't been done yet, was also not very reassuring. As someone who frequently also stays for extended periods in the same hotel and putting things in storage, I have to say this is a major let-down of a hotel of this reputation- something like that simply shouldn't happen.
The hotel, pool and entire area were generally very clean and well-kept. The children's pool is fantastic, keeping some other pools to adults only and thus providing some peace and quiet. I noticed also that the lifeguards actually do their job and request guests to stick to the rules for the pools, rather than only watching on as they do in so many other properties, which was very reassuring.
A surprising thing though was the beach. As previous guests have noted, only a small area (where the deck chairs are) has been cleaned and the way to the water is littered with many stones and partially also debris and garbage (eg, construction debris like broken marble tiles). While I understand that often in the UAE beaches are public and hotels only get to cordon off a certain area for hotel guests, I would expect of a luxury hotel to nevertheless clean up the "public" part of the beach (between deck chairs and sea) for the guests. The next day I noticed 2 workers manually (!) picking up single stones from the beach and putting them into heaps to be collected - surely there must be a more efficient and quicker way of dealing with the clean-up since in that speed, it'll take years before walking on the beach without shoes will be a pleasure. Definitely room for improvement here, esp. in comparison to other hotels with immaculate beaches.
Food in the restaurants was very good, excellent breakfast, excellent food in the Southeast Asian restaurant, even the pool food was nice.
Overall I'd say the St. Regis has huge potential to develop into a really excellent hotel, but needs to step up first in some areas to match the fierce competition of luxury 5-star beach properties in the UAE. I would definitely go back, but at the moment, given my experience, I'd watch out for good offers/deals on the rates to make me come back rather than accept a very premium price tag other properties can command.
- 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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