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“My vacation at St. Regis Saadiyat”

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The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Ranked #26 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 2, 2012

I travelled to UAE for one week in September 2012. I often come then and prefer to stay at 5 stars deluxe hotels. In May 2012 I’ve spent my vacation in Abu Dhabi at the "Emirates Palace". That time I was visiting the Hotel St. Regis for afternoon tea in the "Drawing room" with a beautiful view over the coastline of Saadiyat Island.
So, I decided to visit this hotel next time I come to UAE. And in September 2012 I did it.
I think it’s possible to compare the services at the hotels even though they have quite different conceptions.
First, I appreciate St. Regis Hotel for its location on a natural island that has many kilometers and the natural beach, clean water in the bay and very beautiful natural landscape. It was a pleasure to walk along the beach towards Monte Carlo Beach Club.
Location of the hotel on the island is unique for UAE and the island itself is not comparable to Saadiyat Palm Jumeirah which is artificial and does not have such a clean ecosystem. But the service itself is a step below at "Emirates Palace".
Before I came to the hotel I wrote an email with questions about it. Unfortunately I had to wait for two days until I received the answer. Then I addressed to John Pelling, General Manager, and got a response immediately.
Room service and butler service are a step below in "Emirates Palace". Although both hotel staffs are very polite, they are quite slow and not always properly perform their duties, the same is fare for the porters.
Once the staff forgot to clean my room, once they did not bring a body lotion instead of the used one, once tea was brought to my room 25 minutes after the call.
I have no complaints concerned with the front desk service and I want to mention Julia Kinakh which made my stay very comfortable. She arranged my arrival and departure sharp on time. Including my request of the late departure.
She settled all the negative issues of the room service and butler service. With her help I booked a restaurant and a detailed description of the hotel.
At the OLEA restaurant I would like to mention supervisor Alla who performs her duties in an excellent way.
The room itself was decorated with a good taste. I was impressed by the design and functionality of the bathroom, it is much better than in the "Emirate Palace".
Except OLEA restaurant I visited grill bar 55 and stayed satisfied with it. But the most wonderful impression was made by the afternoon tea in the "Drawing room". I highly recommend trying ORIENTAL tea.
I loved the adult pool and bar nearby it, but I recommend to put the mattresses on the beds.
In the evening it was very nice to visit Manhattan lounge and listen to the piano play and singing.
The hotel is very cozy, with very refined interior, it has a clear conception.
In general I can say that if the hotel improves the work of staff, then it might be one of the best hotels in the UAE due to its location and design of the rooms.
And I'm going to come to this hotel again.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Павел А
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 October 15, 2012

Greetings and thank you for your words of praise and constructive feedback.
While I apologize for the shortfalls in service on arrival, and thank you for your email to me on this matter, I am glad that our staff was attentive and provided you every assistance to make your stay with us pleasurable. I am also glad you took the opportunity to try our restaurants and specially enjoyed the Afternoon Tea experience at The Drawing Room.
The fact that you have individually recognized our staff, which I will be happy to share with them, we are very appreciative.
I look forward to welcoming you again very soon.

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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1,780 - 1,786 of 2,495 reviews

Reviewed September 29, 2012

We stayed here for 6 nights at the end of September, the hotel was finished but the buildings around it weren't however we expected this at its a new hotel. Decor of the hotel is luxurious, they've gone for a European theme. There are 3 restaurants open when we visited, a buffet, steakhouse and Asian food. Our favourite was the steakhouse, although I recommend the fish rather than the steak. The Asian restaurant has nice food but the location is the best thing, surrounded by pools lightly lit it's a very picturesque meal. The buffet is like all 5* buffets, ls of nice food, clean tables and a couple of live stations. We got upgraded to half board which was a bonus, this means you can have either lunch or dinner free in the buffet each day, what they don't tell you is that if you don't use the half board at lunch and go the the steakhouse or Asian restaurant you get money off.

The rooms are massive, we had a superior room, not the best view but the actual room was lovely. The bathroom was out of this world, huge shower which can be accessed either side of the bathroom, a bath big enough for 4 people. A huge window with electric blind for privacy, speaker system and 2 sinks. The beds weren't the most comfortable but there was ample space.

The service was friendly and helpful, if sometimes a little slow. The buffet restaurant needs more staff but everywhere else it was great.

The swimming pools are superb, multiple infinity pools all linked together.

We visited the spa a couple of times which was thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing.

Location was good, close enough to go shopping for £5 in a taxi but far enough away for it to be tranquil. We visited the grand mosque and Hakisan Chinese restaurant at the emirates palace, both I'd recommend. Also went too Ferrari world but wouldn't recommend.

Would return and recommend to others.

Room Tip: Try and get a room in the central building, these will have the best sea views.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Ellie J
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 October 15, 2012

Dear Ellie,

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback on us.
At St. Regis we pride ourselves in offering an experience beyond expectation and I’m glad that our restaurants delivered to you that bespoke food and service experience. I notice that you specifically enjoyed the fish at 55&5th, our signature venue. If seafood is your preference then I’m confident you will appreciate Turquoiz, our beach restaurant and lounge, which opened doors in October 2012.
And yes, our bathrooms certainly make an impression with all our guests. Not only are they spacious and feature a double vanity, but the design takes inspiration from the overall Mediterranean-inspired theme of the resort ensuring your time even in-room is relaxed and special.
Thank you again for your feedback and I look forward to welcoming you back for another tranquil and relaxed experience with us.

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.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We stayed for a five-day weekend and loved this property. It felt luxurious and new and made for a wonderful long weekend . The only reason this doesn't get five stars were glitches at both check-in and check-out, which I'll explain below.

The great parts: The rooms are fabulous. We stayed in both a superior room and a suite. We actually liked the superior room better - it's smaller but luxurious and the bathroom was amazing. The bathtub looked out the window and it had an open shower - the suite had a smaller bathtub and no window in the bathroom. A butler was available, although we really didn't see him much.

The meals were great. We traveled over Eid weekend and got a half-board package with the breakfast buffet and dinner in Olea. Even during one of the busiest weeks of the year, the service was pretty good and there was vast selection of food. One evening while we were waiting to be seated, the F&B manager offered us dinner at Sontaya (the South East Asian restuarant) rather than wait for a table. The amazing meal ended up being a highlight of our stay!The manager was so kind and asked our food preferences before serving us a set meal, which was delicious in every way. We paid for our tasty cocktails (try the one with the chilli pepper!) just as we would have in Olea and were told the rest was covered. Knowing how spectacular the food and service is, we would happily go and pay for the full meal next time. Poolside food was okay, albeit pricey for simple choices. The drinks skimp a bit on the alcohol but all were acceptable.

The best part of our stay was spending day after day at the adult pool - a lovely pool with plenty of sun and shade and cabanas to sit and read or enjoy a cocktail. The service by the pool is attentive and kind.The St. Regis gets top marks for a relaxing pool-side vacation. The beach was also pleasant, but we preferred spending time at the pool. We took the free shuttle and taxis into town to go shopping and eat out.

Now here are the low points and the reasons that I could not give the hotel an excellent rating. Check-in was frustrating - I understand that it was a busy weekend, but as a Starwood Gold member, I was told that they couldn't give me the usual enhanced room. The previous day, I had received an email saying that I could upgrade my room for something like 120 aed. When I showed them the email, they said that I couldn't do that. Frustrating, but we just wanted to move on with our weekend. We later realized that we hadn't been offered the welcome drink, which we don't care about so much, but the front desk should.

Check out was more frustrating. We ended up standing around for about ten minutes before someone attended to us (they didn't have all the desks staffed). When we tried to settle our bill, it turns out that they had charged us over 350 aed for the "complimentary" meal that the F&B manager had treated us to - but phrased it instead that we had received a "discount" of 300 aed from the total bill! I explained that the manager had offered us the meal and personally escorted us and the restaurant staff had even written on the bill that the full amount was covered. The lady check-in insisted that WE "must have misunderstood." I asked that she call the F&B manager to clarify and she wouldn't. I asked that she call the front desk manager, but she kept insisting that we didn't understand correctly and that we had to pay for the meal. Finally, a front desk manager came and tried to sort it out, but I was rather upset at this point. He said he would take care of it, but we didn't really get apology for that kind of treatment. I'd never had an experience at a luxury hotel where someone tries to argue with you and blame you for their own system glitch. It really soured our last day. Quite unfortunate, as service in other areas was generally great, but the front desk staff left much to be desired.

Overall, we would love to return to the St. Regis but would hope that it'd be perfect next time. It's a lovely property with the potential to be a perfect vacation, if only the welcome and farewell weren't so frustrating.

Room Tip: We prefered the bathroom in the superior room over a suite.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank gringa220
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 October 15, 2012

Dear Gringa,
Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed review. I am pleased to read that you enjoyed an extended weekend at our resort, an address that is fast becoming the region’s perfect weekend getaway.
I do apologize for the shortfalls in the check-in and check-out, but I’m confident that your next stay with us will be seamless in every aspect.
It’s always a pleasure to read about our staff being warm and attentive as that is one of our cornerstones in delivering a bespoke experience so I’m glad that Sontaya, our Southeast Asian restaurant, delivered that personalized service.
Thank you again for your kind review and I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

I chose the St. Regis Saadiyat Island for a much needed eight night, mid-September breather as it promised luxury resort recreation. Now that I returned, I am quite conflicted about this hotel.

Let`s start with the positives. The St. Regis has nice, spacious rooms and great indoor and outdoor facilities - all with a very agreeable touch to it. During the day you can have a lounger on the white beach, take a swim in the deep cyan waters or just retire to the pool (they also have an adult-only pool).

The staff is super-friendly, fluent in English and they all come literally running when they see you in need for a service or convenience.

There are also some real good restaurants in the hotel. The 55 & 5th grill is a neat choice for fine dining, the Sontoya offers great Asian cuisine (make sure you order their signature cocktail with chili-flavored vodka!). After enjoying your dinner you may want to take another drink at the Manhattan Lounge, where there is a great piano live performer several nights a week. All in all the perfect setup for five star recreation.

I would rate this hotel accordingly, if it wasn`t for serious on-site construction noise and managements disregard / obvious indifference about it. They are currently doing the interior finish of the luxury suites in the upper levels of the hotel and want to have them ready for the F1 race in November, obviously working under serious time pressure. With all the work done windows open construction noise dispensed generously over the pool sides and was also well perceivable on the beach. This included loud noise from drilling, chisel work, the use of engined saws and hammers and other pneumatic tools.

To me, there is little that compromises a resort experience and undermines recreational value more than being exposed to permanent construction noise, which started early in the morning and continued sometimes until well after midnight.

To make matters worse, management showed a genuine lack of care to what they referred to as an "inconvience". Well aware there is an issue, they did not approach or inform their guests about the situation. When approached about the noise their standard procedure was to offer a room upgrade (like that would help about the situation on the pools and beach). I kindly refused that. To provide me some kind of compensation, they gave me free breakfasts in the buffet restaurant (something like a 200$ value I guess). This hardly makes up for eight lost days of recreation. Plus I really hardly like being cut off by a customer relationship manager with a "that`s all we can do for you" in a 300$+/day resort. A written suggestion made to the General Manager (moving some beach furniture a little down the beach out of the center of noise) remained unresponded to.

This is why I am left quite conflicted about this hotel and remain undecided yet, whether I should give them a second chance during my next stay in Abu Dhabi. I well might, as I am not a resentful guest and this was my first negative experience with a Starwood Hotel. After all, the combination of the St. Regis brand and Saadiyat Island should establish a perfect environment for resort recreation if you are not unlucky visiting them in times of ongoing construction work.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Dennis D
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 October 15, 2012

Dear Dennis,

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and thank you for your honest feedback. I apologize for the noise level experienced during your stay and I am truly disappointed to read your comments. I would welcome the opportunity to meet you during your next stay with us to discuss and hopefully reassure you that this was an isolated incident.
In the interim, I can be contacted at StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com.

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.
Reviewed September 26, 2012

We stayed here as a couple and absolutely loved it! The hotel itself is decadence personified..

Check in was very busy as it was a public holiday. We had a small issue with the security guard at the beach who thought that we had checked out but all was resolved effectively and efficiently by the front desk manager and she even arranged for a bottle of complimentary champagne in our room!

The Adults only pool is bliss although it can get very busy so seats are in demand..
There are such nice touches at the poolside ranging from the Cabanes to the sunbeds immersed in the shallow pool! Service is slow but it was newly opened when we went so perhaps this has changed.

Sontaya is an excellent restaurant, you really get the impression that you are in Thailand and the food is delicious.

What can I say about the rooms...they are heavenly..the bathtub in the window is an excellent idea...looking out to Sea whilst you relax is just amazing. I felt a little awkward with the butler running the bath for me, but I suppose it doesn't happen every day and he seemed more than happy to be doing his job!
Would love to spend a week or so here however it is quite pricey so beware!
All in all, a delightful stay and we will almost certainly return.

Room Tip: Coffee and Cake in the lobby area is a nice treat after the pool / beach!
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gateau99
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 October 15, 2012

Greetings and thank you for your kind review. I am glad you especially enjoyed the leisure facilities, specifically our adult pool which has been designed for guests that seek tranquility away from the family pool.
At St. Regis, we are committed to providing our guests with an experience beyond expectation and take great pride in offering an authentic dining experience in all our venues. I am pleased that Sontaya offered you that excellent experience with food and service.
We look forward to your return and remain thankful for your words of praise.

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.
Reviewed September 26, 2012

We spent two weeks in this St Regis in August 2012. The problem currently with this Hotel is that it wants to be a 5 star but is not finished and a lot of the staff are not up to the standard of a Middle East 5 Star Hotel, although there are some exceptions the likes of James Francis at the pool gets through a huge amount of work always with a smile on his face and being really attentive.

My biggest issue here is that it cant make up its mind what it wants to be it and offers half board and children eating and drinking for free but this caused us complete chaos as none of the staff knew their own rules so most of the time we got charged and always differing amounts. So much so that I stopped trying to explain and just wrote Half Board on each and every receipt I signed.

The day before we checked out I then had to spend 2 hours going through each and everyh receipt with a very angry young German girl who was trying to blame me for the confusion caused by the lack of clarity.

However on the positive side the food was excellent at every meal in all three of the open restaurants and the pool bar, in fact it was better than excellent it was exceptional.

The rooms were beautiful and really well equipped and the hotel itself was immaculate.

So in summary I think the service issues can be resolved with some work and they will have a stunning facility but be aware they are have some way to go yet.

Room Tip: ask for an Ocean View Room
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Matthew M
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 October 16, 2012

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback and I am glad you took the time to enjoy our facilities during your stay with us, especially our food and beverage venues.
I take note of your disappointment at check-out, for which we apologize. I am however confident that your next stay with us will be immaculate in every aspect.
We look forward to having you back.

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.
Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

My husband and I stayed here in sept, literally by accident!!, we moved from emirates palace ( bad experience ). We transferred to st Regis and what a fantastic holiday we had from that moment!!!!
The hotel is stunning!!!
The staff are wonderful !!!
The food beautiful !!!
My husband is in a wheelchair and we were given an accessible room... Amazing!!! He had a seperate bathroom and wet room to himself ... Perfect!!!
Anything we wanted was a phone call away... Ice bucket, coffee machine, fresh milk for our coffee, extra toiletries...
The adult pool staff were brilliant helping my husband, thanks Vimera and all the staff.
The Buffett restaurant was beautiful. Again so much help!! Both staff at front of house, Ann Rose and Carla so kind and friendly, and the chefs, Nuwan cooked a dish specially for us the way we asked, again nothing was too much trouble.
A big thanks to Arn too. What a lovely guy always checking if we needed anything!!!
I can't rate this hotel more highly , as you probably get by now!!!!
WONDERFUL , thank you all the staff at St Regis sorry I couldn't mention you all.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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2  Thank Jillbrodie
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 October 16, 2012

Dear Jill,

Greetings and thank you for your kind words of praise.
As General Manager, it is a moment of pride and an absolute pleasure to read a review such as yours where our staff has delivered on the St. Regis promise of an experience beyond expectation. Thank you for individually recognizing the team, our biggest asset that sets us apart.
It has been our pleasure to have you stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back for another indelible stay.

Kind regards,
John Pelling
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
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
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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 #26 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: $260 - $856 (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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