I stayed here with my husband for 5 nights on our return from Thailand. We are big fans of the UEA and this hotel did not disappoint, with only a few small criticisms.
I am not sure how long this hotel has been open, but the resort seemed very new, with works in progress, but the location is fabulous. It is about a 20 minute drive from the airport, on what seemed to be a man made area/island. It is situated right on the beach with so far very little building work going on - but I am sure this will not be the case for much longer. The hotel is situated in a huge complex, with villas, shops, restaurants being developed. Although the complex is big, the hotel itself is quite compact.
Our room was located on the side of the building, so we didn't have the best view, but could not fault the room itself. The bed was the soooo comfy, slept like a log and I am not a good sleeper! The bathrooms were fabulous, walk-in shower and two sink areas, as well as a big deep bath.
The beach was great, although because of the time of year it was extremely hot, so we preferred to sit round the pool, as the sea is very warm and the pool is better for cooling off! The pool areas are great and the pool lovely, good temperature and spacious. Unfortunately for us (but typical of a hotel off season) they were doing maintenance to the adult pool and we had to share with the children, and being children's holidays there was alot! And alot of the children were with nannies and were very naughty and wild, they gave the life guards a tough time! but we picked an ok spot and avoided them best we could. Pool staff are lovely, very tentative and you get a welcome drink each morning.
I think the biggest weak spot of the hotel was the food. the breakfast buffet was very good, and there was nothing you couldn't have or want. the evening buffet was good, but very samey after a couple of meals. They have several different food stations, with different types of food, which was on the whole good, but not outstanding by any means. The staff were friendly and helpful, service varied between staff and at breakfast Arabic guests definitely got preferential service. Whether this is because they demanded it/expected it, or whether the staff were more inclined to provide this, I am not sure, perhaps a bit of both. We also ate at a couple of the other restaurants, which once again were ok, but we didn't feel that the food was up to the standard of food we have eaten in other 5* hotels or good restaurants around the world, it was more like food you would expect in a good pub/Bistro. This would of been fine, but like all good hotels in UEA the prices were not reflective of the quality of food. one meal we had (one course with water and two aperitifs) was about £90! I don't mind paying alot for food, if the food reflects the price. We had eaten at Breeze at State Tower in Bangkok the night before so our standards were quite high at this point of our trip.
Comparing Abu Dhabi and Dubai I think I preferred Abu Dhabi. It is much quieter and less commercial. There is far more to do in Dubai, but we couldn't do too much in Abu Dhabi because of the temperature. The Mosque is worth a visit - you do need to cover your legs, shoulders and head. There are lots of shops in the city and malls, prices are similar, if not a bit more expensive for certain items. The Heritage village is a let down, it isn't finished and the toilets are third world, so go before you go there! Good views of the city from there though. Would of loved to go to the race track but just too hot when we went.
Culturally i think Dubai is much more westernised and the people are more accepting of westerners. We experienced no pleasantries from people other than those providing a service - taxi drivers, shop keepers etc. It seemed very segregated still. This didn't bother us, but at times we found some people quite rude, for example you would always be expected to move, they would never move, and men are deemed far superior to women, but we have travelled in the UEA several times before so we expect this is a cultural issue that I think you have to expect, even if it is is alien to westerners.
But all in all couldn't really fault this hotel, food could be improved but that is about it. Would also highly recommend Abu Dhabi, it is probably more suited for those looking for a quieter trip than Dubai would offer, I suppose it is what Dubai used to be like.
- 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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