Experience, Middle East
Signature Style: St. Regis Abu Dhabi
By Danielle Pointdujour
When you travel as much as I do, hotel stays can become one big, blurry memory. However, there comes a time when a hotel makes an impression you know will last a lifetime. As a proud luxury hotel lover, St. Regis Hotels have been on my hotel bucket list for quite some time, yet a chance to stay at one always seemed just beyond my grasp. That’s why when I got the chance to stay at the newest St. Regis in my favorite city in the world, I jumped on it!
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is pure opulence nestled on the Abu Dhabi Corniche in the heart of the city. Since its opening last year, the hotel has crowned itself Abu Dhabi’s preeminent address, combining timeless traditions and uncompromising service with Arabian grace and hospitality. St. Regis Hotel service is legendary, still I couldn’t help but feel shocked (and special!) by the detailed and tailored service that started before I even arrived. My experience began with a brief survey sent to me asking for my personal preferences, potential needs and even whether or not I needed a car from the airport. Next, I was sent an email detailing the hotel brand’s signature amenity, the St. Regis Butler Service. Typically a service reserved for the uber wealthy, at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi every guest has access to the service, which meant I would be getting a butler of my very own! Once I arrived in Abu Dhabi, my driver Mohammed quickly escorted me to my all black Audi chariot and once settled in, hooked me up with wifi…in the car. Talk about fancy! However, pulling up to the entrance of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi seemed unreal.
I was greeted curbside by my personal butler Nidal who whisked me through the grand entry way and up to my room, a Junior Suite, for in room check in. As I’ve mentioned before, in room check in is a must have feature for any luxury hotel, and after a long flight, I was glad the St. Regis Abu Dhabi was a luxury standard. The room itself was simply divine! Stunning views, plenty of closet space, a huge soaking tub, a television discreetly nestled into the art gallery worthy bathroom mirror, Remede Spa amenities and of course, free wifi.
Remember that detailed and tailored service I mentioned earlier? It was waiting for me in the form of the most decadent piece of chocolate birthday cake and a handpicked gift from the hotel’s amazing Public Relations Manager, Laila Rihawi (Seriously, she rocks!). Nidal also informed me that my preference for hot chocolate instead of the standard complimentary coffee and tea, would be granted and that he was available to unpack/pack my luggage, take a few items for pressing (which I happened to need for the next evening), draw my blinds in the morning, and fulfill any other request my heart may desire. When the St. Regis Abu Dhabi said they were synonymous with exceptional service, bespoke gestures and specialized in preempting guests’ needs and fulfilling requests….they weren’t kidding.
For dinner, I chose to forgo heading out to my usual Abu Dhabi restaurants, and instead headed downstairs to give Villa Toscana a try. Seated outside on the terrace, I had an amazing view of the city as I indulged in a delicious Italian meal and sipped on a nicely chilled glass, or two, of white wine. It was the perfect way to end my long day of travel.
The next morning, I headed down to the newly opened Nation Riviera Beach Club. Flanked by its own 200 meter stretch of pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, Nation Riviera Beach Club is a luxurious slice of heaven in the big city. Accessible from the hotel’s main building via a gilded, air-conditioned private tunnel underneath the Corniche, Nation Riviera is what you would expect a luxury hotel’s private beach to look like. Nation boasts a temperature controlled pool, with pool bar, flanked by private cabanas on one side and the beach on the other. In case you’re one of those who need to keep up with your workout regimen, or simply want to make sure you don’t drown (raises hands), Nation Riviera also provides guests with a fully equipped exercise room, personal training and swimming lessons. In the mood for a nosh? The picturesque beachfront bar and restaurant, Cabana Bar and Grill is sure to satisfy your appetite as you enjoy the sun or relax with an amazing sunset view on the horizon.
After my swim, I headed to Sisters Beauty Lounge, located in the hotel’s Remede Spa, to pay a visit to my favorite esthetician, Sharifa, who just happened to be in the building that day. I know what you’re thinking, “How do you have a favorite esthetician half way across the globe?” Well, I told you Abu Dhabi was my favorite city, so just like home, I make sure I have a selection of my favorite places and my favorite people! Sisters Beauty Lounge and the Remede Spa are the perfect places for you to go if you’re looking to get primped and pampered, so where else would they be located but the St. Regis Abu Dhabi!
Before I knew it, another day had passed and it was time to say goodbye. I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels before, a few in Abu Dhabi, but this was the first time I genuinely wished I could stay longer, a lot longer. I ordered one last meal for myself and my friend who had just flown in from Saudi Arabia, and tweeted sad tears to the St. Regis Abu Dhabi as my checkout time drew nearer. In true luxury fashion, the checkout process was as smooth as the check in, especially since they extended me a courtesy late check out so I could indulge just a little while longer.
Once I left my room, I still couldn’t tear myself away so I headed to the Crystal Lounge for a farewell drink and some people watching. You would think it couldn’t be possible, but the lounge was even more heavenly than my suite. The perfect place to relax or take a meeting.
After completing checkout and grabbing a few Dirhams, my car came to whisk me off to my next destination, and just like that, my stay at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi came to an end.
The enduring legacy of the St. Regis brand is well known, so I knew what to expect for my first stay at one of their properties. However, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi exceeded every expectation I had. In a city like Abu Dhabi where luxury is the name of the game, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, but somehow the St. Regis Abu Dhabi managed to create a new standard of luxury with a signature style that will certainly be hard to beat. Definitely looking forward to my next St. Regis adventure!
St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
+971 2 6944444
Armed with a fully stamped passport, Danielle has been called “The Hotel Whisperer” for her strategic engagement of some of the top hospitality brands in the world. In addition to being an Editor for Travel Noire, her travel writing has appeared on sites such as EBONY, JET, Parlour Magazine and Clutch. In short...she's awesome.