Hotel stay - St. Regis Saadiyat Resort, Abu Dhabi

As I walk in to St Regis Resort, I am met by the usual offer of Arabic coffee and dates. However, my attention is drawn to the large window in the background that affords me an expansive view of the gold course with its magnificently manicured greens and, of course, the turquoise colored sea. Notwithstanding the fact that she has stayed here before, my daughter's enthusiasm is summed up in the exclamation, "Look dad. It's a real sea." She is referring to the waves of course. If you have been to the Abu Dhabi beaches on the corniche, you will appreciate her remark.

Tea on the terrace of my room - St. Regis butler service
I go over to check in, while I am offered an ice cool refreshing towel and equally refreshing drink. The agent is very friendly, efficient and goes beyond the training manual. Nice. Soon after, one of the butlers on duty meets me and takes us up to our room. It is a Superior Sea view room on the 6th floor, so that should be a good vantage point from which to enjoy the Arabian Sea. The spacious 85 SQM room is classic,  with earthy colours dominating. The bathroom is also very spacious. The highlight for me is the oversized rain shower and the electric blinds  which can be adjusted to give you a view of the sea if so inclined. A sliding door opens to reveal the glorious sea.

Deep soaking tub - very deep. 

I decide to try the much vaunted St. Regis butler service and order coffee and a hot chocolate for the little one. Of course it is a very nice service which complements the in-house coffee making facilities that there are, but I wonder why there is no milk shake option for kids in the sweltering heat. Adults have a choice of tea and coffee, so why not the kids? After the drinks are brought, My daughter starts to tug at the leash, dying to go and swim. I relent.

One of the challenges for hotels is how to manage access to the swimming pool without having dripping wet guests in the lobby (guests who clearly have not been schooled in this aspect of etiquette). The side doors strategically placed solves this. I also feel I can relax without worrying about being dressed in shorts - yes, it is a resort, I know. But still.

View from my room
It is hard to believe it is a young property because the vegetation is already quite lush and grown in. Pools are abundant, as we pass the adults only pool. I like this idea. Some children are poorly behaved unfortunately through no fault of their own and I can empathize with adults who prefer a  peaceful afternoon of relaxing at the pool without children running around and screaming.

The golf course at sunrise.
Al natural beachfront

We make our way to the beach. On our way to the beach, I see one of the staff making the rounds, passing an icy drink to guests on the beach. At that moment I turn around and look back at the hotel. It is pure luxury. To the right I see some golfers teeing off on one of the greens. To the left I see a lifeguard keeping a watchful eye on some young swimmers. As my daughter goes into the water, her excitement is visible as she tries to jump over a wave. She repeats this over and over, but without her enthusiasm dimming. An ideal moment. An ideal location ; the waves, natural beach and the view of the hotel.


Very modern interpretations of classic Southeast Asian dishes. 
View from my terrace table.
 St. Regis has an  impressive array of Food and Beverage options.  A month ago I had dinner at the hotel's incredible 55&5th where chef Kreaton and their sommelier did some fantastic things in the kitchen and on the floor. You can read about that experience here: Tonight though, it is Sontaya, and because mother and daughter choose to stay in the room and relax, I go alone to Sontaya.

Sontaya is a Southeast Asian restaurant that focuses on Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean, Malaysian and Vietnamese dishesIt is exquisite. The location  makes it one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, and as inviting as the tables inside are, I opt for seating on the terrace. It is not quite terrace-seating weather, but it is just stunning out there, with the Arabian Sea a stone's throw away. Read about my fabulous evening of enthralling dishes, a chef , a barman, a waitress and  a bottle of Louis Roederer here:

The next morning, I am up around 6 and I decide to go for a walk on the beach. I pass through the garden. It really is a resort that allows for so much walking, with paved walkways in abundance. Natural vegetation and palm trees add to the experience. With the exception of a few joggers, the beach is deserted. A time for reflection and contemplation.


All day dining restaurants tend to be functional, providing food for the masses in a fairly non- descript and soulless environment. However, Olea is not like that at all. When you walk in, you feel  that a lot of time has gone in to creating a space that connects you to the resort and to the ocean. The ceiling too continues the wave motif. The backdrop of the restaurant,  a sea-like turquoise blue wall, resembles the waves of the sea. Light fixtures also symbolise sea shells, for example. Finally, the white and blue worn by the staff is fresh and inviting, and again the connection to the sea is clear. The spread is as you would expect, with some exceptional stations.

An aspect of Olea which really stands out is the tireless way in which staff try to ensure that all guests' needs are met. This was encapsulated best by staff managing to find a shawl for my daughter who was feeling cold.

Olea - light, fresh and happy with decor that evokes the ocean.  

There are swimming pools aplenty on this vast property, catering for families and kids; and of course the adult pools.

The Sandcastle Kids Club is a unique St. Regis facility for kids in the city. It is a self-contained , secure facility with water features and water games. The concept is that parents sign in their kids and come back for them, allowing parents to enjoy the hotel on their own for a short time. Trained professionals ensure that your children are safe while having fun.

Kids will not be bored at all.

In the family pool.
Afternoon Tea

We end our stay with a visit to The Drawing Room, the highly rated venue where the Best Afternoon Tea, according to Timeout Abu Dhabi, is served. To see whether I agreed with Timeout's assessment, have a read here:

Expect a classic English Afternoon Tea
To sum up...

In addition to the usual amenities and facilities that one would expect from a 5* resort, St. Regis offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, a place where you can really feel the power of nature, superb dining options and outstanding recreation facilities  for old and young. Its location on  Saadiyat Island, on a natural stretch of beach and on an area that the government has invested a lot of money in to educate people, and make them aware of the need to preserve this coastline, places it in a unique position to offer guests a memorable experience that transcends just excellent service.

The low down

St. Regis Saadiyat Resort
Abu Dhabi
971 2 498 8888

Rates are seasonal

                                                                                                   Pictures thanks to Nokia Creative Studio on my Nokia 1520

Brandon Stoltenkamp