The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Review
Ramon is the creator of Traveling Companion. He focuses on flight review, hotel reviews, and helping stretch your travel dollars, miles, and points further.
During our short stay the hotel's amenities, dining, butler, and concierge services exceeded our expectations and showed us why this is a luxury hotel.
Pros- Two Private Pools, Private Beach, Amazing Butler Service, Great Sea Views, Helpful Concierge, Great Honeymoon Recognition, Unique Breakfast Options
Cons- Poor Check-In, Limited Elite Recognition, Insufficient USB Plugs, Uncomfortable Bed
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The St. Regis Abu Dhabi has a prime location on The Corniche, which is a strip of beach front property with restaurants, walking, and biking paths located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. The hotel is very large occupying two towers, with approximately 50 floors, and a presidential suite which connects the two towers.
Arrival and Check In
Our stay at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi was short. We only stayed two nights arrived in late afternoon on the first day of our stay and left in the early morning on the third day. To get to the hotel we took a private car from Al Maha to the St. Regis Abu Dhabi which was about a two hour uneventful drive. When we pulled up to the hotel, I was impressed by the size of the two skyscrapers which the hotel occupied. The guest rooms of the hotel are located on floors 33-49 while the check-in, dining, and amenities are on or accessible via the ground floor through floor 3. When we walked into the lobby of the hotel we were blown away by the glitz and glam. At the center of the lobby was a marble staircase with multiple chandeliers. Below the staircase was a huge painting which served as the focal point of the room. Later on, our butler let us know that the designers of the hotel intended this to mimic the staircase on the Titanic. The hotel also added a grand piano below the stairs to continue the Titanic theme. This kind of glitz and attempt to emulate historic elements of the world is something we would see a lot of in Abu Dhabi.
Prior to our arrival, we were upgraded to a Superior Sea View Room even though all of the suite types were still available on the website. Since were weren't upgraded in advance we wondered if we would get a suite upgrade during check-in. At check-in the agent made it seem like a big deal that we got a Superior Sea View Room. Even though as a Marriott Platinum Elite Christina should have received an upgrade to one of the numerous suites still available. We were even more disappointed since this was our honeymoon. The agent said that since it was our first time at St. Regis Abu Dhabi she would only upgrade us to better room not a suite. Also, she never mentioned the Platinum welcome amenity or thanked Christina for her loyalty as a Platinum elite. It was also a strange check-in process since she spent the entire time talking about the Philippines and did not walk us through any of the hotel’s amenities. At check-out we asked about the elite welcome amenity. The agent did not apologize for not offering a choice at check-in and said the options were points or breakfast. We were really disappointed by the poor check-in process and elite recognition at this hotel.
Superior Sea View Room
When the check-in process was done our bags were whisked away and showed up at our room minutes later. Upon entering the room, we were greeted by a dove towel, real flower petals, chocolate treats, and a bottle of red wine which was a nice touch by the butler team in celebration of our honeymoon.
The room was a larger than the standard size room with a TV, couch, desk and closet. The room also had a king size bed. The bed was not very comfortable and the pillows were way too flat.
The room was decked out in marble and at the center of the room was a crystal chandelier. The chandelier had a very nice design and the same level of glitz found throughout the hotel.
A big downside of the room was that it had only one USB plug and no universal plugs which meant we needed to use our converters.
The highlights of the room were the sea view and the bathroom. From the room you could see one of the pools, The Corniche Beach, and the Persian Gulf.
The bathroom was large for a non-suite room. It featured two vanities and sinks along with a shower a separate toilet, and a tub. A unique feature of the bathroom was the TV built into the mirror. This was the first time I had ever seen this and added to the luxurious feeling of the hotel.
One of the amazing things about this hotel was the availability of resort amenities in the middle of a major city. The hotel had two pools one below the towers and another across the street next to the resort's private beach and accessible through an underground passageway. The hotel also had a direct connection to the mall.
In the private beach area, there were three restaurants two of which were owned by the hotel and one Cuban restaurant that was under renovation. This area also had a kids club, a gym, and a swim up bar accessible via the pool.
One thing we did notice on our walk over to the private beach area was a bar and nightclub that was closed due to Ramadan. I appreciated that the hotel let us you know about the Ramadan rules with a guide of do's and don'ts including no dancing or singing in public.
Our butler invited us to sabering in the St Regis Bar which was offered by invitation only, unlike at the St. Regis Maldives, and was behind a curtain for Ramadan. Our butler let us know that normally the sabering would take place in the lobby with the grand piano playing Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go on. The sabering at this hotel was done by a woman which was nice to see. She asked us if we had ever seen sabering and when we said we saw it at the St. Regis Maldives she said, "I bet it wasn't done by a woman". She then walked us through the history of the sabering tradition this time focusing on Mrs. Astor and her desire to have a party for 400 people and sabering to welcome the guests. Once the sabering was done we were offered champagne and provided light snacks.
Because of our short stay and early flight the morning of our checkout we only got to have one meal at the hotel which was breakfast on our second day. The breakfast at the hotel was primarily buffet with a small made to order menu with items such as an Eggs Benedict. One of the great things about this breakfast buffet was the unique breakfast items. For example, there was a poached pear with hint of cinnamon and apple sauce. Also, there was veal bacon which was salty and not good.
Another unique item was the green apple juice. It wasn't as sweet as red apple juice and I think I prefer red apple juice.
This was a really good breakfast with a wide selection and unique items.
Prior to our arrival, we reached out to the concierge staff for suggestions of activities in Abu Dhabi and the cost of transportation. The concierge staff provided us with numerous suggestions for Abu Dhabi including the prices and offered the hotel’s vehicles for transportation. We decided to go with the transportation to hotel arraigned by Al Maha and take the Uber to the airport because of the high-prices offered by the concierge staff at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
When we got to the hotel, we took full advantage of the concierge staff again to map out our only full day in Abu Dhabi and the person who helped us was amazing. He knew all of the sights of Abu Dhabi and was able to quickly get us a reservation at the Mosque and at afternoon tea at Emirates Palace. He also saw us when we returned to the hotel for the night and remembered that he had helped us and our itinerary for the day which was quite impressive.
Our butler service was just as impressive. He and his colleagues made us really feel welcome with the honeymoon welcome amenities and decorations. Shortly after our arrival he came by to and welcome us to the hotel. He gave us a rundown of his services including complimentary coffee/tea and free pressing of two items per day then set us up with the sabering reservation.
Later on, he saw us in the elevator and we let him know we were walking around the hotel and he said he would show us around. He spent 20 minutes showing us all the amenities of the hotel including going outside in the heat to the private beach in his multi-piece suit. Finally, he left us a parting gift of food. In general I am still not sold on the benefit of having butler service but I liked the service much better at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi then at the St. Regis Maldives. I think this was driven by the fact that we had other options outside of the hotel and didn't have to rely on the butler for all of our planning and meal reservations.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi did so much to make this stay feel luxurious. This included the extensive marble and chandeliers, wide array of amenities for an urban hotel, and the outstanding service by the concierge and butler staff. While the check-in and limited elite recognition were frustrating, I would still consider staying at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi on a future stay in Abu Dhabi when I would hopefully have more time to explore the amenities and dining.
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