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“Superb service on Saadiyat Island”

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The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Ranked #33 of 129 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 April 2012

I chose this hotel for a business trip over the past weekend, attending a conference in Abu Dhabi. The convenience of staying directly at the conference venue, coupled with an unbeatable "cash and points" rate of 90.00 USD per night, were a definite no brainer regarding the choice of this hotel.
Upon arrival I was impressed by the pleasantness and opulent elegance of the new construction - the hotel opened on 26 December 2011 - and its location, facing the Persian Gulf and a magnificent sandy beach. Yet the best was to come. Having arrived early in the morning, and my room not yet available, I was immediately offered tea/coffee and accompanied to the early check-in/check-out lounge, actually a number of beautifully appointed salons, with a library, large TV screens, and all the shower/bathroom facilities needed to while away a few hours comfortably, although in this case my room was made available in less than an hour. The hotel offers the trademark St. Regis Personal Butler service, which means a high ratio of staff to guests dedicated to providing extra care to guests 24/7. All the staff members I met during my three days stay were exceptionally and genuinely friendly and knowledgeable (special kudos to Grace, Julius and Misha), and upon leaving it was like having spent there not just three days but as if I had been a regular to the place since many years.
The greatly appointed room (mine was an "entry level" superior one) was 55 sqm, with two large and extremely comfortable beds, and double bathrooms, plus a large balcony with partial view of the sea.
Although I didn't check the hotel restaurants, I tried the buffet and refreshments during the conference, and their quality was outstanding. Upon checking out I was again invited to spend a few hours in the lounge awaiting my departure flight, and as an added bonus I was offered the last day's continental breakfast I had had in my room.
Pity I didn't have much time to while the time away at one of the five pools or at the beach, but this is definitely a place I will be willing to return and warmly recommend to anybody.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Luigi V
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 24 April 2012

Dear Luigi,

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and thank you for your well reflected review.
Indeed, the St. Regis Butler is our signature service where the smallest details are considered to ensure that the guests stay with us is seamless and memorable.
I am pleased to read your feedback and will share the same with our butler team.
Thank you again for taking the time to post your feedback and I am looking forward to welcoming you back.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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Reviewed 15 April 2012

We have been to 55 & 5th --The Grill-- at St. Regis. Food was excellent. I ordered the wagyu steak. Very delicious. The view was beautiful. Overall, it is worth the visit and the experience.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ahmad A
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 17 April 2012

Dear Ahmad,

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.
My team and I are delighted that you enjoyed the dining experience at 55&5th, The Grill which is our signature venue. We have recently launched our Spring menu which is based on your comments, I am sure you will appreciate.
I am looking forward to welcome you back to the resort and at our beautiful dining venues.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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Reviewed 15 April 2012

For a hotel that is still so new the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island is already in top shape. Ok, there are issues eg breakfast service on very busy weekends but the breakfast buffet choice does well make up for it.

The beach would be one of the best in the Emirates if the stones would go. One WOW are the Dolphins playing near the shoreline....still. Very annoying here were the Golf buggies passing right through the sun lounging area every few minutes. The food and beverage service at the beach however makes up for it. Small menu but great food and beverages including some very nice cocktails.

The Iridium Spa is an amazing experience in terms of service and design. One of the best in the country I would say, although the signature treatment is a little too much pressing on your head for my taste. Also the treatment rooms with 23 degrees are for the Region a little chilly.

The Suite was a wow. Love the white marble, bathroom amenities, great view from the balcony. The humongous bathtub, one of the few I used you could actually drown in.

Passing by the kids Club you can well hear the kids going crazy for one of the coolest nurseries I have seen in the Middle East. Could even spot some of the parents very excited about the water play.

The absolute highlight was Sontaya, their Asian restaurant. Amazing food, fun cocktails served by some of the best trained and motivated team you can find in the country. The experience here was so good I had to ask for the 4 kinds of satay right away the next day on the beach again. Not on the menu the waiter made it possible.

A little annoying was the hiccup upon checkout where the wrong card was charged but things like this happen, and in most cases one wouldn't complain about that ;-)

Bottom line, a top weekend experience I will sure recommend. The few hiccups will sure fade away with the still very young team receiving it's training. In fact, just a few months back after a stay at W Hong Kong I swore to myself no more Starwood but the St. Regis on Saadiyat sure is an exception I'll make again.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank RolandUO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2012

I spent a few days at the St. Regis Saadiyat in early April. The resort is located on Saadiyat Island, a sprawling development by TDIC (the Abu Dhabi government-owned tourism investment company) which will eventually include several resorts (two of which are already in operation: the St. Regis and the adjacent Park Hyatt, with more set to open, including, I believe, one operated by Mandarin Oriental and one by Shangri-La), a golf course (operational), residences and museums (including local outposts for the Louvre and Guggenheim, which won’t be ready for several years), amongst other attractions.

When booking, I was torn between the St. Regis (which opened in December) and the Park Hyatt, which opened a few months earlier. I picked the St. Regis as it seemed somewhat less sterile than the Park Hyatt (though I generally like Park Hyatts’ design, this one seemed underwhelming from the pictures). Also, the St. Regis was marginally more expensive, which, rather naively, I took as an indication of greater quality. I suspect I made the wrong decision, but more of this later.

Rooms: the room (with sea view) was tastefully (and luxuriously) appointed, with the usual amenities (large TV, Bose sound-deck, etc., though no Nespresso machine, which I have seen in a number of resorts of comparable quality but have never used) and a wonderfully comfortable bed. The bathroom in particular was stunning. I strongly recommend paying a little extra for a sea view room, otherwise your view is likely to be rather miserable.
Indoor communal areas: like the room, I thought they were also excellent – luxurious but not over-the-top (unlike, some may say, the Emirates Palace). The décor in the wide reception area, Manhattan Lounge and restaurants was faultless.

Outdoor communal areas: I thought these were disappointing. Not only is the exterior of the building itself rather crass (faux-‘Mediterranean’ style, whatever that means), but the pool and beach areas are also underwhelming - there is far too much stone everywhere (which, although obviously not cement, does give a similarly bleak impression) and nowhere near enough greenery. True, the vegetation that is there needs time to grow but it seemed to us that that a lot of the outside space is simply not reserved for vegetation, which is a pity. I also found the lay-out of the pool and beach areas to be unintuitive, with unnecessarily round-about paths required to reach certain amenities. Both main and adult-only pools are also underwhelming.

Food: breakfast was very good, with a very generous spread of (mostly) quality products. Dinners at 55 and 5th and Sontaya were also very good. Lunch, however, was consistently disappointing. This is mostly due to the fact that, at least for the time being, the lunch options are very limited: either Sontaya (which serves Asian cuisine and is fairly formal) or a very small selection of standard snacks, sandwiches and salads, which is also prepared by the Sontaya kitchen and is served either on the beach or at a small seating area with a bar by the adult pool. Despite the small selection, the quality of the food was disappointing. The fact that both the kitchen and staff were clearly overstretched did not help. Also not helpful was the fact that Turqoiz, the beach front restaurant, had not yet opened.

Service: a mixed bag here. Upon arrival, despite having booked a sea view room, I was assigned a non sea view room, which took a couple of hours to sort out. Service at breakfast and dinner was good but was very slow at lunchtime (hour-long waits for simple salads and sandwiches, etc). Not necessarily the staff’s fault - like I said above, it seems they were simply overstretched. Otherwise, staff were generally courteous and tried to do the best they could with the situation. What I found more irksome was the presence of a small army of managers in suits trotting around the place without making any visible effort to alleviate the situation.
Dined out on two occasions: once at Hakkasan at the Emirates Palace (which I strongly recommend) and once at the Beach House at the Park Hyatt next door, which was also very good and gave us the opportunity to explore the Park Hyatt a little – slightly smaller property, more intimate feel, vastly superior outdoor spaces, better beach and better pools (reminded me of the excellent Chedi in Muscat, Oman).

All in all, although the experience at the St. Regis was generally quite good (though I may be erring on the generous side with my 4 rating considering the reputation of the St. Regis brand), there were some issues. Needless to say, some of these issues are likely to be resolved with time (e.g. the service wrinkles), whilst some, like the design and layout of the outdoor areas, are more structural. Like I mentioned at the beginning, were I to go Abu Dhabi again, I would almost certainly stay at the Park Hyatt – it is a more elegant property.

Room Tip: Do pay the little extra for a sea view
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank TheTub
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 17 April 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed review.
I am pleased to see that your overall stay with us was satisfactory and we are constantly working on service improvement for our guests.
I do hope to change your mind upon return to the resort and looking forward to welcome you back.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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Reviewed 11 April 2012

I planned a 1 night 2 days quick getaway with my wife:

- mistake #1: Was to book directly through the hotel, they bluff you with "best rates for Starwood members" then you find out that people got at least 20% better rates via booking through either agents or online booking portals.

- mistake #2: Never trust them when they say "Superior Sea View Room": despite my starwood membership and the premium cost they charged me, they gave me a room that overlooks a construction yard for some other adjacent hotel from one side, the hotel itself from another side and a distant partial sea view somewhere in the background.

- mistake #3: you call them to change your room, they try to convince you that your room is a good one and that they dont have available rooms. Eventually after they aggravate you and you threaten to leave the hotel + cancel your membership in the hotel they start to work on "checking availabilities" to accommodate your request. All that aggravation is not really worth it when you are going on a getaway with your wife for 1 night!

- mistake #4: never trust them when they say "Oh certainly sir, we will send the butler to help you with that!", after a big fight, I managed to change the room into what a direct sea view (which is what I booked in the first place); after which it took them 2.5 hours, 6 phone calls, 6 promises to send someone to relocate us to the next room... The worst part is that they tell you to stay put in the room until they send someone!

- mistake #5: you try to book in their restaurants, "sorry sir, fully booked"... so where do we have dinner when we are in a hotel in the middle of no-where?! in the buffet restaurant that resembles the lobby! After another fight, they "found" us places, we go to the place to find it LITERALLY 1/2 empty indoors and it stayed that way until we left (we are one of the last people to leave that night).

- mistake #6: The beach itself is average, but try going into the water, one of those razor sharp stones will surely puncture your foot (combat boots would come in handy here). In the morning I had a long run outside the hotel to the beach next to St Regis and came across the best beaches Ive seen in my life... they haven’t done the due diligence on their beach front...

Room Tip: Make sure they dont bluff you with a "sea view" room that overlooks the sea partially with...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Dani A
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 19 April 2012

Dear Dani,

I was truly disappointed to read your comment and of course I am sorry for any shortfalls in our service that you experienced. Whilst we are a new hotel, the majority of guest feedback received to date has been extremely encouraging so your comment stood out. Obviously you have a dim view of the hotel for which I am sorry about and would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues further with you. I can be contacted at StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com or should you visit the city in the weeks ahead, please do contact me directly and I will attempt to change your view.

Warm 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: | The Collection Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 #33 of 129 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: ₹ 15,488 - ₹ 41,452 (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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