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Reviewed 27 May 2012

In summary the St. Regis Saadiyat Island is a beautiful property in one of the best locations in the UAE but with the worst staff and service. I recently stayed at the hotel for a weekend to celebrate my birthday and was already frustrated by the hotel staff prior to my arrival. Several weeks before my stay I made all the arrangements by email with the reservations team. A week before my arrival they sent me an email to confirm several things; I sent them the full details and then heard nothing further from them so obviously took everything as confirmed. Two days prior to my arrival a different reservations agent finally replied to my email to tell me that my check-in time wouldn't be possible. This was obviously very upsetting and they should have told me this much sooner. In this email the reservations department also confirmed my brunch event for 11 people which was then re-confirmed by the Butler Service shortly before my arrival at the hotel. Based on these confirmations I had invited 10 guests who were all driving to the hotel from Dubai for brunch at 12:00 noon. At 11:00 a.m. on the same day I received a call in my room from Reception telling me that brunch doesn't start until 12:30. Why did no one tell me this sooner? All my guests were already on their way which put me in a very difficult situation. We all eventually arrived at Olea restaurant at 12:10 p.m. but no one knew about my reservation (even though I was staying at the hotel! - in a hotel like this they should greet me by name when I arrive at the restaurant - another total breakdown in communications!) and to my great dismay my table was not set up the way I had told the restaurant to set it up a week prior to the event when I visited the resturant specifically for this reason - to confirm the table arrangements. I approached the one member of staff in a suit under the assumption that he was a manager (it turns out that he is the Assistant Restaurant Manager but he never introduced himself to me nor apologized for the inconveniences caused) and he simply told me that the table couldn't be set up the way I wanted it to be set up (even though the restaurant had confirmed it a week before) and then waved me away which was extremely insulting and disrespectful. After a long argument which extremely upset me and ruined my birthday he eventually changed the table set up and we were then able to enjoy a wonderful brunch. However, the next disasters then happened at the end of the brunch. First of all, no one approached me for last orders although all staff members at the restaurant knew that I was the hostess and then the arrogant, unprofessional, unfriendly Asssistant Restaurant Manager reappeared to hand me the bill (for 4 hours during the brunch he didn't approach our table one single time to check if everything was ok or if we neeeded anything; especially after the disaster with the table set up he should have done his utmost to make us feel welcome and to look after our table personally). The bill he handed me was incorrect in terms of the breakdown with the different brunch packages even though I had gone through the breakdown twice with his staff who wrote it down correctly in front of me. When I queried this he told me "just sign and then I will change it manually" which is outrageous. I insisted that he change the bill in the system which again caused me great stress and upset and then the second bill was still wrong as he had charged for 2 champagne brunches which were part of my room package. He insisted that he was correct and since I was fed up of arguing and further ruining my birthday I just signed the bill then as it was. As it turns out I was right and the bill was wrong and in the end the hotel overcharged me by AED 1,044.00 which is unacceptable. Throughout our stay at the hotel we were unable to reach the butler service on several occassions which again is unacceptable as this is one of the main features of any St. Regis hotel. Another example of the lack of service is the way my lost and found item was handled; I had to call the hotel several times to retrieve the item; every time I called the hotel they promised to call me back but they never did so I had to explain the situation over and over again. Eventually one member of the reservations team called me back to confirm that they had found the item and that they would keep it ready for me at the reception for collection the next evening. I ended up going to the hotel 2 days later in the evening and nobody knew anything about the case so I had to start all over again which was just annoying. Most annoying of all and outrageous is the fact that I have written a complaint to the hotel by email, I have completed the SPG survey and I have spoken to people at the hotel itself about my complaints and frustrations but to date no one has been in touch with me to apologize for my bad experience and their shortcomings. This must mean that they simply do not respect their customers' feedback and simply don't care about their reputation but rest assured I am sharing my lousy experience with everyone so hopefully other people will stay away from the hotel. It's really a great shame that such a stunning property in such a beautiful location is being totally mismanaged and ruining the reputation of St. Regis as a luxury five star hotel brand.

Room Tip: You definitely need to book a seaview room as the views to the back are not nice.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank SAR2012
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, Abu Dhabi, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and thank you for taking the time to rate us.

I was truly disappointed to read your comments and of course I am sorry for any shortfalls in our service that you experienced. However unlike your feedback on having received no response from us, I understand our restaurant manager for Olea has written to you apologizing. It is also good to know that you will be returning and staying with us this month during which time I am confident that all aspects of your stay will in line with the St. Regis standards we strive to achieve with our guests. As a small token of our regret for the previous shortcomings, I would be pleased if your next stay would be with my compliments. I also welcome the opportunity to meet you during your stay with us and discuss your observations and hopefully reassure you that this was an isolated incident. In the interim, I can be contacted at StRegis.Saadiyat@stregis.com. I look forward to meeting you.

Kind regards,
John Pelling

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Reviewed 25 May 2012

We only arrived two days ago but feel compelled to write feedback today with six days to go!

This place is superb!

We have spent the last 7 summers at the Burj al Arab but fell out of love with the place last year, it has lost its soul and now merely seems to cater for the hoards of Asian day trippers wanting to spend a night there.

We were recommended to try the St Regis... Glad that we were! The welcome was first rate, the rooms immaculate and superb and finally the food... Just wonderful ! I always thought that the Burj would be hard pressed to beat in terms of food, but the food here is even better.

We will be back ... But first we have another six days...... Joy zzzzzzzzz

Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Weaponry999
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, Abu Dhabi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2012

Greetings from The St.Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and thank you for taking the time to post your comments during your stay with us.

I trust the rest of the experience was as wonderful and relaxing as your first day with us. I am certainly delighted that our resort has been beyond expectation in every sense. Saadiyat Island, with its natural sands and blue waters, is a beautiful destination and our resort is a great getaway for a weekend or a much needed summer break. I’m sure you are glad to have found a new luxury leisure address in the UAE.

Thank you again for choosing us and I look forward to welcoming you back for another relaxing break.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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Reviewed 24 May 2012

THe hotel is relatively new and therefore undergoing some teething problems- overall it's a lovely, well designed place- so if you have already booked your hols, don't panic. There are a few things to note : pool- the main pool - as noted by previous reviewers is not suitable for kids at all - the life guards are on point stopping people swimming too close to the edge. The pool / beach bar is closed ( was when we were there) beach is nice and a rare thing in Abu Dhabi to find an open view to the sea with no construction - so a thumbs up if you like the beach. No evidence of any sailing or similiar water sports ( unlike Emirates palace which also has a beautiful beach). The loungers are ok - v flmsy curtain things hanging down - but not what I would expect at such a high end hotel- (try the Monaco Beach club up the road for some of the best quality pool-side action close by - that's more like it in my view - ditto the Emirates palace where you can have your spot set up anywhere you like - and avoid the kids entirely in the adults only area - or laze along the lazy river all afternoon - they also come around with icecream, canapes and sunglasses cleaning at the EP - no such thing at the St Regis-)
The main restaurant is noisy and bright, and some of the buffet food is tucked away inside the display islands the taste was good tho, and it was reasonably priced- but the tables are stuffed together, so there's the constant bustle of the buffet which is a little off putting. The 'kids' area for brunch is underwhelming ( again vs for example the Fairmont which goes all out on Fridays and tops most of the other 5* options) We were refused a reservation at 55th - the steak place - despite being resident guests- which was annoying, the only options were buffet ( same as lunch- no thanks) and a totally unremarkable asian restaurant- nice setting ( tho treacherous planks covered in warning signs due to humidity- ) and very very average food, set under strip lights- so not great - all in all pretty pathetic F&B offering for a hotel of this calibre- again compared to other AD hotels- a disappointing score for the new kid on the block.
The kids area is secluded and well appointed - most children there seemed happy - nanny service for small ones etc as you'd expect, so that gets a plus. Babysitting is extortionately expensive- as are kids beds - but the receptionist advised us to use the sofa - which we did and it was fine- actually more like a single bed. The reception / greeting staff were great, the others not so - we called 4 times to get a dinner reservation organised and the so called butler service was a bit all over the place -a case of over promise in my view- they should not make such a song and dance about butlers if they cannot over deliver there- better to surprise and delight guests beyond the usual room service options - they could not find a needle and thread for us to sew a button on etc - all a bit of a task to get them to find one. The room was nice, bathroom was oddly almost half the total room size- ok if you want to spend all your time in the shower / bath but a bit of a waste - we did not have a sea view room - these may be nicer.

Overall- The Emirates Palace and the Shangrila still top the St Regis in my view, we stayed in a suite at the Shangrila the following weekend and it was head and shoulders above the St Regis. Did not try the spa - but the Spas at the EP and the Shangrila are both excellent too. Shangrila pool options are also better for kids, but no kids club if you are looking for that. Also the St Regis is a good 30 mins from AD itself, so a little more isolated than the other options. They did agree to a late check out which was a nice bonus and their front of house is excellent- so if you have any queries on your stay, head for front desk to have someone good take action for you.
Rumours the Park Hyatt next door is better, we are planning to check that out soon!
Disappointing food choices and no pool bar - not great - overall not worth the star rating yet in my view.

Room Tip: Sea view - avoid any overlooking the arrival / atrium - car noises and taxi- to and fro will keep you up.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank bakingcakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2012

My husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary at the St. Regis this past weekend. Our sea view room was ultra comfortable, bright and spacious, with every detail having been thought of. The staff were always asking if we were enjoying our stay, food, cocktails etc. We dined at 55th & 5th their signature restaurant, and it truly was fine dining. The following night we dined at Sontaya (SE Asian restaurant) where the staff were very knowledgeable about the cuisine. We had breakfast in Olea where we enjoyed our preferred healthy food choices for breakfast. The selection was fantastic, taking care of every type of palate.

The Manhattan Lounge was a perfect location for a pre dinner cocktail or nightcap, with lovely
comfy lounge chairs on the patio. My husband was super impressed by the bartender who made his mojito both nights...the best he had ever tasted. Sesi was a delight each evening as we chatted with him. Comfort is everywhere you go in the St. Regis, whether it's in your room, poolside, patio, restaurants or beach.

The hotel has a super singer/piano player. The atmosphere in the hotel in the evening is conducive to mingling in the restaurants or lounging in the open areas.

The beach is beautiful. The only difficult part was entering the water due to the golf ball size stones at water's edge. Although the lifeguard lets guests borrow water shoes while in the sea.

Check in was quick and our room was ready. Check out was a little more trickier as our bill did not reflect the 10% discount for our SPG membership. However, Toshihiko who did our check out soon took care of that matter.

I love how relaxed the St. Regis is. You can come to breakfast in your swimsuit as long as you are suitably covered up.

My husband plays golf regularly at the St. Regis and enjoys the challenges offered by the course.

We hope to return very soon for another mini break.

Room Tip: We were in Room 512 which overlooked the Arabian Gulf. We were very pleased with the location which was on the adult's pool side of the hotel.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank QueenofCarlisle
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, Abu Dhabi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and congratulations on your 31st anniversary.

I am delighted that the celebrations at our resort went well and your husband and you enjoyed your stay with us. And since you have particularly mentioned the mojitos at the Manhattan Lounge, I highly recommend trying the selection we will have at Turquoiz, our beach restaurant that will open door post summer.

Thank you again for choosing us and I look forward to welcoming you back for another relaxing getaway.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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Reviewed 19 May 2012

I celebrated my wife's birthday and stayed only for 1 night, but had a great experience. Spacious room with Spacious bathroom overlooking the beach...Wife loved it! Lots of daylight and the balcony complimented these rooms..

Hotel has several swimming pools and I admired the thought behind a pool dedicated for the adults. Early in the morning at around 0730, our pool's lifeguard pointed out the sighting of Dolphins, which was unbelievable, but true!

We found the restaurants and bars simply perfect with great food selection and quality. Morning Breakfast Buffet selection is the best! We had dinner at the Asia restaurant sitting outside next to the pool - a lot of different food options and the cost was not exxagerated either.

We loved the attention to detail, the friendly & helpful team and we will definitely be back. Thank you all for making my wife's birthday special with the cake in our bedroom too.

Room Tip: You can play Volleyball from 4pm to 6pm. Dolphin sighting early in the morning. Reach early for the morning breakfast.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank AB2AB
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, Abu Dhabi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2012

Greetings from The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and thank you for choosing us as a venue for your celebrations.

It is wonderful to read that your wife and you truly enjoyed your stay with us and our staff, our biggest asset, made it all possible. Thank you again for your positive comments and I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Warm regards,

John Pelling,
General Manager

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