Honeymooning at St. Regis Abu Dhabi: a Hotel Review
After spending three nights at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, we came to the conclusion that we have NEVER experienced such top-tier service as we did during this stay. The crazy thing is, not only were we not working with the hotel, but we stayed here strictly by using Marriott points, yet they treated us like we were esteemed guests!
It was the first stop on our two-month honeymoon and we started our trip with a bang. To this day, I still dream about being here and how well we were treated.
We only spent 104,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on our 3-night stay being pampered at the St. Regis! You can too by collecting the rewards with these amazing Canadian AMEX cards! A small annual fee to get enough points for a luxurious stay like this one!
First Class Butler Service
Usually, I end my hotel reviews with the service, detailing our experience with that last. But because this was such an integral part of our stay, I’m going to start with it in this post.
The St. Regis is widely known for its signature butler service. That’s right, as a guest, you get special attention throughout your stay 24/7, and it’s a truly five-star experience, especially at this property. You can either make a call from your room phone to the butler service desk or text their WhatsApp number and you’ll receive a welcoming response almost instantly.
We were so appreciative of the butler team who were incredibly responsive and attentive throughout all hours of the day. No matter what time it is, they are at your disposal if you need anything. One thing they offer at any time of the day is a tea and/or coffee service. They’ll come deliver your brewing tea or coffee in shiny silverware and pour it to your liking. They’ll be sure to ask you if you’d like milk, cream and/or sugar with your hot beverage prior to bringing the tray, and each saucer is served with a cookie as well.
Once we called for an iced coffee thinking they would simply add some ice to a cup, but the butler serving us actually went out of his way to order an iced Americano from the restaurant bar at no charge to us! Had we known, we wouldn’t have ordered it, but that was kind of the team to do that.
On top of the coffee & tea service, they would remind us what else they offered and could do for us, which included garment pressing (complimentary up to two items) and shoe shining. We took them up on their offer for a shoe shine as Jason’s shoes were due for a light cleaning before our night out. They did a great job of polishing his black Givenchy’s and we were grateful that this was all complimentary.
The St. Regis also provides true butler service: if you need anything at all, even something that would need to be done or picked up off property, they would be able to make it happen for you with a 15% gratuity charge. The concierge was also always inclined to help out any which way we needed. If we needed tickets to attractions booked, reservations to restaurants, or recommendations throughout the city, they always offered to be the first ones for us to call.
On top of everything the butler service already offers as part of their commitment, they would also go above and beyond to make our stay extra special. Upon entering our room the first night, they had chocolates and strawberries waiting for us. The next night, because it was my birthday and they found out we were celebrating our honeymoon, our main butler Mina had the housekeeping team set up balloons, flower petals and towel swans, he and the team wrote the sweetest handwritten cards in celebration of both our events, and he also dropped off their signature red velvet cake for the evening! What was even more of a pleasant surprise was that Mina already knew it was my birthday, having noticed it on my passport perhaps (a great butler never reveals his ways). Every day there was something new that they would deliver to our room just because – more chocolates and chocolate-covered strawberries on our final night, a bowl of various fresh fruits one morning and even a plate of berries.
Mina was a star and he also booked our reservation for St. Regis’ champagne sabering ritual in addition to taking the time to give us a private tour of the incredible penthouse suite, both of which I’ll showcase later in this article so keep reading to find out more!
Luxurious Guest Rooms & Suites
The St. Regis is known for its timeless luxury with royal touches and colours throughout the entire hotel, rooms and suites. Even their most basic room was going to wow us, but we were fortunate enough to be able to visit their highest tier – and most expensive at $27,000 a night – suite as well.
Superior Guest Room, 1 King, Corner View
Thanks to our Marriott Gold Elite status through our AMEX Platinum cards, we were upgraded from the basic Superior Guest King Room with a city view to one with a corner view (room #4307) of both the sea and city to admire from our tall, full-height windows. I love that the Marriott Bonvoy app notifies you of your upgrade prior to physically checking in when you arrive at the hotel. Our status also provided us with early check-in (which we didn’t take advantage of since our flight landed in the evening) and a guaranteed late check-out of 2pm. We certainly made the most of having our glorious room for those extra few hours.
Our room was a perfect size of 484 sqft and appeared more spacious in height because of the ceiling’s layered bulkheads with a stunning chandelier in the middle. I found the interior design to be remarkable with royal touches throughout the space, whether it was built-in or displayed in movable pieces. From the carpet, to the head board, the curtains to the top of the walls, this king room is one of the best base-level hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in.
The hallway had its royal charm with the marble tiled flooring, floor-to-ceiling armoires and the mirrored vanity, but the marble marvel of a bathroom was one of my most treasured spaces. I felt like I stepped into the shoes of her Majesty the Queen every time I would do my business in this space.
The gorgeous bathroom had imposing marble tiling, a marvellous ceiling feature with yet another chandelier, double vanity sinks with a massive mirror to cover the whole wall – on which you could watch what was on TV in a smaller section screen -, a stunning bathtub with spa lighting on both sides and two separate mirrored doors, one leading to the water closet and bidet, and the other leading to the spacious tiled shower with a marbled bench. This bathroom deserves its own award and its big reveal was made even better with the swinging or the large, wooden double doors from the hallway.
I already loved the room so much but the cherry on top was the breathtaking view of Corniche Beach, the marina and the skyscrapers that lined the coast line of Abu Dhabi. We were grateful the windows were so clean on the 43rd floor to admire the sights from our own abode.
Abu Dhabi Suite, 3 Bedroom Penthouse, Sea View
12,050 sqft of opulence is what this penthouse suite was. It spans across two floors, 48th and 49th, and is housed on the skybridge elevated at almost 200 meters that connects the two Nation towers of the St. Regis, making it the highest suspended suite in the world.
There is much to say about this majestic space with luxurious Arabian tones in every corner, and so large that we would’ve definitely gotten lost if Mina left us there alone. Luckily we had him to give us a private tour. I think my favourite spot is the massive oval living room that occupies the entire skybridge that we can see from the Nation Riviera Beach Club (more on that later). The suite never ceases to boast Arabian luxury.
All three bedrooms are stunning, with the master having a uniquely round room and bed, and a walk-in closet the size of an apartment. The bathroom features were magnificent, even in the guest rooms.
But I was most fascinated by the appearance and amenities of the spa room. Two massage beds, steam rooms and saunas, and a soak tub that overlooks the city view? I’m sold.
On top of an entire spa facility, the suite features a large party dining room, a full kitchen, a movie theatre with electrically reclinable seats, a bar, a luxurious spiral staircase and a private elevator so guests can arrive to their suite without intrusion (via helicopter perhaps). Is it too much to ask to have these basic necessities in our own homes? Come on now.
Apart from two restaurants, we actually managed to dine and sip at many of the property’s venues. We worked up quite the appetite after getting lost in the Abu Dhabi suite.
Champagne Sabre Ritual at Crystal Lounge
Our first outing at the hotel was our complimentary experience of the the St. Regis’ signature Champagne sabrage ritual. We didn’t know about it so we appreciated that Mina, our butler, made us a reservation the night after we checked in. It occurs daily at 7pm at the Crystal Lounge, an open concept bar situated on the second floor of the grand lobby, with a beautiful view of the Etihad towers as the sun set and emitted colours in the sky.
As you take your seat at the bar, they’ll offer you some still or sparkling water along with some nuts and chips to snack on during the ritual. Your host will entertain you not only with the performance of sabring off the top of the wine bottle, but they’ll also mention fun facts and history about the ritual at the St. Regis. They’ll also take the time to give a detailed explanation of how it works – with a small disclaimer not to try it at home! We were then served a delicious Louis Roederer brut, which was used in the demonstration, in the prettiest engraved and chilled champagne flutes.
My birthday night was off to a fantastic start, and we felt even more special when a guest relations representative came and introduced herself to us, hearing from that it was our honeymoon! It was really awesome that they took the time to do that and would recognize us without having met us.
Catch at St. Regis
After starting our night at the Crystal Lounge, we made our way to Catch for my birthday dinner, which is not located within the hotel tower, but across the road within the Nation Riviera Beach Club premises. You don’t have to worry about exiting the hotel building and crossing the street. There’s actually a fully air-conditioned marble tunnel you take that leads you to an elevator just steps away from the restaurant entrance. No need to sweat off any makeup and ruin any hairdos before dinner.
Upon checking in, we let them know we didn’t make a prior reservation as we weren’t sure what time we’d be able to come. They let us know it was no problem and seated us in the welcome lounge area in the meantime as they got a table ready for us. They asked us if we wanted any drinks to start with. We politely said no thank you, but they came around with the cutest (and most delicious) cocktails in these fancy swan drink glasses, along with some nuts and chips! We were both so impressed. We made the mistake of not making a reservation but they came around with complimentary drinks without hesitation. Birthday was getting better and better.
They seated us at a table by the window soon after and came around with a fresh set of light snacks. For appetizer, we ordered the Lobster Sliders with avocado, served with banana chips and gochujang tartare sauce. Great start. Since Catch is known well as a contemporary seafood restaurant, we didn’t hesitate to keep the fish theme for our mains. I ordered the Pan-Seared Scallops served on a bed of pumpkin risotto with yuzu saffron sauce and squid ink tuile. One hyphenated word: mouth-watering. Jason ordered the 48-Hours Miso Marinated Black Cod served with broccolini, daikon and miso yuzu sauce. To this day, he says it’s the best fish he’s ever had as it was like butter melting in his mouth.
In total, our meal would have added to 525 AED ($145 USD), but as St. Regis guests, we got 20% off our meal. Such a great incentive to dine at the hotel and try their award-winning restaurants!
To top it off, we received another pleasant surprise from the Catch staff. They made an amazing effort of singing “Happy Birthday” for me and generously gave us their most sublime dessert on the menu on the house! The Catchamisu is one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever been served. It’s a phenomenal tiramisu that appears identical to a fancy can of caviar sitting on a bowl of dry ice. It’s one of the best tiramisus I’ve had and the little “caviar” is actually coffee pearls (made with what I think is tapioca). Priced at 95 AED ($26 USD), I was so grateful they offered this dessert complimentary.
This is the best service we’ve ever received in a restaurant. I can’t say enough good things and the food was to go to heaven for.
Cabana Beach Bar & Grill
Our second morning at the St. Regis was spent at the beach and pool, so once we worked up a hunger, we went straight to the Cabana Beach Bar & Grill for lunch once it opened. As its name suggests, it’s an outdoor, casual dining joint, and mostly serves Western handheld foods.
It was our first meal of the day so we had enough appetite for a smoothie and burger. Jason went for the BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich with cured cabbage, pickled onion, Gruyère cheese, spinach bread and pink peppercorn spread. I had the Chipotle Chicken Burger with Tillamook cheddar, avocado, turkey bacon and grilled pineapple. Mine was tastier, not going to lie. Spicy breaded chicken just hits different.
We ordered the Nutty Professor (peanut butter, homemade almond milk, banana and honey) smoothie as well, but instead of simply making one, our server had the bartender make two for us at no extra charge! He said he didn’t want one of us to feel left out which was kind.
Again, the exceptional service strikes again at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi. On top of getting a 20% guest discount as well!
The Terrace on the Corniche
When we walked into The Terrace restaurant on our final morning, I wasn’t expecting the brunch spread that was waiting for us. Their food selection was beyond anything we had seen for a breakfast buffet before. With delicious Middle Eastern and South Asian options, tons of healthy Western-style eats, tiers of delectable pastries and hearty Asian cuisine to satisfy the soul, the choices were endless.
The cold sections had some of your standard salads and cold cuts, but the cheese selection had an abundance of Mediterranean options and the prepared yogurt parfaits were what I would pay good money for at a trendy café. There was even a whole station dedicated to granola, nuts and cereals with different varieties of seeds with an entire honeycomb rack in the middle that made for the perfect breakfast addition.
A St. Regis signature touch was the island dedicated to mixing Bloody Mary’s, the trademark drink of the luxurious hotel brand. Invented at the St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar, this cocktail is a significant icon of the St. Regis brand. Each hotel location has their own twist on the cocktail, Abu Dhabi’s being The Desert Snapper. You can even find every location’s recipe to make them at home yourself!
Lastly, our fancy all-you-can-eat brunch wasn’t simply limited to what our eyes saw at all the stations. We could order food right from our table! It’s an upscale twist to the omelet station as we could order our eggs however we liked completely a la carte. Whether you wanted Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine or a flat Masala Omelette, you could let your server know and it’d come right to your table.
The St. Regis Bar
The St. Regis Bar is the perfect spot in the hotel to catch a sports game, sip on a Martini or get some work done while you wait for your ride to back to the airport. We were ecstatic about our extra late checkout but we still had more than a few hours to kill before we made our way to catch our red-eye flight.
I would say that the St. Regis Bar gives off a very “boy’s club” energy, but the staff are extremely welcoming and show no exclusivity in spite of the ambience. The bar is certainly appealing with its homage to New York’s Gilded Age. It’s refined with high ceilings, gold accents and sharper edges and features. It’s a slightly darker lounge that resembles a library, and it presents vintage artifacts and pieces like the gentleman attire mid-tailoring in various corners of the rooms. The bar extends from the main dwelling to two other sanctuaries, and the bar looks absolutely stunning in the inner room.
We remained on a large couch at the entrance of the lounge. Even though we weren’t ready to order anything yet, the hostess came around and offered us some light bites. Nuts, chips and cheese cubes were brought around, and when we finished them, she offered a second round. She told us that there was in fact a daily happy hour going on, from 5pm-8pm, where all drinks were half off! Even though we had already checked out, the additional guest discount of 20% off was still included. We effortlessly provided our Marriott Bonvoy member ID through our app and used our AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card to rack in the additional points!
Their drinks menu is fascinating. They have almost every classic cocktail you can think of: Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni, Piña Colada, you name it. Under each one of those drinks, they have another cocktail listed that entails a St. Regis twist to each of those classics. We had to try the St. Regis’ take on the cocktails so we ordered a couple of those during our final hours at the hotel before we said goodbye.
The hotel is remarkable inside and out. The grandiose lobby with the double staircase was like it brought the Titanic to life. There is so much space to sit and hang out in the lobby, whether you find yourself on the main floor by the piano or upstairs in the private booths.
3rd Floor Amenities
The 3rd floor of the hotel houses the award-winning Remède Spa and the main exercise room. This gym, although very aesthetically pleasing with French walls, vintage lighting fixtures, and tons of natural light coming through the tall windows, the equipment was a bit outdated. There were more cardio machines with fewer machinery for weighted workouts, and the gym didn’t seem to belong to the class of a St. Regis. It does, however, do the trick if you need to get a quick sweat in just steps from the main elevator.
Just outside of the 3rd floor gym is the Azura Pool. It’s a quieter place to take a dip and swim and it’s adjacent to the tall tower as it sits on the 3rd floor’s outdoor patio area. Beside the pool is located the Azura Panoramic Lounge, a casual dining area where you can gave out to the Persian Gulf, the beach and the city’s marina. It’s the perfect place to dine if you want to be outside as the sun falls beneath the horizon.
Nation Riviera Beach Club
Although you might have everything you need right on this 3rd floor, the Nation Riviera Beach Club is where it’s at. I mentioned before that you reach the beach club via the marbled underground walkway, and the premises contain our favourite onsite restaurant (Catch), a stunning swimming pool, special locker rooms, another fitness centre, and of course, private beach access. Paying members of the beach club and St. Regis hotel guests will get exclusive access to to the facilities.
The main pool is fantastic and provides that desert oasis feel you often seek when staying at a resort. The great thing is is that you get this piece of resort heaven without having to leave the city. We went quite some time relaxing poolside and the service was great. At certain times of the day, the pool bar is open so you can order refreshing drinks without getting out of the water and while you have a seat in the shade.
The white sand beach is just a gate away from the large pool and has a ton of lounge chairs and cabanas. On this hot and sunny summer day, we were the only ones enjoying the beach. The lagoon is incredibly peaceful with its light, turquoise water coming in gently, but the water was as warm as bath water in July. The beach would definitely be a greater hit in the shoulder season and winter months, but it was nice to have it all to ourselves!
I loved that all guests got access to the Nation Riviera Beach Club locker rooms which featured a steam room and sauna. No need to book any treatments! You could come and go as you like. The second gym was also free to access and was more favourable than the 3rd floor gym in our opinion. A great vacation routine would be to hit the fitness centre, then change and head to the beach, cool down at the pool, grab some eats at the Cabana Beach Bar & Grill, and then head back to the locker room for a light steam.
A family favourite is the fact that there’s a small waterpark called the Treasure Island Children’s Club on the premises as well! The kids can have their fun too even though the hotel may be more tailored to adults.
I can’t say enough good things about the service we received and the experience we enjoyed at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi! It is honestly one of the most excited I’ve been to review a hotel and I think that we will forever encourage friends, family and you, fellow readers, to visit it at least once when visiting UAE.
A Capone Connection
October 24, 2022 at 4:45 pm
I love St. Regis hotels. This looks like a first class experience. Awesome!
October 24, 2022 at 7:03 pm
It was our first time staying at a St. Regis and I am completely sold on this brand! I hope you’ve had a wonderful experience with them too
October 24, 2022 at 6:44 pm
Wow what a gorgeous stay! This looks absolutely magical. Thank you for sharing all the details!
October 24, 2022 at 7:04 pm
Thank you for reading! It was an absolutely hard-to-beat first experience on our honeymoon. It’s amazing that we got to stay here on points alone!