I recently went on a fabulous trip to Abu Dhabi. Yes that's right Abu Dhabi not Dubai. Abu Dhabi has often been described as the older more elegant, laid-back sister of the glitzier, glamorous party place that is Dubai, and I couldn't agree more.
I was in Abu Dhabi for the Volvo Ocean Race. For the first time in thirty-eight years, Volvo Ocean Races brought the competition to Abu Dhabi. And Abu Dhabi did them proud, setting up a purpose-built "destination village" on its Corniche breakwater. And lucky for us Abu Dhabi won this leg of the competition; well you can imagine the celebrations.
They are wonderful hosts, and made our visit a very pleasant one.
We were staying at the St Regis, Saadiyat Island Resort. The iconic luxurious brand's first Middle East property on Saadiyat Island. The Hotel's air of mystique is created by thoughtful Mediterranean architecture and a contemporary interior design, which is further enhanced by an intelligent use of natural products and elements. The resort boasts lavish yet intimate spaces overlooking either Saadiyat's pristine beach or the impressive Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, designed by the golfing legend, Gary Player.
When you arrive in Abu Dhabi you arrive in style, you are whisked away from the airport in a chauffeur driven luxury Audi, directly to your hotel. Your luggage is discreetly deposited in your room, by your personal butler, who also offers to unpack if you should desire him to.
Nice suggestion but I don't think he would have been too impressed by my over-packed suitcase, despite travelling extensively, I still haven't quite managed the knack of packing lightly and truly believe that packing for every eventuality is necessary.
The hotel has just recently opened, the bed in my room hadn't even been slept in yet, which was rather comforting to know.
Once I had checked in etc, I went on a snoop around the hotel, it had everything that you would expect of a luxury five star, the spa, a couple of restaurants, indoor and outdoor, bars, meeting rooms, function suites, pools and of course the essential prayer room as is required in the majority of buildings in these Islamic countries.
Our first dinner at the hotel was at the private dining room the 55 & 5th The Grill. And it had a truly New York feel about the room. Very intimate and classy. The food was also quite delicious.
Breakfast the next day was served in the main restaurant, with beautiful views of the sea. The restaurant staff are very attentive and cater for all your breakfasting requirements.
After breakfast we took a walk down to the beach. The hotel is on the beach and has its own private stretch of sand, with sun loungers and private cabanas, there are also waiting staff on hand to take care of food and drink orders. The views are simply stunning.
Whilst there is still extensive construction going on in Abu Dhabi, I would recommend that you choose your hotel wisely, nothing worse than ending up next to a building site, as the workers start very early in the day!
St Regis, Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
T: +971 2 498 8882 M: +971 50 6429843