I have to start off saying that although this hotel could be fabulous, and probably is for some people, for the loyal SPG Elite, or leisure traveler that isn’t a VIP, its simply just a nice, pretty hotel.
As part of my birthday trip to the UAE ,I of course had to try out the St. Regis in Abu Dhabi! I did not know when I booked the room that a middle east cooperation conference was being held there, and the hotel would be full of government people and visiting VIP’s and foreign dignitaries. I got the first notion of this when checking in and did NOT get any type of upgrade whatsoever, i souls later realize this was the reason.
I paid for this stay out of pocket instead of points because it was very cheap for St. Regis standards. I paid apx $150 USD a night for the 3 nights. I will always pay instead of using points for a deal this good. Little did I know the deal wasn’t all that good in the end.
Upon arrival to the hotel I was taken to the SPG check in area which was odd to say the least! There were 3 desks where the agents were sitting down and although there was chairs for the guests, none were close to the desk so one had to stand looking down at the agent… I found this quite odd and a tad uncomfortable!
I was told I was “upgraded” to a sea view king room, to which I responded, NO, I paid for a sea view king room. I then asked about suites and was told no other rooms were available. I did of course verify this on the app so I didn’t make too much of a fuss, although, many hotels that actually care about thier loyal guests, pre-arrange a suite a few days out to make sure they have one upon arrival, this, unfortuntly was NOT the case here.
Although the agents were nice enough, they seemed indifferent, and had a “no-can-do” attitude, which is rare for a St. Regis. For example, I always take my platinum breakfast in my room at the St. Regis, and at first the lady said this was not possible, but after questioning her about this, luckily the Assistant Front Office Manager was there and said this would be no problem. I know this is technically not a earned benefit, but it really doesn’t cost them much more if any and its just somethingI like doing!
The Room (The First One)
Upon arriving to the first room they gave me, I was so stunned at how small and cramped it was.
After looking around I noticed it was also filthy and just not up to St. Regis or SPG standards.
The room had dirty carpet, and crumbs everywhere
and if I wasn’t worried about a claustrophobic panic attack I was worried to walk around without my shoes, so I went back down to the desk and made my feelings known.
The Manager I spoke with was very nice and found me another room (Was told before none were available), but still not suites, but would transfer me to one the next day!
The Room (The Second One)
The second room was still on the smaller side, but because it was a corner room it seemed a tad less claustrophobic. The new room was also cleaner than the first, I’m not sure why unless the housekeeping on the other floor was poor.
I was promised a suite the next day when one came available, which I accepted.
Don’t get me wrong, both rooms were “nice” and lux, but the first room was dirty and the second one was still on the small side,and dated ,to be honest one of the smaller rooms I’ve ever had in any hotel.
The Suite (Third Room)
The next day , or afternoon I should say I was moved to a junior suite,
which was much nicer, bigger and cleaner! The Suite was not huge but it was much more what I had expected at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
There was a living room, with a desk and sofa, and slid s bedroom with a king sized bed. The decor was the same basically as the other 2 rooms, but like I said,
on the cleaner and more up to date side.
I chose the breakfast option as my platinum gift, as its worth so much more than 500 SPG points in this instance! As I spoke about earlier I requested that I take my breakfast in my room, and to be honest the breakfast was very very good! I have , so far always had FABULOUS breakfasts at all the St. Regis properties that I have stayed in! The breakfast consisted of mostly Indian fare, which I love! Having your platinum breakfast ensuite is NOT part of the SPG Program or benifit, but I always request it in St. Regis and Luxury hotels. This all started at the ST. Regis New York City, the Grand Dame of all hotels, where I was offered this perk and its just stuck every since!
The property had 2 pools, one on the 3rd floor right next to the hotel, and another on the beach across the street.
The pool across the street was located at what they call the Nations Beach Club.
To access the beach club you walked through a very nice marble tunnel that went under a very large major street.
I spent several hours at the beach club at both the pool and the ocean. The beach club had a health club and gym as well as a few restaurants.. It was very nice, like a little St. Regis Village across the street from the hotel, but it really did seem like it was attached.
The hotel has several restaurants, around 10 if you count the bars that serve food. I only used room service and I ate a fabulous meal at Villa Toscana, their Italian restaurant! The food and service was great and I highly recommend it!
I received a voucher for like $20 off a massage in the Remede Spa so I took a massage, which was a very small discount,
but… I have to say the massage was wonderful and the spa itself was top notch, I have nothing but good to say about the spa other than the price was high.
So, I needed a slight touch up and decided to go to the men’s salon. I was raised that if you had to ask the price you cant afford it so I didn’t. I wish I would have asked now, $85 USD later for a mediocre haircut I was floored. Note to self, always ask the price of haircut from now on!
Thoughts on the property
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a beautiful property that has much potential. It is decorated as you would expect a St. Regis to be, and was very grand and over the top. With this said, the lack of cleanliness and the lack of service towards normal (SPG Platinum) people negate all the positives. The property is located next to several major government buildings and they get most of their business from the UAE government, so obviously those people will be the real VIPSi= in the hotels eyes! It just felt like I was a second class citizen while I was there. I understand that MANY people are much more important than me, but the key to fabulous service is making ALL your guests feel equal and important! I was a paying customer, and a loyal SPG Platinum, but I felt like a beggar off the street. The difference between the real St. Regis in NYC and this one is I actually stayed at the New York property a few years ago, and used points, and was upgraded to a FABULOUS suite, and turns out I was on one end of the hallway and Hillary Clinton was on the other end, but I was made to feel like I was the only guest there! This is good service, the St. Regis Abu Dhabi has a different way of treating people which may be a cultural thing, but non the less they fly a flag of the Flagship SPG property and they need to act as such, in this LOYAL frequent travels opinion.
One great benefit of being a SPG Platinum member is you get 4pm late check out, if available, and its usually available, except of course in this instance. I had a very late flight, leaving at midnight actually, so I wanted a late, 4pm check out and I was going to go to the airline lounge and just hangout after that , or have the hotel keep my luggage and go sightsee or something. I was informed no late checkout was available , at all. I really could not believe it, and the hotel truly acted as if it was a mute issue. I decided to rent a cheap room at the Aloft, close to the airport and just hang out at the pool.
This review was a hard one to write because I was so surprised and taken aback at how things happened! I don’t want to say anything negative about SPG or St. Regis, but I feel like I have to tell it the way it is! The hotel does not have the right attitude towards all their guest or the right culture within their employees. The hotel could be fabulous like I said, but the way I was made to feel just ruined everything. If you look online you will see many bad reviews, lack of upgrades, etc etc so I am not the first to give this place a bad review. The bad thing is the hotel stays full from government business so they really do not care, hence the reason they have not improved after all the bad reviews.
In ending, I do NOT recommend this hotel and I am astonished I am saying this about a St. Regis, but it is what it is!
Thanks for reading and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!