A regal retreat with something for everyone, on one of Abu Dhabi’s finest beaches…

The location

A grand dame on the shores of one of Abu Dhabi’s finest islands, there’s a regal air to this super-sized Saadiyat Island resort. It’s perched right on the beachfront beside the 18-hole Championship Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, the first in a string of luxe-five star stays on this enviable strip of sand.

The look and feel

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern aesthetics harmoniously marry at the property, which is grand without being gaudy. The eight-floor resort is built in smart sand-hued stone, giving it a Mediterranean mansion feel from the outside. Once inside, plenty of marble, glass and oceanic shades ensure everywhere feels bright and breezy. It’s a huge property, with the main resort encased with luxurious private villas, and the landscaped grounds that separate the building from the beach are dotted with swimming pools, restaurants, and perfectly manicured gardens.

The rooms

We check-in to one of the luxurious top-tier suites, a signature spa suite, where space and serenity reign supreme. There’s an Arabian splendour to the dark wooden details, shimmering bronze tiles and super-sized marble bathrooms, but crisp linens, branded full-size amenities, and signature all-encompassing butler service ensure it’s got that unmistakable St. Regis touch. Suite guests benefit from special butler privileges such as complimentary pressing and access to the nightly bubbly sabering ritual.

The food and drink

A truly outstanding array of places to eat and drink ensure all tastes are catered to. The all-day dining at Olea is an international feast that showcases what a resort of this stature can do: for breakfast, international flavours from India, the Middle East and China sit alongside tables of pastries, fresh fruit, and every bread imaginable. There’s also an a la carte egg option, which elevates the big buffet offering. For poolside eats, the adults-only pool bar has a casual menu of crowd pleasers that are the perfect accompaniment to a day of soaking up the sun, like bowls of calamari and a fresh halloumi and watercress salad tossed in olive oil and topped with pine nuts.

More formal dining options can be enjoyed at restaurants such as Southeast Asian specialty restaurant, Sontaya. Here, highlights include a generous chicken Pad Thai, sizzling Korean lamb chops and a sweet mango sticky rice, served up in a restaurant space surrounded by a shallow pool of water that makes you feel like you’ve left the UAE capital and landed in the heart of Thailand. Then there’s Buddha-Bar Beach, a seaside iteration of the renowned pan-Asian hotspot, where inventive cocktails pair perfectly with a flavour-packed menu of sushi platters, gyozas, and punchy miso salmon. It’s an elevated beach lounge, where drinks and dining are offered up against the backdrop of cool DJ sets and entertainment on weekends.

The facilities

At a resort of this size, it’s important to ensure all travelling styles are catered to. Having an adults-only and a family-friendly pool make sure those with little ones have a lively spot to make a splash, while the adults-only pool is a more refined sunbathing spot complete with in-water loungers and bubbling jacuzzis. In the garden, guests can get competitive with a life-sized chess board, while the beach is home to archery and football, as well as neat lines of loungers that lead to Saadiyat’s crystal clear waters. You won’t want to miss a trip to sumptuous Iridum Spa, where the newest array of innovative treatments includes incredible Hydrafacial experiences. A multi-step treatment of cleansing, exfoliation, extraction and hydration, it’s a blend of super-serums to leave you feeling fresh-faced and glowy.

Room rates

A one-night stay for two in a superior room, inclusive of breakfast, starts from Dhs2,655.


While it may now have many counterparts on Saadiyat Island promising five-star luxury against the backdrop of one of the world’s best beaches, The St. Regis remains at the top of its game thanks to its signature butler service and impressive culinary offering.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 498 8888. @stregissaadiyatisland