Chauffeur + Washington Dulles Airport
Dulles to Abu Dhabi Etihad Diamond First
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Nation Towers
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi to Male Etihad Pearl Business
Conrad Lounge & Seaplane
Male to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Business Class
W Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong to New York Cathay Pacific First Class
JFK Airport and AA Flagship Lounge
New York to DC American First Class
Hong Kong to Munich Lufthansa First Class
Munich Airport and Lufthansa First Class Lounge
Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt to Washington Dulles Lufthansa First Class
I was really excited for this stay for a number of reasons. First, we love St. Regis hotels… they all offer free tea & coffee any time and we’re both big “afternoon tea people,” so it’s always nice for that. Also, I’d used SPG Platinum Suite Night Awards to get a confirmed upgrade into a St. Regis Suite which retails for $1300++ per night, so I was quite looking forward to that as well!
We arrived at the hotel around 9:00pm on New Year’s Eve, so while I didn’t get a good view of the outside, I was able to snap a shot the next day:
We were escorted from the very grand lobby into a side room with 3 check in desks.
As is typical for St. Regis hotels, check in was processed as a sit down affair. The Malaysian gentleman processed us pretty quickly and assigned us a suite on the 47th floor.
[Quick Note: The hotel downgraded us from a St. Regis Suite to a “Grand Deluxe” Suite. It was involuntary, but they’ve since made it right. I don’t want to harp on it since they did offer appropriate compensation, but it did happen, so I’m reporting it.]
The Suite was essentially a junior suite with a divider between the bed and a small sitting area. The best feature of the suite was the floor-to-ceiling windows that wrapped around and provided an awesome view of the corniche area as well as the city & desert.
The bathroom looked like a marble showroom and the central tub also had a pretty terrific view.
There were dual sinks, and the shower/toilet were on opposite sides of the bathroom.
The agent was also kind enough to give us a voucher for a free glass of champagne for the New Year’s Eve party on the 3rd floor terrace.
The party itself was exactly the low key affair we were looking for after a 12 hour flight. It had a great view of the fireworks which were either coming from or behind the presidential palace.
The most impressive aspect of the hotel, though, had to be the breakfast, which was as good as any I can remember anywhere. There were at least a dozen hot dishes:
a yogurt bar:
Fruits and veggies:
Cold meats & cheese:
and three different pastry/bread stations:
There were also made to order omelets, and of course, tea, coffee, juice, etc.
So how was the stay overall?
Well… it was good overall, though I probably wouldn’t stay there again.
First, and most obviously. I prefer my SPG Platinum benefits to be properly honored–not to have the hotel compensate me for not honoring them. Also, and this has nothing to do with the hotel, but Abu Dhabi proper didn’t really do it for us. We much preferred the seclusion and resorty-ness of Saadiyat Island.
More relevant, the hotel definitely was experiencing some teething problems and inconsistencies as it’s only a few months old. One of the challenges seemed to be that English was the second (or third, etc) language for most of the staff, but because the staff comes from all over they were all forced to communicate with each other in English. A few of our butler service requests were completely lost with no follow up at all, and we never got the impression that we could really just relax, which is certainly something you expect at a St. Regis property.
The hotel itself is absolutely gorgeous, and if it were in the middle of, say, Hong Kong (our favorite city in the world), we’d definitely stay there again once they’ve [hopefully] worked out a few teething problems. It’s still a bargain, though, as a category 5 hotel, and it certainly has some great suites available for Suite Night redemption (if they actually honor it, that is).