For several reasons the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (not to be confused with the St Regis Abu Dhabi, which is in the centre of town), is widely thought of as one of the go-to, child-friendly, winter-sun hotels for those craving warmer climes when Europe is at its coldest.
Abu Dhabi is about as close as you can get for guaranteed year-round warmth. Plus, the minimal jet lag, short airport transfer, fantastic location on one of the best beaches in the Arabian Gulf and the comprehensive family offering (the jewel in the crown being the Sandcastle Club for kids), all combine to offer an easy, luxurious break for families.
I had briefly visited a couple of years ago and enjoyed a delicious lunch, but I mainly recalled a huge hotel of indefinable style, fairly nondescript bedrooms and a lot of shiny marble, somewhat standard in the region – essentially a hotel lacking in real warmth and character. So I was interested to see whether I could be won over this time during my stay.
And in short, I was. Yes, it’s a hotel of 376 rooms and you will find yourself surrounded by others, including many children, during your stay. And service, although good, inevitably in such a large hotel, does lack a personal touch. However, there are more than enough redeeming features for me to recommend this as a great option for families (and couples) looking for a relaxing stay in the area. The beach at Saadiyat is gorgeous (like the white sand and warm seas of Dubai but without the look-at-me crowds and the side-by-side hotels), and the hotel and grounds are immaculately kept and in fact score pretty highly on the glamour stakes. The spa is spectacular, the variety and quality of food very good, the bedrooms incredibly comfortable, and The Athletic Club is one of the most impressive gym facilities I’ve ever seen in a luxury hotel. There is plenty of outside space too, with three pools, a private beach area and large, manicured gardens.
In short, this is a resort hotel that could, essentially, be anywhere in the world, but the facilities, choice, service and comfort ensured I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
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