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Rooms with a View

Virtuozity stays at the St Regis Abu Dhabi, to soak in the amazing views of the capital’s corniche and the stunning Arabian Gulf

The St Regis Abu Dhabi Corniche starts out as every great five-star hotel should, with a sweeping driveway and welcoming drop-off area, staffed by efficient and friendly faces. Wafting up to the main entrance, regardless of your mode of transportation makes you feel like you’ve turned up at a proper, top-end hotel.

But then you step inside and things go up another level. I like my hotels to feel special, and especially the lobby. It’s hard to find a modern hotel that hasn’t given over an opulent entrance, to the financial constraints of cramming in more rooms or restaurants. Not so at the St Regis. Smack bang in front of you is a staircase that would make Scarlett O’Hara proud.

The lobby harks back to the grand old era of the truly great hotels, without being a parody of itself. The staircase is a work of art and is worth five minutes of your time to truly stand and admire.

Actual check-in is neatly secluded off to your left, so the actual workings of a modern hotel are not right in your face, as they are in most other large hotels.

Walk past reception and you can ease yourself into the lovely St Regis Bar, with its three rooms divided up into a bar area, quieter lounge and then a fantastic cigar room, with wood paneling and a selection of cigars for connoisseurs to enjoy. For those that fancy bubbles in their beverage the Crystal Lounge, which is devoted to serving the finest champagnes, sits on the mezzanine level above the Grand Staircase and features an elegant chandelier of blown glass art.

For food there’s The Terrace on the Corniche restaurant, for daily dining and Toscana, for a touch of Italian flare. For a more local touch, guests can head to the Azura Panoramic Lounge, for great food and possibly even greater views of the Corniche, especially when lit up at night.

Cross over to the beach and you have the choice of the Cabana Beach Bar & Grill or Catch at St. Regis, a venue for discerning seafood lovers, serving a range of contemporary and occidental cuisine, including caviar, oysters, sushi, and crab.

The rooms are as grand as the lobby, although also modern enough to cover all bases. But should you get a front facing view, you’ll get to enjoy the full vista of the island and the azure blue Gulf beyond. It’s worth pulling back the curtains, pulling up one of the soft sofas and simply enjoying the view.

The bathrooms again spare no expense, with half a quarry of marble covering every surface. Plus, there’s a full shower room, with powerful overhead showerhead, which is just the ticket after a long journey, a day at the beach or after hours of long business meetings.

Speaking of beaches, the one oddity of the St Regis is that’s its main pool area and beach club is actually across the street from the hotel. You pass directly under the main Corniche road to access the club, which features a huge pool, a whirlpool, and an indoor pool. There’s also a gym and wellness area. 

There is actually a smaller pool in the hotel building itself, called the Azura, but the beach club is a neat addition, albeit a short walk from the main hotel.  

The St Regis really takes on many forms. Modern and striking from the outside, classical and classy on the inside, relaxing in the quiet areas, but open for fun in the communal spots. It really does manage to blend old and new perfectly, a trick many other hotels have tried and failed.

If you’re in the UAE’s capital, be it for business, pleasure, or both, you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere more warm, inviting, and downright five-star than the St Regis. 

Just don’t forget to check out those incredible stairs.

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