Luxury on the best beach in the UAE


The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi’s convenient location makes it perfect for layovers, but its facilities are designed to appeal to long-stay guests. Only 20 minutes by car from the airport and 10 minutes from the city center, Saadiyat Island is transforming into a major leisure destination. Its clean beach, lined with powdery white sand, is known as the best beach in the United Arab Emirates and you’ll find some of Abu Dhabi’s best hotels here, including the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.


Banish all thoughts of Middle Eastern bling-up interiors. The St Regis brand is known for its sophisticated design sensibility and this hotel is no exception, using luxury materials in a clean palette. Instead, it’s the hotel’s soaring rise that has the impact here, particularly on arrival, when you’re met with framed views across gardens and pools to the beach beyond. through triple-height windows. A sense of place comes from Middle Eastern motifs sprinkled with a light touch – in the light fixtures, for example, and in the delicate engravings on the back of the elevator doors.


My suite is more like an apartment, with a separate living room and bedroom, oversized bathroom with separate tub and shower, water views, and a small balcony. St Regis hotels are known for their butler service, and shortly after I arrived one of the staff knocked on my door to introduce himself. As is increasingly common in the luxury sector, WhatsApp is the recommended way to contact them, and they respond quickly to every request, whether it’s printing a document or delivering carrier bags. . A little touch I appreciate about the room is that the mini bar has been left empty allowing you to fill it with your own drinks and snacks instead of relying on the hotel selection.


Besides its beachfront location, the St Regis’ excellent food and drink offerings may be its biggest selling point. There are six separate restaurants, including Olea, the Mediterranean restaurant that serves an extraordinary breakfast buffet, even by Middle Eastern standards. Other highlights include the Greek restaurant, Mazi Abu Dhabi – try their superb roasted eggplant – and Signature 3, serving light bites including an excellent chicken salad on a shaded veranda. On a balmy evening, unwind at the beachside Buddha Bar Abu Dhabi, where Asian-inspired bites are accompanied by cool beats. Opt for one of the tables on the sand, kick off your shoes and savor the tropical vibe of the resort.


Of the guests I speak to, many admit to rarely leaving the resort, preferring to relax on the loungers on the beach or in the cabanas by the various pools which offer all sorts of bathing experiences, from family wading pools to lap pools. . Golfers will appreciate the fact that the 18-hole Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is right next door. If you want to explore, however, there are plenty within easy reach, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi.


Location, service, fine dining and a beach to boot – St Regis Saadiyat Island ticks all the boxes.


Rates from $700 per night. See


The beachfront setting and abundance of dining options give this hotel a laid-back resort vibe.


In a resort of this size, some people may feel there’s too much walking to do – although I like the opportunity to stretch my legs when it’s too hot outside to walk around.



Ute Junker was a guest at St Regis Hotels.

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