If Abu Dhabi is the crowning destination of the United Arab Emirates, then St Regis Hotels are the jewels it was bereft of.
Until, of course, St Regis studded Saadiyat Island with its front row location and private beach.
Saadiyat Island is so much more than another island in the Persian Gulf. It is a tourism and cultural destination of Abu Dhabi.
Here, you'll experience the 'rain of light' at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, one of shortly to be eight museums on the island. Practice your strokes at the first-ever oceanside golf course in the region, a course designed by Gary Player, who jointly made history in 2003 with a change in the golf rules. Or, take therapy in any of the high-end boutiques on site. This property is a firm lifestyle choice in the region.
Abu Dhabi airport is a twenty-minute drive away, while St Regis Abu Dhabi (the resort's other property in this emirate) is twenty-five minutes away.
On arrival, the lobby draws you into its expansive naturally lit, cool stone marble walls. Then out through multifloor glass windows to the Persian blue sea ahead.
St Regis Hotels' love affair of a timeless colour palette of whites, creams and browns is here. It is interspersed with the pastel greens/blues from the surroundings. The same contemporary theme follows from the lobby to the rooms and suites.
Rooms open up to a private balcony and command a view of the golf course or manicured gardens and out to the beach.
The attention to detail in the rooms should not be overlooked. The placement of the shower taps at the opposite end of the rainforest shower allows you to comfortably set the water pressure and temperature without getting drenched before you are ready to. I especially like the shagreen finishes on the tv control holder and tissue boxes. The built-in charging point inside the in-room safes allows devices to charge while locked away.
TV channels are not just listed but categorised into their various groups (Kids, News, Sports) with the corresponding language noted.
Bath slippers, bathrobes and overly spacious wardrobes complete the room.
Sanctuaries are what St Regis created when they conceived their bathrooms.
Pride of place is the deep, free-standing bathtub - a soak in one is unforgettable! Double vanities and a rainforest shower are so spiritual. Do you dance, or do you meditate?
But there is nothing like sitting out in the warm sun that bathes the balcony in the afternoons.
At least seven understated but sophisticated spacious room types to choose from. Take residence in the garden setting of one of three spa suites. With their outdoor whispering water features and calming private treatment rooms, no space has been compromised. These are ideal for that retreat away.
Breakfast is an international affair in Olea Restaurant, with Scottish porridge at one end to congee and pancakes with crispy duck at the other. The spicy crackers are somewhat of an awakening first thing in the morning.
What St Regis residence qualifies for the St Regis badge without its signature St Regis butler service? It's a rhetorical question. From polishing your double monks to unpacking your Samsonites to topping up your ice buckets on the beach - a St Regis butler is the next best to your right arm on holiday.
An Iridium Spa? Yes!
An Athletics Club? Of course!
So far, so St Regis
Four outdoor pools, two tennis courts, and a six-mile private beach and expectations are satisfied. Even more so once you realise you are the only one on the beach.
Culinary regions of the globe are cornered in seven dining destinations on the resort.
From al fresco dining in the Mediterranean palm fringed court of Olea to the discerning traveller's chef's table and private dining New York affair at 55&5th, The Grill.
Sip on exciting cocktails on the beachfront of the lively Buddha Bar at sunset and savour the flavours of Asia with their Singapore chilli prawns. A firm favourite.
Treat your eyes and taste buds to a pot of double happiness tea in the elegant Drawing Room.
If, at any time, the need arises to try something other than the resort's eateries, there is a selection of restaurants just out the front of the resort.
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is a residence for solo, business travellers and couples alike. But this residence sets itself apart as an escape for the overly busy but jet-setting family - with interconnecting rooms, family and kids pools, a kids club (where your kids will plead with you to take them there) and child menus for your discerning little travellers in all dining areas.
At least a hundred years old and the legacy of the St Regis brand's envious locations and outstanding service continues. They are firmly staking their place in the glitzy and glamorous Middle East, attracting international families, couples and business travellers to their desirous residences.
Have you experienced this jewel on Saadiyat Island? Or which is your favourite St Regis Hotel and Resort?