Looking for a luxury stay in the heart of the UAE capital? The St Regis Abu Dhabi and the Nation Riviera Beach Club might just be your answer
This review was originally written in December 2016. We stayed again as paying guests in July 2020 post-Covid and would add the following remarks:
- Safety measures in place at the hotel are excellent. Expect to be temperature checked on arrival and wear masks in communal areas.
- Santisization stations with masks, gloves, sanitizer are available throughout the hotel
- You will still get porter help with your luggage but need to self-park – no valet
- Rooms looked to be thoroughly cleaned. Any staff entering the room for room service, housekeeping wore gloves and masks
- The pools are open and (very) well chilled, with spaces capped at 30% capacity there was no issue getting a sunlounger, albeit mornings were much quieter than evenings if you want to social distance.
- We were provided pool towels but under Govt regulations they have stipulated going forward you need your own towels at Nation Riviera Beach Club
- Only limited restaurants are open at this stage with generous spacing between tables. The Terrace restaurant is presently only running an a la carte breakfast 7am to 12pm, no Friday brunch
- The toddler pool is open but the Treasure Island kids club remains closed, as does the outdoor jacuzzi
- Staff and service all around was exceptional
- For a great half board deal this summer check out the offer on UAE Family Staycations
Family Staycation in Abu Dhabi – The St Regis hotel & rooms
We recently visited one of the newest and most luxurious 5-star Abu Dhabi hotels – the St Regis Abu Dhabi this past Christmas for a weekend Staycation. Coming at this time of year made our stay truly something to remember – not only as a special end of term reward for the Globetrotters but the magical feeling of Christmas in the air.
The dazzling Christmas tree dominates the foyer along with a mega-sized gingerbread house. The Globetrotters were completely enchanted with the experience before we even make it to the room!
And what a room! We stayed in a junior suite with attached double bed superior room through a small corridor. For once accommodation where all 5 of us could fit comfortably – the struggle is real.
I’m not normally one to think much about the hotel room itself – I am all about practical purpose and location when it comes to selecting my hotels. But it’s hard to ignore that these rooms are truly exquisite. No detail is spared in the design of the room, from light fittings to the master bathroom, everything is ornate and bathed in luxury.
Our junior suite has a corner view over Abu Dhabi Marina and down the length of the Corniche. There are separate living and sleeping areas and a stand-alone bath with a truly spectacular waterfront view. Almost too smart for itself were some of the electronics. We eventually worked out the electric curtains but the bathroom entertainment system was slightly baffling!
Next door, the kids had two queen sized beds with a decent sized living space; huge bathroom and just a small hallway separating our rooms. Undoubtedly the highlight for the Globetrotters was being able to have a bubble bath while watching TV, before slipping into their kid-sized robes and slippers. They also had little kids packs waiting for them on arrival – with rubbery duckies for the bath! They honestly felt like royalty.
Oh, and did we mention the butler? All rooms come with a private butler service – your own personal concierge. They are terribly polite and just a simple phone call away, or WhatsApp them, or BBM them – they will give you their business card on arrival with all their details.
That said, when we did ask the morning butler for help with a milk bottle he took forever to return – in fact so long we had to go and check out and were still waiting. Thank goodness baby J wasn’t starving or this would have made him/us very irate!
Brunch at The Terrace on The Corniche
After checking in, our staycation weekend was kicked off with the Friday brunch at The Terrace on the Corniche Restaurant. With absolutely world-class food selection, beverages and ambience, it has jumped straight to the top of our favourite brunches list! The journey starts with a welcome cocktail in the library while waiting to be seated. Next, you are paraded past the dessert lounge, giving you just a little temptation on what is to come (and works as the excellent incentive to get the kids to eat their dinner if they want to come back later!!).
Our tour of the restaurant takes us past a huge range of starters and appetisers, live pasta station, on to the sushi station, amazing carvery, scrumptious sides, rice dishes from all corners of the globe and a vast selection of seafood.
The culinary journey continues outside with a further selection of live cooking stations. Mr Globetrotter was delighted to see the huge variety of pork dishes (not available at all Abu Dhabi brunches), along with mixed grill, Indian stall, skewers & kabobs. The hardest question was simply where to start?! (For the uninitiated, brunch isn’t just about the food, there are tactics!)
Our servers were attentive without being overbearing and there is a general feeling within the room of great enjoyment and relaxation. Towards the end of the afternoon, they run some prize draws and put on a great display of sabering the champagne at the outside bar. Miss Z got to hold the sabre and thought this was a real treat (mum thought it slightly less amusing when the first attempt at opening the champagne failed and I was going for a graphic photo from underneath – ooops!!) Now if the dessert room wasn’t exciting enough, a little surprise was kept to the end in their chocolate and cigar lounge! Keep this one up your sleeve as a special treat if dining with kids!
Value for money, this was a top-notch culinary experience we will definitely be returning for.
Costs (as at January 2017) 275AED++, with alcohol 385++, champagne 525++. 1-4pm Friday’s
As always, eyes bigger than our stomachs, we literally rolled had to roll ourselves back upstairs to our suite. I couldn’t think of a better way to recover though than slipping into our robes and looking over the spectacular views of Abu Dhabi as the sun went down. Our kids, rarely out in town after dark, thought this was an amazing experience and loved looking out over the city nightlife. A quick room service meal and they were off for a super comfy night’s sleep.
Alternatively, if we didn’t have the children with us we would have headed to the Azura Panoramic Lounge for happy hour drinks 5pm-8pm – but we really wanted to go and enjoy everything on offer in our room (not often you’ll hear me say that!!)
Is the Terrace Brunch Family-friendly?
If I’m honest (always!), not as much as some of the other Abu Dhabi brunch choices, but still welcoming.
Unfortunately, their kids’ club Treasure Island is located over the road (i.e., back through the hotel, up a lift, across the outside deck, back down another lift, through the Corniche underpass, back up a lift and check in via the beach club).
So no, you can’t come and go from the kids’ room, and there are no specific activities put on in the restaurant itself. Our kids were provided with colouring kits when checking in which they happily played with and we were lucky they were on a day of best behaviour.
They enjoyed watching the sabre show, but there was nothing specific for children’s entertainment, nor a separate buffet section. I think you will find enough at the various food stations though to please fussy kids pallets, and there are of course tradition brunch touches like the chocolate fountain and sweet bar.
They also had a huge variety of flavoured lemonades to choose from. This wasn’t a problem for us on the day, but just something for parents to be prepared for.
Other Dining & Shopping Options
Throughout the week The Terrace on The Corniche restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options which include live cooking stations and Middle East specialities.
New-York Style all day breakfast -Saturdays
A real surprise treat during our stay was the all-day breakfast (runs from 6.30am until 3pm). Not that it makes much difference for a family whose children religiously rise before 7am, but for those lucky to enjoy a lie in, this is a wonderful option for enjoying a Staycation allowing you that weekend lie-in.
One of the best breakfast selections we have ever seen – and we’ve had a few in our time! We would have loved to have dined the morning away here with our complimentary papers and magazines; but alas, after our custom brewed coffee, a la carte eggs and huge buffet selection (again including pork, yeah!) we had to retire to the much-promised beach club with the Globetrotters.
Guests not staying at the hotel can also enjoy the all-day breakfast for 145AED++
Tuscan Saturday Brunch
One of the few Abu Dhabi hotels to offer a full Saturday brunch, Villa Toscana plays host to an Italian themed extravaganza from 12.30pm-4pm each week. We did not sample the brunch but did get to try some delicious tasters they provided during the Friday Brunch.
There were several dished I ordinary wouldn’t order myself (like black seafood risotto!) but the beauty of the brunch format is you can start with bite-sized samples to whet your appetite, yet another thing we will have to come back for more!
Other special events
Every Wednesday afternoon an afternoon tea is held in the St Regis Library. If the dessert selections at Brunch looked appetising, then this is the one for you.
Held weekly 2.30pm-6.30pm; 150AED++
For a truly extraordinary experience, you could look into Brunch in the Clouds. On the last Friday of every month the suspended sky deck suite between the 48th and 49th floors is transformed into a culinary experience like no other in Abu Dhabi – from a cinema full of candy to massages and manicures!
500AED++ or 750++ with bubbles.
Looking to book a meal? Call +971 2 694 4553 or email email@example.com
The adjoining Nation Towers complex includes Nation Galleria a luxury shopping centre. It includes essentials like a supermarket and pharmacy, always handy to have nearby when you’re away from home with kids. There are also several dining options here in likes of Leopold’s of London, Wafi Gourmet and Smoking Doll plus many more.
Nation Riviera Beach Club
Now the part the kids had been waiting for – the beach club! As mentioned above, access is rather convoluted as its located across the main Corniche road. The intricate touches of detail from the hotel though continue across (and through to!) the beach club, a marble-lined underpass with chandeliers no less….
Arriving at Nation Riviera though is like entering an urban oasis. Surrounded by palm trees, blue water and ornate touches of luxury everywhere you look, it’s hard to believe you are right in the city centre! The pool is long enough to swim laps if you wish, sit at the pool bar, or there is a shallow end that kids can play in with a spa (sadly adults only which seemed a little unfair on the kiddies while fully supervised?)
Adjacent to the main pool is the Treasure Island Children’s Club. Children over 4 years can be left in the supervised care of the friendly staff.
Under 4’s welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. This did leave a very disappointed Master J who couldn’t join his siblings, however he very obligingly (OK, after a screaming meltdown) took a post-lunch nap while our older kids enjoyed their parent-free time!
As well as loads of role-play games and drawing activities, they got to make Christmas decorations which was a real highlight for them (and also the shattering end to our trip as Master L dropped his getting into the car!). The children’s area also includes a water playground with a small slide which was perfect for our two smaller boys.
Onward to the beach! The resort spreads out on to the fine sands and azure waters of the famous Corniche, with their own private beach front. The water in December is a little too nippy to take a dip but you will almost certainly be rewarded with a refreshing swim over the vast majority of the year. Lunch at Cabana with a cocktail, relaxing on the couches with the winter sun beaming down on us was the perfect way to end our winter staycation with St Regis Abu Dhabi.
Globetrotters recommend St Regis Abu Dhabi
If you are looking for that perfect spoil yourself occasion in Abu Dhabi – this is the place to come. It really defines what Middle East luxury and service are all about.
I will admit it is probably up there on the pointy end of the scale for families on a budget, but its the perfect place for a well-deserved treat. Family-friendliness is a more difficult question.
Yes, you will get everything you need in terms of bedding, care needs, high chairs and staff are wonderful towards the children. Our Globetrotters were most definitely made to feel welcome with many lovely little touches just for them, but it’s not a hotel specifically designed with families as their number one market.
Fast facts & booking St Regis Abu Dhabi
Rooms: 283 rooms from superior (45sqm) through to 3 bedroom suites – or the double story Sky Suite! All rooms can sleep 3 as standard (using sofa bed).
Price: From 700AED ($190USD) for a superior room in low season; Junior Suites from 1100AED ($300USD)
Booking: Via the hotel’s website, or check prices using our favourite comparison tool Hotels Combined. They are also part of the Starwood Preferred Group so SPG points can be used (Now Mariott Bonvoy)
Location: On the Abu Dhabi Corniche, approximately 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Other Inclusions: Free valet, wifi & butler service
Other facilities not reviewed during our Staycation but part of the St Regis Abu Dhabi complex include the Remede Spa, Sisters Beauty Lounge and the Azura Panoramic Lounge with sweeping views of the city. Nation Riviera also houses two of Abu Dhabi’s most revered restaurant’s Catch and Asia De Cuba. All great excuses to return!
If you are also visiting Qatar, check out this review for a St Regis Qatar Staycation!
Thanks to St Regis Abu Dhabi and Nation Towers for welcoming us for the weekend, we look forward to our next visit
Visitor to the UAE? Don’t forget to check out our bumper guide of things to do for families and our important facts to know before you go!
Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary accommodation and brunch at the Terrace for the purposes of conducting a fair and impartial review. All opinions as always remain our own. This article contains affiliate links – our full disclosures policy can be found here.
© Our Globetrotters