There is a centuries-old adage that if you have it, flaunt it, and the luxury St Regis Abu Dhabi hotel does just that, says the gal. Take cars. Yes, the hotel, in one of two Corniche-set Nations Towers, joined by a rooftop suite, has the brand-standard Bentley, but GM Moustafa Sakr also has a partnership with Lamborghini. Last Saturday April 23rd, 2016, a local runway was be turned into a test drive area for the day. Among other cars, the Aventador SV – SuperVeloce – was driven up and down (you cannot really drive round and round on a runway), partly by Lamborghini lovers and partly by ultra-loyal members of Starwood’s SPG loyalty programme.
Catering, before and after, was by the hotel, which has an Italian restaurant, Villa Toscana, and a charming indoor-out all-day Terrace. From my room, 4903 – the 283-room hotel goes up to the 49th of this 50-floor block – I could also look across the Corniche at the hotel’s stunning private beach, where there are two leased-out restaurants, Asia da Cuba and the absolutely super seafood-and-more Catch. Oh what a difference a beach makes. You obviously have to cross the Corniche to get to it, which is best done by taking an elevator from the third floor terrace down to a subterranean walkway that is, oh so UAE – clad in gleaming honey-coloured marble. At the other end of the walkway, take an elevator, or 46 healthy staircase steps, up to ground level.
The hotel’s private beach has a second gym, and big pools and a kids’ area – see the video, below, for a beach panorama. Moustafa Sakr, who was born in Sydney, knows how important a really good beach is (insider tip, sit at the beach bar here and try the hotel’s unique version of a Bloody Mary, namely a Desert Snapper, with smoked za’atar – dried mixed herbs, especially marjoram, oregano and thyme – to give more than a flavour of the locale). We talked hotels, unsurprisingly, of course.
Moustafa Sakr shared how much he had enjoyed staying at The Pig hotels when he was last in England. From one extreme to the other, from Wedgwood china here in Dubai to misatched car boot sale table-top in England, but both work, magnificently. Both offer experiences, which is a main concern of those who stay in luxury hotels today. Aha, says Moustafa Sakr, there is another something special coming up. As indicated by what he wears on his left wrist, he also has a partnership with Vacheron Constantin, and tomorrow, April 27th, 2016, the newest models will be launched in the St Regis Abu Dhabi Suite. Sadly, I, with the trusted Porsche Rimowa, will by then be far away…