Wake up in room 101 of St Regis Saadiyat Island and you are in a unique position, here in Abu Dhabi. You look out over your private pool, and already there are golfers on the course. Yes, the gal is told, hotel guests can play, arrange it via your butler. If someone wants a luxury golf resort with nonstop hot sun and an adjacent beach, this is perfect.
Arrive here early morning, or leave late evening, and there is a special lounge, with washrooms and showers and a small gym – the main gym is in a separate building, seven minutes’ walk from the hotel. The lounge is also next to the fabulous two-floor-high all-day dining, Oleo, with an overhang over the serving and buffet area that reminds you that outside there is a clear blue sky above the sandy beach. I sit outside, having chosen lots of fabulous fruit. A waiter brings really good coffee, in a white china ‘tea’ pot.
It is worth going to the egg chef just because of the chefette, who is deftly managing two omelette pans at once. Most have omelettes filled with all kinds of things: there are lots of Germans staying here right now, with hefty appetites. They, and the slim-line, white dish-dash locals (who adore eating breakfast in hotels) have one thing in common. BREAD. Both pile plates mountain-high with breads, both rolls and cut-your-own baguettes and local flat bread. With the Europeans, you can see where it goes. With the locals, I wonder.
I head for the spa, a hearty walk, about ten minutes in all from room 101, but fortunately all inside as it is so so hot outside, even at 9.30. I am amazed at the ingenuity in the spa locker room. Taking the eye around vertically, you see a bank of three lockers, say 5A, 5B, 5C (all yours), one above the other. Next comes a high alcove with padded leather seating, then the next three vertically-set lockers (all your neighbours). This is such a stylish idea and gives you your own seating area.
The spa is very calming, very relaxing. You could stay here and be so busy you would need that. As well as golf and the usual beach and pool activities, this is the nearest hotel to what will be Louvre Abu Dhabi, now opening 2015. Already there are cultural programmes. On Saturday June 1st, 2013, the museum’s French director, Laurence des Cars, is hosting a family workshop, and on Wednesday June 26th, 2013, she is lecturing on unlocking the mystery of art, with science. Stay here for culture, for the whole family.
The door of my Bentley – actually, the hotel’s – is already unlocked and rarin’ to go. Max Wiegerinck, who is in charge of the luxury hotel at the moment, found time to come out to say goodbye, as did some of the staff, all with big smiles.