The name St Regis says it all for luxury travellers who insist on the highest quality and most outstanding service. The brand stands at the forefront of accommodation in key centres with one major exception until recently – the glittering space age city of Dubai. A city with self proclaimed seven star hotels aplenty headlined by the Burj Al Arab with its gold plated iPads in every room, Rolls Royce transfers, a revolving bed in the Royal Suite and the choice of 17 types of pillows.
For the St Regis name to quickly assume its rightful place in the hierarchy of Dubai hotels the property not only had to be special – so did its location. It needed to be an integral part of a spectacular new development in a city that knows no boundaries when it comes to innovation.
Guests are checked in at individial desks in the magnificent foyer
The announcement of the exciting multi billion dollar Al Habtoor City development involving the creation of an extensive new waterfront proved the key. On Sheikh Zayed Road just past the Dubai Mall, this massive project will include two other five star hotels as well as the St Regis – W Dubai and The Westin.
This new city in a city will offer a permanent theatrical production, marina with stylish cafes and boutiques including a Bentley café and boutique, a retail boulevard with 50 outlets and a tennis academy with air conditioned courts. Three towers on the water canal will offer 1460 apartments ranging from one to seven bedrooms – and they will be ready next year.
The St Regis Hotel Dubai opened in November and despite the fact that construction still rages all round, is a magnificent sight as you arrive as we did in the evening via a very confusing entrance and then head down the long, brightly illuminated driveway. Transfers are by Bentley by the way.
Delicious snacks in the courtyard. Pic 3. Guests enjoy a separate luggage room
At first sight it reminds you of a grand French chateau, lavish gardens, fountains and all – the beaux-arts architecture it seems was influenced by the original St Regis in New York. The fact that it is encircled by sleek high-rise towers only adds to its visual impact. The foyer is vast and beautiful – the marble inlay work outstanding. Two soaring staircases disappear either side of the entrance. Check-in is via individual desks. The hotel was so new, publicity shots were being taken as we arrived. A British TV crew was reporting on what is probably the world’s biggest suite – on the top floor. It is bigger than the hotel’s ballroom. The secure lift swiftly took us to our room, twice as big as today’s largest standard. First entrance on the right is a proper luggage room with heaps of space for two suitcases, hanging clothes plus the safe. Entry to the marble clad bathroom was via glass sliding doors. It is designed with plenty of room for two with slipper bath plus separate toilet and shower (rain or hand held). Toiletries were from laboratoire remede from Canada. Towels were thick and luxurious and mirrors covered the back wall and in front of each basin. Amenities included robes, slippers and scales. There is another full length mirror in the hall, the room is carpeted in tasteful, quiet colours with embroidered wall hangings. Above the minibar are bottles of vodka, whisky, rum, gin and Chivas. A beer costs about $16 and the small bottle of Chivas about $230. We had a coffee machine but no fresh milk in the fridge (fixed in a jiffy by our butler Veronika) and plenty of free water. On the bedside tables there was a lovely big plate of fruit on one side and for Fiona a real treat – a velveteen box of delicious, freshly baked macarons, bright as jewels. The king bed was, as expected, inviting and luxurious with quality moveable reading lights. The full length lounge at the end of the bed is an unnecessary extravagance. The 55 inch flat TV has all the inputs for your computer and the wifi is lightening fast. It’s great to see international plugs everywhere especially beside for phones. Lighting can be controlled from each side of the bed and the high ceilings and classic style of the room is tasteful but not overdone. The view was over fountains and gardens more typical of a grand European estate. Our time at the hotel was limited but we did have the chance to enjoy the superb food and service at the breakfast room and sample some of the mini delights wheeled out to guests in the open air courtyard. We will be back in October to experience dinner at the J&G Steakhouse.
To conclude: A touch of elegant old Europe, this property not only offers visitors a chance to experience luxury St Regis style, it will also quickly be added to the list of places to see in a city that already dazzles. Rating 5 stars.
Written by: Ian McIntosh