St. Regis Abu Dhabi blends Arabian culture with gilded age aesthetics, setting a new standard for bespoke luxury in the Middle East

November 4, 2013 9:47 am

Marking the brand’s second hotel in Abu Dhabi and third St. Regis hotel to open in the Middle East, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi continues to reinforce Starwood’s position as a leader in luxury hospitality. The hotel, located on the vibrant Corniche in the heart of the UAE capital, was designed by internationally-acclaimed Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) to marry the majestic metropolitan manor design of the flagship St. Regis New York with rich Arabic culture and the opulent Art Deco era.


Part of Nation Towers on the vibrant Corniche, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi opened its doors on August 15 and offers bespoke luxury that combines the brand’s unique legacy with exceptional Arabian hospitality. Drawing on the warm colours of the sands, souks and traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, HBA has imagined a luxurious setting in Abu Dhabi that is steeped in a sophisticated Art Deco past.


“With The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, we aimed to create a sophisticated and modern environment that marries Arabic influences with the needs of global travellers,” said Josh Mason, Senior Design Associate, HBA in Dubai. “Using local references, we were able to combine the elegant lines of Arabic design with stately and modernist Art Deco forms to create a unique stand-out hotel on par with the greatest hotels worldwide.”


HBA worked with local curators and artists to ensure that the two styles were harmoniously blended throughout the hotel with an authentic Middle Eastern identity. Renowned Emirati artist and jewellery designer Azza Al Qubaisi complemented the signature St. Regis diamond pattern with Arabic geometric motifs and flower designs, while Al Arjun Gallery helped showcase art illustrating the Abu Dhabi culture.


The hotel’s magnificent lobby features two ornate bronze banister staircases that lead from the floor, sweeping away from each other as they round the twin majestic pillars that frame the lobby Tea Lounge.  The centerpiece in the lounge is an exquisite tapestry that depicts a pearl diving scene paying homage to Abu Dhabi’s natural resource-based economy in the past, with low-hanging Arabian lantern-inspired chandeliers in the foreground. The blending of Arabian culture with Gilded Age aesthetics continues through the lounge, library and other public spaces in The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, including open fireplaces in meeting areas, wooden panels with Arabian geometric motifs adorning the high ceiling, and Arabian-style rugs and cushions.


The St. Regis Abu Dhabi features 283 sumptuously-appointed guest rooms, including 55 elegant suites, all offering panoramic waterfront views of the Arabian Gulf. The luxurious interiors feature traditional Arabian elements, from the dentils on the crown molding on the bed posts to the subtle pattern in soft gold carpeting. The classical-style furniture is made with polished dark walnut with sleek curves and ornate detailing. The walls and ceilings are clad in white stone mosaic, with exquisite carved marble moldings at each doorway, corner and seam.


The extravagant Abu Dhabi Suite is the world’s highest suspended hotel suite – loftily positioned 200 metres above ground between the two towers and offering magnificent panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, the Corniche and the city skyline. Spanning 1,120 square metres, the three-bedroom, two-storey suite occupies part of the skybridge connecting the Nation Towers.  The Grand Drawing Room takes centre stage in the Abu Dhabi Suite – an intricate glass dome with Art Deco detailing and a dramatic bronze chandelier with cascading strands of crystals. The elaborate interiors feature 24-carat gold leaf accents, leather wall tiles, jewel-toned velvet upholstered walls and intricate glass mosaic patterns. A graceful, curved staircase leads to the master suite, which includes a private bedroom, library, lounge and dining area. The Abu Dhabi Suite also features a spa, movie theatre, kitchen and gym, and comes with private elevator access.


The St. Regis Abu Dhabi offers eight distinct culinary venues, including:

  • Rhodes 44: Inspired by open-air souks, the eponymously-named restaurant of internationally-celebrated chef Gary Rhodes features individual food stations, floral patterned details on the ceiling and an outdoor area that is reminiscent of a traditional Abu Dhabi wooden-hulled boat.
  • Villa Toscana: Reminiscent of a noble villa in the Tuscan countryside, this restaurant features vaulted ceilings, tall, arched windows, exposed beams, and a large stone fireplace.
  • Tea Lounge: Nestled in the grand reception hall with plush carpeting under magnificent crystal and bronze lantern chandeliers, guests can indulge in the sophisticated St. Regis ritual of Afternoon Tea.
  • Azura: An open-air pavilion sheltered under canopies with stunning view of the vibrant Corniche make this outlet ideal to enjoy a cool, refreshing drink.
  • St. Regis Bar: Pays homage to local Bedouin influences with Arabian-style rugs, wooden lattice panels and diffused lighting to create a leisurely atmosphere.
  • Champagne Bar: Overlooks the atrium with an impressive chandelier composed of hundreds of luminous bubbles, grouped in lines and clusters as if rising from the bottom of a champagne flute.


The design of the Remède Spa at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is inspired by the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert together with St. Regis’ distinctive opulence and sophistication. Elegant curves guide guests through the corridors and into one of the 11 treatment rooms, which feature rich dark woods and embossed leather. The soothing lighting in the spa reflects the changing moods of the desert from a glorious sunset to the calmness of the night sky with stars as crystal chandeliers.