It had been a while since I had a really good break from work. Two years of hectic schedules had completely worn me out.But good fortune was on my side in the form of an extended weekend staycation that I planned with a friend. We were going to drive to Abu Dhabi from Sharjah and spend the weekend at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
The weekend began with a call from my friend in the wee hours of Friday morning. It wasn’t actually that early but with the hours we put into partying the night before, waking up was a bit of a hassle. So, I got up and dressed as quickly as I could while he patiently waited for me below the building. Thank the heavens that I wasn’t driving that day! I was too exhausted to do anything productive, especially drive to Abu Dhabi. Plus, even though I grew up in this country, I wasn’t too sure of how to get there. And that is where our mishap lay. We each depended on the other for directions and half way to the destination, realized that neither of us knew where to go. We didn’t even have access to GPS on our phones! In our excitement we had researched the hotel, the amenities, the dining options and everything else about the hotel but completely forgot about how to get there. Through a few fits and starts we found our way to the plush location.
As we finally got to the hotel, we were greeted with a beautiful blend of corporate and comfort. There was a tiny part of me that derived a guilty pleasure from seeing the many suited professionals preparing for meetings in the lobby. For once I was the one who had the weekend to relax while others worked. After reigning in my obvious glee, I looked around and fell in love with the hotel. With its grand entrance and opulent décor, I knew that the hotel was the right choice.
At the front desk we were greeted by Salim who checked us in, informed us of the best places to go, how to get there and how long the journey would take us and then escorted us to our room on the 43rd floor. We took in the glorious views of the Abu Dhabi waterfront, settled in and then quickly made our way to Villa Toscana for brunch. This restaurant has now become my favourite Italian restaurant.
We began our meal with bread, a cheese and honey pizza and mushrooms and mozzarella cheese over tomatoes with a lemon sauce. This course was a test in selfcontrol. I had to remind myself that I had a main course and dessert yet to go. Now, I’m a bit of a picky eater. One of the few things I have never tried is crab so when a bowl of pasta with cheese and crabmeat was placed in front of me I was hesitant. I quickly realised that I was developing a liking to it. Upon finishing our mains, we were full so we asked the staff to send the desserts to our room.
Post a quick nap, we found our way to The Terrace. With a cozy ambiance and a wide spread of food, we made our way outside to enjoy the views and smoke some sheesha. Ladling our plates with salad, prawns, thai curry, meat kebabs, fish and much more, the buffet filled our tummies and surprised us with the variety. The Terrace can be defined in only one way, the ultimate dining experience. With superb service, sumptuous food and exquisite views, it lives up to the definition.
Our next stop was what Salim called a ‘hangout’. Basically, across the road, connected by a tunnel, is the St. Regis Beach. It is a private beach and lounge that has a few restaurants too. As we made our way there, we heard Spanish music on the left and English music on the right. We headed to the right and found ourselves at ‘Catch’. A few mocktails and drinks later,we headed back to our room. And what did we decide to do in our room at 3 in the morning? We watched a movie, of course.
The next morning had two thoughts on my mind, the pool and the beach. As I walked the tunnel to the area, I found my way to the indoor pool. It was temperature controlled, large and became warmer as the sun went down. The beach area had specifically designed shallow parts where people could sunbathe while wading in the cool water! This was a feature that surprised me quite a bit.
The hotel was the perfect getaway. It was luxurious, had great food, was serviced by friendly staff and was the epitome of relaxation.
By Sameera Unnisa