Marking the brand’s second hotel in Abu Dhabi, and the third St. Regis hotel to open in the Middle East, the St. Regis Abu Dhabi’s interior synthesises the richness of Arabic culture with a twist of art deco opulence – compliments of the internationally-acclaimed Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA).
Located within the Nation”Towers development on the famed Abu Dhabi Corniche, this hotel encapsulates the unique legacy of the Starwood brand, while embracing the vibrant idiosyncracies of Arabian hospitality.
Within the hotel’s magnificent lobby, two ornate bronze banister staircases sweep away from one another to encircle twin majestic pillars.
Nestled in this grand reception hall is the hotel’s tea lounge, complete with an exquisite tapestry depicting a pearl diving scene – symbolic of the natural resource-based economy of Abu Dhabi’s past – and low-hanging Arabian lantern-inspired chandeliers.
This fusion of Arabian culture with Gilded Age aesthetics features throughout the hotel’s interior scheme, from its traditional soft furnishing designs, to wooden panels engraved with Arabian geometric motifs.
Indeed, HBA enlisted the help of local curators and artists to ensure that these diverse style influences were executed harmoniously. Amongst these creatives was renowned Emirati artist and jewellery designer, Azza Al Qubaisi – who complemented the signature St. Regis diamond pattern with Arabic geometric motifs and flower designs – alongside the Al Arjun Gallery, which helped to curate the hotel’s artwork in order to best illustrate the Abu Dhabi culture.
The hotel’s eight distinct culinary venues provided further opportunity for HBA to experiment with these themes. Rhodes 44, for example, is inspired by open-air souks and features an outdoor area fashioned after a traditional Abu Dhabi wooden-hulled boat. The St. Regis bar also offers a local flavour, paying homage to local Bedouin influences with Arabian-style rugs, wooden lattice panels and diffused lighting.
The Champagne Bar, on the other hand, 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.
HBA selected the sand dunes of the Arabian desert, together with St.Regis’ distinctive opulence, as the inspiration for the hotel’s Remède Spa.
Elegant curves appear to guide guests through the corridors and into one of the 11 treatment rooms, which are steeped with rich dark woods and embosed leather. The spa’s soothing lighting, meanwhile, emulates the changing moods of the desert, from a glorious sunset to a calm night sky with crystal chandeliers for stars.
The hotel’s 283 well-appointed guest rooms – including 55 elegant suites offering panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, the Corniche and the city skyline – certainly live up to the grandeur of the communal areas. Doors with intricately-carved marble mouldings give way to soft gold carpeting, walls and ceilings clad in white stone mosaic, and polished dark walnut furniture, complete with classic sleek curves and ornate detailing.
The Abu Dhabi Suite, meanwhile, takes this extravagance a step further. Occupying part of the skybridge connecting the Nation Towers, it is 200m above the ground, and has claimed the title of the world’s highest suspended hotel suite. Naturally, the suite boasts unparalleled panoramic views, but its interior is just as impressive. Comprising a spa, movie theatre, kitchen and gym, the suite is suitable for even the most discerning guest, and even benefits from private elevator access.