They say perception is reality. In this case, I feel that statement is wrong. After just coming back from a trip to Abu Dhabi, I began to wonder why American perception of the Middle East as a vacation destination is not more positive. It’s most likely derived from the film industry. Every movie you see depicts this part of the world as an unsafe, edgy place. I found this to be so far from the truth.
It all started with my Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi. The service was amazing. What I keep hearing about Arabic culture and people is the word “respect,” and that is the essence of service you get. Upon landing, I was greeted by Etihad’s concierge service and whisked away in a car to the terminal for express customs processing. Stepping off the plane and arriving at the luggage carousel took just 10 minutes and my bags were waiting for me, which is a miracle in itself.
My home while in Abu Dhabi was not one St. Regis but two. This is the only city in the world to have two—the St. Regis Saadiyat Island and the St. Regis Abu Dhabi. At these hotels, the service style is anticipatory, not reactive. Abu Dhabi is where sovereign rule and capitalism mix to create a playground of the ultra wealthy, making the St. Regis properties the perfect venues to play with the rich and famous.
Pictured above with me is Chris Austin of Starwood Hotels & Resorts after arriving in my chauffeured St. Regis Jaguar.
To finish off my stay in Abu Dhabi—at departure I was again whisked away at Etihad check-in to the First Class Lounge for a private meal crafted by a team of six chefs that rivaled any Michelin star restaurant. It was followed by a Six Senses spa treatment. Pictured on the left is Chef Clarke, a Michelin-trained chef who oversees the Etihad lounges. He advised me to look out for more game changers in what is truly a culinary WOW!
Mystery officially unveiled! Etihad and St. Regis are the ultimate experience for your most discerning clientele.