Page 18 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine V

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A First Class Resort under First Class Management
A truly luxurious resort can only maintain its opulent standards and unsurpassed
reputation under the leadership of a highly driven and focussed General Manager. John
Pelling is just the man for the job. An instrumental figure in the St. Regis Saadiyat Island
Resort project since September 2010 this influential high-flyer has had a vital role in the
development of the resort, which is hotly anticipated to become as iconic as the world
celebrated 100-year-old St. Regis in New York.
With a promising hotel management career starting in London in 1980, John has
experienced working life at some the capitals most prestigious venues, including The
Dorchester, The Park Lane Hotel and finally as General Manager of The Café Royal,
one of London’s most high-status social venues. He moved to Hong Kong in 1991 with
the Peninsular Group and remained in Asia in influential positions at the Hilton in
Indonesia, China and South Korea. In 1999, John arrived on the shores of the UAE
and with the best part of 11 years spent in Dubai his passion and dedication to the
provision of first-class hospitality in the Emirate was ignited. Since his arrival, John
has seen the Emirate’s landscape alter beyond recognition and has played an important
part in many exciting developments. He was involved in several high-profile projects in
Dubai, including the successful openings of Jumeirah Emirates Towers and the Madinat
Jumeirah. Following his move to China as a Regional Vice President for Swissotel Hotels
and Resorts, he transferred back to Dubai to lead the then newly-opened Raffles Dubai
towards success.
With a full understanding of the St Regis Brand gained through an intensive initiation at
the St Regis Singapore and St Regis Bali, John was armed with a stalwart determination
to make the opening of this widely anticipated resort an un-mitigating success.
Incredibly revved up by the TDIC’s proposals for a unique and lavish destination and
further motivated by being involved in the expansion of the iconic St Regis brand, it was
with huge positivity that John Pelling oversaw the opening of this stunningly extravagant
resort and hotel.
With three decades of invaluable hotel management experience gained within the
UAE and internationally, John Pelling is thrilled by his new role as General Manager
of the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and delighted to have been given the challenge
of directing all elements of the pre-opening, the grand opening and the subsequent day
to day operations now that this magnificent resort is up and running, catering to all the
needs of the modern discerning traveller, with their high expectations of the luxury hotel
market. John Pelling is excited by thoughts of leading the resort into the future and being
instrumental in its establishment as Abu Dhabi’s new leisure destination.
Arriving in St Regis Style
As we arrived at this fabulously elite Abu Dhabi address we were immediately engulfed
by an overwhelming sense that we were about to experience something very special
indeed. With Abu Dhabi’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
having an inspirational vision to make the island one of the world’s most sought-after
destinations, the introduction of the St Regis brand is definitely another huge step in the
right direction. Our recent visit to this glorious hotel can support their commitment to
upholding all that the brand hold so dear. From the minute we arrived at the St Regis
Hotel to our reluctant departure we knew we were a part of something enchanting and
felt as though we were treated like royalty.
Having been greeted at the airport by one of hotel’s luxurious town cars, it’s fair to
say that this was yet another A&J diary experience that had got off to a fine start.
Chauffeured to our destination in ultimate comfort and a lavish style we were to become
accustomed to over the next few days, we felt the pressures of everyday life lift from our
shoulders as we sat back and marvelled at the breathtaking scenery en-route.
We have been lucky to stay in some of the best hotels in the world – many of which
we have reviewed in our A&J diaries – but when it comes to magnificent arrival
experiences, our arrival at the St Regis Hotel Saadiyat Island was an all-time highpoint
and a remarkably memorable event that will never be forgotten. This grandly elegant
building blends beautifully with the environment and stands proudly in the resort, quite
rightly unapologetic about its obvious grandeur and opulence. With a history of offering
its elite clientele an uncompromising experience beyond all expectations, the thrilling
introduction of the St Regis brand to the Middle East is set to encourage further positive
growth for the region. As you walk into the welcoming, airy expansive lobby on the 3rd
floor of the hotel you are immediately greeted by views across the glimmering ocean and
pristine white sands that quite simply will render you speechless. It is true to say that
once you have become accustomed to the decadent decor and unrivalled luxury at every
turn, you may begin to take this breathtaking vision of beauty for granted so savour every
second of your initial arrival.
An Elite and Enchanting Experience
Since being established more than a century ago, St Regis has seen outstanding growth
with the development of hotels and resorts in highly desirable locations such as
Singapore, London, San Francisco, Bali and Rome with the brand becoming synonymous
with refinement, glamour and time-honoured traditions. Overlooking the azure
waters of the ocean, this huge and magnificent hotel has its own distinct and magical
personality, featuring 377 rooms yet managing to retain a personal and intimate quality.
It’s like stepping into a captivating and enchanting world where all outside stresses and
strains immediately ebb away and your body and soul give in to a spiritual experience for
the duration of your stay.
Like driving into a stunning village, the well-conceived and immaculately orchestrated
residential aspect to the resort encompasses 32 villas which are currently being sold, 259
apartments which are being leased to Abu Dhabi residents, a huge athletic club spa and
tennis courts. Already a remarkable leisure destination incorporating first class facilities,
there are exciting development plans in the offing including a fabulous retail element.
At this elite address a spiritual sanctuary has been devotedly created where body and
mind easily succumb to the tranquillity created by your sumptuous surroundings. Warm
welcoming colour schemes cleverly complement the natural environment echoing hues
of shimmering sands of glistening waters, with fabulously decadent chandeliers providing
more than a subtle hint of the luxurious nature of the hospitality on offer. The natural
contemporary interior immediately puts guests in a relaxed frame of mind and the
whole ambience is laid-back and restful, making the St Regis Hotel the ultimate tranquil
sanctuary to escape, indulge and unwind.
Natural Beauty on your Doorstep
Designed as a world-class cultural destination, Saddiyat Island also benefits from an
abundance of native wildlife, spectacular scenery and stunning natural beauty at every
turn. Saadiyat Beach is home to Hawksbill Turtles, providing a base that they return to
every year for the nesting season. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. Named after
its conspicuous beaked snout, the Hawksbill Turtles like the warm waters feeding from
sponges and molluscs and rarely straying from shallows. The Hawksbill’s appearance is
similar to that of other marine turtle with a flattened body shape, a protective carapace,
and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. The colour of Hawksbill
shells can alter a little depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of
its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs, mating
biannually in secluded lagoons off their nesting beaches in remote islands throughout
their range. The World Conservation Union classifies the Hawksbill as critically
endangered. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the
capture and trade of Hawksbill Sea Turtles and products derived from them, so the St
Regis Hotel, as with all other Saddiyat Island developments has been created with careful
consideration to the environment and its natural inhabitants. With the hotel and golf
course deliberately set back from the dunes, their fragile hatching sites are protected. If
you decide to go snorkelling or diving off Saadiyat Beach you may be lucky enough – as
we were – to see the turtles in their natural habitat. From the shoreline, visitors can also
expect to see playful Bottlenose Dolphins in the aqua waters offshore.
s imp l y s t r e g i s
t ranqui l l i t y and be au t y