"Is that a palace?" we ask our driver as he gently sweeps the car around the corner to reveal a creamy coloured building. No it isn't. It's actually our home for two nights in Dubai. The St Regis Dubai opened in late 2015 and like all St Regis's, it is spectacular.
I was curious to see what the St Regis would be like in Dubai. The lobby is a study in classic beauty with tall, curved marble staircases. It was modelled on New York's original St Regis with the NY hotel's beaux-arts architecture.
Somehow they just know who we are as soon as we walk in through the door (a recurring theme during our stay) and guide us towards a desk and are offered a seat. Check in is fast and my request for a newspaper is quickly honoured here with one waiting for me in my room.
They show me to my suite and my bags turn up moments later. My suite #405 is stunning. It is an enormous executive suite and seems to go on forever. On the left is a sitting room complete with chocolate bon bons, macarons and chocolate dipped strawberries. There is a fresh fruit bowl and fresh flowers.
The bedroom features a king sized bed with wonderfully smooth sheets. Internet is fast and free for guests and there are two flat screen televisions that also play the sound in the shower.
All guests at the St Regis are offered the services of a butler. My butler Mina introduces herself quickly as we are in a hurry. I don't see her for the rest of my stay but I didn't really need anything else from her so I didn't call her.
Turndown is performed daily. There are plenty of bottled waters provided and the large sized amenities are by brand Labatoire Remede with everything you could ever need from a cleansing souffle to a body firming body lotion. The room also faces the courtyard so it a quiet oasis.
Breakfast is a real treat at the St Regis. It's hard to know what to have first and I think you'd need to stay here for 3-4 days to be able to try everything. From the Continental selection there are healthy juices and fruit as well as glistening pastries. There's also an army of copper pots holding hot treasures. It's all delicious and I find myself getting up again and again for more.
But if you're not in the mood to leave the room, your butler can also bring you a your breakfast in bed. Fill in the menu and slip it on your door. My breakfast arrived exactly on time. I accidentally over ordered so I invited my sometime vegetarian friend Laura who was staying in a nearby room to join me.
My favourite is the Arabian Flavours breakfast with foul medames (bean stew), fresh labneh, grilled halloumi, local olives, cucumber, tomato, rocca, Arabic bread, dates and an Arabic coffee. The St Regis Journey with preserves, pastries, poached eggs, sausage, bread and juice is also tasty. Alas there is one thing missing-the signature Virgin Golden Mary cocktail! I also asked for a fruit plate but didn't expect such a pretty fruit plate.
Although we don't use the St Regis's spa, we do try the spa at the neighbouring Westin (the St Regis, Westin and W are all next to each other). St Regis guests can also use the other pools (although that privilege isn't reciprocated with the other brands) and all services can be charged back to the room between the three properties. The Westin has the advantage of having a larger spa with over 20 treatment rooms. The massage ends with her dripping liquid shea butter into my hair leaving it baby soft. The massage beds are noticeably comfortable.
At 7pm every night at the St Regis they practice champagne sabering. This is where one lucky hotel guest gets to step up and cut the top off a champagne bottle with a sword. And tonight that person is me. I've seen it done many times but never actually done it myself.
The trick to sabering a bottle is to hit it cleanly at the right angle (flat against the bottle) directly on the seam on the side as a bottle of champagne is made up of two sides molded together. I practice it quickly before deciding to quickly do it (like ripping off a bandaid) and by fluke manage to get it off cleanly in one go. Another bucket list item ticked!
After a glass of champagne at the Champagne Lounge we head next door to the J&G steakhouse. This is a classic steakhouse with warm lights and plenty of dark wood panelling. We slide into an enormous booth and take recommendations from our waitress. And it's no ordinary day - instead it's Tomahawk Tuesday.
Black Truffle Fritters Comté Cheese AED 65/$22.49AUD
There are 7 fritters sitting on black truffle mayonnaise. They're strong with the truffle flavour and in a generous portion perfect for sharing.
Grilled Black Pepper Octopus Tarragon Purée, Onion & Lime AED 99/$34.26AUD
But hands down my favourite starter is the grilled black pepper octopus which is coated in this divine black pepper sauce. The caramelised sauce is complex and full of flavour and the single octopus tentacle is tender and goes well with the green tarragon, onion and lime puree.
Yellowfin Tuna tartare AED79/$27.34AUD
The flavour profile of the tuna tartare has a sweetness to it that isn't out of place at all. We all love the freshness of this dish.
Black Cod Miso Glaze, Maitake AED 225/$77.86AUD
The black cod is all about meltingly soft fish with a sweet miso glaze paired with maitake mushrooms. It's an exquisite dish.
When one orders steak here they are first presented with a wooden box of steak knives from which you can choose your knife. I go for the curved wooden handle second from left.
AACo Master Kobe MB11 180gr Wagyu Fillet AED 585/$202.47AUD
Many of the steaks available here are from Queensland's AACo farm and some of them are exclusive to J&G. This is a good steak although I think I was hoping for one that melted a bit more in the mouth given the marbling score.
The tomahawk is designed for two people to share although I think you could easily feed 3-4 people if you added a couple more sides. They bring it out on a trolley and carve it at the table.
Truffle Mac and Cheese
Along with the steak, you get two appetisers, two sides, a bottle of vintage and a dessert to share. The meat is wonderful and the sides that we chose were truffle mac and cheese and a Comte potato gratin, the latter being my favourite.
Comte potato gratin
Coconut Baked Alaska AED 45/$15.56AUD
It's dessert time! They set the alaska alight at the table in a spectacular fashion. I do love coconut but it's very strong in this.
Warm Chocolate Cake AED45/$15.56AUD
I find chocolate fondant is never my first choice but I have to say that this is a perfectly done specimen with the perfect level of sweetness and an abundance of liquid chocolate inside.
Salted Caramel Sundae AED 45/$15.56AUD
The salted caramel sundae is a deconstructed sundae. It's salted caramel ice cream surrounded by candied peanut and popcorn and they pour chocolate fudge sauce around it.
J&G Cheesecake AED 45/$15.56AUD
Having just discussed our dislike for deconstructed cheesecakes we are pleased to see that the jelly topped cheesecake comes as a large wedge. It is paired with lemon cream and blueberry sorbet.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever sabered a champagne bottle or would you if given the chance? Have you tried a Tomahawk steak yet?
NQN travelled as a guest of Dubai Tourism but all opinions remain her own
St Regis Dubai
Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 435 5555