There is no doubt that the UAE is home to some spectacular properties. From penthouse apartments to plush villas with sprawling gardens and incredible pools, it’s a real estate haven.
Each week, The National showcases some of the best homes on offer in its Property of the Week.
This week, we take a look at a luxury penthouse at The Residence at The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.
The key details
Spread across almost 10,000 square feet at one of, if not the most desired area in the capital, this penthouse comes with five bedrooms and six bathrooms and is on the market with Henry Wiltshire International.
It has views across the hotel complex, as well as towards the downtown area of the city, with the architectural variety of Reem Island and well-known Corniche landmarks clearly visible.
What's the story?
The UAE is home to some of the world's top hotels that tourists flock to from all corners of the globe. As anyone who has visited the most opulent offerings in the Emirates is aware, it always comes as a drag when it's time to leave.
Many of the resorts, however, offer long-term residences, and The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi is among them.
A large part of the attraction, and the bulky price tag, is its location on the golden shores of the emirate's most lauded beach, where there is a residents' section complete with loungers and lifeguards.
Then there is access to the hotel facilities (requiring membership), proximity to Louvre Abu Dhabi, tennis and swimming pools within the residence and the championship golf course, which is but a pitching wedge away.
As for the penthouse itself, the first thing to note is the marble extravaganza on display. From a streak of green across the floor of one of the living areas, to fiery orange in a bathroom and a spider's web of grey and white in another, it's like each is its own work of art.
There's a real mix of style and culture, with imposing pillars on the terrace giving off grandeur, but contemporary wall features inside taking you into another place and era.
The kitchen boasts multiple ovens for serving guests and reheating food, while there is also a commercial grade kitchen, and laundry and staff quarters in the "back of house" area.
A cinema room is almost standard for a property in this price bracket, while the terrace plunge pool sets it apart from other penthouses within the city.
What the brokers say ...
Why would a buyer go for the St Regis over, say, the nearby Saadiyat villa projects in a similar price bracket?
Villa versus penthouse is really down to the occupant's lifestyle, personal choice and family circumstances. For a similar price, we can offer a golf frontage 15,000 sq ft, six to seven-bedroom "Premium" villa on the Saadiyat Beach golf course, or a 12,000 sq ft, seven-bedroom villa directly on the beach at Hidd Al Saadiyat.
A penthouse like this, while boasting five bedrooms, is less typically bought as a main family home and would appeal to an individual or couple who value security, privacy and appreciate high-quality architecture design and art. It even has its own sculpture gallery!
What was the thinking behind the interior design?
The interior design is highly contemporary, featuring bold dashes of red and gold juxtaposed with classic marble finishes but in striking patterns and contrasting inlays. It is certainly designed for entertaining on a grand scale.
The penthouse was created from scratch, using a shell and core finish from the developer, so there were no compromises made and no expense spared in the design and finishes.
What type of buyer will this attract?
As mentioned, it will attract those who appreciate quality and design and the effort and expense that has gone into creating this dramatic home. It typically attracts a younger buyer or a successful, older couple without children at home, but we have already had good interest from international buyers for a second or third home and a vacation or business base.
How long has it been on the market?
We had been offering it quietly off-market, but it has been on the market just about six weeks at a newly reduced price with several serious enquiries already, from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and internationally. We have strong interest from one buyer who wants other family members to inspect it, but they are currently in Asia and unable to travel easily at present.
For buyers interested in a hotel setting in the capital, where else might they look?
The options are very limited, given that most hotel complexes in Abu Dhabi don't have real estate for sale within the same development or have the same level of facilities. We can, however, offer shell and core penthouses at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island wherein the buyer would undertake their own fit out and design.
Andrew Covill, director, Henry Wiltshire International