Brunch In The Clouds is the newest concept from the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, one that takes Friday brunch and elevates it to a whole new level. Launched earlier this summer the brunch is held on the last Friday of the month and grants exclusive access to the hotels Abu Dhabi Suite for just 50 lucky diners.
The Abu Dhabi Suite bridges Abu Dhabi’s iconic Nation Towers and is recognised as the world’s highest suspended suite. Spanning the 48th and 49th floors of the hotel and only accessible via a private elevator. This suite is one of the most exclusive and luxurious spaces in the capital and one that normally costs upwards of 150,000 AED per night!
Having visited the Abu Dhabi Suite once before, we had absolutely no idea we’d be returning to this breathtaking space on the corniche quite so soon. Taking on an entirely different feeling during daylight hours, the two-floor majalis covers a spacious 1,120 square meters and is home to three bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, staff quarters and of course (this being Abu Dhabi), a helipad!
Taking things up a notch from the remarkable Iftar In the Clouds that was held during Ramadan. Brunch In The Clouds is a remarkable experience that provides diners with a lavish brunch and a few additional extras. Namely spa treatments, mixology classes and a private cinema – all of which are provided complimentary.
Entering the suite via private elevator on the 48th floor, we disembark into a hallway of gold, featuring a spiral staircase, embossed marble floors and ornate mirrors. It’s difficult to process the opulent surroundings when your eyes are inevitably drawn out through the pristine glass windows, to what could well be the most impressive view in Abu Dhabi. On one side of the suite lies the corniche with its busy stream of traffic, palm flanked pathways and pristine coastal beaches. Moving around the panoramic window panes you’ll also spot Marina Mall, the Marina Eye, Etihad Towers and the slightest glimpse of the Emirates Palace. It’s like a sightseeing tour of the very best Abu Dhabi has to offer, without having to leave the extreme comfort of the suite. The view is definitely one of the many draws of the brunch and it’s difficult to believe that you’re suspended above the ground but take one look towards the corners of the building and your sense of security may be lost.
Attention to detail and meticulous planning are the strengths of Brunch In The Clouds. The spread of food is impressive, though it won’t compete with some of the bigger Friday feasts in the capital. This is not a problem though, as there’s more than enough food on offer (how much can one really eat at a brunch anyway?) and the primary focus is on sheer quality. Beginning with welcome drinks and a selection of seven colorful sturgon caviars, served from an intricately carved ice sculpture of a shell. It’s the exquisite intricacies in terms of presentation and the offer of luxury food items such as caviar pearls, that raise the bar at a brunch like this. Served with the traditional blini, there is also the option of fruit caviar for those not so enamoured with the acquired taste.
Brunch In The Clouds is also one of the longest brunches in the capital in terms of duration. Running for a leisurely five hours (between 12pm – 5pm), an elongated time period allows diners to take their time in soaking up the atmosphere and exploring every nook and cranny of the exquisite suite. Taking breaks between food and drinks certainly helps to pace yourself and ensure you’re able to partake in everything that this sumptuous brunch has to offer.
On one side of the suite diners will find a narrow wooden staircase leading upwards towards a private bar famed for it’s ‘cocktails at the top.’ In the bar are you’ll encounter an intimate space of bar stools, low slung sofas, shaggy rugs and your own personal mixologist. Impressively, Brunch In The Clouds is an interactive experience in which guests are guided through the process of mixing their own cocktails. Wether one of the standard fruit Martini’s or (for the most adventurous) one of your own potent concoctions.
Off to the left, you’ll discover the private cinema. With its collection of leather reclining chairs and a large screen television displaying music videos and movies. With this being a cinema, expect confectionary in abundance – popcorn, candy floss, you name it!
The cinema isn’t the only surprise on this side of the suite. Rose petals lead the way into the serenity of the spa. With a sunken bath tub and duo of massage tables, diners can indulge in complimentary back massages, manicures and pedicures. Again we aren’t aware of any other brunch that offers spa treatments as part of the experience and you’re more than welcome to indulge in as many massages as time will permit.
On the opposite side of the Abu Dhabi Suite you’ll pass through the cocktail room. Yes, that right, an entire room dedicated to cocktails! Flanked by a spiral staircase and a central chandelier that cascades crystals downwards, like a bejewelled waterfall. Guests can indulge in the Hendrick’s gin display, chocolate Martinis, sangrias, pina coladas and a seemingly never-ending list of the finest beverages. If you’re not too tipsy to ascend the spiral staircase, you’l reach the master bedroom. The pinnacle of the Abu Dhabi suite with its circular bed, private dressing room and bathroom inlaid with gold.
Lavish surroundings and perfect atmosphere aside, the food is exceptional. Starting with the seafood room which presents a large circular platter of fresh delights straight from the ocean. Shucked oysters, whole lobster, crab legs (already cracked open), mussels, shrimp, sushi and more. Embellished with an angel fish sculpted from a single block of ice, seafood lovers will be in heaven.
Passing through a narrow corridor of gold hues, diners will discover the more traditional side of brunch. A fresh bread station, salads, cold cuts and rows of appetizers. All laid out immaculately in perfect formation. Spiralling presentation stands reveal a plethora of delights, with our picks being the sweet star anise poached prawns, a crisp duo of quinoa, beautiful beef bresaola, a smoked salmon squid ink roll and the delightfully Arabic inspired spinach with feta cheese.
When it comes to main courses, there are only three items to select from the buffet. Fall-off-the-bone beef ribs with all the trimmings of a roast dinner, baked salmon or the glorious beef Wellington. Fear not though, as these aren’t the only main courses. The remainder of dishes are brought to the table à la carte.
As much as we like a buffet, we’re personally more inclined towards table service brunches for their sophistication and the ease of not having to traipse around in search of food. Brunch In The Clouds balances the best of both worlds and the majority of what arrived on the table was exceptionally pleasing. From the delightfully creamy risotto, served from a huge parmesan wheel and topped with fresh truffle shavings. To the lobster medallions presented in a thick sauce of squid ink, making for an interesting artistic statement on the plate. Seared oysters, sea bass, shepherds pie and foie gras all arrived in quick succession and pronounced a quality that has become synonymous with the St. Regis brand. In fact the only misfires of this brunch were the beef short ribs. Which despite being wonderfully tender were overly salty for our liking (though Mrs. Out & About relished in them) and the gin infusions (infused with truffle), whose flavour just didn’t grab us.
Desserts are also fantastic, presented in a huge spiral of colorful hues, like a rainbow wheel full of sweet treats. Again quality prevails as the desserts taste just as good as they look (a rarity at many of the big buffet brunches) with the Red Velvet Cake, Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Brownie Cake being of particular note.
We must mention the unprecedented levels of service encountered throughout the brunch. Probably the most succinct, engaging and subtle in the capital. On many occasions our cutlery and plates were cleaned away without us even noticing. The St. Regis marks the definition of unobtrusive service and staff are always on hand should you require anything and with beverages and food arriving promptly upon request.
It’s also the personal touch and aside from being provided a guided tour of the suite and its many highlights, all the staff had taken the time to learn our names and greet us accordingly in passing. This personalized service is what makes really helps to make Brunch In The Clouds exquisite and even the minute touches, like the glassware and crockery, speak volumes regarding the sophistication of such an event.
With a soundtrack of playful Jazz vocals and the warm sounds of the saxophone, Champagne bottles are popped with swords and we realize that this could be the most lavish brunch ever held in the capital. Brunch In The Clouds is an event and much like a visit to the Emirates Palace or Sheikh Zayed mosque, it should be top of anyone’s itinerary who visits Abu Dhabi. A one of a kind brunch that offers sophistication and excess and in doing so, pushes the boundaries of Friday brunching to a whole new level!
It would appear that being a five star hotel with the finest restaurants and amenities is not enough. Following Brunch In The Clouds, the St. Regis are about to take things one step further, with a sunset dinner once a month on the helipad! Another unique experience that you won’t find elsewhere in the UAE.
Brunch In The Clouds is exclusively for adults over 21 years and is available at 500 AED ++ per person or 750 AED++ (bubbly) per person. Taking place on the last Friday of each month for just fifty diners between the hours of 12pm and 5pm. Reservations can be made online or via 026944553 / email@example.com
We were invited to Brunch In The Clouds. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.