St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort GM John Pelling St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort GM John Pelling

With just two months until opening, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort GM John Pelling admits the pace has become a tad frantic

Two months to go until the opening of St. Regis Saadiyat and the pace is frantic but the vibe here is so exciting — the hours of each day are flying by.

We have been in the hotel for a couple of weeks and each week we take over more areas, be it a restaurant, the laundry, 25% of the bedrooms etc. We are all impressed with the high quality of fit out and general workmanship that has been achieved, this makes the snag list not such a massive task as is sometimes the case.

My favorite space to date is the hotel lobby. You enter the hotel on the third floor and as soon as you enter the lobby you are met with a stunning view of the white sand beach and the ocean, not a bad way to start your vacation!

The results of thousands of interviews over the months are now being realised as each week we are meeting flights at the airport and transferring our new colleagues to their accommodation.

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So far so good as you can feel the motivation and enthusiasm oozing from these young hoteliers. The staff arrivals is perhaps my favourite time of the pre-opening phase and the owner-provided accommodation is proving to be a big hit with its swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts and gym.

Laura, the accommodation manager, has been working on this for a long time so it’s good to see the compound buzzing with activity. Training has started under the co-ordination of Deepak, our training manager. When everyone is on board, around 650 people need to be fully engaged in their training so this is a logistical challenge.

The ballroom will be the last part of the hotel to be handed over in October so we have needed to improvise by creating a secure and air conditioned environment in the car park in which we have started to receive all OS&E deliveries.

Co-ordinating delivery times with the procurement company, marrying POs with the delivery notes, counting all items, completing any discrepancy forms, distributing the equipment and recording where everything has gone falls onto the desk of Miro, the director of purchasing. Not an easy task considering the thousands of boxes he and his team will be handling. Good luck Miro!

Some really great news has been received since I last wrote — The St. Regis Saadiyat Island has been chosen as the sponsor hotel in Abu Dhabi for the Volvo Ocean Race, perhaps the most prestigious ocean yacht race in the world. This will no doubt be an amazing event for Abu Dhabi in January and is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the Emirate. For us, it will provide great exposure both globally and locally for the hotel.