Medina, Saudi Arabia, resounds with religious significance. It is home to Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the Prophet’s Mosque, said to have been built by the Prophet himself, Quba Mosque, believed to be the oldest in the world, and the Green Dome, housing the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb. Unsurprisingly, the hotels centre around the sights, so you can wake to a muezzin’s call to prayer, walk to the Prophet’s Mosque or gaze over it from your room.
Just a few steps from the Prophet’s Mosque, this five-star hotel is within earshot of the dawn muezzin’s call to prayer. The show kitchen and the mashrabiya-inspired lanterns in the Arabesque restaurant add a theatrical dynamism to the cuisine, which fuses Eastern and North African influences. You’ll also find fresh dates when you return to your room in the evening.
A welcome of fresh Madina dates and a pot of Arabic coffee highlights the level of hospitality at this vast hotel. It has more than 800 rooms and suites, most adorned with Islamic art and infused with natural light thanks to giant arched windows. It’s also steps from Bab Al Salam (Gate of Peace), one of the major entrances to the Prophet’s Mosque.
The royal blue and gold colour scheme give the rooms here a vibrant and celebratory air. It’s a theme that extends to the Tea Garden, where you can enjoy hot drinks, pastries and cakes on the terrace overlooking the Holy Mosque courtyard. Book a Prophet’s Mosque-view room if you can, while the 12th and 13th floors are reserved for the Royal Palace experience, with residential-style suites and a prayer room with spectacular views of the Holy City.
With 1,291 rooms, this Mövenpick hotel is the largest in Medina and only footsteps away from the ladies’ prayer entrance, among the closest to the Prophet’s Mosque. You get free underground parking, a hearty international breakfast buffet every morning and easy access to the mall and supermarket on the ground floor.
There’s an understated elegance to this Hilton hotel, with rose-marble bathrooms, ornate hanging lamps and geometrically patterned windows. The food is just as sophisticated, with Arabian delicacies served at the Madinah Restaurant. If you have a sweet tooth, the staff will likely recommend the Um Ali dessert – cinnamon-dusted pastry filled with nuts, cream and raisins. For a fresh juice or mocktail, head to the less formal Cafe Najd.
With 140 rooms, this casual hotel ranks among the smaller players in central Medina. However, the variety of room styles and sizes makes this a good choice for larger groups or families. Triple, quadruple and budget twin rooms count among the selection, along with connecting double rooms. And for those who are keen to return home with a souvenir or two, the historic Old Bazaar is less than a kilometre away.
Although it’s within walking distance of the Prophet’s Mosque, this hotel can provide a shuttle that will take you directly to the men’s and women’s entrances. For corporate visitors, the on-site business centre is staffed and open until midnight, while there are five boardrooms available for meetings or conference use. There’s a formal but friendly air among the decor and staff, who speak six languages, including Arabic, English and Hindi.
The mountain of freshly baked bread and pastries at this hotel’s daily breakfast buffet is a sight, and smell, to behold. If you’re strapped for time, the grab-and-run breakfast option is one of several nice touches designed with the frenetic nature of Medina in mind. It also offers a three-hour express laundry service and Arabic coffee and dates at check-in.
A two-minute walk from the Holy Mosque and the surrounding courtyard, this hotel also comes with a view of Mount Uhud, a key location in the story of the Prophet Muhammad. Experienced chief concierge Abdulhamid can help tailor your stay in Medina. Along with tips for eating and shopping, he’s also likely to recommend a tour of the King Fahd Quran printing complex, the largest in the Middle East.
Those visiting the city as part of a pilgrimage shouldn’t be shy in asking for a Prophet’s Mosque-view room when checking in; the staff are eager to ensure a memorable experience. Suites can accommodate up to seven guests, and they all come with a desk, sofa, fridge and tea-making facilities. Underground parking, wifi and a buffet breakfast are included.