Long closed off to much of the world, the enigmatic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia opened its borders to tourists in 2019. This region is brimming with centuries of history and religious significance, while it is also intent on becoming the Middle East’s latest luxury getaway. Whether you’re travelling on business, as part of a pilgrimage, or simply intending to indulge, here are some of the Kingdom’s best hotels.
The three-storey Swarovski chandelier that pierces the gold spiral staircase tells you everything you need about the luxury levels at this North Corniche hotel. With gold-tapped bathrooms, plush chaise longues, and a cinematic view over the Red Sea, its 46 suites are positively palatial. There’s also the small matter of a personal butler service for every guest.
The glistening rooftop pool steals the show at this 210-room hotel. It provides you with the rare opportunity to swim while overlooking Saudi Arabia’s second city. Spa offerings include in-suite massages, make-up services and hair treatments, while the health club features personal training and is open 24-hours a day. Located on Tahlia Street, souvenirs are easy to find in the heart of Jeddah’s shopping paradise.
Located within view of the Great Mosque, guests on Umrah or Hajj pilgrimages are provided instant access to the holy sights of Mecca via two private entrances. The marble-floored Taybat restaurant serves a wholesome breakfast buffet following the dawn Fajr prayer, after which the ZamZam Cafe opens offering a range of teas, coffees and sweet pastries throughout the day.
Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the 267m-high (876ft) Al Faisaliyah tower was Saudi Arabia’s first skyscraper when it opened in May 2000. Its tapered edges and golden orb remain among the most recognisable sights on the Riyadh skyline, with an observation deck providing the best view of the capital. Suitably, the 330 elegant rooms in its hotel embody the splendour of contemporary urban Arabia.
Only metres away from the holiest site in Islam, this 76-floor hotel is located in the central tower of the Abraj Al-Bait skyscraper complex. The world’s largest clock face sits atop of the planet’s third-tallest building, soaring 601m (1,972ft) into the sky. It offers unparalleled views over the holy city. The grandeur and scale continues inside, with more than 1,600 rooms, male and female fitness centres, 10 restaurants, and a kids club for under-fives.
This hotel is ideally located for travellers keen to explore the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, sandwiched between Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar. The cloud-piercing double towers dominate the skyline and soak up a panoramic view of the whole region. Rooms here are spacious and formal, given its proximity to the business district. There is plenty of variety in the cuisine on offer, with six restaurants and bars, including a boulangerie serving fresh croissants, macaroons and cheesecake.
You will be able to hear the waves lapping on the shoreline of the Persian Gulf at this hotel. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of nearby Bahrain, linked by the architectural marvel, the King Fahd Causeway. The luxury Queen Rooms come with a balcony and sea view. The Gulf is also in full view at the in-house Café Chic, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that are as spectacular as chef Azzam Semaan’s fusion of French and Asian flavours.
If you’re visiting Jeddah to indulge in its retail melange of old-time souqs and 21st century mega-mall, then this 139-room hotel is a great base from which to explore. The six-kilometre (3.7mi) commercial stretch on Tahlia Street is on your doorstep, featuring Jeddah Mall and hundreds of eateries and boutiques. A 10-minute drive east finds you on the palm-lined corniche with its pop-up food trucks. For an incense-perfumed experience of old Arabia, Al-Balad is the same distance away to the south.
The Red Sea shimmers through every window of this hotel, with views of the renovated Jeddah Corniche. After an enchanting stroll through picnic areas, man-made beaches and dancing fountains, take in the sunset from the Rosewood’s open-air rooftop terrace, where the seafood set menu includes Beluga caviar and king crab. Spacious suites with 24-hour butler service come as standard here.
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