For many Muslims, a trip to Mecca is a once-in-a-lifetime event. These top hotels should ensure a fulfilling pilgrimage to the holy city.
As the birthplace of Muhammad, Mecca is the holiest city in Islam. Every year, millions arrive as part of the Hajj pilgrimage. Visitors flock to the Great Mosque of Mecca, known as Masjid al-Haram, which houses the sacred Kaaba. Given the city’s religious significance, non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering. With the sheer numbers involved, Mecca’s hotels are vast structures, capable of hosting thousands of guests. We’ve rounded up some of the best.
Housed in the jaw-dropping Abraj Al-Bait complex, a stay in the Raffles Makkah Palace means the Grand Mosque is rarely out of view. This all-suite hotel has more than 200 to choose from, each with soundproof walls and blackout curtains to ensure a restful sleep. Downstairs, you’ll find three restaurants, including one that specialises in teppanyaki ice cream. A 24-hour personal butler service is also available.
Only yards away from the Grand Mosque, the 1,315 rooms are priced depending on whether they come with a full or partial view of the Kaaba. You will be welcomed with a cup of Arabic coffee and fresh dates on arrival. Choose between three restaurants for dinner – Al Yasmine is a favourite.
At the Jabal Omar, there’s a real gleam to the modern interiors, thanks to the glossy, white walls and polished marble floors. Transfers are available to/from King Abdulaziz International Airport, a half an hour drive away, including limousine service for those who want to arrive in style. If you’ve got hungry kids in tow, head to the relaxed Tea Lounge for a Ninja Turtle burger.
This hotel makes the bold claim of being the closest accommodation to the Kaaba. Given its location in the Abraj Al Bait complex, home to the world’s largest clock face, it’s a confident assertion. More than 900 rooms enjoy towering advantages from this 76-floor building. Facilities include male and female fitness centres and 10 restaurants to choose from, including Ottoman, Indian and Lebanese cuisines.
Set slightly back from the hulking hotel complexes surrounding the Grand Mosque, this Ajyad Street hotel remains just a nine-minute stroll to the Kaaba. In-room touches include prayer mats and guide books for those on Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, while triples, quadruples and family rooms give plenty of options for large groups. The perfumes, dallahs and incense burners on offer at the lobby boutique make for suitcase-friendly souvenirs.
The striking exterior design of this hotel – featuring sand-red brick, grid-panelling, and arched windows – stands out, located south west of the Grand Mosque. A sparkling crystal chandelier and a marble-topped reception desk sets the scene as you check-in. However, luxury can be fun – a playful tone is found in the colourful, toy-loaded kids’ room, which includes video games and a big screen showing cartoons.
The hotel’s Al Shorfa restaurant, with its 11th floor outdoor terrace overlooking the Kaaba, is an undoubted highlight here. The cold-mezze platter includes hummus, tabbouleh and stuffed vine leaves, while the hot version features sambousek stuffed pastries. Interconnecting rooms are available for families; choose the Premium Suite for two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus panoramic views of the holy city.
This hotel, just off the Ibrahim Al Khalil highway, has male and female prayer rooms on the premises, complete with windows overlooking the Grand Mosque. Speakers offer a direct line from the mosque, allowing you to hear the call to prayer from your room. Accessible rooms are available, while the fitness room, restaurant and car park are all suitable for those with limited mobility.
The Roshan-inspired wooden windows may be a Hejaz region throwback, but you’ll find art deco design throughout this stylish hotel. Choose the family room with its royal-blue carpets and kitchenette with fridge and kettle. Children will love the bright-pink kids’ club room with an on-site attendant. Under-12s also enjoy a free breakfast here.
You’ll find this hotel on Ibrahim Al Khalil street, south of central Mecca. It gives you a little more quiet away from the central bustle, while remaining just a 10-minute taxi ride to the Grand Mosque. There are no shortage of shops, markets and eateries in the area; with three dining options in the hotel itself, you won’t go hungry.
The only hotel within the Abraj Al-Bait complex with a direct entrance to Ajyad Street gives you easy access to and from the Grand Mosque. Prayer mats and high-speed wifi are available in every room. As might be expected, there’s a Swiss touch inside, especially at the café where cream cakes and fruit pastries provide a tempting treat.