Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has long been a destination for business travellers. Now it’s open for tourists, you can marvel at the sunset view from the Kingdom Centre Tower or explore the Al Masmak fortress, while staying at these top hotels.
Riyadh (meaning ‘gardens’) is Saudi Arabia’s capital and one of the wealthiest cities in the world. It’s home to a slew of top tier restaurants and quaint tea lounges, the country’s best museums and a World Heritage Site. Riyadh hosted the country’s very first music festival in 2019, where a female singer performed live for the first time in Saudi history. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in Riyadh.
This five-star hotel sits in the Al Faisaliah Centre, an icon of the city skyline. It has 95 rooms and suites furnished in a modern style with nods to traditional Saudi handicrafts. It has hotel facilities in abundance – a gym with an indoor pool, private 24-hour butler service, and a health club and spa. But the jewel in the crown is the Globe Restaurant, which sits inside the iconic golden sphere that tops the tower.
The Four Seasons sits in the Kingdom Centre, once the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. Developed by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, it has an instantly recognisable silhouette, with the inverted arch topped by a ‘sky bridge’, visible from almost everywhere in the city. The hotel itself has 274 rooms and suites, two restaurants, and a gym with squash courts and a basketball court.
For a home-like experience, Fraser Suites has 95 units with spacious living and dining areas, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. The hotel also has a gym with city panoramas and a rooftop pool – although both can only be used by men. If you’re bringing the kids, there’s a babysitting service and a play zone. Food is served throughout the day at the Dining Room, arrive in the morning for a breakfast buffet.
Found in the Burj Rafal, the tallest residential building in Riyadh, this Marriott hotel offers spectacular views at every turn. Even the most basic rooms come with photo-worthy vistas, while their design and neutral colour palette make them feel surprisingly homely. At the spa you’ll find separate ladies and gents treatment rooms plus an outdoor pool. Come dinner time, head to Tugra restaurant for a Turkish menu created from local produce.
A favourite among the Saudi elite, including the royal family, this Ritz-Carlton is like an oasis in the desert, with landscaped gardens and 600-year-old olive trees that seclude it from the city. Rooms come with exclusive Asprey amenities, a Nespresso coffee machine and a stocked honour bar. A men-only spa has a spectacular freeform pool underneath a temple-like dome. A collection of restaurants serve culinary delights from every corner of the globe; head to Strike Bowling Alley where you can eat American bar snacks over a game of ten-pin bowling or billiards.
Spread across four Riyadh sites, Vivienda offers luxurious private living with the type of amenities you’d find in an upscale resort. And although each of the four locations offers something a little different, all come with an on-site restaurant and bijou gym. Further luxuries can be added to your stay; think private butler and chauffeur services. You’ll stay in a modern villa, each with a unique look – private pools and terraces are available.
Rabiya Jaffery contributed additional reporting to this article.