Saudi Arabia Hotels: Jeddah: Dammam: Riyadh: Al-Khobar

Saudi Hotels

Westin Hotel Jeddah
Westin Hotel Jeddah | Source
Hilton Hotel in Jeddah
Hilton Hotel in Jeddah | Source
Saudi Arabia Hotels
Saudi Arabia Hotels | Source

Traveling as an Expat in KSA

Being in KSA is not like traveling around the States or Europe. You have to be careful to keep within their rules and not to offend anyone. This guide to being an expat in Saudi Arabia will help you.

Finding a Hotel in Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia as a consultant I have had the opportunity to travel around a fair amount within the country, and have stayed at a number of Saudi Arabia Hotels in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam / Al-Khobar.

During these trips around Saudi Arabia I have had the opportunity (in fact the need) to stay at a number of different Saudi Arabian hotels and rented apartments as well as running training courses and meetings using hotel facilities.

There are many international hotels around the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Hilton, Sheratton, Soffitel, Movenpick, and the like to name just a few. The bigger hotels all being international chains not “local” hotels. There are a few local hotels in Saudi Arabia but these are generally of the smaller variety.

Standard of Hotel Accommodation in Saudi Arabia

Accommodation in Saudi Arabia Hotels is generally of high standard, very similar to what you would expect in the west in any of their other branches. Beds are comfortable, sheets are clean, Televisions work, and everything is well maintained. I have stayed at only three of the smaller locally run hotels, one was very ornate and extremely “posh”. Despite this it was cheaper than the nearby large “chains”. Another was very old and looked it, although it was once probably very ornate it was beginning to look tired and was in need of renovation, both of these however were clean and the service excellent.

The third hotel however in Riyadh really surprised me, it was very much of the budget variety and showed it! The exterior and lobby were fine but the rooms and corridors were in urgent need of attention. The really surprising thing in this hotel was that you could actually get from the underground car park direct to where the rooms were without going through the lobby, therefore if you had wanted to smuggle a woman direct to your room without being observed this was possible! (So if you are dating girls in Saudi Arabia and you need to know the name of this hotel just drop me an email!)

Riyadh Hotel tour

Hotel food in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian Hotel food is excellent although pricey when compared to what you can get outside. I have never had the need to complain about food in any hotels I have stayed at in Saudi Arabia, and I am a fussy eater.

Most Saudi hotels have a buffet, a vast buffet of different foods. Typically a large salad bar as the Saudis will start a meal with a salad. A choice of soups and different breads. Then the main courses which will be everything from Arabic stews to Italian Pastas with vegetables, potatoes, rice and everything you could possibly want. The Saudis love to eat, and meals are generally huge! I am a big eater, over six feet tall and weigh 100kg, but many of the Saudis will out eat me several times over, and many although shorter must weigh twice what I do!

The sweets are amazing, there is always a vast array of sickly sweet foods for desert, something that I never ever eat, but my wife loves! The selection is always mouthwatering, this is an area that the Saudis love, they have a very sweet tooth. This is probably why diabetes is such a major problem here in the kingdom.

In my first couple of months in the kingdom I spent a lot of time with the buffets and managed to put on over 5kg, beware! Saudi Arabian Hotel food is just too good in most hotels, I need a diet!

Hotel Service in Saudi Arabia

Arabic hotel Service, if fantastic, the staff being in many cases over-helpful, looking for a tip! They are not overly well paid and a small tip makes a big difference to them so they go out of their way to smile and be as friendly as they possible can be.

I tend to find the "front desk" slow, especially if staffed by Saudis, make sure you leave an extra 5 minutes for check out as there can be a lot of individual pieces of paper to be printed out and signed!

Please do tip the staff, their wages are very low and their work hard and the hours long and most have no "off days"!

Jeddah Cornice

Cornice View From Hotel
Cornice View From Hotel | Source
Red Sea Jeddah Hotel
Red Sea Jeddah Hotel | Source
Sunset on the Red Sea near Hotels
Sunset on the Red Sea near Hotels | Source

Seafront Hotels Jeddah and Al-Khobar

Location wise, the main hotels in Jeddah and Al-Khobar are on the Cornice (seafront) and the views are terrific. I would recommend going for a walk along the sea front in the evening as long as the sun has gone down and the temperature has dropped. But it can still be in the 40’s (over 105 degrees Fahrenheit plus) so take water and expect to sweat!

I have stupidly tried to walk the seafront in daytime with a colleague, having walked a couple of kilometers to the point that neither of us could walk much further, had no water and the taxi’s that had been annoying us by honking their horns at us thinking we needed a ride were nowhere to be seen!

Jeddah Hotels

A markercorniche jeddah -
Corniche Rd, Jeddah Saudi Arabia
[get directions]

Many Hotels Located in this Area with good Sea Views

Hotel Security in Saudi Arabia

If you are a westerner staying in one of the main hotels in Saudi Arabia then you should be quite safe. Much like the western compounds around the Kingdom, they are often approached through concrete block slalom courses and have the usual Saudi National Guardsman on patrol with automatic weapons to protect the guests.

The larger hotels having military vehicles gaurding the entrances as in the Photograph oposite of the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah.

During a recent conference here in Jeddah regarding oil attended by many world leaders and other important guests the roads around the hotels were filled with armored vehicles and there were also gun boats patrolling the nearby shoreline. Very unnerving!

Hotel Security in KSA

National Guard Security at Jeddah Hotel
National Guard Security at Jeddah Hotel | Source

Many Seafront Hotels AlKhobar and Dammam

Tour of Jeddah

Hotel Villas in Saudi Arabia

In Jeddah there are a couple of Hotels such as the Movenpick that instead of the traditional hotel rooms have small private villas with individual swimming pools and access to the sea. These are excellent although a little more pricey than the standard hotel rooms. Peak season a single bedroom villa costing around 2,300SAR, 2 bedroom 4,500SAR ($600 - $1200) per night! This is against rates of around 500 – 1000SAR at the other hotels ($130 - $270).

Al-Khobar Hotels

Saudi Beach Resorts instead of Hotels

On the edges of Jeddah however are a number of beach resorts which you can use as an alternative to the Saudi hotels, these have villas for rent within them that are typically priced in the same range as a single hotel room, plus you have access to all of the pools and the beach.

These range from downright seedy to very posh, the price changing accordingly. The rules within these Saudi resorts changing depending on the nationalities they are aiming it at. The more expensive ones typically having western type attitudes towards dress to the extent that there are ladies bathing in skimpy bikinis on the beach, a great place to visit if you have spent a few months only seeing women dressed as ninjas!

However these resorts are family only! As a single man it is very difficult (but not impossible I might add) to get access to these.


Private Walled Vilas with Pools

Private Indoor Pool in villa instead of Hotel
Private Indoor Pool in villa instead of Hotel | Source
Private Gardens and Outdoor Pool in villa not Hotel
Private Gardens and Outdoor Pool in villa not Hotel | Source

Private Vilas with Pools instead of Hotels

You can also find for hire small walled villas with swimming pools which can be used as alternatives to staying in a Saudi Arabian hotel.. These are totally private once inside and the rules as to who can hire are very much down to the owner. These are often used for “singles” parties, but the police here in Saudi Arabia know this! This usually means that the police set up road blocks later in the evening to deter people who are unmarried from going to these places (I have never heard of an un-announced raid on any premises as these are generally used by families!)

These vary in quality a huge amount, some are very badly maintained and a health and safety nightmare, check the place carefully before you rent, be especially wary of the power outlets etc!

The police aspect on approaching these areas normally means that most women will be reluctant to go with you, and if you are in the company of women who are “illegal” with no iqama (residency visa) looking to supplement their income they will be very reluctant to go with you. However a word to the wise, the roadblocks do not normally get set up until after 9pm!

Staying in Saudi Arabia

Where ever you decide to stay it is vital that you stay within the many rules that there are within Saudi Arabia. Just because you are in a hotel does not mean you can dress and behave like a westerner. This Saudi Expat Guide will help to ensure that you don't get caught out doing anything you shouldn't when you are there.

More by this Author


Comments 26 comments

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

I find the injection of trivia about the Saudi's very interesting. Like I would have never thought that they suffered a high rate of diabetes; we always asume in the west that we are the only 'big' eaters of sweets, giving us (apparently equal to or lesser than)our girthy waist-lines. Informative and engaging hub Leanman.

K9


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for the comments K9Keystrokes, you would be surprised at the number of Saudis that are obese, especially the women, they have little to do and cant go out alone so they pile on the weight! It seems to me that as soon as a Saudi woman passes 25 they start to grow!!

But that is a little off the subject of hotels in saudi arabia, but I will probably add more on this subject in a later hub..


lakeerieartists profile image

lakeerieartists 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

I am sure the experience in Saudi Arabia must be very different for men than for women. Being a woman, I am very curious about how comfortable I would be, and how safe. Can you comment on that?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Lakeerieartists, thanks for your comments, I will be following this up within the next day or two with a hub about women in saudi arabia, hopefully that will answer all of your questions.


viking305 profile image

viking305 6 years ago from Ireland

Fascinating article about Saudi Arabia, thank you.

The country has been in the news a lot here with many foreigners and holiday makers getting into trouble with the strict laws there.

I look forward to reading more about your life in this country


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks Viking for your comments, there will be several more hubs on this subject.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Very interesting on hotels in Saudi Arabia. The cost sounds very high but I guess that is compensated by the expat salaries. Each of your Saudi hubs does a great job of adding a little tidbit about the people - great stuff.


Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

More interesting facts about Saudi Arabia for us to consume! Great coverage of the hotels we could use if we ever make the trip.


comhacker99 profile image

comhacker99 6 years ago

nice.+++++++


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Expat salaries for us westerners are Ok, but if you are a manual worker or the like from somewhere like the Philippines then the salary will only just cover 2 nights in an average hotel.. Thanks for your comments Billy


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Dobson, if you ever fancy visiting drop me a line and I will give you some more pointers..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Comhacker, thank you for your comments.


FuzzyCookie profile image

FuzzyCookie 6 years ago

Saudi is like a different world and I've heard that women there cant get out without the abaya... so is it true .. as in every woman has to wear a veil if she wants to go out??


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Fuzzy, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It is true that every woman must wear an abaya when leaving the home, it is very different from living anywhere else that I have ever been.

I have just published a hub regarding saudi arabian women if you would like more information.


Wendy Krick profile image

Wendy Krick 6 years ago from Maryland

I totally found this interesting. Thanks for sharing it.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for stopping by to comment Wendy, I actually quite like being in Saudi Arabia. It can be frustrating at times but the life here is not as bad as some make it out to be.

But I could not stay in hotels all of the time as I would soon be far too fat on the lovely hotel food here.


Carmel Hotels 6 years ago

Great Hub. Thanks for discussing us.


sajjadhussain 5 years ago

my mobile number 03468486384


JOHN 5 years ago

In the current climate of credit crunch and economic turmoil in the West, Saudi is a great place to live. It is a great haven to make and save tax free Riyals.I moved from the UK almost a year ago and I must say, I am enjoying my life here.I save enough and I feel I can afford most things that i couldn't before. Life is more posh-- luxurious hotels,excellent but cheap dining, lot of shopping (most international brands are available), buisness class flights etc. Sunshine everyday !!!. So what are you waiting for.. catch your next flight.


security guy 3 years ago

dear sir, i would like to ask that these saudi hotels uses the xray baggage scanner machines for inspection ?

and does they follow securty norms in hotels?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Security Guy

If you drive up to most Saudi Hotels you will find your car searched under the gaze of the armed forces! When you get inside however things are much more relaxed. Some have xray machines / metal detectors but most quite frankly you just walk straight into without any issues.


HoldInn rana profile image

HoldInn rana 23 months ago from Saudi Arabia

Nice Information u say, this information help me to find

Hotels in Riyadh with instant confirmation


Tarek 4 months ago

Hey Leanman, I can see that this post is very old so im not sure you're gonna reply but i was wondering where is that villa with the private pool in Jeddah? can you please email me any details to

tarekmoustafa@hotmail.com

thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tarek,

There are many villas that you can rent around the Obhur area which is just on the edge of Jeddah if you go past the airport. Just take a drive out and talk to the guards/caretakers on the villas and you will be able to find one to rent I am sure. If you are thinking of taking girls there however, make sure that you take them before the road blocks are set up which is generally just as it is getting dark.


Jscam92 3 months ago

Hi Leanman, I am traveling to Riyadh to meet my wifey, can you advice me in Riyadh which hotel I should book where she can come to my room without any hurdles..?? You said in one of your post that you know few hotel where to come even from lobby is easy sometimes. Pls advice.thanks


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jscam

None of the hotels will allow you to book a room with a woman unless you can show that you are married. I used to know a hotel there in Riyadh that had an un-monitored stairway that you could use to bring up a woman. They have since changed the layout a little and you will now be observed.

It is possible to smuggle in women when it is busy in most hotels. But it is always a risk. Please remember that it is always the woman that will get the worse punishment so please do not do anything too risky.

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