If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair; if it’s Riyadh you’re headed to, however, you’d better arm yourself with a reliable guide and a city map because the ride is bound to send your mind giddy, your heart racing, and your adrenaline pumping. Situated in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh is home to over six million people who cherish a strong connection with their roots, culture, and heritage. The crown jewel of Saudi Arabia and one of the historically most important cities in the area, Riyadh has been recording a steady growth in popularity among tourists in the past decade, so if you’re set on visiting the Arabian capital, you’d better do it before long. Ready to start packing? Here, help yourself to this list of best places to eat, shop, and stay and savor the Arabian gem to the fullest.
Riyadh is home to a wide range of luxury hotels and budget-friendly hostels, but if you want to truly get the biggest bang for your accommodation buck, here are the top three hotels you may want to check in at.
A lavish business and leisure destination located high up in the spectacular Kingdom Tower, Four Seasons features an outdoor pool, steam room, spa, and sauna, several first-rate sports courts, private offices, and a host of other premium-rate amenities. Known as one of the finest hotels in Riyadh, Four Seasons guarantees superior service and top-class accommodation to go with a hot location.
One of the five-star Riyadh hotels that merits its reputation, The Ritz-Carlton boasts 52 acres of sumptuously landscaped gardens and a wide variety of first-rate amenities including 492 rooms, conference rooms and two grand ballrooms, state-of- the-art fitness facilities, a heated indoor pool, and gentlemen-only spa for discerning business travelers. A hotel beloved by tourists with a penchant for luxury accommodation, The Ritz-Carlton will live up to your highest catering and accommodation standards.
Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski
A tranquil oasis in the heart of Riyadh, Burj Rafal is made from equal parts contemporary Najdi architecture, European airs, and Arabian hospitality. With 349 rooms with an inspired, tasteful, and chic modern décor, Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski is a snug home away from home for tourists eager to take in a generous dose of the East the Western way.
Your Riyadh experience simply can’t be complete without a hefty dose of Saudi zest. For a quick lesson on Arabian cuisine, you’ll need to pick the best restaurant in Riyadh – and here are three eateries that merit the title.
For a mouthful of traditional Saudi flavor, head over to The Globe. Situated in the glassy orb at the top of the Al Faisaliah Tower, the Globe features a generous menu centered on handpicked Arabic and European dishes, and you can enjoy an English tea or Cuban cigar along with a bird’s eye view of the city.
One of Prince Waleed bin Tala’s favorite restaurants, Spazio boasts a menu mainly centered on Italian and international delicacies. The art deco restaurant décor provides an ideal backdrop for scenic sunset views and thrilling sky bridge walks at the top of Riyadh’s second tallest building.
The Najd Village
One of the most popular Riyadh restaurants, the Najd Village takes pride in a mouth-watering menu suited to vegetarians and carne-lovers alike, along with a museum-style décor inspired by Saudi tradition and topped by a chic contemporary twist. Capable of hosting up to 1,000 guests at a time, the Najd is the best place to try moqalqal and matazzez sitting on a Saudi cushion, as local customs command.
When it comes to souvenirs, local textiles, and artefacts, the Saudi capital is a true shopaholic’s paradise. As a first-time Riyadh visitor, you mustn’t miss the chance to take a tour of the city’s landmark malls and markets.
Kingdom Center Tower Mall
Situated in the 99-story skyscraper, the Kingdom Center Tower Mall is considered one of the top tourist attractions in the Saudi capital. Home to the most renowned brands in the Kingdom, the Mall boasts a range of boutiques and stores ready to cater to the needs of the pickiest shoppers.
One of the biggest Riyadh malls, Granada Center might not have a hot downtown location but it does brag a range of top-of-the-crop male-oriented brands. Allowing keen shoppers to take a breather from the fast-paced city life, Granada Center is the best place for style-savvy tourists to grab lavish local textiles and world-class merchandise from brands such as H&M, River Island, and Debenhams.
Al Nakheel Mall
Founded with a mission of pursuing first-class shopping experience amidst the fascinating Saudi capital, Al Nakheel Mall is a byword for glamour, style, and international-grade shopping. On top of the wide variety of famous brands and stores, the Mall offers a host of entertainment deals for fun-minded tourists eager to taste the best of Riyadh during a single mall tour.
Ready to embark on your Riyadh adventure? Brace yourself: the amazing city is ready to take you under its wing and feed you generous servings of Saudi magic, splendor, and grace in their best light. Bon voyage!
About the author
Marie Nieves, student of economics who loves unusual trips and have a plan to travel the whole world. She is an avid lover of photography. As she always loved to travel, she really loves to talk about her experiences. On her journeys she likes to read poetry and prose and loves to surf the Internet.