Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Saudi Arabia, still a closed country for tourists but for sure a unique destination. I visited the country the first time in 2017 with Switzerland Global Enterprise and was surprised by the great hospitality. We had meetings with the chambers of commerce in Riyadh and Jeddah and have received a first insight into the business world and culture.
Now, I travelled alone to Riyadh and had an unforgettable time thanks to the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre. Riyadh has more than 7 million of inhabitants and is constantly growing. Soon, there will be a soft opening of the metro. The complete opening of the mega public transportation project is planned for 2021.
During my stay, I have visited, beside my meetings with travel agencies and hotels, the National Museum as well as the Al-Masmak Museum, Al Dir'iyah and the Kingdom Centre, a 302 m skyscraper, which hosts the 5* Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, to prepare us for future trips. It's all sights and places you must have seen when you travel to Riyadh for the first time.
I was surprised to see how modern and how busy the city is.
Ladurée, Fauchon, Dior, LV, Rolex, Chopard, Tiffany & Co. but also H&M, Diesel, Scotch & Soda and other brands can be found in this amazing city. And, I was thinking “what we love in Paris, we love in Riyadh!”
Discover with us what Riyadh has to offer
Read here about the history of Riyadh.
You need a Visa if you want to visit Riyadh. We help you to get one if you book through us.
King Khalid International Airport is located 35 kilometers north of Riyadh.
- Arrival: Best is you order a Hotel transfer. Most drivers don’t speak English or don’t understand. I recommend to ask for an English speaking chauffeur.
- Departure: The Plaza Premium Lounge is on the mezzanine level in the departure hall at the airside Terminal 1. (If you are too early at the airport, then I suggest to go to the arrival area. There you will find a Starbucks. Otherwise there is no shop and no other restaurant where you can sit and wait to check-in your luggage.)
If you are going the first time to Saudi Arabia I suggest to take with you a professional tour leader who knows the sights you should visit and also meet with local people and professional guides. If you are looking for high quality, personalized and unique travel experience Pearls of Switzerland is the right partner for you.
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh *****
Located on floors 30 through 50 inside the 302.3 m (992 ft) skyscraper in Riyadh at the Kingdom Centre tower, all 274 rooms (237 guest rooms and 37 suites) have magnificent views of Riyadh, a welcoming contemporary décor with a work area desk and wireless high-speed Internet access, dual-line phones, international satellite television channels, an iPod docking station, a DVD player a private mini bar, a Nespresso coffee machine and relaxing chaises longues for reading or enjoying the panoramic views. The lobby leads into the Al Mamlaka Shopping Mall. The Spa is for men only but there is a separate gym for women. On the 50th floor is the Ladies-only Pearl floor where you can experience the ultimate serenity with dedicated female staff and exclusive amenities like free Abaya, magazines in rooms, aromatic dead sea salt crystals, etc…
This is the Hotel Pearls of Switzerland does recommend if you are visiting Riyadh. I’m talking about Arabic hospitality, unique atmosphere and what you can experience there. A competent and dedicated team. I could not have been happier!
Dining at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh
The Grill Restaurant
Every Thursday and Friday evening from 7:00pm to midnight The Grill Restaurant offers delicious BBQ evenings. You can expect excellent quality food and enjoy eating your dinner indoor or outdoor by the pool in a unique venue in Riyadh. I was sitting in a comfortable chair and in the elegant indoor room with view to the blue outdoor pool. As starter I had some oriental mezze from the buffet with freshly baked bread. They have a wide variety of grilled meats, fish and fresh seafood. I enjoyed watching my food being cooked outside in a semi-open kitchen. And the rich dessert buffet is art for your eyes and you have a selection of small desserts and cakes. The Grill Restaurant is open every day from noon – 12:00 midnight and guests are invited to select from an à la carte menu.
With a selection of Continental or Seasons Buffet (an Omega 3 Breakfast Selection, Organic and Gluten Free Food and a homemade Birchermüesli too!) you have a perfect breakfast choice to help keep you feeling full and energised all day long.
Presenting the best of dishes from China, Japan, India and the Middle East, Elements prepares the freshest ingredients to order.
They have special dinners on Sunday: Asian Night, Monday: Seafood Night, Tuesday: Turkish Night, Wednesday: Saudi Night. From 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight.
Don’t miss the Friday’s Brunch from 12:30pm to 4pm with live music at the Elements. Enjoy international dishes at their biggest buffet throughout Elements and Lobby Lounge. They have different live cooking stations, Sushi and you also can choose from an endless assortment of desserts. If you have children with you, they will be entertained at the dedicated kids area, where they can choose from their own buffet and enjoy a variety of activities.
My personal guide Ahmed took me to a traditional Saudi Restaurant. Najd Village Restaurant is also popular with locals. The house is a traditional Saudi home and serves original Saudi cuisine. An experience not to be missed for first time visitors in Riyadh!
Sightseeing and more
Formula E’s debut race in Saudi Arabia, staged in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been hailed a success, with drivers praising the track, motor sport fans being treated to a thrilling race made more interesting by unplanned rain, spectators packing the grand stands and tens of thousands enjoying an unprecedented offering of live music, entertainment and culture.
Read more here
When you are in Riyadh don’t miss to go to a Souk! Ahmed took me to a Souk where people still deal on the streets and hold also live auctions in place. It is great to see how men are bargaining for the price. I saw an old car plate marked Mercedes, oud in boxes (we wrote about oud when we were in London – see our last newsletter) and all kind of items you can find on flea markets.
Learn about Saudi Arabia’s history. The museum includes pictures, vintage artifacts, old weapons, and traditional dresses. I recommend it highly.
The National Museum
It highlights Saudi history and reflects the cultural and historical aspects of Saudi people. The museum is divided into 8 halls which display the natural, human, cultural, political and religious development of the Arabian Peninsula and the Saudi State. It contains 3700 antiquities, 45 models, 900 figurative means, and 45 films.
Al Mamlakah Luxury Shopping Mall at the Kingdom Centre
Brands like Cartier, Zara, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Fauchon, etc.. Also, Vacheron Constantin, the renowned Swiss watchmaker will open soon in the Kingdom mall.
Sky Bridge at Kingdom Centre
Breathtaking views from the top of the building! 360° view of the city – don’t forget your camera!
Edge of the world
A full-day adventure with Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh. Watch here the video!
We hope you enjoyed to read our blog and inspired you to travel with us!
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you like to book a trip to Riyadh between October 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020. We will start putting together a custom-made itinerary based on your personal requirements.