The beachy city of Jeddah lies on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, a melting pot of culture and activity best-known as the commercial and artistic capital of the Kingdom. While the capital Riyadh is fast-paced and can be more conservative, the ocean-front metropolis is known for its laid-back locals, cafe culture, shopping and dining, not to mention hosting a Grand Prix, acting as a great gateway to the Kingdom for first-time visitors and attracting tourists from across the world. Because of this, the city is undergoing a boom in hotels, from shiny new international additions to homegrown, community-focused offerings. Here are the seven best hotels in Jeddah to check into.
Best boutique hotel: Shirvan Hotel City Yard
The gulf countries are known for their flashy big-name brands, particularly when it comes to hotels, so when a city is home to a more soulful boutique offering it’s worth taking notice. More than a hotel, Shirvan Hotel City Yard is the focal part of the City Yard complex, a community with coffee shops and restaurants filled with working creatives and youthful buzz. Inside, there are 114 rooms and suites with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, large walnut in-room bars and travertine walls – modern to the minimalist colour scheme and contemporary Saudi art. Nods to Saudi heritage come in the addition of quirky antiques and cosy majlis, but in modern mustard and black hues, and there’s a shady, olive tree-lined rooftop pool with a gym, steam and sauna. The lobby with its commanding staircase is a great spot to work, attracting a cool and creative crowd, while dining spots are located outside in the piazza – including a roastery and chocolate cafe and Indian, Japanese and local Saudi restaurants.
Doubles from AED 784; shirvanhotelcityyard.sa
Best modern hotel: Shangri-La Jeddah
Shangri-La Jeddah marked a new dawn for the city’s hospitality scene when it opened in Feb 2021. The super-modern luxury hotel sits on the new Jeddah Waterfront development with views over the Red Sea, occupying levels nine to 26, of the 64-storey Burj Assila tower and within walking distance from the Red Sea Mall. Interiors are modern and represent the waterfront location – all light grey, sea blue and with nautical accents – and there’s a great mix of guest rooms (220), suites (55) and serviced apartments (17). A bountiful breakfast buffet is served at The Waterfront Kitchen, while Shangri-La’s signature Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace is also onsite, offering Sichuan, Yunnan and Cantonese in a stylish dining room (more casual all-day dining outlets span a poolside bar and Levantine restaurant). While the hotel has both men’s and women’s wellness facilities, only men have access to the outdoor pool, so something to consider when booking a stay.
Doubles from AED 2,450; Burj Assila, Ash Shati; shangri-la.com
Best traditional hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah
Glamorous, traditional and filled with old-world luxury, The Ritz-Carlton Jeddah stands tall against the skyline of the Corniche, overlooking the Red Sea and well positioned for the city’s business and shopping districts. Guests enter a world of opulent domes, palatial staircases, Middle Eastern-inspired design touches and regal colours like rich reds and golds, reflecting the smart clientele of well-to-do families and businesspeople. There are five restaurants and lounges offering varied cuisines: must-visits include international Reyhana and Saltz, where artisan salts enhance dishes like lobster and wagyu beef. As one would expect from The Ritz-Carlton, there’s a fantastic gym and spa, though it’s reserved for gentlemen only, using native Saudi ingredients in its treatments like Taif Rose and Red Sea salt.
Doubles from AED 2,375; Southern Corniche, Al Hamra; marriott.com
Best family hotel: The Rosewood Jeddah
The Rosewood Jeddah is one of the city’s most iconic hotels, opened in 2007 and hosting many of the city’s most famous guests. It’s a safe bet for classic five-star luxury, though the design is a little dated (think blue carpets and lots of dark wood). It’s strategically positioned right on the corniche and just a 10-minute drive from the Red Sea Mall, making it a fantastic central location for a break in Jeddah, and rooms are kitted out with floor-to-ceiling offering beautiful sea views and butler service. A lobby with rich velvet tones and grand soaring columns adds a touch of drama to the hotel experience – but for an even more dramatic view, head to the rooftop pool for a dip. Again, the facilities are for men only, including massage treatments in the spa. Families will appreciate the Rose Buds kids’ club, complete with cribs, colouring sets and child-sized slippers and gaming stations.
Doubles from AED 1,075; Corniche Street, Ash Shati; rosewoodhotels.com
Most OTT hotel: Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr Al Sharq
A popular haunt with Saudi royals, the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr Al Sharq comes from the same designer as Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel, so as one would imagine, it’s an opulent experience. Located along the northern Corniche and overlooking the Red Sea, the decadent, all-suite hotel regularly comes up as the most expensive hotel in Jeddah – a tone set upon check-in with a three-story Swarovski chandelier and lobby adorned with gold accents and Italian furnishings. Guests enjoy views of the Red Sea, and despite the rooms being reminiscent of a historic Arabian palace, there are all the modern amenities, including a sprawling indoor wellness area with a swimming pool, spa and gym. This is the hotel for a special occasion dinner in Jeddah, and you’ll often spot groups celebrating milestones and moments in the ornate, fine-dining Lebanese Mataam Al Sharq and Italian Aromi Restaurant.
Doubles from AED 1,360; North Corniche Road, Ash Shati; hilton.com
Best contemporary hotel: Assila, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jeddah
Assila, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jeddah is a safe bet for travellers who love modern luxuries, spacious rooms and great facilities – perfect for first-timers to the beachfront city or those who want to get around and explore. The hotel sits just off the fashionable Tahlia Street and has 210 modern and well-equipped rooms, some with kitchenettes and a separate dining area. 2,000 pieces of art by Saudi Arabian artists dot the property and interiors are more on par with its western counterparts (more soothing and neutral and less bold and colourful). The hotel is a top spot for dining in the city and draws a cool crowd, particularly to the Argentinian steakhouse Pampas. Friendly staff, a rooftop pool, spa, two squash courts and a hair salon complete the five-star offering.
Doubles from AED 1,370; Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street, Al Andalus; marriott.com.sa
Best resort hotel: Park Hyatt Jeddah – Marina, Club and Spa
Park Hyatt Jeddah – Marina, Club and Spa is one of the most serene hotels in the city – having the ability to whisk guests away from the hustle and bustle to a peaceful island-like environment. The hotel occupies a small peninsula at the southern end of the corniche, with its low-rise collection of Arabesque buildings sandwiched between the sea and its manicured gardens. There are 142 modern guest rooms – designed by French designer Gilles Quiffet and architect Patrice Hart – with sea or garden views and soaking tubs, a wellness centre with aquamedic pools, a fitness centre and The Lounge restaurant – with some of the best views of the Red Sea and King Fahad fountain.
Southern Corniche, Al Hamra District; hyatt.com