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Best Riyadh Hotels

Riyadh Hotels

Having started life as a small, walled oasis on the barren trading routes of the Arabian Desert, an abundance of rich natural resources has helped transform Riyadh into one of the world's wealthiest cities. The sweet smell of dates - that once attracted distant traders - has been replaced by a capital city of shimmering skyscrapers and futuristic shopping malls, which rise out of the desert sand like a dusty mirage. A captivating mix of new and old sees showy skyscrapers - that resemble giant bottle openers - mingling with ancient mosques and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the At-Turaif District's sandy palaces, which once served as the capital of the first Saudi Dynasty.

Things to see

There's no better way to connect with the stories and legends of the ancient traders, than by putting yourself into their shoes, and feeling the crunch of coarse sand, while perching on a ship of the desert – a camel. Or, try a more contemporary mode of transport, and feel the rush as you open up the throttle on a screaming quad bike, to soar across the endless, Mars-like landscape of the Red Sand Dunes. The National Museum of Saudi Arabia offers a tour through the country's nomadic past, and is filled with sleek displays and interactive exhibits. See the museum’s chiselled rock carvings, gold plated tombs and crumbling artefacts, before time-travelling to the city centre, and the futuristic Kingdom Centre Tower. Here, you can test your nerves while walking across a hair-raising glass bridge, which stretches across the top of one of the world's tallest buildings. If you can make it up just before darkness sweeps in – you'll be treated to the sight of the dropping sun painting the desert gold, as the city's neon lights flicker into life.

Hotels in Riyadh

As a fertile breeding ground for business, hotels in Riyadh offer travellers super-fast WiFi, along with free printing facilities and meeting rooms - so you can always get your work done. If you’re here to relax, then top hotels will help you cool from the relentless desert sun by enjoying icy outdoor pools – perfect for toe-dipping - or by leafing through paperbacks in the shade of tall palm trees. You'll love kicking back in your room, where you can watch your cinema-sized television, or take in views over the glowing city from your vertigo-inducingly high balcony.

Where to stay

The Al Olayya district is the main commercial centre, and towering accommodation lets you stay close to Saudi Arabia's first skyscraper – the Al Faisaliyah Centre. The traditional Old Town has been largely redeveloped over the years, but a visit to the Masmak Fort will launch you right back into the city's fabled past. Built from mud and clay, the fort's sunset-orange tones mark the spot where modern Riyadh - and a united Saudi Arabian nation - were born, when King Abdulaziz retook it from the Ottoman Empire in 1902. The Salahuddin District is another option, and you'll detect hints of cinnamon and saffron in the air, as restaurants preparing fresh Kabsa rice dishes throw their doors open.

How to get to Riyadh

Riyadh is surrounded by an ocean of desert, so chances are you’ll be flying in. Land at King Khaled Airport before driving - or taking a taxi - down to Riyadh in about half an hour. The airport's well connected to other cities in the Gulf and South Asia - as well as London, Paris, and Munich. Driving conditions in Saudi Arabia can be hazardous - and women are prohibited from driving – so local taxis are often the simplest way to get from A to B.

Riyadh Travel Guides & Things To Do

Read about other things to do in Riyadh