Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Riyadh Motor Show Returns: First Since 2012

Riyadh Motor Show Returns: First Since 2012

Saudi-arabia-snow-city

Saudi Arabia Cools Down with “Snow City”

Saudi Arabia is probably the last place you’d expect to wear a ski jacket but Saudis can now enjoy that winter chill because there’s a new snow park in Riyadh.

The new “Snow City” means that Saudi women can now trade the mandatory traditional abaya for thermal coats and cosy boots while scooting down the snowy slopes. For a country that only has small-scale amusement parks for children, and where cinemas and theatres are not allowed, the cool 5,000 square-foot complex allows for males and females to congregate in the same area. While it doesn’t have facilities such as proper ski pistes, the modest indoor slopes are enough to provide frosty fun to the citizens of the kingdom, who mostly only experience desert and searing heat.

The facility did not come cheap – four years of construction cost almost 100 million riyals ($26.7 million), but since its opening in mid-July, people have thronged the front counter to gain access to the play area. A whopping 75 percent of patrons are women, which is surprising for the ultra-conservative country known for its strict constraints. One employee at Snow City said the center’s management initially faced the problem of not having enough boots for women as they had not expected females to represent more than 10 percent of visitors.

“There is privacy and we’re enjoying our time here,” says one woman who identifies herself as Umm Ahmed, 37.

Saudi Arabia’s “Snow City” is not the first in the Gulf region. Dubai boasts an indoor ski resort that is complete with ski slopes, towbars and a chairlift. Saudi Arabia has been pushing to provide more entertainment options for its residents, more than half of which are youths under the age of 25. US Company Six Flags Entertainment Corporation has also announced in June that it’s in talks with Saudi Arabia to construct theme parks there.

Saudi Arabia to build world’s tallest tower

When completed, Jeddah tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will be the world’s tallest tower at a full one kilometer high. Plans to build the tower are forging ahead after funds for the final phase of the US$2.2 billion project were secured earlier this week.

The Middle East is set, once more, to become home to another record-breaking feat of architecture and engineering with the completion of the Jeddah Tower (previously called the Kingdom Tower), which will soar above the cloud line at 3,280 feet. When completed, this tower will eclipse the current title-holder, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai by 173 meters (568 feet).

Earlier this week the Saudi government announced that a financing deal between the developer, the Jeddah Economic Company, and Alinma Investment had been signed, giving the project the final green light.

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Set to open in the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the tower will be a mixed-use building and feature a seven-storey Four Seasons hotel with 200 rooms; seven storeys of office space; 121 serviced apartments; 318 different types of housing units; and the world’s highest observatory at 660 meters above ground.

Inspired by its desert surroundings, the tower, designed by designers Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is meant to evoke the “folded fronds of a young desert plant” shooting up from the ground.

The idea is to represent new life, and new development around the record-breaking project.

Servicing the 170 storeys, however, requires a sophisticated elevator system. A total of 59 elevators, five double-deck elevators, and 12 escalators will help visitors move about the monster building. Elevators that shuttle visitors to the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second.

And the sky terrace, which will open on the 157th floor, will open out into the clouds from the penthouse floor.

Construction of the first 26 floors is complete.

Meanwhile, the Jeddah Tower forms part of a larger project, Jeddah Economic City, a modern community that will span 5.3 million square meters and serve as a business and tourism hotspot.

The waterfront district will feature a luxury shopping mall, luxury hotels, open spaces, residential and business areas and a seaside promenade.

The Jeddah Tower is set for completion in 2020.

Abraj Kudai

World’s largest hotel planned for Saudi Arabia

Abraj Kudai

Saudi Arabia is set to become home to the largest hotel in the world with a whopping 10,000 rooms.

To be built just two kilometers away from the site of Mecca, which attracts two million Muslim pilgrims a year for the annual Hajj, the $3.5 billion Abraj Kudai will become the world’s largest hotel when it opens in 2017.

DON’T MISS: RAFFLES HOTEL OPENS IN MECCA

Once complete, the mixed-use development project will span 1.4 million square meters and feature a hotel that can fit the population of a small town, shopping mall, full-size convention center, rooftop helipads, food court and bus station.

Twelve towers will make up the building with certain spaces geared to accommodate Hajj visitors, house prayer halls and dining spaces.

Renderings reveal a series of monolithic towers encircling a main domed tower, designed to hearken a traditional desert fortress.

Ten towers will provide four-star accommodations, while two will be reserved for their most well-heeled clientele offering five-star amenities.

Kingdom Centre Riyadh

Women-only floor opens at Four Seasons Riyadh

Kingdom Centre Riyadh

Luxury property the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh is the latest to open a ladies-only floor designed to put traveling women at ease and make them feel “comfortable and secure.”

Dubbed the “Pearl Floor,” the all-female area is fitted with 20 premium and deluxe rooms, as well as two executive suites.

Staff on the 48th floor, which features an express check-in desk, is likewise male-free, manned with all female workers.

To appeal to the female sensibility, the Pearl Floor Lobby highlights a sweeping staircase, bathroom vanities, fine upholstery and linens.

Female guests will have access to free Wifi, complimentary drinks, a ladies-only gym as well as spa services such as facials, body and hair care products, yoga mats, a healthy, in-room dining menu and personalized welcome kit.

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh Bedroom

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Saudis Set to Build Kingdom Tower

kingdom tower

The record for the world’s tallest tower is set to be broken yet again… The new skyscraper will measure one kilometre high and will be located in Saudi Arabia.

Mace, the firm behind London’s now famous Shard, will build the skyscraper in a joint venture with construction company EC Harris in Jeddah.

Plans for the tower, known as the Kingdom Tower, were announced 18 months ago, but Mace, the builders of the Shard and construction company EC Harris were only named as the firms behind the tower’s construction on February 21.

The tower will reach a height of 1,000 meters, nearly 3 times the height of the Shard and would overtake the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest skyscraper.

The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece of the $20bn Kingdom City urban re-development project taking place in the north of Jeddah by the Red Sea.

According to Mace, the Kingdom Tower will serve as “a mixed-use building featuring a five-star luxury Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, first class office space, luxury condominiums and an observatory that will be higher than the world’s current highest observation deck.”

Construction will take five years and is expected to begin by the middle of this year.

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The Ritz-Carlton opens its first hotel in Saudi Arabia

saudi arabia ritz carlton hotel lobby

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will open its first hotel in Saudi Arabia, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh on October 24.

The palatial hotel, with 493 rooms and suites, is situated next to the Diplomatic Quarter and adjacent to the King Abdul Aziz Convention Centre.

The hotel’s stately architecture is modeled on traditional palaces with ochre facades blending gracefully with the verdant landscape of the gardens.
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Burj Khalifa China

China plans $1.3bn ‘seven-star hotel’

Burj Khalifa China

Beijing authorities plan to build a “seven-star hotel” modelled after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – in a $1.3 billion joint project with Saudi Arabia.

The hotel will be erected in western Beijing‘s Mentougou district some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Chinese capital’s centre.

The Saudi side is expected to foot the entire bill but we still dont know why such an expensive project would be located in the underdeveloped rural area.
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Luxury hotel opens in Mecca landmark

Fairmont has opened its new landmark property in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, becoming the second hotel brand to occupy the Abraj Al Bait Complex.

The hotel is situated inside the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, the focal point of an enormous project to upgrade the precincts of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina.

Standing 76 stories high, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower is the tallest concrete building in the world and features four 40-meter clock faces visible from 17 kilometers away.

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Raffles hotel opens in Mecca

Luxury hotel chain Raffles – one of the Singapore’s top hotel and resort chain – has opened its seventh property in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The 213-room hotel is Raffles’ second property in the Middle East, following the opening of its Dubai property in 2007.

Looking over the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba, the Raffles Makkah Palace offers round-the-clock butler service for guests, along with a “coffee sommelier,” a four-storey mall in the basement, and four restaurants.
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World’s second-tallest building under construction

An under-construction hotel complex in Saudi Arabia will feature the world’s second-tallest building, topped by a clock six times bigger than London’s Big Ben.

The Mecca Royal Clock Tower will be made up of 662 metres (2,171 feet) of concrete structure and a 155-metre (508-foot) crecent-topped metal spire.

Combined, the two parts of the tower in the Muslim holy city of Mecca would be only roughly 11 metres (36 feet) shorter than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower at 828 metres (2,717 feet).

Even the concrete section of the Mecca Royal Clock Tower would be taller than the current second-tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
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Maha al-Sudairi unpaid bills

Saudi Arabian princess Maha Al Sudairi, the wife of Saudi Arabia’s interior minister Naif bin Abdulaziz, is a well-known figure in French luxury boutiques.

Spending 140,000 Euros on clothing and a further 30,000 a week on dry cleaning is not a big deal for her.

She loves Paris – but the city’s high-end shop owners have accused her of robbing them. Al Sudairi has allegedly failed to pay her bills in the last few months.
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Versace opens a flagship store in Saudi Arabia

Versace has just opened a new flagship store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

With black granite marble for the floors, white lacquer effect work on the walls, and a clear blown glass curtain chandelier, the store is looking as luxe as ever.

It will house complete collections for men and women, including accessories, eyewear, watches, fine jewelry, fragrance and Versace Home

The world’s richest royal sovereign

Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s richest royal, with a fortune estimated at $US35 billion, according to a Forbes magazine list dominated by Middle Eastern monarchs riding high on surging oil prices.

King Bhumibol, 80 years old and the world’s longest-reigning monarch after six decades on the throne, is regarded as semi-divine by many Thais.

Forbes called it a good year for monarchies, investment-wise. “As a group, the world’s 15 richest royals have increased their total wealth to 131 billion dollars, up from 95 billion last year”. With oil prices soaring, the monarchs of the petro-kingdoms of the Middle East and Asia dominate the list.


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King Abdullah Economic City

The Saudi government is planning four new cities, in its bid to diversify the economy and increase employment opportunities, has encouraged growth in the non-oil industrial sector.

The mega project was revealed in 2005 by Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia. As designed, the cities will have a total of four times the geographic area of Hong Kong, three times the population of Dubai, and an economic output equal to Singapore’s.

The coastal King Abdullah Economy City (abbreviated as KAEC; pronounced CAKE – Arabic: مدينة الملك عبدالله اللإقتصادية‎) is designed to house two million in an area twice the size of Hong Kong.

Entirely funded by domestic and foreign private investors, this is the only one of the four planned cities that is currently under construction.
With a total development area of 173 km² (66.8 sq mi), the city is located along the coast of the Red Sea, around 100 km north of Jeddah, the commercial hub of the kingdom.

The city will be the largest transportation and logistics hub in the Middle East and will be approximately an hour away from the holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina by car and an hour away of the 12 Middle Eastern capital cities by plane.

The city will be divided into six main components: Industrial Zone, Sea Port, Residential Areas, Sea Resort, Educational Zone, and a Central Business District (Find out more details on Wikipedia).

The total cost of the city is $26.6 billion. The first stage of the city is planned to be completed in 2010, while the whole city is going to be fully completed by 2020.

The city will help diversify the oil-based economy of the kingdom by bringing direct foreign and domestic investments. Based on initial forecasts, the project and its several components will create up to 500,000 employment opportunities for the youthful population of the country, where 60% of the population is under 15. (Source CNN)