Hot air balloons over AlUla. (photo courtesy of Saudi Tourism Authority)
From high-end hotels, luxurious shopping and top-notch experiences, Saudi Arabia delivers for the upscale traveler. The kingdom is a natural fit for a luxury clientele with modern malls, countless palaces, stunning mosques and historic sights waiting to be discovered.
Most visitors will start their Saudi Arabia journey in the glittering capital of Riyadh. If this is a visitors only stop, they will have hit the jackpot for a luxurious weekend getaway.
Visitors can spend time rejuvenating at the city’s opulent spas, including Maison de Joelle and Al Faisaliah Spa by ESPA. Art lovers can head to the city’s boutique arthouses, including Naila and L’Art Pur galleries. Visitors will find an abundance of fine-dining options such as Japanese favorite Nozomi and Vineet Bhatia’s Indian restaurant Maharaja East. The Globe is Riyadh’s most high-profile fine-dining experience.
Five-star hotels are also easy to find, including The Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Regency and Four Seasons. For something different, visitors can enjoy the Nofa Safari experience. More than 700 animals are on show at this lodge-style resort which is also a conservation project. It is a slice of Africa in the Middle East with giraffes, oryx, wildebeest, hippos, impalas and more.
Venturing beyond the sparkling capital city will be equally opulent. Affluent travelers can craft their own tailor-made journeys that include exclusive experiences such as helicopter rides over AlUla or exploring via vintage Land Rover. AlUla is a must-see when visiting the kingdom, and is home to the carved ancient Nabataean city of Hegra, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the iconic Elephant Rock among other stunning sights. Travelers will also find a variety of luxury accommodations, including Habitas AlUla, Aman AlUla and the new Banyan Tree AlUla as well as Sharaan Resort.
King Fahd’s Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (photo via aroundtheworld.photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
A fitting next stop would be Jeddah where travelers will find a cultural hub perched on the shores of the Red Sea. The vibrant city is home to the historic Al Balad district which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are ancient souqs where people have gathered from around the world to buy and sell their traditional goods. A global art scene captivates visitors from around the world. The city is also home to the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Upscale travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodations. Extravagant hotels near the waterfront offer stunning views of the sunset. The Ritz-Carlton hotel features an exclusive view of Al Hamra Corniche and King Fahd Fountain, however the elegant Park Hyatt Jeddah Marina, Club and Spa are the closest to the fountain. There is also the beautiful Shangri-La Jeddah with sea views and a spa.
Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. (photo via Marriott International)
These are but a few ways affluent travelers can experience Saudi Arabia. The country continues to evolve through its tourism development plan, Vision 2030. Several developments promise even more unique and lavish experiences to come, including Diriyah, NEOM and the Red Sea development. All are a part of Vision 2030 and, when complete, they are sure to feature some of the hottest new clubs, restaurants and luxury hotels on the planet when they are complete.