Inviting accommodation options, top-notch dining and high-end hospitality await.
The azure waters of The Red Sea are the first thing we see before we even touch down in Jeddah. Layers of turquoise and deep blue compete for our attention, juxtaposed against soaring modern skyscrapers.
More laid back than the Saudi capital, Jeddah is more than just a port city and a hub for trade. It’s a burgeoning metropolis that bridges past and present, from the coastline that flanks the 30-kilometre-long Corniche to the bustling souks of Al Balad and the eastern desert – a sea of sand that extends outwards across the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s second larger city really does have it all.
An unexpected arrival experience
We check in to Shangri-La Jeddah, the city’s more recent hotel opening, a little over a year since it opened. The soaring hotel offers a monolithic piece of modern architecture that has become an icon on the city skyline thanks to its nightly dancing illuminations.
Shangri-La Jeddah is located in one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods with waterfront views of The Red Sea and close to the Jeddah Formula 1 circuit. With easy access to The Red Sea Mall, this hotel offers a luxe stay for both business and leisure travellers.
The dark interiors offer an unexpected intimacy, and guests will feel as if they’ve been wrapped in a warm cocoon from the moment they pass through the gliding automatic doors. The small lobby features only two check-in desks, but the process is smooth, efficient and friendly. To the right lies a small coffee shop home to glistening glass cases full of pastries and sweet treats. Overseen by British pastry chef and chocolatier Tony Hoyle, the aptly named COPA is the ideal spot for caffeination before exploring the sights of this historic city.
Our suite on the hotel’s 20th floor is nothing short of luxe. Spilt into three distinct spaces, we enter a living area with a small work desk and low-slung couches pointed towards the wall-mounted television. With dark wood floorboards and carpets that are patterned to resemble waves breaking upon a sandy shoreline, the accommodations at Shangri-La Jeddah are anchored around a sense of place. A wrap-around balcony offers views of the city and the alluring waters of The Red Sea.
The spacious sleeping area boasts two balconies and a king-sized bed. Comfort reigns supreme with a bouncy mattress, pillow menu and a television that can be rotated for optimum Netflix viewing. The intimacy and carved panelling established in the lobby carry effortlessly into the bedrooms, providing a sanctuary in the heart of the city.
Shangri-La Jeddah’s bathrooms are our favourite area of the undeniably impressive suite. A tub ideal for soaking is pushed up against the glass windows, so guests can luxuriate with Aqua Di Parma products while taking in the sweeping city views. A separate walk-in rainfall shower and WC are compartmentalised away from view so that the marble-clad bathroom with its double vanities and large mirror captures all the attention.
Dining that dares to be different
In the short time since opening, Shangri-La Jedah has firmly established itself as a culinary destination to be reckoned with. Whether dining at the nautical-themed The Waterfront Kitchen with its cruise-line-inspired interiors and expansive buffet or indulging in a coffee and chocolate pairing at COPA, Shangri-La Jeddah’s culinary offerings break tradition.
Shang Palace, a Shangri-La signature restaurant worldwide, offers delectable dim sum and charming Cantonese cuisine inside a dining room that oozes sophistication. Having dined at Shang Palace in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Istanbul, we’re calling it and saying that Jeddah wins hands down. Whether sipping on jubilant cocktails concocted with flair or munching on crispy Peking duck, Executive Chef Keith Yeap’s modern menu brings the best of Shangri-La’s 50-year heritage to the Kingdom.
Translating as “how lucky I am” in Lebanese, Niyyali is a restaurant on the hotel’s third floor that draws inspiration from Lebanon’s rich culinary heritage. The sophisticated spot boasts high ceilings, shimming chandeliers, and tables located amidst manicured foliage on the terrace. Executive Chef Ali Al Hajj is behind the bites, taking traditional Lebanese dishes and instilling them with a modern twist. His speciality dishes include Eggplant Shrimps Moutabal, Hummus Truffle, Seafood Salad, Smoked Lamb Shank and Wagyu Ras Asfour Bel Karaz.
Shangri-La Jeddah’s health and wellness facilities cater to both male and female guests, ensuring privacy and exclusivity for all. Work up at a sweat within the separate gyms featuring top-of-the-line fitness equipment and dedicated spaces for workouts. The hotel also offers rejuvenating experiences across separate Spas, providing a sanctuary of tranquillity where guests can revitalise their bodies and minds.
The cabana-flanked pool deck offers the perfect sun trap for topping up the tan or taking a dip while taking in the sunset vistas. For the little ones, Shangri-La Jeddah’s colourful Kids’ Club offers arts, crafts and educational activities.
Shangri-La Jeddah sets the standard for high-end hospitality in Jeddah. With inviting accommodation options, top-notch dining destinations and a team of friendly staff eager to please, Jeddah’s newest hotel offers a stylish stay a stone’s throw from the shoreline.
GO: Visit www.shangri-la.com for reservations and more information.