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Riyadh (Ar Riyad) Featured Hotels

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Riyadh - 3 Mesmerizing Side Trips
Riyadh Shopping: Riyadh's Best Shopping Opportunities
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Riyadh Shopping: Riyadh's Best Shopping Opportunities   by Lek Boonlert

Riyadh (Ar Riyad) Featured Hotels

Despite its conservative image, Saudi Arabia is home to some of the best shopping opportunities in the Middle East, with luxurious shopping malls galore, as well as some fascinating traditional markets (souqs). Some of the best shopping is to be found in the capital Riyadh. Visitors to Riyadh are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping, with a variety of fantastic opportunities to shop for anything and everything under the sun.


Whilst shopping in Riyadh has largely been taken over by the opulent shopping malls, a number of excellent traditional markets can still be found and are a great way to soak up the local culture and lifestyle whilst finding some great souvenirs. There are many great Riyadh hotels located in the vicinity of these markets, making it very easy for visitors to explore these intriguing shopping opportunities.

Souq al-Thumairi
Located in the al-Deira area, Souq al-Thumairi is perhaps the biggest and most well-known souq in Riyadh. Souq al-Thumairi is also known as the antique souq thanks to its large collection of stores selling all kinds of traditional antiques and artefacts. Good prices can be found in this souq, but be sure to bring your bargaining skills as absolutely everything here is negotiable.

Batha Souq
Batha Souq is found in Batha Batha - Riyadh's most famous market area. This souq is famous for its materials and dresses. There are around 20 different shops selling exquisite materials and textiles. A great idea is to find some nice material then head to a nearby tailor and have a stunning dress made.

Dira Souq
Dira Souq is Riyadh's best gold and silver souq. This souq is full of laneways that are packed with stalls selling a great variety of jewellery and antiques made from gold and silver. Dira Souq can be found in the al-Deira area.

Shopping Centres

Shopping malls have taken over Riyadh in recent years, and it seems a new shopping centre keeps popping up every year. Shopping centres provide a great respite to the Saudi heat, and also offer some amazing shopping opportunities, which will satisfy even the most discerning shopaholic.

Sahara Mall
The Sahara Mall can be found on the intersection of King Abdul Aziz Road and Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Road. The Sahara Mall is one of the largest in the city, and is very popular at any time of the day. The mall offers 180 different shops, as well as a large food court, which is argued to be the largest in the country. There is also a supermarket, children's playground, and 8 delicious restaurants for shoppers to enjoy.

Kingdom Tower
Kingdom Tower is perhaps the pride and joy of the Riyadh shopping scene. Kingdom Tower is synonymous with glamour, and it features a dazzlingly display of high-end fashion ranging from Hugo Boss to Versace. One floor of Kingdom Tower is dedicated to ladies fashion, with the other three floors featuring men's fashion, children's ware and jewellery amongst others.

Other Areas

Strictly speaking, Al-Faisaliah is not a shopping mall in its own right, but is rather part of the luxurious hotel Al-Faisaliah. However, this shopping area features some of the best-known brand names in the world, and also boasts a food court and indoor theme park on the basement level.

Euromarche is located on Takhusseesee Street, and was the first western style shopping complex to be built in Riyadh. Euromarche is considered to be like a giant Wall Mart, and sells all kind of household appliances, western groceries and electrical items. This may not be the most cultural of shopping experiences, but is nevertheless a good place to go if you're in need of a few home comforts.

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About the Author: Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Riyadh Hotels content.

Riyadh - 3 Mesmerizing Side Trips   by Nikolas Tjhin

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The land of a thousand and one fables and fantasies, impenetrable Saudi Arabia has long intrigued the world. As the country begins to relax its visa rules to welcome visitors, we share with you here three tasting of the middle east, side trip journeys reachable from Riyadh, its capital city.

The Asir Mountains
This hilly region is near the country's border with Yemen. The local capital, Abha, a small town ringed by misty mountains, felt chilly as I strolled through its souk and chatted with stall holders selling incense of frankincense and myrrh, beads, gowns and brightly colored baskets.

The key attraction here is the restored village of Rijal Alma. Its tall, tower-like houses were built nearly 300 years ago, acting as watchtowers. One house is now a museum with rooms and displaying jewellery, farm tools and even a bridal carriage designed to go on a camel's back.

Medain Saleh
Medain Saleh is the country's key tourist attraction. Located in the north-west, the 2,000-year-old Nabataean tombs, set in the stark desert, are a stunning sight. Imagine visiting the rock-cut architecture of Petra, in Jordan, but without the crowds. This was the second city of the Nabataeans, who created their 131 rock-cut tombs soon after they had finished work on Petra.

The Nabataeans, whose empire lasted from around 600 BC to AD 300, sited both cities on the same trade route and Medain Saleh would once have been a bustling city, though as in Dir'aiyah, the houses have long disappeared. The tombs are astonishing - many are cut so high in the rock that you have to climb a rickety ladder to enter them to see the burial niches cut into the sandstone.

Many tombs have inscriptions in the Aramaic language over their doors and these are translated into English, explaining who owned the tomb. One of the most striking is the beautiful row of tombs called Qasr Al-Bint. You can also head across the dunes to the tomb of Qasr Farid, when it turns a glowing pink at sunset.

Souk Al-Alawi is the star attraction here, a warren of narrow streets in the old town where I spent a happy morning shopping for leather slippers and beautiful wool shawls. The prices are fixed, so haggling is not welcome, but generally, the atmosphere in Jeddah is far more relaxed than in conservative Riyadh. Here, I spotted women going out without men accompanying them, and sometimes without wearing their headscarves.

We finished our trip with a superb supper of prawn and hamour, a fish caught locally, at the Al-Nakhil restaurant on the Corniche. After supper, we all enjoyed smoking the apple-flavored shisha water pipes and soaking up the atmosphere of this buzzy restaurant, where families dine and chat until 3am in the morning.

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About the Author: Travelers planning to visit Asia will do well to check out our blog zine focusing on travel in Asia. In particular, you'll probably enjoy our post on backpacking in India and eating vegetarian food in Asia! - Nikolas Tjhin


Holiday Inn Riyadh al Qasr
Step into the cool marble Lobby of Holiday Inn Riyadh-Al Qasr, just 45 minutes by taxi from King Khalid International Airport. Our modern 5-story hotel is located in the fast-growing Olaya business district, close to major companies in the Al Faisaliyah Centre and futuristic Kingdom Tower. Wireless Internet in the hotel's public areas means you can check email while enjoying a frothy cappuccino in Amaretto Cafe. Our two ballrooms seat up to 1,400 guests and make impressive venues for a lavish gala dinner. You can invite colleagues to corporate events in one of our eight meeting rooms, all with complimentary wireless Internet.
Mercure Value Riyadh
Unique Four stars Hotel located on exit 8 north ring close to Granada Mall on the road going to Intl Airport and downtown. The Hotel resembles a cruise ship and offers 85 rooms and suites with rooms equipped with wireless internet, satellite TV, air conditioning, Health Club and Spa with indoor pool, 1 coffee shop, 1 seafood and fish restaurant including French a la carte menu, room service 24 hours, a business center and kitchenette in suites.
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