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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Saudi Arabia

Where to stay in Saudi Arabia

Hotels

There is a good range of hotel accommodation throughout the country. Accommodation is generally easy to find, except during the pilgrimage season when advance reservations are recommended. Service charges are fixed at 15% for deluxe and first-category hotels and at 10% for all others. Hotel charges double in Mecca and Medina during the pilgrimage season, and increase by 25% during the summer months in resort areas such as Abha, Al-Baha, Kamis Mushait and Taif.

Grading: There are seven grades of hotel in Saudi Arabia: deluxe, first-class A and B, second-class A and B, and third-class A and B.

Camping

Though the business has yet to become as formal as in other neighbouring countries, it is often possible to contract a guide and outfitter for desert camping. Typical setups, which your hotelier may be able to help arrange, will include meals, transportation, and sleeping gear comprised of tents, carpets, and pillows.

Other accomodation

Apartment hotels: Especially in the commercial centres of Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah, an excellent alternative to expensive hotels is a growing crop of long-term serviced apartments. These units, which feature kitchens, sitting rooms, and bedrooms, often include cleaning services, access to pools and exercise rooms, and sometimes even free parking.

Holiday villages: Popular with Saudi families, which can number in the dozens of family members, these holiday villages often feature amusement parks attached to facilities for sleeping.

Resorts: On the untouched waters of the Red Sea, north and south of the western city of Jeddah, there are a wide variety of resort amenities. Popular attractions of these (often five-star) accommodations include world-class diving, boating, and fishing.

Youth hostels: There are occasionally youth hostels across Saudi Arabia but most are male-only. If you are travelling with women, it is best to stay in a hotel.