Coral Al Hamra may be a great place for men. For women, hmmm. Let's start with the positives. The rooms are large and well appointed. The bathrooms are great. There was one helpful young Saudi man on the front desk who was pleasant and obliging. Okay, that's it for the positives.
The negatives far outweighted the positives. We are two Western women, in Riyadh on business. It was arranged that the hotel driver would pick us up from the airport. And he was there waiting for us - and took one look and walked off. We waited, and we waited, and we waited. Ninety minutes later we caught a cab. Not without trepidation considering the travel warnings current for Saudi Arabia in our home country. Afterwards, we were treated to a range of excuses, none of which were very credible. This driver seemed to be permanently assigned. He did not once meet us at the prearranged time, and was often over an hour late. He was rude and, when driving us to the airport, let us off at the wrong terminal.
In the hotel, things were not much better, except when the pleasant young Saudi man was on the front desk. The other front desk employee was rude and unhelpful. He made a mistake with the bill, charging my credit card and refused to correct it, giving me Saudi currency instead. Just what I need when going to the airport.
During our stay, when either of us rang the front desk, the call was never answered. We would have to go down to the front desk in person. We ate at the restaurant quite a bit for convenience, but the menu was adequate rather than inspiring.
We have been to Riyadh again, but I flatly refused to stay at the Coral Al Hamra again. The other hotel did not have nice large rooms, but smiles and pleasant service make up for a lot. Riyadh is not an easy place for Western women. We have to accept that we cannot use hotel pools and gymnasiums, we have to dress "appropriately" and it is strange to feel like a non-person. But when a hotel is getting money to provide service, then service should be provided.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Al Hamra Palace Hotel - Riyadh enjoys a prime location on King Abdullah Road Junction of Olaya and King Fahd which is considered the capital's main thoroughfare and commercial district. Headquarters of major companies, banks and organizations are located in this area which has very quickly gained prominence. Within close proximity are huge malls and just opposite is Center Point. Riyadh Exhibition Centre is another major attraction close to the hotel and is merely 7 minutes' drive. Al Hamra Palace - Riyadh is just 30 minutes' drive from King Khalid International Airport. A refined 4-star, Al Hamra Palace Hotel promises you a luxurious base in Riyadh. Combining world-class business and leisure facilities with the very best of Arabian hospitality it is well equipped to meet the needs of discerning travellers. As our guest, you can be sure your needs will be catered for with our special range of amenities and guest services. ... more less
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