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“A tale of two Western women in Riyadh”

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Al Hamra Palace Hotel Riyadh
Ranked #105 of 218 Hotels in Riyadh
South Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A tale of two Western women in Riyadh”
Reviewed 11 June 2012

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.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank PT_Travel_Bug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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24 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2012

In a business trip to Riyadh, I stayed in Coral Al Hamra (two nights).
Although the hotel is classified as 4 stars, but the Hotel is definitely better than many of the 5 stars hotels in the area and of value.
The location is almost in the middle of the city, where transport is available to any where by taxis. The hotel is clean, the room was large and contains all what you need.
The restaurant is small but acceptable. Many restaurants are available around the hotel.
The value of the room is worth the stay definitely.
I strongly recommend the hotel.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HaniMustafa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
53 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 December 2011

Stayed there for a business trip and workshop in Riyadh just last week. The hotel's location is perfect. Basically everything you need from grocery, fast food, dining outlets, even shopping malls are within a short walk or short drive. There is an underground parking the entrance of which (and exit for that matter) are tricky. In the parking lot you find the reasonably well stocked gym (nothing fancy but just good for a regular user and no good for serious body builders)! There is sauna, steam room and indoor swimming pool all of which I did not have time to use. The rooms are spacious (at least mine was), well decorated with some quality furniture and lighting. The bathroom was also good with some toiletry items. The hotel's only restuarant is located in the lobby and I had breakfast couple of times there. The food is not good at all. The juice is canned juice poured into jars for their guests delight. The toaster is a joke (cold because most of the heating wires are burned, Kinwood personal home kitchen item!!). The internet is a big failure. During my 3 nights stay, it disconnected at least 3-4 times and almost for 12 hours one time however when it works it was wireless (or wired), speedy and efficient. The service is very poor and it seems that the people at the front desk need a lot of customer care and hospitality training. I wish they could smile or attend to their customer's issues. I do not usually bug front desk staff but I had to inquire about the internet outage (since I was working on a presentation) and the guy I spoke to did not apologize for the internet disconnection and blamed it on the technicians. I asked if he could inquire and call back, he never did. I called again (not after 5 min but after 2 hours) he did not apologize for failing to call me back but instead said I still do not have an answer for you!!! I just could not understand why they have that kind of attitude. Having said that, Coral Al Hamra is no exception as it is the "norm" in Saudi Arabian Hospitality facilities I visited.

In summary for a business traveler who is looking for business facilities such as business center, reliable internet, speedy and efficient service, this is not your hotel. However, if you are out most of the day and you basically need a bed and breakfast, this is ideal for you!

Room Tip: Verify if the internet connection is still a problem!
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelkit2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Napier, New Zealand
Level Contributor
216 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2011

If you are a woman don't bother staying here. While the rooms are clean, the beds comfortable and the bathrooms tidy, there is a tiny window smaller than a toilet window that looks out onto bare concrete. Women aren't allowed to use the pool or gym. The guy at reception has no concept of serivice and makes you wait everyday to get our room key updated (I have no idea why)...but worst of all the guy always hid around the corner wall when he saw me coming so I would be forced to stand and wait for him for many minutes to get my key. Sometimes the food was ok but they frequently didn't have things on the menu and worst of all there were always small additional charges sneaked onto the restaurant bills. And whenever I disputed them they made lame excuses and reused to change back to the price stated on the menu. No English language tv and idiots who do the vacuum cleaning outside your bedroom at 11pm.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank bluekakariki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bergamo Italy
Level Contributor
89 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 December 2011

I spent 4 nights in this hotel and I can say that it is not bad. Room are big, confortable and clean. Personell of the hotel is ok but I was expecting something more. I never had food in hotel restaurant but it didn't look like actractive! Restaurants advertised on hotel website are outside hotel bulding and some of them still under construction (i.e. lebanese restaurant).
Location is good if you need to go to the exhibition center but a little bit far from the city center. The area around seems to be new and still under construction.
Free wifi in room and lobby. Gym and poll are located in the basement.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank carlocorti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2011

Probably a similar review to a previous reviewer. The hotel is very pleasant, very clean and the room related staff were very helpful and attentive. The rooms appear to lack large external windows but this is probably more due to architectural design for the climate than poor design. Not having large external windows is unusual for guests more familiar with travel in the US and Europe.
The bed and sleep quality was excellent.
Food from room service was generally good and no real complaints.
Aspects such as finding the room key needed to be renewed every day and having to go back to reception to get it renewed were annoying.
Booking taxis and taxis turning up on time is a problem, and not the fault of the hotel, but it is as well to be warned if trying to make the airport on time.
Generally a decent place to stay and no major moans.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RedarmyVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2011

I have been staying here weekly since it opened and holding back reviewing on the off-chance that service would improve but if anything it has gone downhill. Check-in takes an age, staff call at random intervals during the stay to ask if you are checking out, the restaurant is woeful, and I'm yet to check out without arguing about some random addition to the bill. It is a shame as the location is pleasant, rooms spacious, gym adequate, and overall the physical property has potential once teething problems are worked out. Having stayed in Riyadh over 50 times in the last 3 years I'm well aware that 5* service is often an alien concept in the city's hotels but the staff here really are totally untrained and don't seem to be learning on the job. Won't be staying here again!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank FinalCallDXB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Al Hamra Palace Hotel Riyadh

Property: Al Hamra Palace Hotel Riyadh
Address: King Abdullah Road, Riyadh 11323, Saudi Arabia
Region: Saudi Arabia > Riyadh Province > Riyadh
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #105 of 218 Hotels in Riyadh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Al Hamra Palace Hotel Riyadh 4*
Number of rooms: 64
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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