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Arabian Knight finds out how it feels to live like royalty at the Al Faisaliah Suites in the Saudi capital Riyadh
Luxury living is both an acquired taste and a way of life for the elite, and the Al Faisaliah Suites in Riyadh is a truly magnificent hideaway where one can indulge one’s senses and live literally like a king or a president.
After an impressive meet-and-greet service at King Khaled International Airport by a liveried driver, the drive to the city in a top-of-the-range Mercedes with perfect wi-fi and accompanying luxury certainly raised expectations to a new level.
The Al Faisaliah Suites are an integral part of the iconic Al Faisaliah Hotel and Al Faisaliah Center, designed by Lord Norman Foster and located in the heart of Olaya, the Saudi capital’s most prestigious commercial district.
On entering the landmark complex, one is uplifted by the sheer scale of what often is described as a city within a city and an oasis of calm in the busy capital.
In all, Al Faisaliah Hotel and Al Faisaliah Suites comprises 330 guest rooms and suites, all elegantly designed, extremely spacious, and including a wide range of amenities and exclusive guest services. Within the wider complex, there are massive banqueting facilities including the largest column-free indoor space in the kingdom.
Al Faisaliah Hotel and Al Faisaliah Suites have also secured a special reputation as Saudi Arabia’s leading meetings, special events and conference venue and hosts the prestigious King Faisal International Prize Awards annually.
In recent years, Al Faisaliah and Al Khozama Management Company have embarked on a strategy of continuous service enhancement that has raised the bar even further by setting new levels of services, cuisine, food and beverage and amenities and has received many international awards recognising its leadership in the luxury sector.
This includes the signature butler service pioneered by Al Faisaliah and offered to all suites and guest rooms, a service unmatched in the kingdom’s hospitality sector, with more than 35 butlers serving the requirements of discerning guests.
There is no standard check-in when arriving at Al Faisaliah Suites as one’s arrival time has already been flagged by the limousine driver to the very second. Immediately after arriving to a courteous and warm welcome, one is escorted to the suite with minimal fuss.
The dramatic concept for Al Faisaliah Suites is almost like a boutique hotel with each floor having a different colour scheme and treatment. The curved walls and the use of aquamarine and muted colours make the wing stylish and almost a ‘hotel within a hotel’. There are 106 dedicated suites – ranging from 61 sq m to 570 sq m for the duplex Royal Penthouse – the result of the extensive refurbishment programme and multi-million-dollar expansion of the south wing into Al Faisaliah Suites.
The Royal Penthouse is breathtaking in its scale and grandeur and perfect for a family or a high-ranking head of state with the facilities literally brimming with luxury amenities.
The epitome of modernity and luxury, the duplex penthouse reaches new heights of style and sophistication on the fourth and fifth floors. The colour scheme alludes to oriental design melded with contemporary furnishings and includes two spacious master bedrooms, one on each floor, plus one twin-bed guestroom.
Each floor is connected by a private elevator or via a staircase and provides luxurious amenities including a massage room, Jacuzzi, shower and sauna as well as dining areas with a separate refreshment area and a separate kitchen.
Privacy is paramount with each room having an architectural separation from the next and the upper floor ideal for maids and ancillary staff. For larger corporate or family gatherings, the penthouse can connect to two additional premier deluxe rooms.
The suite is enriched with state-of-the-art business technologies with the study able to become a fully equipped office well away from the living areas, in addition to a separate area for business meetings. The study’s office includes a stationery box with customised letterheads.
Sitting in the corner of the living room with the green drapes hanging floor to ceiling, gold leafed chairs, marble flooring, artworks and natural lighting, one could imagine oneself in a palace. And even in this central location, with the busy King Fahd Expressway close by, there is a quiet calm and repose in the suites.
WITH PLEASURE, SIR
One of the ambassadors of the pioneering 24-hour butler service is Paul Robinson, Assistant Head Butler, who could be defined as the quintessential British butler. Robinson is a man with a distinguished career of service at the highest levels including the royal households of England and Saudi Arabia as well as to leading personalities in the US and the Far East.
It is easy to get accustomed to a butler particularly the ever-efficient Robinson, who always had the same reply to any request: “With pleasure, sir”. And one can certainly become accustomed to a level of luxury and service that facilitates one’s every requirement and makes for a memorable stay, from levels of comfort and personal space to touches such as monogrammed bed sheets and dressing gowns.
The bathrooms are fabulous with power showers as well as a Jacuzzi and a range of fixtures and fittings including adjustable lighting to suit the mood. Every detail has been thought about and is available.
iPads are available to control the suite of rooms and monitor all the separate elements from drapes, climate control and temperature to communication systems and ambient and main lighting. Several wide-screen televisions are available at the touch of a button, each with perfect reception.
The personal butler and butler service is available around the clock. Importantly, this service is unobtrusive and anticipatory and handled with great flair and attention to detail.
Like the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the delights of having a breakfast prepared to your precise individual requirements are life enhancing. From fresh coffee, juices, croissants, yoghurts and much more, a breakfast banquet was served by an Italian chef under Robinson’s perfect orchestration.
Patience and anticipation is at the heart of becoming a perfect butler and the service element is always the priority with no compromise, according to Robinson. And when enjoying perhaps the best penthouse suite in the world, what more can one say!
Both Al Faisaliah Hotel and Al Faisaliah Suites have direct access to the Al Faisaliah shopping mall and the 267-m-high Al Faisaliah Tower with its corporate offices, associated facilities and The Globe restaurant.
The luxury property continues to receive awards recognising its excellence and luxury hospitality, and was a big winner at the 2015 World Travel Awards held in Morocco last December 2015. Recognised in two categories, Al Faisaliah Suites picked up the awards for ‘World’s Leading Luxury Suites Hotel’ and ‘World’s Leading Hotel Penthouse’ for the sumptuous Royal Penthouse Suite. The World Travel Awards have become an industry hallmark of excellence, celebrating the best of the best across the travel industry.
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