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Where to Stay in Jeddah?
The seaport of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast is the most cosmopolitan of Saudi Arabia’s cities, blending old and new to create a unique cultural experience. Once an important oasis on the silk trade route, contemporary Jeddah sports golden sand beaches, amazing shopping, historic sites like the Floating Mosque and the Makkah Gate, and enough reasonably priced restaurants and accommodation to make it the perfect holiday destination for the budget-minded traveller with a love of the Middle East. Hotel occupancy rates throughout the Middle East and particularly in Jeddah are the highest in the world: Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, and the casual tourist will be competing with the haji pilgrim for a place to stay. Nevertheless cheap hotels in Jeddah abound. The best strategy may be to select lodgings closest to that part of the city you will be spending the most time exploring, in order to minimise transportation expenses and the possibilities for getting lost.
Jeddah Accommodation Options
Many different types of accommodation are available in Jeddah. International hotel chains are well represented, particularly in the area closest to the airport, but they can be quite dear. These hotels feature shuttles to take you into the city as well as other amenities designed to cosset the weary traveller suffering from culture shock. The best hotel deal in Jeddah for those on a strict budget may be the Al Waha Hotel on Bani Malek Street in the centre of the city. The Mercure Grand Golden, close to the old town and directly adjacent to a shopping centre specialising in gold and jewelry is another bargain. The Jeddah traveller can also choose to stay at a bed and breakfast, guest house or even a serviced apartment if enjoying an extended visit. Jeddah is serviced by the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia’s third largest, approximately 12 miles from downtown Jeddah. Transportation by taxi is the easiest approach into the city itself however it is best to negotiate a reasonable rate before you set foot in a cab. Feel free to haggle until you arrive at a figure that’s acceptable to you.
Jeddah Hotel Recommendations?
The strikingly modern Jeddah Hilton hotel – Saudi Arabia's largest – overlooks the Red Sea and is just 15 minutes from the airport. There are 10 meeting rooms, an Executive Lounge, and health club with two pools, tennis and a gym. Enjoy fine Persian cuisine at the hotel's Al Khayam Restaurant. Le Méridien Jeddah is situated in the centre of both commercial and business districts, a 20-minute drive from the airport. The Corniche is a 10-minute drive away. The spacious guest rooms are elegantly furnished, with modern facilities. Some rooms have a large living area and include access to the club lounge, which overlooks the sea. Le Méridien has three restaurants, which offer a variety of food choices from around the world. The hotel also features an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. It is a 5-minute drive to the Old Town. Elegant shops are within walking distance of the hotel. The Holiday Inn is located in the commercial centre of Jeddah. The beautiful resorts of the Red Sea are 5km away, and the financial area is also within easy reach. It is 40 kms from the international airport and 2 kms to the city centre. It is the nearest hotel in Jeddah to the Holy city of Makka. There are 319 rooms and suites in an 11 floor high rise building.
Transport in Jeddah
The most common means of getting around Jeddah is by taxi, private minibus (known locally as hafilats) and private car. Hafilats are cheap but they have no fixed routes and as they are always stopping to pick up new passengers, they can become very crowded and uncomfortable. Once again the savvy traveller will confirm the fee before he or she sets foot into the vehicle. Locals will often hail down private automobiles to get from one place to another within Jeddah. This mode of transportation is only recommended for male travellers who are familiar with the language and the culture.