The first time I saw the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, I was surprised. Looking up from the fabric stores where I was at in Khassan Street, I saw this circular building towering over the old district. I didn’t know that there is a really tall hotel tower in that area of Riyadh. The “area” I’m talking about is the middle of the Historical District and Batha where it’s not so common to find a tall structure apart from the Water Tower, I guess. I was curious as to what would make people go here and stay in this hotel when it’s a little bit far from the city center. Two weekends ago, I found out why it’s worth staying here: it gave me a different view of Riyadh.
The Four Points By Sheraton brand is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts (recently acquired by Marriott) and its targets are mostly business travelers and convention/conference participants. In 2000, Starwood re-launched Four Points by Sheraton as a premier upscale five-star hotel chain for business and leisure travelers. The Four Points By Sheraton in Riyadh is definitely geared more towards the latter because its location, while not too near the modern business part of the city, is important to “tourists” whether local or international visitors. The hotel is just a stone throw away from the Historical District which houses the National Museum, the Murabba Palace, the Masmak Fort, and the iconic Riyadh Water Tower. It’s also walking distance from Riyadh’s traditional souk, Dirah. This hotel is obviously in the company of Riyadh’s classic gems making it the place where timeless classics are woven with modernity.
Apart from being surrounded by tourist spots, the hotel also boasts of a “different view” of Riyadh. You know how we Riyadhizens always see the skyline of Riyadh from various vantage points in the city? And how our skyline always includes the Kingdom Tower, the Faisaliah Tower, and other high-rise buildings standing tall and mighty along King Fahd Road? That’s all amazing and breathtaking. But, it’s not the only view available to us. There are so many gorgeous views in the city and one angle can be seen from the 26th floor of Four Points. It’s a beautiful, unhindered panoramic view of a beloved district and it’s worth seeing from up there.
Before I tour you in their Panorama Lounge though, I have to walk you through their room, the one where we stayed at during our weekend staycation in Riyadh. Four Points By Sheraton has 367 rooms (85 suites) in their two towers. Room rates for Junior Suite starts from SR 680. Check-in at the reception desk was easy and fast; the staff were welcoming and friendly. The only problem we had was the card to our room that they gave us were at first not working. But one call to the receptionist from the telephone near the elevators solved that problem. A new card was brought to us quickly, and that worked fine.
We stayed in a Junior Executive Suite that is complete with a living room, a bedroom, a kitchenette, and two bathrooms. The room is modern with hints of tradition from the paintings in frames on the walls. The living room is spacious enough to do nothing around, with space for a mini office complete with a desk, chair, and telephone complete with a connection wire for internet. We only used this area to charge our phones, haha. Ample writing tools are available; pads and pens on the desk and around the small tables and cabinets in the room. Back to the living room… that L-shaped sofa is so inviting the first thing I did was to throw my bag somewhere and plop myself on the comfy chair and stretched contentedly. Even though there’s a television in front of me, I just wanted to sleep right there and then. Haha!
But sleep must be in the bedroom because I will be wasting the plush bed complete with fluffy pillows if I sleep in the sofa outside, haha! The room was clean, crisp, and pristine. The windows have heavy curtains and the bedside have lamps and an alarm clock. The lighting was conducive for relaxing and sleeping. We didn’t open the curtains so we didn’t know that it was already morning when we woke up! I felt comfortable that I nearly missed our call time for an event that day, haha! I thought it was still dawn and I was ready to go back under our comforter when I glanced at the clock. It was screaming 9:00 AM!!!
The bedroom has its own bathroom which I appreciate and which is good if we’re having guests. The bathroom doesn’t have a bath tub but it has a rainforest shower, bathrobes, heated vanity mirror, hairdryer and the small well-thought of items that are needed in bath and ‘getting ready’ rituals. I particularly like the bathroom because it has a lone shower. It’s not the shower with the tub under because when we stay in hotels, we don’t usually have the luxury of time to use the bath tub for hours. It’s usually a quick shower for us so that we can maximize our time in going around the place where we’re in. So now that we have the tub out of the way, the shower is nice and the heating works. I also like that they have dispensers filled with shampoo and body wash inside the shower area; I can use all the shampoo and body wash that I want because they don’t come in little bottles or tubes. They have a separate box for other things like the brush and toothpaste, comb, sewing kit, and they even have a bath scrunchie that provided a good lather with the bath gel. Their bathroom floor has a designated rug, unlike some hotels that have a small, thin towel that doesn’t absorb water on the floor as effectively.
The room has a small kitchenette with a refrigerator, coffee and tea amenities, and stove. They provided free bottles of water too. The design of the kitchenette is a bit awkward though because there’s not too much room to prepare food when guests will be cooking but it can work. There’s a lot of room for storage too. We didn’t have a lot of time to cook during our stay although I can see how convenient this will be for traveling families staying for more than 3 days in the hotel. This makes this room a home away from home. You can do everything here.
We tried their in-dining room service too because my husband was hungry around midnight and even though I was full from the seafood buffet in their Al Nakheel Restaurant, I also have to try the highly-recommended Four Points Burger. The husband ordered Chicken Carbonara. The food arrived promptly after 30 minutes, as promised. We dug in and was pleasantly surprised how tasty both dishes were, most especially the carbonara! It’s one of the best carbonaras I’ve ever tried in Riyadh: the pasta was al dente, the sauce was thick and creamy perfectly coating the pasta, and the flavor was on point. The burger was okay; I enjoyed how beefy the patty was and how hot and crisp the fries that came with it were. (And I thought I was full!)
We have a good view of the other tower from our suite’s windows. We can see the view in between the towers towards the Dirah area and also, the pool below. In the morning, I saw that the ledges of the windows have a lot of pigeons. Like A LOT! I had fun watching them fly in circles from time to time, swooping here and there and eventually settling into the ledges again. I guess the only downside to having them birds around is that their poop stains the ledges and walls of the buildings and those are not easy to clean. Anyway, we enjoyed our stay in the room and only if we can live here every day of our lives in Riyadh for free… wow! Hahaha!
Four Points by Sheraton also has restaurants that serve breakfast and dinner buffets. Al Nakheel Restaurant, their all-day dining restaurant located on the mezzanine, serves international cuisines. They also have themed buffets every Tuesday (BBQ) and Thursday (seafood). We tried their seafood buffet (and shot a live video in our Facebook page) and it was a pretty good deal considering how varied the dishes were. They have live cooking stations where we chose fishes and shrimps to be cooked and grilled on the spot. They also have familiar Asian dishes and a wide array of dessert cakes and pastries, although I was partial on the pieces of sweet fruits. Their BBQ Tuesdays also look promising. If you visit Cobone and Four Points’ social media accounts, you’ll get a good deal on their buffet offerings. (SR 84 for their Seafood Thursday and SR 83 for their BBQ Tuesday; original value of both was SR 190 each.) On other weekdays, they have their international open buffet for lunch and dinner (SR 79 each at Cobone). They’re always full on the special buffet days so don’t forget to reserve beforehand! The staff of the restaurant are also great! I’ve personally talked with the chefs and I can hear and feel their passion for cooking great food just by the way they talk and explain. They gamely answer my questions during the live video.
Their small cafe on the ground floor is simple. It has an indie personality to it that’s both functional and pretty. I appreciate that they have basic Starbucks drinks available; I got my Iced Caramel Macchiato fix before we checked out just before noon. They have a huge seating space and guests are free to choose where they want to sit. I also love how the cafe and lobby welcome sunshine: everything is bright! An additional wake-me-upper in the morning! Haha! They offer non-alcoholic brews but they were out of stock when we were there.
And now, for their best-kept secret in their 26th floor… the Panorama Lounge! Just look at this place:
I love the couches and sofas. I love the ceiling to floor glass walls that presents a great view of the city. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy sandwiches, pastries, coffee and tea with families and friends. Again, if you visit Cobone, you’ll get a good deal for their lounge’s snacks buffet. Only SR 47 per person and you’ll get to have this awesome view and delicious finger foods and refreshing drinks! This is originally priced at SR 100 per person so that’s a sweet 50% discount! Grab it!
Of course, like most hotels, Four Points is has its pros and cons. And while I talked mostly about the pros above, they also have some cons. The hotel looks a bit old compared to other hotels in the city. Some of their amenities look outdated and the shopping area in between the towers are mostly empty (they have a grocery and laundry store though). The location itself is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it’s near the historical district and shopping souks but bad because the neighborhood looks a bit dingy, old, and crowded. A friend said that they parked at an empty lot at the back of the hotel and while walking there, she felt unsafe. Of course, that’s not entirely the hotel’s responsibility; they cannot possibly move location! Haha! Despite of these disadvantages, the hotel makes up for it by having an amazing staff. They’re friendly and welcoming. They addressed all our needs, and I’m not just saying this because we were invited. I felt really welcomed. You can read other guests’ feedback here and you’ll read that the highlight of their stay is mostly the staff’s attitude and people skills. Four Points by Sheraton doesn’t amaze with fancy settings and decors that overwhelm the senses; they awe with providing the necessities that we truly need.
All in all, we had a great time in Four Points By Sheraton in Riyadh Khaldia. I wish we could’ve stayed longer (the late check out was super tempting but we had an event to go to). This is one of the most affordable options if you want to have a staycation with your families and friends in Riyadh. Also, if you want to get away from the super fast-paced life in the city center, you can unwind and slow down here by appreciating a different view of the city, learning new things about the old in the historical district and shopping abayas and accessories to your heart’s content in Dirah souk. Come, stay, and see a different view of Riyadh.
Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia
Imam Faisal Bin Turki Street,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]
Disclaimer: We were invited by the management of Four Points By Sheraton Khaldia to stay in their hotel overnight and also partake in their Al-Nakheel Restaurant’s seafood buffet. We would like to thank Mr. Stephan Lorens, General Manager, and Ms. Nonzy Imran, Social Media/Marketing extra-ordinare, and the whole staff for their generosity and warm welcome.
***The opinions, feedback and observations in this entry are all mine.