Last week’s trip to Jeddah was bountiful with food and scenery courtesy of Jeddah Hilton. It also included an exclusive tour of their neighboring property, the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr Al Sharq. It was a privilege for us to have been so welcomed by the management of both properties and with Waldorf Astoria being a majestic, 7-star hotel, I could definitely say that entering those luxurious suites and dining in their elegant restaurants was a once in a lifetime experience. Especially since this hotel in particular is normally booked by world leaders, royal families and affluent businessmen.
The driveway leading to the main entrance is quite discreet, with all the flair and gradiosity left inside of the hotel instead for us to marvel at. There are over 60 kilos worth of gold leaf painted on its walls and ceilings, 80+ Swarovski crystal chandeliers including one that’s worth 4 million euros, a china collection custom-designed by the late Gianni Versace himself and an extravagant interior design that’s meant to emanate the opulence of an old Arabian palace facing the Red Sea.
Waldorf Astoria Jeddah houses three kinds of suites: the Junior Suite, the Executive Suite and the Royal Suite. Expect nothing but grandeur and enormous living space in these suites with the most expensive price tag at 80,000 SAR a night and the lowest at 30,000 SAR a night. Are you fanning yourselves just yet? Just look at these photos to know what I mean.
Our tour started with the hotel’s Executive Suite, which is the most extensive room they have with a waiting lounge in the middle hall, dining room, two bedrooms, an office, its own spa and gym and two bathrooms. This room is so huge, it needs its own butler service team. This to me, looks like where most world leaders would stay and entertain their guests.
Seriously, there are so many doors in this suite, it is like a maze. Thankfully, we have our hotel manager, Mr. Fadi to escort our way into the rooms. Up next was the Royale Suite, their biggest and most lavish room.
Finally, the room the Junior Suite is their smallest room with just the right amount of amenities that you need. They have them in twin beds or single.
After our tour of the suites, we then made a short trip down to the main floor where they have the meeting rooms and lounges for their esteemed guests.
For their restaurants, we were able to dine in both the Mataam Al Sharq and Aromi Restaurant. I had lunch at Mataam Al Sharq on my first day in Jeddah and was welcomed with fine Lebanese dishes. Their decor was nothing short of majestic and the dishes were simple yet done well.
They served me with an array of traditional Arabic food that started with the cold mezzas, dips and that freshly baked khubus that smelled so good.
Their mixed grill was composed of lamb chop, lamb kofta, lamb tawouk and chicken tawouk. I love the charred taste on grilled lamb and the seasoning was on point. The lamb kofta I found to be very flavorful and a bit salty; the lamb tawouk on the other hand offered a much milder approach. I could taste the Arabic spices more on the chicken tawouk.
Their Umm Ali was perfection! It is the ultimate comfort food for me…warm, with a play on textures, the right amount of sweet and creamy and makes me exhale with an “Awww” after a spoonful. This is one Umm Ali I will never forget.
For dinner, we headed to the Aromi Restaurant of Waldorf Astoria. It is an Italian, fine dining establishment with decor and china designed by the late great Gianni Versace. As you step inside, the elegance in the air flows effortlessly with the light house music and large windows offering a scenic view of the sea. Mind you, each plate alone costs 3,500 SAR. Staggering! Must. not. break. one.
Delicate, full of flavor and a taste that I don’t get to experience every day. It just spells r-i-c-h to me. It’s small but it’s meant to be enjoyed in that amount.
How awesome is it that we were able to eat a REAL Waldorf Salad in a Waldorf hotel? It literally blew our minds. During dinner, Mr. Jorge, the F&B Manager of the hotel sat with us and told us the history of the Waldorf salad and how it was really by accident that this dish was conceived. It was at a charity event at the original Waldorf estate in New York where it originated and now the recipe has become a household name. This version in particular had some finely sliced crab meat in the mix. We did cherish every single bite.
Made of pure lobster broth with hearty chunks of lobster meat in the middle, this is a supreme seafood soup. The lobster meat was actually on its own when the pplate was served and it was thereafter that the soup was poured in. This means the meat was cooked separate from the broth because cooking them together will only lead to overcooked lobster that’s chewy and tough, which clearly wasn’t the case in this dish.
Aldente noodles, juicy pieces of prawns ans scallop and a well-balanced tomato sauce, this dish makes. The drizzled herbs also made a difference by making it more aomatic.
I love meat. And this is the goddess of all the meat dishes I’ve ever tasted in my lifetime. Cooked to melt in your mouth for hours, this braised beef was the highlight of our evening. It was simply succulent with every bite and when combined with those tiny slices of truffle on top — it catapulted this dish to a whole new level that makes everything else that you’ve done in your life seem insignificant and a thing of the past. We cursed aloud at how great it was and there was nothing left on our dish after eating it except fothe carrot stem. It was, without a doubt, excellence on a plate! And for that, it deserves another photo:
Dessert? Do we still have room? Well, we had to make room! They served us with a chocolate fondant and tiramisu too.
I’m normally a chocolate fondant girl but recently, I found myself liking Tiramisu more. Though in this case, they were both classic recipes doing us a sweet favor.
My oh my Waldorf Astoria Jeddah…you’ve made us feel like a real life princess even for just one day. The service and sharp attention to every single detail is surely what makes the brand name that you carry. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to step in your world of majestic property and showing us just how greatly you embrance the industry of hospitality.
Waldorf Astoria Jeddah
Qasr Al Sharq
North Corniche Road
PO Box 7079