See also...
Hot List 2007

Qasr al Sharq, Jeddah 

North Corniche Road

Saudi Arabia

Tel: 966 2 659 9999

Designed by the firm behind Dubai's Burj Al Arab and managed by the new Waldorf-Astoria Collection hotel chain, the all-suite Qasr Al Sharq feels like a sumptuous private residence. With scalloped archways, carved arabesques, and layers of brocade, it caters mainly to protocol-obsessed Arab royals and CEO types. Some of the 46 suites exceed 10,000 square feet; amenities include butlers, private gyms, massage tables, 16-seat dinner tables, flat-screen TVs wrapped in 24-karat gold leaf, and Swarovski crystal chandeliers dangling from the gold ceiling. Female travelers will want to stay here for the penthouse pleasures of the kingdom's first women-only hotel spa; scheduled to open this summer, this abaya-free zone will have an Aquamedic lap pool under a retractable glass roof. (Men can use the next-door Jeddah Hilton's no-women-allowed health club.) At Mataam Al Sharq, the excellent Middle Eastern restaurant, try the tiny roasted fig-birds (a type of oriole), eaten heads and all, with pomegranate sauce.

When to go: November through April for balmy winter weather.
Which room to book: Executive and Junior Suite guests should request corner rooms ending in 09 if they want to glimpse the water. Only the humongous Qasr and Royal Suites have balconies and full Red Sea views.
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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