New Kid on the Block: St Regis, Riyadh
New Kid on the Block: St Regis, Riyadh
A closer look at the welcoming urban retreat designed in signature Salmani style
As Saudi quickly becomes one of the world’s newest must-visit destinations, the accent is on unique local attributes that set the Kingdom apart, one of these being Salmani architecture.
This vernacular design approach, guided by King Salman, celebrates Saudi’s rich cultural identity and places emphasis on six key elements: authenticity, continuity, human centricity, liveability, innovation, and sustainability. One spectacular example of this design philosophy is The St. Regis Riyadh, a recent addition to the global five-star brand located within the new shopping and entertainment district of VIA Riyadh, adjacent to the capital’s Diplomatic Quarter in the west of the city.
Billing itself as “the city’s best address” (no small claim in a capital that hosts a world of super-upmarket brands), the hotel is built out of stone quarried from the nearby Tuwaiq escarpment. Its distinct architecture showcases a historical Saudi design aesthetic, while also offering guests every conceivable modern amenity in terms of comfort and services.
The Riyadh edition of St. Regis builds upon a venerable legacy, the original being The St. Regis New York, launched in 1904 by legendary hotelier John Jacob Astor (also of Waldorf Astoria fame), and the world's first hotel to provide the novelty of a phone in every room. After Marriott took over in 2016, St. Regis has been expanding worldwide. Each hotel location is known for its own unique and dramatic visual appearance, the showcase in Riyadh being an elegantly carved stone spiral staircase taking guests from the lobby to various function rooms above.
While the St. Regis name exudes refinement and sophistication, a notable draw of its Riyadh address is its practical access to international boutiques, fine-dining experiences, and the pleasant outdoor walkways of VIA Riyadh – a calm respite from the high-octane lifestyle of the capital.
What really sets The St. Regis Riyadh apart from other luxury hotels in the vicinity, however, is the sheer opulence of its 83 guest rooms and suites, all of which, in the hotel’s own words, “blend subtle tradition and contemporary minimalism with modern comfort.”
That means floor-to-ceiling windows, double or king-sized beds, and elegant-yet-contemporary furnishing, fittings, and original artwork. All rooms feature the property’s distinctive beige coloured sandstone, providing the cool, natural ambience defining Saudi architecture since time immemorial – and now an integral aspect of the Salmani design approach.
Top of the line is the 225 square-metre Royal Suite, boasting an expansive dining and sitting room that can comfortably accommodate eight people. It also has a king-sized bed with Italian Frette linens (the regular choice of European royalty), 165cm TV, gold coloured bathtub, and double vanity areas, as well as expansive views of the city.
Alongside all these creature comforts is a stratospheric level of the hotel’s personalised butler service. On call 24/7, the butler is available for every conceivable need and request, from unpacking and repacking suitcases to arranging all the necessary accoutrements for a private dinner party.
For those who prefer to venture out of their rooms for a meal or want a quiet nook to relax with a drink, The St. Regis Riyadh offers three venues. Jackie Restaurant is a tribute to the iconic society figure Jackie Kennedy Onassis, with a combination of Greek and NYC-inspired dishes. Stella Sky Lounge presents an open-air terrace for chilling with a shisha, while taking in the panoramic night-time vista.
And there’s the St. Regis Bar, described as “the embodiment of grace and sophistication, providing an unparalleled journey into luxury imbibing.” To offset all that sumptuous living, there are thankfully some attractive options for a spot of personal maintenance. This includes what is apparently the largest spa in Riyadh, offering Ayurvedic treatments, couple massages, foot baths, mani-pedis, and body scrubs. There’s also a gym with the full range of equipment, machines, and free weights, alongside sauna and steam rooms, and there’s even an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by greenery.
Alongside these extravagant guest experiences, The St. Regis Riyadh is making a name for itself as one of the capital’s most opulent venues for parties and functions. With a total of 1,577 square metres of customisable spaces, a professional events team – including video producers, certified meeting planners, technicians, and security guards – is on hand to plan anything, from a business seminar to a wedding. Tourists, visitors, and residents alike will appreciate the hotel for its unique combination of high-end luxury, Salmani style aesthetic, impeccable service, and direct access to the city’s exciting nightlife.