Been there quite a couple times and you always have the feeling of living inside a fortress/compound.
Security is a big issue and you have to let your vehicle be searched and run through metal detectors and x-ray check on your way in.
Staff at welcome desk is friendly and useful if it is run by the Asian guys. But every shift also has a local guy (Saudization program) that is absolutely useless. I try to avoid being served by them.
Upgrade policy seems not to work as the hotel is booked out most of the times. Therefore I always book rooms with Club Lounge access.
The club lounge is spacious and offers a big breakfast. Happy Hour is very "dry" but the finger food is okay.
The Gym offers outside Tennis and Pool areas that are not so muched used. The gym itself is always crowded as the locals also have a membership here.
A constant scent of sweat is in the air and one has to fight for a treadmill run.
But so far I never got hurt!
Restaurants in that facility are good and for people who don't want to go out (for security & safety reasons) have a good variety.
Given the circumstances the hotel is in (Saudi, Security, etc.) it is a good hotel. Would need some improvement, but what to expect in Saudi?
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
I have stayed there a couple of times and like it. I too booked Club just to be sure. I enjoyed also the executive golf course which is lit up at night to avoid the heat. You find that security in a lot of countries these days. But its really theatre as the bad guys couldn't get anywhere this hotel since the Ministry of Interior is right next door.
There are several nicer hotels in town, but location is important in Riyadh.
Totally agree with what you said. There are a couple of nice hotels in town, but the IC is in a good area and makes it easy for me to visit my business partners.
Security is an issue and I don't really complain against. Had already some hot situations in my life (e.g. Mövenpick Sana'a, Palestine Hotel Baghdad, etc.) and therefore appreciate GOOD security.
However, as you mentioned it, at the IC Riyadh it is more or less a joke!
I departed on 22 May 2009, I concur with most of the prior statements, however, security is a big deal there. I was there with a colleague who was there when the Ministry of the Interior was hit with an RPG. I was kind of surprised that the hotel security checked under the hood, made each car open the hood, but neglected to check the trunks.
The food in the hotel was good, but expensive in relationship to outside places. The food and service were good in the club level, it seemed to have a wider selection than other IC's.
Usually they just check under the hood and under the vehicle to make sure that nobody else has attached any VBIED to the vehicle. They believe that the person inside the vehicle is not any form of terrorist/aggressor and therefore nothing is hidden inside the vehicle.
That is the lowest risk level the hotel has. But I have seen it also different already.