I think that Le Méridien in Khobar is undergoing a renovation, and that I was lucky enough to get one of the new rooms. The hotel, in all honesty, is the best that I have ever stayed at in the Middle East. It was not only clean and bright, but the rooms were tastefully decorated with modern furniture that matched and was comfortable. The staff was the usual bunch of unresponsive helpers, but the room more than made up for their surliness. The gym in the basement of the hotel was also a treat, and the lounge (in which breakfast is offered to SPG gold and platinum members) has a wonderful view of the corniche and the Gulf.
The rooms. I am still in awe of the wonderful and beautiful room that I had. Perhaps my expectations are rather low from having stayed at so many crappy hotels in the Middle East, but this was by far the best one I have ever seen.
The Carlton is a really nice, elegant hotel and the service isn't bad at all. Its a good choice for a place to go meet with someone over a business meeting [well I wouldnt, because I'm fourteen, but yeah], or if you want somewhere slightly fancy to go for coffee with a friend. Cafe Najaar in the lobby serve some nice treats too. I haven't stayed there, though, because I live in Al-Khobar.
I was a member of their Health Club [gym, spa, etc]. I don't know whether or not people have access to it during their stay, but its worth asking. There are different times for men and women, though.
I lived in the Al Dorra Suites for the duration of my stay in Saudi Arabia. This was my home and was home to various expats and locals from around the world and Saudi Arabia itself.
The accomodation comprises of approximately 80 furnished apartments of either one or two bedrooms and are located directly opposite the Al Rashid Mall (perhaps the biggest Shopping Mall in the Middle East). It is close to town and one can (if they wish) walk there if their heart desires. I have done it many a time when the weather was bearable enough to walk and it wasn't too hot or cold... yes it does get cold in Saudia!
The top floor is a great recreation room which staff and residents affectionally call the "Penthouse". This room has a pool table, kitchen, living room with a nice big tv with a small Library and an Dining area. It also has a bathroom and toliet off to the side. Many of my pictures of Rashid Mall were taken from this room as it has brilliant views of the Mall and surronding areas.
Although some of the rooms need a little lick and a polish (my apartment needed a little TLC here and there but nothing major) they are tastefully decorated and are very comfortable to live in.The Air conditioning units are a Gods end in the Summer months and are built into the celing rather than having a one that it is tacked onto the outside wall... it is much quieter too. The Al Dorra is not really geared up for children but it would be OK as a starter until the family sets themselves up, but really it is more suited to couples and singles.
Al Dorra has a pool, sauna, gymnasium, and even a restaurant, any local is welcome to join the Gym which is known as Laith Sports Center and it is to the left of the Suites. The Gymnasium is modern and there is a team of expert trainers on hand to help you talior make your new exercise routine... Mohammed from India is particularly friendly and always helpful. The restaurant is to the back the of the Suites, and Chef Renato makes a lot of lovely dishes to suit all tastes. I particularly love his Prawn or Shrimp dishes because I know that they are always fresh and he never skimps on the seafood. His Prawns Thermidoor is a hit! Mumtaz (Excellent) Renie!
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