Jeddah Corniche: Over 100km of fun!

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Updated 22 January 2013

Jeddah Corniche: Over 100km of fun!

Jeddah is located in the center of the western Saudi Arabia’s coast along the beautiful beaches of the Red Sea — hence its nickname the “Bride of the Red Sea”.
If anyone visits Jeddah, he or she should never leave without visiting the Corniche, where most recreational facilities for sports, enjoyment, and tourism are available.
The Jeddah Corniche — divided into the southern, central, and northern corniche — stretches almost 110 kilometers, with plenty of international hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, places for fishing, picnic areas, a science museum, and mosques. But most importantly, it has the famous King Fahd Fountain, also known as the Jeddah Fountain, which has become the symbol of Jeddah.
This beautiful fountain — the tallest in the world — was a gift from the late King Fahd. The 312-meter high fountain is located near the coast of Jeddah and can be seen from all over the city. It is even higher than the Eiffel Tower!
Along the Southern Corniche, we find a number of beautiful monuments and memorable objects, from 26 bronze sculptures made by world famous artists in front of the Al-Hamra beach to restaurants, hotels, famous fast-food chains, as well as Al-Hamra Mall.
The adopted design of the Corniche adds an artistic touch all along by placing sculptures and other artwork at roundabouts and on streets running alongside the Corniche. Most sculptures and artworks can be found along the northern and central parts of the Corniche. Jeddah is worldwide renowned for housing the largest number of sculptures and artworks by famous international artists such as Moore, Arp, and Miró.
At the moment, because of the Corniche refurbishing program, the sculptures area between Al-Hamra Mall and Hassan Enany Mosque is closed, as restoration work is going on. It will reopen very soon, providing a beautiful picnic location to enjoy nature. A sculpture museum has also been planned.
Hassan Enany Mosque is a very prominent mosque located along the Central Corniche near Palestine Street. It was built in 1984 by the architect Raouf Helmi and commissioned by Hassan Enany. It has a capacity of 1,200 worshippers in an unusual prayer hall covered by an octagonal golden dome.
The Northern Corniche is a strip that extends from the Coast Guard building to Fatima Al-Zahra Mosque, also known as the floating mosque. The Northern Corniche is made up of three routes — each one travels in both directions — that create artificial lakes along the roads and stretch toward the sea.
The Corniche is lined up with numerous facilities and services, such as playgrounds, amusement parks, lush landscape, and spacious paved areas, as well as many shaded seating, walking and jogging areas for families to enjoy the ocean view.
The new Corniche, starting from the Tahlia garden intersection of the Northern Corniche near the Desalination Plant to Faqih Mosque, has been completed with landscaping, pedestrian paths, public toilets within walking distance, and parking lots with internal roads. Numerous types of foliage, saplings, and green grounds have also been planted.
The new area has been refurbished according to international standards. New swings, challenging sports activities, slopes, monkey bars, shaded areas, grass gardens, tiled pavement, sitting areas, and benches — almost all facilities are available for family fun and a picnic.
The municipality plans to refurbish all parts of the Corniche to enhance local and international tourism. In the new Corniche, barbequing is not allowed, but visitors can still enjoy the barbeque at the sea front in the Northern Corniche.
Some areas between Faqih Mosque and Fatima Al-Zahra Mosque are still under refurbishment, but most areas are open for sitting at the seaside and have landscape, pedestrian paths, and parking lots with internal roads.
Another beautiful mosque is the Island Mosque with its simple and stunning white architecture, which turned into peach and cream shade with time. It was built in 1988 on a tiny island just off the Northern Jeddah Corniche. It is one of the four mosques built on or near the water. The other mosque of the Red Sea is the Corniche Mosque. The powerful classical silhouette of this mosque proclaims to all the presence of Islam.
This building reflects the architecture of traditional Egyptian mosques. The entire structure consists of bricks coated with plaster except for the dome. In the interior, the bricks are exposed and painted in a dark bronze color. The prayer hall itself is at the center of a composition that includes the mihrab, projecting outward from the eastern wall just below an oculus, an entrance porch covered by a catenaries vault, and a square-based minaret with an octagonal shaft.
Other things to see on this road are the lakes as well as the water roundabout with Arabic calligraphy. Along the Northern Corniche, visitors will find a number of restaurants with seating areas. When the blazing sun becomes too much visitors can enjoy themselves at the water parks of Sail Island, Green Island, Nawrus Restaurant and others while enjoying the pool and recreation facilities for adults and children.
The most visited mosque along the Red Sea coastline of Jeddah is Fatima Al-Zahra. It is famous by its nickname, the “Floating Mosque”. It is actually built in the sea and at high tide it seems to be floating in the water, like the floating mosque in Penang, Malaysia.
Another fascinating place is Atallah Happy Land Park, with rides for adults and children. It is an amusement park with indoor and outdoor rides and attractions, ice-skating and bowling, dining and shopping, and a 6D theater.
If you want to enjoy a roller coaster ride, you can visit Al-Shalal — Arabic for waterfall — Theme Park, which also features an ice-skating rink and theme area, and the Amazon ride with a jungle theme, complete with life-sized figures of animals, light and sound effects.
The park has a lagoon and 15-m high waterfall with many rides as well as a pirates ship, the largest merry-go-round, seven restaurants, party rooms, a theater, and a games arcade. The park also has a large number of retail outlets for souvenirs and soft toys for children.
The sea front is also the best place for visitors to spend time. Many people like to do fishing, while others enjoy horse riding, bicycling, and motorcycling. But for such rides there are special places allocated along the Southern Al-Hamra Corniche, as visitors are not allowed to do it anywhere for safety and security reasons.
Other than that, you can enjoy a boat ride on the open Red Sea with family and friends. Such facilities can be found on the Northern Obhur Corniche, where a number of boats and yachts are available for rent on an hourly or daily basis. Some are fishing boats, while others have been turned into floating restaurants.
In this area, jet skis are also available for youth, in addition to many resorts for families to enjoy swimming and picnicking.

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A taste of the high life at the Hilton

The Park Lane hotel offers old-school class and a great afternoon tea. (Supplied)
Updated 23 August 2019

A taste of the high life at the Hilton

DUBAI: It would be difficult to guestimate just how many hotels have opened since the London Hilton on Park Lane. But given that the property debuted in the 1960s and is still going strong, it has certainly demonstrated that it has lasting appeal for customers. And it continues to attract a large percentage of travellers from the GCC.

Let’s do the math: It’s a stone’s throw away from a multitude of tourist attractions, West End theatres, beautiful green parks, and many a Mayfair establishment — including the trusty Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that seem to get away with charging $35 for shisha (because, London).

The views have no doubt contributed to the Hilton on Park Lane’s longevity. Offering a splendid panoramic sight of the UK capital, with no building in front of the hotel, it’s situated in an area that developers would love to get their hands on. And it continues to win awards, most recently nabbing the Luxury Scenic View Hotel at last year’s World Luxury Hotel Awards.

The five-star hotel comprises 453 rooms including 56 suites. For such a large hotel, service at check-in is welcoming and speedy. We get to our room in no time, a gorgeous suite featuring a walk-in wardrobe and double-sink bathroom. The balcony opens to views of Hyde Park, offering plenty of Insta-worthy photo opps. Whilst the layout and views are fantastic, you do get a general sense that the interiors — both furniture and décor — could do with a minor facelift. The key to retaining customers is to evolve, and sometimes Hilton can seem stuck in its ways.

Speaking of which, there are things that seem a little too old-fashioned to still be around. For example, standard Wi-Fi is not offered to guests. You need to book stays through Hilton’s own website in order to enjoy Wi-Fi free of charge.

Secondly — we get it — parking in London is a nightmare and doesn’t come cheap. However, given that rooms at the London Hilton on Park Lane don’t come cheap either, it seems ludicrous that parking in the hotel’s car park costs about $60 per night.

Nonetheless, these niggles are made up for by an incredibly comfortable bed, a good selection of amenities, and extra lifestyle offerings including restaurants, a fitness centre and spa. It’s home to the signature 24-Karat Gold massage, an hour-long treatment that uses gold leaves and gold-infused oil to rejuvenate the skin.

One area in which the hotel truly excels is its afternoon tea offering, and, let’s face it, what’s a trip to the United Kingdom without enjoying a selection of brews, finger sandwiches, scones and cake? The Podium Restaurant & Bar located on the ground floor is where to go for the London Hilton on Park Lane’s signature experience, created by chefs Emmanuel Bonneau and Sam Leatherby. The duo made headlines last year after winning the British TV show “Bake Off: The Professionals” – a spin-off of “The Great British Bake Off” – and Podium’s afternoon tea’s creations have been inspired by their time on the show.

There’s deconstructed black forest gateaux and passion fruit-and-strawberry miniature tarts. Other exquisite items include a traditional praline roulade, three-tiered Pina Colada cheesecake, and caramelised banana milk chocolate macaroons. It is highly recommended that you book ahead.

Given the current climate, a trip to the UK is becoming more and more affordable, and at the moment, Hilton is hosting its annual summer sale that offers up to 30 percent off the best rates. But be quick, as you only have until August 19 to take advantage of that deal. The good news is that you can book stays up to next year.