Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 January 2021

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
  • Saudi capital’s latest desert attraction features live entertainment, shopping and international fine dining

RIYADH: The highly anticipated Riyadh Oasis will begin serving customers from Sunday until April 12.
The event, sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and the International Company for Organizing Events and Activities, in cooperation with Seven Experience and Rotana audio and video company, is a luxury entertainment project in the Kingdom’s desert interior.


Saudi Royal Court Adviser and Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Alalshikh took to Twitter to announce the date of inauguration, telling followers that “our rendezvous will be on Sunday, God willing, out of your wildest imagination!”

Described as “a tailor-made 5-star winter sanctuary at the heart of Riyadh’s beautiful golden desert landscapes,” Riyadh Oasis will offer an entertainment experience where visitors will be able to explore, eat, play, celebrate and camp out with friends and family.

Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery.
The oasis will provide Saudis with the chance to experience the country’s rich culture, live entertainment and fine dining, along with multinational cultural music and live performances.

Also featured is a shopping area with brands such as perfumery Tolat Etr, luxury jewelers Cardial, and local home and retail store Papillon.
The oasis also offers accommodation in the form of “glamps” — “glamorous camps.” Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends.
A selection of award-winning international cuisines will be on offer, with pop-ups of famous international outifts such as Japanese restaurant Zuma, Latin American fusion restaurant Amazonico, Emirati Arabic restaurant Ninive, and Greek seafood restaurant Nammos.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The oasis offers accommodation in the form of ‘glamps’ — ‘glamorous camps.’ Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.

• People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.

People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.
Maha Abdulmajeed, a Riyadh resident, told Arab News that she had booked a reservation for Zuma “almost immediately” when news broke of its opening.
“I’m a big fan of Zuma; I’ve been to both their Dubai and New York locations. I’m very excited to visit the pop-up, especially with COVID-19 affecting my ability to travel,” she said.
“I’ve been to several other pop-ups that came to Saudi during Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season, such as Nusr-Et and Coya, so I have no doubt that the Riyadh Oasis pop-ups will be just as well-done and enjoyable,” she said.
Sarah Alghamdi, who plans to travel to Riyadh from her hometown of Alkhobar, told Arab News that she would be making a reservation for at least one of the restaurants.
“I haven’t had the chance to visit any of the permanent locations yet, so I’m not sure which one to try, but I would love to be able to visit at least one of them,” she said.
Alghamdi said that she appreciated the efforts that the Kingdom was making to keep citizens entertained and happy while international travel was not possible.
“My family is in the habit of traveling abroad every year around this time, and since we were unable to do so this year, it kind of bummed us all out. It’s great that we still have the opportunity to travel and experience new things even if we can’t go abroad. It’s also really made me appreciative of domestic travel. It’s very easy to assume that there’s nothing to do at home and that international destinations are the only ones that can hold any appeal,” she said.


Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
Updated 3 min 30 sec ago

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
  • Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country

JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers is relying on the power of social media to showcase the Kingdom’s vast beauty.

Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country — from the sandy beaches of the east and west, to the mountains of the north and south, and the green oases of the deserts — discovering the beauty of each region one picture at a time.

Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden wonders” to a growing tourist market.

“I wanted to be part of the future somehow — that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what has motivated me to go on,” he told Arab News.

Many other photographers who travel the country share the same outlook.

Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I had to work on a few projects and went to places I had never been before. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? I never thought I would find such gems in Saudi Arabia.”

Binzarah said that he looks for dramatic landscapes and tries to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”

He said: “The pictures I take are not unique, the uniqueness comes from the places. I am just the conveyer of the beauty and nothing else.

“As a photographer, I try to capture the right objects at the right time, but often I feel like the beauty is not represented,” he said.

Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after going through the pictures they know that there is a part of the world that they must explore.”

Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer who now lives in the Kingdom, said that he had traveled widely in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and ease.”

“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Whenever I upload something, I receive questions with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or have I accidentally put the wrong name.

“Unfortunately, people think that it is just a desert and nothing else. So by posting pictures of these places we are educating them about possibilities and attractions they thought never existed,” he said.

Binzarah agreed, saying: “Undiscovered places are of interest for professional photographers, because they are always looking for challenges, and I think this ignites their interests to go to these places and explore.”

he added that “while the desert might be nothing new to a Saudi resident, it will be of interest to people who live in greener countries.”

Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is extremely appealing for archaeologists and tourists interested in history, Binzara said.

Farah described the beauty of nature in different places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and they are rich in history. So, we need to keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas.”

Technology is also having a major influence. Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.

“Being on social media gives us the drive to do better,” Binzarah said. “If there is no community or people to engage with, it gets dull.”

He added: “It is a personal journey and one for everyone to discover Saudi Arabia one picture at a time.”

 


Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, Osama, Jawaher and Haya, are all now practicing lawyers. (Supplied)
Updated 21 min 28 sec ago

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
  • Veteran lawyer Musaad Al-Saleh feels ‘sense of pride’ over children’s path

MAKKAH: Law firms in Saudi Arabia are very much a dime a dozen, but one law firm in Tabuk is showing their power through family unity.

Following one career path, three young lawyers are following their father’s footsteps in the legal profession.

Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be “a family that will be difficult to approach.”

Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, 29-year-old Osama, 25-year-old Jawaher and 23-year-old Haya, are all now practicing lawyers.

“It’s common to find families that inherit the medical, business, trade, carpentry and other professions. Women did not enter the legal profession until recently, and the first license for a woman to practice law was offered about five years ago,” said Al-Saleh.

“My children have followed my line of work. Some of them have specialized in commercial law and the others in criminal law, allowing for diversity in dealing with legal issues in the law firm.”

He said that many families follow older generations into a profession, and that now, through women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, women in the family have been able to play the societal roles assigned to them, adding that he worked in the legal field for more than 25 years until retirement.

Al-Saleh said that his two daughters graduated from the University of Tabuk’s law department, while his son graduated from Al-Jouf University. Years ago, Al-Saleh had graduated from Al-Madinah University. He stressed that he did not force any of his children to enter the field of law. Rather, it was a choice for each of them. “I only introduced them to the new opportunities awaiting Saudi female lawyers in the sector.”

Family or not, Al-Saleh said that it is business as usual, and that every member of their legal team takes their duties seriously by upholding a professional manner inside the workplace, discussing and analyzing cases, and expressing professional opinions regarding each case they receive.

Complacency, laxity or delay is unacceptable, Al-Saleh added, noting that family bonds should not interfere in the work process to ensure a healthy system.

He said that a common sentiment in the legal community is that a law firm will die with its owner. “But I wanted to change the accepted model, and I tried my best to have my children lead this law firm after me, and maintain its momentum and ensure longevity.

“Being from one family will give them the chance to learn from each other and deal with the issues more professionally.”

As a veteran lawyer, Al-Saleh said he is mostly interested in personal interviews when young men and women apply for work or training at his law firm, adding that a personal touch is important to the formation of a lawyer’s approach.

He said that female lawyers must be attentive, able to present a clear case and communicate information without ambiguity. They will face judges and members of the trial committee and disciplinary bodies — some of whom will be tough. “She must be strong, firm, voice loud and clear and make her case without hesitation.”

Al-Saleh said that he retired after 22 years of service following several positions in the Public Prosecution, and after his young children began to show interest in the legal profession.

First-generation lawyers carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, he said, adding that he “feels a sense of pride” as his children follow his path and pave their own way into the world of law.

 


GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
The GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 58 min 44 sec ago

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
  • The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Standardization Organization (GSO) is joining national consumer protection bodies and authorities to celebrate “Gulf Consumer Protection Day.”

Celebrated on March 1 every year, GSO Secretary-General Saud bin Nasser Al-Khusaibi stressed the vital role that standardization bodies and their activities play in ensuring consumer safety, which improves the quality of living and welfare of society.

A total of 23,500 GCC standards and technical regulations cover commodities and products.

The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation, regulations and technical procedures that protect people from fraud and commercial misinformation. This ensures that consumers have access to quality products and full information to make the right decisions about the goods and services available on the market.

The GSO, Al-Khusaibi said, contributes to educating consumers about the damage that results from using materials and products that do not conform to standard specifications.

Al-Khusaibi said that the GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. This was reflected in the preparation and development of GCC standard specifications and technical regulations for commodities, products and systems, and relevant legislation in cooperation with the national standardization bodies in the member states.

The goal is to serve the needs of the trade and industry sectors in GCC countries, in addition to serving consumers by ensuring quality and safety requirements.

Celebrating Gulf Consumer Protection Day is at the recommendation of the Consumer Protection Committee of the GCC General Secretariat. The occasion was approved by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee in its 32nd meeting in 2005 and celebrated for the first time on March 1, 2006, under the slogan “Consumer protection is everyone’s responsibility.”

 


Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority
Updated 28 February 2021

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

A royal order has recently approved Nabil Khojah as the secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority.

Khojah received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the College of Industrial Management of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 1996.

Nearly three years ago, he attended a leadership program designed for senior executives, Harvard Business School (HBS).

Khojah, who has served as CEO of Mosanada Logistics Services since 2019, brings extensive experience in the logistics industry to his role.

For four years beginning in 2008, he worked as the managing director at Exel, a joint venture business between DHL and Al-Olayan Group, a multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of global investments.

Between 2012 and 2018, he served as the chief executive officer of Saudia Cargo, one of the Middle East’s leading air cargo carrier and cargo ground handling companies. His responsibilities included reporting to the company’s board of directors and overseeing a business with an extensive global network.

He has also held leadership positions with Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force, among others.

From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Unilever, where he occupied a series of more senior positions, including manager of business systems, manager of the supply chain and logistics department, and manager of market demand planning. For three years beginning in 2003, he served as the regional manager for logistics and imported products in Dubai.

Khojah then moved to DHL as the general manager for transport and logistics, later becoming general manager of the company at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.


More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia
Updated 28 February 2021

More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia

More countries condemn Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia
  • The Houthis in Yemen launched six drones at the south of the Kingdom, all of which were shot down
  • The coalition also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh

LONDON: Jordan, the UK, the EU and Qatar joined the widespread global condemnation of attacks by an Iran-backed militia on Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis in Yemen launched six drones at the south of the Kingdom, all of which were shot down by the Arab coalition.
The coalition also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh.
“The UK condemns the latest Houthi missile and drone attacks targeted at Saudi Arabia and Marib,” foreign minister Dominic Raab said. “These put innocent lives at risk, and show that those responsible are not serious about peace, let alone protecting the Yemeni people.”


Jordan also condemned the “continued targeting of cities in Saudi Arabia” by the Houthis.
Jordan “condemns these cowardly terrorist acts and the targeting of innocent civilians which constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” a foreign ministry statement said.
The statement said that Jordan stands with the Kingdom in the face of anything that “threatens its safety or the safety of the Saudi people.”
Qatar strongly condemned the Houthi ballistic missile attack that targeted Riyadh and said it was “a dangerous act against civilians which contravenes all international norms and laws.”
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry reiterated the state’s firm position on rejecting violence, criminal and subversive acts regardless of the motives behind them.


The EU’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman also condemned the attacks against the Kingdom.
“Such attacks which are endangering civilians, increasing regional instability and delaying the prospect of a solution to the Yemen conflict must stop,” Patrick Simonnet said.