Disciplines for Hotel Design and Management in Saudi Arabia

Hospitality and management are two of the most extremely important aspects of any genre of hotel design. They determine the level of client comfort and management reliability, which in turn, gets relegated to the customers. Hotel design in Saudi Arabia can be tricky to accomplish because aside from the hospitality and management aspects, it also caters to the aesthetics, ergonomics and the theme.

The very first thing you should understand is that when a traveler wants to book a hotel, they usually visit a local site – TripAdvisor in the UK – and check out the reviews. It is from here that they determine what hotel they should stay in. Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and it can definitely help you build the right customer base.

So, in order to fully understand how the disciplines for hospitality design and management can affect hotel design in Saudi Arabia, here are two important questions you should ask:

  • What should we expect from a hotel design in Saudi Arabia?

When people visit a country, they expect to experience and be wowed by the culture of that part of the world. So naturally, when they visit Saudi Arabia, they tend to anticipate that their hotel will capture and deliver the very essence of the country. They expect richness, decadence, an instant impact that encompasses the soul of Saudi Arabia itself in the space. So this is what you should always consider while opting for a hotel design in Saudi Arabia.

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  • How to design a hotel in Saudi Arabia truly unique at its core?

    The immediate answer to this particular question is that you should build a loyal customer base. As discussed above, a satisfied customer means a nice, online rating – which, in turn, attracts a whole new customer base. So what exactly can we do to create a wholesome, satisfying customer experience?

a. Excellent customer service:

Guests always tend to remember how they were treated by the staff. Therefore, customer service is an extremely important part of creating a good, wholesome design in any hotel. You should always create neat little nooks and tucks within the layout which can help emphasize the presence of the staff to the incoming and residing guests. In this way, they’ll feel at ease.

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b. Impressionable design:

This means that the design has to be especially impressionable. Bad customer service can easily be improved by hiring new staff, but the changes in design will cost you a pretty penny. You simply cannot write some pretty statements and expect the clients to believe them. You have to present them a space that is worth their expectations.

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c. Memorable décor:

One of the foremost rules of hospitality design is that your spaces be memorable. How you set yourself apart from the rest can make a huge amount of difference in the expansion of your guest base. Since a hotel design in Saudi Arabia is basically marketed towards international guests, the color scheme, decoration as well as lighting has to be appropriately exotic and memorable. You can decorate with Islamic style geometric patterns, rich tapestries with relevant Islamic designs, jewel-toned accents through fabrics, Afghan-style carpets cum area rugs and even decadent light fixtures. For a more inherent touch, you can even go for large horse-shoe style or pointed arches and even a verse from the Quran at the entrance. You can even imbue a sense of grandness with the help of tall ceilings, a domed skylight and rich divans by the walls.

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d. Improve selective searches:

Sometimes, on sites like TripAdvisor, people tend to go for a highly selective search for what they’re looking for. It may be that a customer has some private notions or visual preferences, so you need to manage your branding accordingly. A potential guest can simply type in a keyword like ‘a lavish Scandinavian interior’ and what pops up on the site engine can narrow their entire search. Your hospitality design and management can definitely be effected in such manner – especially hotel design in Saudi Arabia, where people expect to go a little thematic.

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e. Relevant Marketing:

As far as sites like TripAdvisor are concerned, relevant and effective marketing is what matters the most. The content you present there has to define your hotel’s worth. A bad example would be not properly marketing your brand or specialty. As a result, it won’t show up on the website search engine even when a potential client is searching specifically. This proves that customer loyalty might be important, but the ambitions of the hotel marketing manager and owner also play a critical role

f. A balance of conflicting needs

Any hotel design in Saudi Arabia needs to balance the various conflicting needs that make up the architectural program. The configuration of spaces is only one aspect of the overall design. You have to consider various aspects before the ‘hospitality’ aspect is truly cohesive. This means that your hotel has to inspire safety and efficiency while being cost-effective, utilitarian and charming at the same time.

Now that you know the key considerations of hospitality design and management, let’s take an in-depth look at how you can implement these specifically in the hotel culture of Saudi Arabia.

  • Programming and site context

Programming refers to the ‘architectural program’ of a building. As far as hotel design in Saudi Arabia is concerned, this is the very first step at implementing hospitality, and management consideration requires creating an extensive program.

This includes allocating requisite spaces, establishing relationships between relevant spaces, zoning and allocating specific square footage. It’s the first step in creating a balance between conflicting needs, and it also relies on the site context.

With relation to specific location and site, you can easily determine the various activities and locations for spaces on your site. Various cities in Saudi Arabia can call for a vast difference in hotel design schematics. Depending on the location of your site, the goals can differ as following:

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a. Riyadh & Jeddah: These two are business based cities. Therefore, the genre of your hotel design in Saudi Arabia will vary based on this allocation. Hotels in these cities need to cater to business class guests, so the surroundings, activities, and ambiance should be designed accordingly.

b. Mecca & Medina: These two are the religious cities. This means that most of the guests who book hotels there are going to be pilgrims. This calls for a certain ramping up of the ambiance. The environment and location has to convey the Holy vibe so all physical aspects have to be designed accordingly.

c. Al-Khobar & East Province: These two are tourist cities, so of course, the programming has to be customized to present tourist activities. The interior design for this kind of a hotel genre has to be specially catered towards tourists. This means you can incorporate fun activities within the design as long as you respect the context and essence of the country itself.

It is important to note that a successful program helps to establish the way the building or buildings are situated on a site, the onsite automobile and pedestrian flows, and connections to the external world. In almost all cases, the activities are the starting point. Once the activities are defined, relationships among them are established.

Basic schematic relationships

A basic schematic relationship is the second step in designing a good, accommodating hotel design in Saudi Arabia. Once you’ve carried out the site analysis and understood the scope of work done during the programming it is time to do the zoning based on the basic schematic relationships.

In this phase, you’re usually working out what spaces tend to go with one another, and how you can envision the planning from there on out. For example, you can create links between the parking space to the main lobby to the admin area and so on. Once you’ve decided how all the zoning takes place, you can move on to the planning.

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Here are a few aspects that you should pay special consideration to during the zoning process:

a. Programming guest rooms
You have to pay special attention to the guest rooms for any hotel design in Saudi Arabia. It’s also the most fundamental part of any hotel design. These rooms make up the bulk of the space and define a large measure of the experience a guest goes through during their stay.
Moreover, you have to allocate a certain guest capacity and relegate the room typologies – double, single, suite, etc. You should also consider all consequences and situations – is your hotel good enough to accommodate the president of the United States? This may be an extreme example, but you do have to think about such things.
Therefore, it is essential to develop an efficient, ergonomic and effective design for these areas. They have to cater to aesthetics, views, and privacy. Programming of the hotel room also makes up the bulk of your initial development budget.

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b. Programming public area
The public areas are just as important to consider for a hotel design in Saudi Arabia as the private ones. These are the communal spaces where your guests interact with the staff, the ambiance and each other as well. So you have to be especially cognizant of the flow between these spaces – a lobby cannot abruptly open into the admin block and vice versa.

These public areas are ‘living spaces’ and they’re the center-point for all relevant activities. Not only do they frame the image of your hotel, they also create a helpful impact on the guests. Here are some basic spaces you should consider during the programming:

1. Formal and informal interaction areas.
2. A clear access to the staircase, escalators, and elevators.
3. Lobby waiting area.
4. Reception and concierge desk.
5. Hidden storage areas.
6. Bell stand location.
7. Toilets, coatrooms and house phones.

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c. The F&B Programming
The F&B here stands for ‘Food and Beverage.’ Any respectable hotel design in Saudi Arabia would feature a quality F&B programming. The spaces in this category include ballrooms, meeting rooms, boardrooms, conference rooms, exhibition spaces, banquet halls and more.

It all actually depends on the scope of the project. For example, a smaller hotel may have a single convention hall or multipurpose room that caters to all of these activities. However, a ‘convention hotel’ caters specifically to meetings, so the size, configuration and function for these formal meeting spaces should be carefully considered for those.

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With respect to the Arab context, you should consider the following spaces in your architectural program:

1. Fine dining venues with direct access from the exterior to establish a street-presence.

2. Indoor dining areas should be easily accessible and visible from the public spaces inside.

3. Allot adequate amount of space to the kitchen and storage spaces. The generalized ratio of this allotment is that the kitchen is at least 40% of the dining area.

4. A banquet hall with shared kitchen space with the main dining areas.

5. Drinking is prohibited in the Muslim community, so you don’t have to provide bars. You can instead invest in a small café.

6. However, if your hotel design in Saudi Arabia is intended to house a lot of international guests from non-Muslim countries, then you can get a special license to open up a drinking bar.

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  • The Balance of Programming A Functional Layout and Aesthetic Issues

During the design process, you’re going to hit a lot of curveballs when it comes to balancing out aesthetics and functionality. The emergency escape that looks pretty convenient in the layout may look like a disaster in the elevation. So you’ll have to create a balanced aesthetic and functional value in order for your hotel to be truly inspiring to the guests.

This balance is achieved through careful consultation between all the designers. In the end, a creative ecosystem is designed to deliver the utmost creative space. CAS prides itself on delivering inspiring, authentic and relevant ideas that fit right within the context of the KSA and its future aspirations. Any hotel design in Saudi Arabia must represent the country as a leading destination of art, design, and culture that it is.

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  • Historical relevance

It is always important to utilize a city’s historical, cultural and economic heritage while designing a hotel. Here are a few major cities and how you can make use of their specialties in your own hospitality design:

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  1. Jeddah: Jeddah is the port city of Saudi Arabia. It’s located on the Red Sea and is a definite commercial hub. So any hotel designed in this city must consider this context. Moreover, the city features a historic district known as Al-Balad, which dates all the way back to the 7th Therefore, you’ll have to make the most of the beach front views, entice guests with the promise of rich history, invest in relevant activities and can even label your hotel genre as a ‘resort.’


  1. Riyadh: Riyadh is presently the capital city of Saudi Arabia. It’s the commercial hub and features a number of manmade as well as historical attractions. Therefore, a hotel design in Saudi Arabia’s capital city must deliver on all contemporary fronts. You can utilize a view of all the landmarks; Kingdom Center, the historical Deira district and Masmak Fort as a marketing strategy.


  1. Mecca: Mecca is an oasis town and the Holy City of Saudi Arabia. Every year, millions of Muslims visit this city to perform the Holy duty of Hajj (pilgrimage). It’s also the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It has a rich historical context, but it also suffers from an influx of visitors who’re always looking for affordable accommodations, so a hotel in this city must account for all of these factors.


  1. Medina: Medina is another city in Saudi Arabia with a rich historical context. The city houses the Al-Masjid an-Nabwi, which is a major Islamic pilgrimage site. It is the city where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated to after leaving Mecca. Once again, you must utilize the historical context of this city to properly market and devise your hotel design.


  1. Al-Khobar: This is another waterfront city that acts as a major commercial hub. It doesn’t have much historic value, but it does offer some great tourist activities. Since a hotel design in Saudi Arabia must abide by the context of the city itself, you can go for a much more light-hearted approach for designing a hotel in this region.


  1. Jubail: Jubail is the industrial hub of the Middle East area, and the people who visit this city are all businessmen and tycoons. When your guest-range is limited to a certain genre, your hotel must also be centered on their needs. You must, however, not forget to deliver on the relaxing and fun activities as well.

Branding – Create your own brand

Your hotel is basically a brand, which you need to design according to the customer landscape. This is the part that actually derives from the history of your site and can be incorporated in the programming as well.

The idea is to build customer loyalty, and a basic brand identity is an essential part of communicating with your guest base. Here are a few ways the brand identity can be blended with the hotel design in Saudi Arabia:

  • The interior design becomes a core visual representation of the brand’s identity.
  • Since people crave connection with their spaces, it is important not to go overboard with the brand representation.
  • Your brand has to be stand-out without being wacky – therefore the interior design and architecture must allow for a neutral yet impactful representation.
  • You have to deliver the client expectations.
  • Since the design is a clear manifestation of the brand itself, it is imperative that each and every detail be clearly thought out.
  • The design should blend well with the narrative of the space in order to be up to par with customer satisfaction.
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If all of this feels very abstract to you, then take a look at this. Its great way to identify a feeling to your brand. Have you ever felt how thick sunlight can feel like dappled honey on your skin on those extremely cold days? It’s an abstract concept, right? But it is also relatable to other people. It is how you capture this abstract feeling into your design that will determine the quality of a hotel design in Saudi Arabia.

Hiring the right people for your brand

The hospitality business is a vast one – it requires an intense collaboration between several teams, including but not limited to designers, developers and staff. Therefore, you need to hire a person who’s good at such collaborations and can deliver the right sort of branding.
Here are a few key points you need to consider while developing a marketing and brand strategy:
– You have to provide a holistic customer experience.
– You have to provide a consistent yet mindful environment for the guests.
– You have to be creative with the service you provide.
– You have to make sure that your staff is satisfied in order for the customers to be truly happy.
– You need to create an intrinsic ambiance for your guests to truly feel immersed in the experience.

These are some of the key-notes you should consider for a hotel design in Saudi Arabia. CAS is a trailblazer in hospitality design and management, and no one understands the KSA region better than us. You can contact us for relevant services you need in any genre for this region.


Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings…and while loyalty may be harder to earn than ever before, if you have no ambition as a hotel manager or the owner of the property, your potential is worthless.  Petter Stordalen, a billionaire and hotel manager of Hotelatsix, is a good example of how to pursue your dream with great ambition and create the best hotel in the world.

So here is the key: Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.




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