Hotel Insider: First review of Saudi Arabia's Jeddah Edition

City's newest hotel has a rooftop pool deck and rooms with impeccable views

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Saudi Arabia's shimmering coastline is not short of five-star resorts, and as tourism to the region continues to grow there is no sign of things slowing down anytime soon.

The latest brand to claim a piece of the action is The Edition, known for its boutique properties and minimalist interiors from Studio 54 founder Ian Schrager.

Joining the likes of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Six Senses Southern Dunes and Jareed Hotel in Riyadh, the five-star Jeddah Edition is one of the kingdom's newest hotels.

It opened in May on the city's Corniche, bringing Edition's trendy interiors and laid-back lifestyle vibes to Saudi Arabia for the first time.

The National checked in for an exclusive first review of the hotel, to see how things are shaping up.

The welcome

Entering the foliage-surrounded sliding doors, the Edition’s signature scent of black tea and cedarwood with smoky top notes instantly sets a sophisticated tone. The light play in the lobby is beautiful, spilling in from towering windows, casting streaks of sunshine through a dramatic orange acrylic sphere in the airy lobby which has custom-brushed oak walls and travertine floors.

Staff dressed in black complete check-in procedures behind a solid walnut desk tucked in an alcove, before I head off to the room. Subtle pops of colour begin by the elevators, featuring a swirly tinted glass mirror by renowned French artist Christophe Gaignon.

The neighbourhood

The low-rise hotel boasts an enviable spot at Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina, the city’s glittering new dining district with hotspots such as LA's Madeo and Emmy Squared Pizza a short distance away.

Rooms overlook one of the most exciting corners of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Circuit – the world’s fastest Formula One track – or the mast-shaped yacht clubhouse, which twinkles against the night sky.

The room

The Jeddah Edition’s 52 spacious rooms and 11 suites embody the brand’s signature understated aesthetic. Creamy white oak spaces are an oasis of calm, fusing old and new together via black-and-white photos of old Jeddah, and breezy terraces flanked with potted bushes.

As I enter the room, the curtains automatically pull back, flooding the space with daylight and revealing epic views. An arrival gift of dates and Zamzam water from a sacred well in nearby Makkah, where millions of Muslims perform Hajj and Umrah each year, adds a welcome local touch.

I enjoy relaxing on the comfy chaise longue and later indulge in a long soak under the travertine bathroom’s rainfall shower, complete with custom Le Labo amenities. When it is time to get ready, a full-length mirror tucked discreetly into the wardrobe is convenient.

The service

During opening months, hotels can often be chaotic as all of the elements come together, but there is no sign of that here. Staff, mostly Saudi locals who flawlessly switch between Arabic and English, are charming and upbeat, with several bringing experience from Edition properties around the world or other luxury hotels in Jeddah.

The guest experience team can arrange tours of the city's historical Al Balad district accompanied by local guides, something well worth doing. A wander through the quaint alleyways at this bustling Unesco World Heritage Site is an invitation to marvel at magnificent coral stone buildings with intricate wooden balconies and latticed windows, some dating back hundreds of years.

The scene

Although it is early days, there is a buzz around the hotel, which is fast becoming one of the city’s places to be and be seen. By day, the lobby lounge is a tranquil space with an upbeat playlist of house and funk from artists such as Jalen Ngonda and Satin Jackets. By night, the curvy cream sofas quickly fill up with locals in immaculate red-and-white ghutras and stylish jewelled abayas.

The immaculate rooftop pool deck, with bougainvillea-shaded cabanas and plush white sun loungers, evokes Mediterranean beach club vibes and offers the very best views over the F1 track.

Outside, lush garden seating areas under towering palm trees lead to the Yacht Club promenade, where guests can marvel at enormous boats owned by the kingdom’s elite.

The food

Menus by Cedric Vongerichten (son of chef Jean-Georges) draw on pan-Asian influences with a French twist, inspired by his Bangkok childhood and love of Indonesian cuisine through his Jakarta-born wife, Ochi.

At the signature restaurant Maritime, guests can enjoy sharing-style dishes such as crispy baby squid with galangal emulsion and coriander (SAR105; $28), must-order corn fritters tossed in kecap manis soy sauce (SAR50), and lamb shank with crunchy okra (SAR235) paired with non-alcoholic mocktails such as a ginger honey saffron spritz (SAR65).

In the expansive lobby lounge next door, guests can savour local coffees, a wide selection of teas, flaky fruit tarts and light bites from chef Vongerichten. The excellent arancini balls topped with pickled red onion (SAR65) should not be missed.

The fourth-floor rooftop restaurant serves wood-fired Mediterranean dishes with subtle local infusions, such as sea bass with hand-cut potato fries and caramelised onions (SAR48), best enjoyed poolside with frozen pressed juices and iced frappes.

Highs and lows

The sheer number of beautiful spaces is a highlight. From the airy lobby with its dramatic art installations to the lush garden seating area and the chic rooftop pool deck, there are plenty of places to explore.

It is still in soft launch so a few areas are yet to open, including the spa and the Den, an oak-panelled cigar lounge with rich brown armchairs, serving bespoke coffees and mocktails. The hotel expects to open these within the next few weeks.

The insider tip

It is certainly not cheap, but if you can afford it, check in to the penthouse (from SAR45,000). With its lushly landscaped wraparound terrace overlooking the F1 track, direct access to the rooftop pool via a private staircase and a grand dining room with a white marble table that seats 10, it is the ultimate splurge.

The verdict

The Jeddah Edition injects a refreshing wave of sophistication into Saudi Arabia’s western coastline with chic, minimalist design and impeccable service.

The bottom line

Opening room rates start at SAR2,600, including taxes, for a deluxe king city view room; check-in is at 3pm and checkout at noon;

This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel and reflects hotel standards during this time. Services may change in the future

Updated: June 05, 2024, 12:01 PM