Sleeper discovers The House Hotel Jeddah to be the city’s unique destination

Jeddah is different, so the city’s motto says. With its location on the Red Sea and history as the gateway to the Holy City of Makkah, it has long been home to a multicultural population and a cosmopolitan feel that is palpably different from other cities in the region. But these days, the whole of Saudi Arabia is different, with changes that had previously been unthinkable coming at an unprecedented pace. And The House Hotel Jeddah City Yard, part of Kerten Hospitality and a member of Design Hotels, is riding the wave of this change. 

 

Just a few years back, women were absent from front-of-house roles in Saudi hotels. Chatting in the lobby with Maria Bou Eid, one of the first female General Managers in the country, it’s clear that she is proud of her team and what they are achieving. Currently about a quarter of staff are female, with more women being actively recruited, and around 35% are Saudi, the rest split over multiple nationalities. “Saudis are the main concentration of our staff because we want people to understand Saudi hospitality,” says Bou Eid. “Our main mission is to share our culture.”

 

The House Hotel aims to make people feel at home while showcasing Jeddawi culture and the people who bring it to life, whether it’s by arranging access to the neighbouring Almohra Museum, a private collection of antiques from around the world, or forging connections with local artists and cooks. Come evening, live musical performances draw a crowd of young Jeddawi creatives, while the daily bakhoor ceremony sees the air scented with traditional fragrant woodchips.

 

In a country where tourism is in its infancy, there’s a new generation of Saudis eager to take up roles in the industry. “Not everyone has a background in hospitality,” Bou Eid continues. “We select people for character and attitude,” It’s an exciting time for young Saudis making their first foray into hospitality, as well as those visitors choosing to explore the country for the first time. Jeddah, as they say, is indeed different. And so is The House Hotel…

 

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