By Elsa Baxter
Al Faisaliah Hotel Group hopes to set new trend after winning preliminary approval.
The first first female-only spa offered by an international hotel chain property in Riyadh has preliminary approval and is set to open in May next year, hotel chiefs have said.
Al Faisaliah Hotel bosses say they are hoping to open their Sense Spa just ahead of the hotel’s 10th anniversary in May 2010. It comes with the opening of a brand new wing of 106 rooms that are currently under construction.
It will be the first female-only hotel spa in the city offered by a five-star hotel, and only the second of its type in the conservative Islamic country. Rival hotel chain Park Hyatt is planning to open separate male and female spas in the more progressive city of Jeddah at the end of the year.
“There are certain religious and social issues that come into play about taking care of yourself like that,” said Peter Finamore, the hotel’s managing director.
“Spas in Saudi Arabia have historically been more medical in their focus. We need to address the concern that our spa will be able to deal with medical needs, without it looking like a doctor’s surgery,” he said.
The spa is a Rosewood-branded Sense Spa, so will be “what the international traveller would expect” and will have private treatment rooms and a fitness centre.
Spas do exist in the kingdom, but there are scant and often underground, advertising as a different business in order to not attract attention of the kingdom’s religious police.
“We are setting trends for the kingdom. It’s been a learning curve for everyone involved,” said Khaled Al Idrissi, director of sales and marketing.
“Spas haven’t been part of the lifestyle of people in Saudi. Now that’s changing.”
Al Idrissi said because many young Saudis have been educated abroad, in the US and UK, they have a much more contemporary outlook. They are keen to keep up with global trends and have the money to spend on themselves.
“We’ve to look to the future to maintain our number one position. It’s easy to get to number one, but much harder to maintain it," he said.
“We will also have the opportunity that once the new wing is open we will renovate the existing hotel, so by the end of next year we will have, in effect, a new hotel,” he added.
Al Faisaliah is part of the American hotel chain Rosewood, which has 18 resorts around the world, mainly in the US, the Caribbean and Mexico.
THe first femal only spa was Luthan Spa ((Ladies Only Hotel)) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) - Al Raed Road Behind Naiara Banqueting Hall The hotel can also claim being the first bouquet hotel in KSA.. What is all this nonsense of being first biggest largets etc never best service
Luthan does have the first spa. Plus Faisaliah delayed the spa for a year due to waiting for permits. Please do check that everything adds up before publishing... And when will men have a spa? Sexism!
bosting of the first ladies hotel in the world have they changed coz they never had even what we can call a standard of service and hiring unqualified women to run the whatever they call it. Being first big and etc it doesnt matter what matter is the guest if she is satisfy with your service