yanbu a thriving haven for expats and locals
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Yanbu, a thriving haven for expats and locals

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Yanbu - Arabstoday

Yanbu, a major Red Sea port located in the Kingdom’s Madinah Province, has developed into a thriving industrial city and haven for expatriates and affluent locals. Approximately 350 kilometers north of Jeddah, Yanbu was a small port town until 1975, when the Saudi government decided to make it one of two key industrial centers, the other being Jubail on the Arabian Gulf. The two cities are run by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. Geography Yanbu is divided into three parts, each of which is about a 15 minute-drive away from the others. Yanbu Al-Balad, Arabic for “Downtown Yanbu,” is the real city where most people live – both foreigners and locals. This part could be described as old Yanbu, as it contains all the historical buildings, shopping centers and restaurants. Yanbu Al-Nakheel, or “Palms Yanbu,” is the oldest inhabited area of the city and contains mostly farms. Saudi farmers who grow dates are the only people living in this part. Yanbu Al-Sina\'iya, or “Industrial Yanbu,” was established around 1975. The homes and buildings in this part have a very modern architecture. It houses all the major refineries and petrochemical installations and still experiences considerable growth. The industrial city includes a section called the Royal Commission. People who live here are mostly Europeans, Americans, Asians and upper-class Saudis. The Royal Commission is mainly residential, but there are a number of international chain restaurants as well as shopping centers, supermarkets, a hospital, Saudi bank branches and coffee shops. This part of the city has a more modern and organized feel to it than the downtown part. Things to do: Yanbu is famous for having some of the best beaches of the Kingdom. One can enjoy swimming, scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling and other water sports. There are also some land activities, such as camping and bird hunting. Accommodation The Mövenpick Hotel and Resort is entirely located within the residential area of the Royal Commission, directly on the shores of the Red Sea. It is the only five-star hotel located in this part of the city. The hotel is best described as modern and sophisticated and, most importantly, family friendly. The hotel is divided into three parts — hotel rooms, private villas and apartments — all with views of the magnificent Red Sea coast. The Mövenpick consists of 201 accommodations: 132 rooms, 9 suites ranging from junior to royal suites, 12 duplex private villas and 48 apartments. The hotel is the center of business meetings, events, conferences and lectures thanks to its location and services. There are six conference rooms armed with high-technology audio and visual equipment to enable audience to use high-end technology to communicate. The hotel also offers three banquets that hold up to 1,000 guests when joined together. The ballroom also views the sea and can be accessed from private doors and parking lots. The hotel offers catering for any kind of activity held there. The Mövenpick has two main restaurants. Rawda, located next to the lobby, is an international buffet that offers the three main meals of the day. Al Mourjan is a seafood restaurant located on the terrace with full glass walls overviewing the sea. Unfortunately, the seafood restaurant opens only at night, making it impossible to enjoy the view while dining there. The Tea Leaves lobby café lounge is a beautiful and modern spot for light meals and desserts; they offer a wide range of homemade desserts, tea and coffee. Finally, Le Terrace is the best location for a lazy afternoon, as it is located on the outside terrace of the hotel, overviewing the sea and the swimming pool. It is ideal for families who want to enjoy light snacks and drinks while watching their children play outdoors. When it comes to sports, the hotel offers a men-only gym with full glass walls overviewing the swimming pool and Le Terrace café. The gym includes a sauna and jacuzzi for its guests. Regrettably, the hotel does not offer any swimming pool or gym for women, but the manager reassured that in about a month the hotel would open a whole building for women that contains a gym, spa, swimming pool and saloon. Yanbu always seems to have a breezy weather, but the best time to visit it is from November to February.

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