A Heady Mix

From new getaways to the return of old favorites, it’s all happening in the GCC this summer.

Six Senses Amaala in Saudi Arabia 

As the Kingdom’s tourism sector transforms, this ‘about to open’ creates another reason to visit. With tourism a relatively new addition to the KSA, now is the time to enjoy the unspoilt beaches and clear waters. 

Deriving from the Arabic word for hope and the Sanskrit word for purity, Amaala spans over 4,155 square kilometres of an unspoiled nature reserve in a region blessed with dramatic coastal scenery, majestic mountainous backdrops, pristine white-sand beaches, and untouched coastal reefs.

The beachfront residences, a hillside village, and villas that line the private mangrove bay blend the site’s natural beauty with the understated elegance of the brand’s design standards, offering panoramic views across the Hijaz Cove to the Red Sea.

To the north, the village opens onto the long sweeping beaches of Hijaz Cove, and to the south, the town leads around the point to natural rock pools, pocket beaches, and a mangrove boardwalk to access the spa, which will set up home in a private cove. Book early and be among the first anywhere to enjoy this. 

The return of OKKU

OKKU, the once-beloved Japanese restaurant formerly located at The H Dubai Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, is back. Often cited as the best place to get Japanese food in Dubai, it left the city in 2018, but the new restaurant has just opened at Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah. 

Fans of the original will be glad to know that some of the design highlights are still present, including the samurai soldiers and the mesmerising jellyfish, and there’s now a sushi bar and robata grill. As you’d expect, the menu covers traditional Japanese classics made modern, including foie gras kushiyaki and crunchy tuna on crispy rice. It’s great to have it back. 

Why Riyadh’s becoming a food destination

As Saudi Arabia continually evolves, the rapidly improving food scene is one of the most notable changes. And one thing about the new additions is that they import famous and highly acclaimed restaurants from Europe and America. It’s another sign that the dining scene in Riyadh is increasingly on the global radar. Here are five worth checking out… 


The Michelin stared Indian restaurant in London has long been a favourite for those looking for high-end takes on Indian classics. Diners have included Taylor Swift and David Beckham, but the reals stars here are the main courses when you can’t go wrong. Inspired by the elite clubs of India, where members of high society socialise and dine, this is a notable addition to the Riyadh dining scene. 


Los Angeles-based Madeo has opened a branch of its fine-dining restaurant, bringing its classic Italian dishes from family recipes passed down through generations to the Kingdom, with over 35 years of serving Tuscan food. There’s also a branch opening in Jeddah. 

Chi Spacca

Another restaurant that made its name in Los Angeles the name is Italian for “she (or he) who cleaves,” and the menu is inspired by how an Italian butcher might cook. Chi Spacca’s open-fire grill and wood oven cooking techniques combine with the prime cuts of meat to create a place where the lovers of big meat dishes can enjoy them in natural style, cooked by experts who know what they’re doing. 


Short for North Audley Canteen, this restaurant from London’s Mayfair now brings French bistro-style cooking to the Saudi capital. Offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner is covered every time of the day, but breakfast is especially noteworthy. Their ricotta pancakes with Dulce de Leche and banana weigh in at 840 calories (according to their menu), but every calorie is worth it. 


Opened in 1984 by Gino Santini, his restaurant became a staple of London dining. Frank Sinatra even called it his favourite. Now run by his daughter Laura, the menu delivers authentic Italian cuisine with a Venetian twist. From their homemade pasta, ricotta ravioli, Venetian-style grilled scallops and poached to signature apple fritters for dessert; you can’t go wrong.  

The Al Hamra Beach Al Shamal Ocean View Villa 

Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, has just introduced Al Shamal Ocean View Villa for those looking to have a classier weekend getaway. Spanning 193 square meters, this villa boasts a sundeck overlooking the azure ocean, a private pool for uninterrupted relaxation, and a tranquil garden adorned with a personal cabana. An ideal setting to enjoy some quality time on a staycation, feel like you’ve gone away somewhere special, and be back home on Sunday evening without having to deal with airports.