Kingdom Tower

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Mamluka Tower (or Kingdom Tower, or Kingdom Centre), is Riyadh’s tallest building and, together with the Faisaliya Tower, is part of the duo that characterizes the Saudi capital. It was completed in 2002 and belongs to Prince Waleed bin Talal, the owner of the Four Seasons group of hotels (of which there is one in the tower) and a partial owner of Fox News, as well as the Rotana Group of companies. The Kingdom Tower is notable for the fact that it looks like a bottle-opener, although this comparison is often discouraged by those who see it as a sign of the city’s modernity. The Four Seasons, which is in the tower complex, contains a health club, various restaurants and, of course, all the accoutrements of a five-star hotel (minus the alcohol). The three ground floors of the tower itself are a shopping complex with more upscale stores than the Faisaliya Tower, including a Saks Fifth Avenue. The third floor is women-only, a novelty for Saudi Arabia, albeit one that is hardly a blow for women’s rights. The rest of the tower is office space, except for the bridge or skywalk at the top of the tower, which is an observation platform that provides viewers a panorama of the city. The best time to come up here is at night, when the dust is not quite as evident. The elevator up to the 99th floor is the real draw, although you are required to suppress your laughter when told that it is the fastest elevator in the world.


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