High Tea at the Faisaliyah

As recruiters to the Middle East, candidates look to us for answers to all of their questions regarding their relocation. Not only do we provide information about employers and accommodations, but we also try to portray an accurate image of day-to-day living. Therefore, on a recent staff trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, we visited the same restaurants, sites, and shops that will likely be frequented by those relocating to this, the capital city.

The distinctly structured Faislaiyah shopping and business center is an iconic skyscraper, which towers over and distracts from most other buildings in the Riyadh skyline. Pyramidal in shape, its four corner pillars peak just above a golden glass sphere which houses a three-storey gourmet restaurant and an outdoor observation deck. When the elevator doors opened onto the deck on the 31st floor, 200 meters (656 feet) above the ground, I was instantly reminded of being at the top of the Empire State building in New York City. However, instead of the Brooklyn Bridge and City Park, we looked out to the Masmak Castle, the Kingdom Tower, and even our client, The King Faisal Specialist and Research Center.

Once inside the restaurant and safe from the winds that one encounters 200 meters in the sky, we enjoyed high tea within the globe's gourmet restaurant. The high tea evening buffet was an awesome display of amuse bouche and light fare. Smoked salmon was served on a paper- thin crepe. Gourmet cheeses were spread onto thin, freshly baked breads. Some diners sipped pink Saudi champagne (non- alcoholic, of course) while enjoying bite-size sandwiches, salads, and desserts. At the center of the dessert table, fresh fruits surrounded a fountain spouting milk chocolate. Cakes, cookies, and mousse surrounded a giant champagne flute filled to the top with meringues. It was a treat for the eyes, as much as the mouth.

Following high tea, and quite content, we decided that we could not let this perfect evening go by without just one more extravagance. Therefore, we headed to a local spa for manicures and pedicures — strictly "research" of course.

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