Riyadh metropolis consists of 16 smaller municipalities (residential compounds), including the Diplomatic Quarter, housing most foreign embassies and diplomatic staff residences.
Looking for Accommodation
Considering you want to live in an ex-pat compound outside the Diplomatic Quarter, as many expatriates do.
Then, Al Olayya & Sulaymaniyyah, Riyadh’s business district, and the prestigious Al Mohamdiyah and Al Nakheel districts in Al Ma’athar will offer suitable housing.
Local accommodation is advertised chiefly in the Arabic press. You can have a friend or colleague translate the classifieds for you or wander around an area you like. Enquire about vacancies from the building supervisor and for the landlord’s contact number.
You have to be specific about whether you need a “family apartment” or a “bachelor’s apartment.” Living outside a compound is recommended only for expatriates without wives and children.
Recommended: Top 10 Must-Have Mobile Apps For Expatriates In Saudi Arabia
Families living outside the compounds have fewer socializing opportunities and lack the shuttle bus facility.
Life in the best residential Compounds
Compounds offer the advantage of meeting and interacting with other ex-pats. Here residents experience cultural diversity.
These gated communities, often located outside of metropolitan Riyadh, offer several amenities, like shops, fitness, and shuttle services.
- Sports facilities like a Swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, golf course, gym, and bowling alley.
- Community/Recreation Hall
- Organized recreational activities
These compounds are sets of villas and apartments surrounded by high walls with barbed wires and armed guards.
The mutawwa (religious police) cannot enter these compounds. Plus, rules concerning gender segregation and strict dress code do not apply within the compound boundary.
But outside the compound, the rules are followed strictly. Strictly.
Residents’ shopping trips are managed and facilitated with buses hired for their transportation. Similarly, transport is also arranged for school-going children.
Compounds have on-site pre-schools for toddlers.
Recommended: Life in Saudi Arabia For Expats
Costs and must-do’s
A villa in a compound can be costly – a two-bedroom villa can rent for 135,000 SAR a year. And rents are typically paid a year in advance. These high costs don’t deter prospective tenants, as waiting lists are often months long.
Things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you get an English rental agreement or an official translation from Arabic before you sign anything.
- Check if your new place already has utility connections for water and electricity.
- Furnished housing will save time and money. Accommodations with at least some basic furnishing are available in these compounds.
Confirm the voltage and frequency, and stock up on adapters and plug-in sockets.
Recommended: Riyadh to Makkah – A Traveler’s guide
Here’s a list of best selected residential compounds in Riyadh:
- Al Hamra Oasis Village
- Cordoba Oasis Village
- Al Ola Real Estate
- Al Showaier Real Estate
- Kingdom City
- Dhabab Gardens
- Eid Villas
- FAL Residential Compound
- Jadawel International