In the two decades since Sir Rocco Forte and Olga Polizzi launched the Rocco Forte hotel group, the intrepid brother and sister have built a remarkably compact collection of properties in blue chip locations in Florence, Rome, London, Berlin and the like. Their latest, the Assila in Jeddah, marks their debut in the Middle-East.
Clad in blue-grey reflective glass, the Amias Holdings-designed twin-towered hotel – comprising 210 rooms and 94 residential suites – rises like a futuristic monolith along the broad avenues of Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street.
Polizzi worked closely with Martin Brudnizki for the interior design, gently riffing Arabian motifs like filigreed screens, peaked white tents above the pool cabanas, polygonal lamps and brightly hued silks, whilst installing 2,000 pieces of art by Saudi artists.
Executive Chef Maurizio Panicali has his hands full with five themed restaurants, one of which is Pampas – a handsome space of aged oak floors, embossed leather banquettes and hammered brass, the MO is Argentinian beef, alongside Patagonian octopus, and empanadas, and finished off with churros alfajores, and pasta frola.
For those feeling a little sun-deprived especially after the long winter, the rooftop pool is an aerie oasis with views of Jeddah, distant King Fahd’s Fountain and the Red Sea.