While our three rooms at the Conrad Makkah were booked under two Hilton HHonors Diamond and one Gold account, all of us received executive club lounge access. In addition, we were offered breakfast at the Al Mearaj restaurant, which I think beat the Hilton Sydney in terms of the most amazing breakfast buffet I’ve ever experienced.
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The Conrad Makkah Executive Lounge was deserted the few times I went there. The lounge serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening appetizers. The afternoon tea spread wasn’t super extensive, but that’s probably because most guests centered their day around prayer and slept in 4-hour increments. I myself often slept through lounge hours, which were 6:00 AM – 10:30 AM for breakfast, 3:00 – 5:00 PM for afternoon tea, and 6:00 – 8:00 PM for evening refreshments.
The Conrad Makkah Executive Lounge was pretty spacious, with a very pleasant floral/citrus smell always permeating the air. The staff was super attentive. They would pull out chairs as guests approached their tables, bring a glass when a guest would grab a drink, and even offer to bring the food to the table while encouraging guests to select more items.
At one point I was taking photos of the lounge and the manager walked over, looking concerned. He asked if everything was ok with the food and I told him I was just taking photos for friends and family. Telling him I was going to share them in a blog post would probably have made him nervous, but this answer seemed to reassure him.
The afternoon tea usually consisted of some sandwiches cut into small pieces, a small selection of fruits, as well as drinks. It was very basic, but again, most people skipped afternoon tea at the club lounge. It was always deserted.
Two hot dishes were usually served in the evenings, along with sushi, salad, and vegetables. It was all perfectly sufficient for a light dinner. I personally preferred to eat on-site whenever possible because there wasn’t much in the way of food outside of the hotel: Just a lot of fast food restaurants and from what I heard, there was a 50/50 chance of getting food poisoning after eating there.
Conrad Makkah Al Mearaj Restaurant
Did I mention I really liked the breakfast at Conrad Makkah’s Al Mearaj restaurant? Because I think I made more rounds at the buffet than the kaaba (excuse me while I get struck by lightning). This wasn’t your typical breakfast buffet: It was breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Literally, there was nothing that they didn’t have at this buffet.
The space was absolutely gorgeous and the dining room was tastefully decorated. Despite the large groups that often came in, we never had to wait for a table.
The service was always attentive. Service in the Middle East is generally slow, but the staff at Al Mearaj were quick. I’d order a latte and it would arrive minutes later.
The buffet spread at Al Mearaj was massive. There was a section with Indian food, Arabic food, kid food (i.e. fries, chicken nuggets, tater tots), typical breakfast fare (the chicken sausage, baked beans, and veal bacon were my favorites), an omelette station, an entire section dedicated to bread, a juice station, a vast humus spread, pancakes, waffles, crepes, Nutella….it was endless. And all of it was high quality.
Breakfast was served daily between 6 AM – 11 AM, but the busiest period was 6 AM – 8 AM. Most people would have breakfast after finishing Fajr prayers at Masji Al Haram around 6 AM. So really, a line formed at Al Mearaj shortly after opening. However, the restaurant offered plenty of seating, so getting a table was never a problem.
There was really nothing Al Mearaj didn’t offer…except for iced coffee. They did, however, offer iced chocolate and strawberry milk, which was oddly popular. After my stay, I really came to appreciate the stations where omelettes, pancakes, waffles, and crepes being prepared on-demand. I totally took these things for granted until I got to the Pullman Zamzam Hotel in Medina, where the attendant basically just mixed eggs in a bowl and burned them to the point where the fire alarm went off!
Overall, the Executive Lounge and Al Mearaj Restaurant at Conrad Makkah were both excellent. The club lounge selection may not have been as extensive during afternoon tea, but it was perfectly appropriate considering most guests weren’t even around during those hours. But overall, I would say the quality of the food, not to mention the service, at both places was above and beyond what I’ve experienced at most other hotels (except, maybe the Conrad Bali).
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