'Find me here, in spirit if not sight, for that will redeem your life of sin in an instant.'
Mecca, as the line quoted above from the Holy Koran makes clear, is the holiest city in Islam, and hence, a matter of immense significance and pride for millions of Muslim devotees all over the world. So much is the importance of a visit to Mecca during the holy month of Hajj for Muslims that the city sees unprecedented scenes of crowd and frenzy during this period.
Situated in an otherwise obscure valley, not too from the famous port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Mecca is also a thriving city that has been built solely upon religious tourism and peripheral businesses. The present population of Mecca easily crosses the 2 million mark, while during the holy months, anywhere between 6 and 15 million people are known to visit the city, putting the city through a sharp test of infrastructure and flexibility.
But the city, barring few incidents of chaos in the street and stampede, has managed it all quite nicely so far, for over 1,000 years. Famed in scriptures as the birth place of the first prophet Muhammad, Mecca was also the place where the first ever sermon of piety was delivered to people by the prophet after a vision from the almighty. In the Holy Koran, the book of Muslim religion, it has been explicitly mentioned that every devout Muslim, as long as he or she can physically manage it, must visit Mecca at least once during their lifetime.
So, to fulfil that ambition if you are Muslim, and at any rate, to witness the scenes of cultural and religious wealth even if you are not, you should make it a point to visit Mecca. As has always been the case, we will try our best to help you find the most suitable pick from various hotels in Mecca.
Cheap Lodging in Mecca
Being a religious destination where most people go in order to make amends and seek peace from the almighty, it is not a surprise that Mecca is filled to the brim with various cheap hotels and other affordable lodging options. Many tourists coming here tend to bring large families along with them, and so, it makes all the sense that they prefer to stay at an affordable hotel instead of a luxury one.
Although not too many of Mecca hotels are listed out there on the internet, our research has yielded some fantastic choices that you will hardly go wrong with. Mobark Plaza Hotel, for example, is an impressive property right in the heart of the city, nearby all the famous sites. What's more interesting is that it is quite cheap in comparison with other hotels in Mecca that are situated in this area of the city. Prices per night usually start at $25 all year round, barring the holy month when prices suddenly skyrocket to $70 per night.
Dar Al Salam is a similar hotel that scores brownie points by providing free airport drop and pick-up to their guests. It's cosy and comfortable hospitality is good enough to make your stay in Mecca a pleasant one.
Luxury Hotels in Mecca
The very reason that has seen many cheap hotels spawn in Mecca is responsible for the lack of truly luxury lodging options here. Not a lot of people coming to Mecca care much about luxury anyway, as the principal motive of their tour is to visit the holy land. So, tourists may have a problem or two in finding posh resorts in this city.
But that said, it's not entirely impossible to zero in on a hotel that is good enough to help you stay in a decent enough level of luxury, away from the hustle and bustle of busy streets of Mecca.
Without much competition, InterContinental Dar Al Tawhid becomes the top-most ranked luxury hotel in Mecca. InterContinental bears enormous market reputation, and they make sure to bring all of that to the fore with a fabulous property that leaves all of its patrons fully content.
Mecca Makkah Palace, a popular tourist choice for many years, is also a good option if you are a fan of Raffles Chain of Resorts (based in Singapore).
Independent and Boutique Hotels in Mecca
Various Mecca hotels do provide value for their money, but still, most fall short of achieving a truly warm hospitality. That's when boutique and independent resorts and lodges in Mecca become apparent and important, too.
With such options, what you can get is a perfect balance between the security of a hotel and comfort of your house. You can rent studio apartments in posh neighborhoods of the city that have recently grown large in numbers.
Holiday rentals are scarcely available, and to avail one, you will probably need some local ground connections or recommendations.
Sightseeing Tips for Travelers Visiting Mecca
Visiting Mecca is the highlight of their lives for millions of tourists. So, it's only fair to expect your trip to Mecca go through without much hassle.
For that to happen, however, you will have to be aware of some basic facts about the place. During Hajj, the city gets so crowded that it's common for people to get separated from their friends or family. Hence, being aware of that possibility can help you avoid much headache.
Also, pickpocketing is quite rife in Mecca. Therefore, keep an eye on your valuables and make sure you don't carry a lot of cash on you.
Best Time to Visit Mecca
The best time to visit Mecca is during the holy month (September/October/November). This is when Mecca is at its fullest glory as millions of devotees descend upon the city.
On the flip side, this could also mean that your trip will be too chaotic and hassle-filled. So, if you are okay with it, visiting Mecca around the year, barring the holy month, can also be a great idea. This will save you from the hassle of crowd as well as expensive hotel tariffs.