Stayed here for a week for a business trip. I know when I was preparing, as a female professional, I had a lot of questions and confusion about what I could and couldn't do, what the rules were, etc. So hopefully this will clear some of that up as well.
Reception/lobby - The lobby area feels huge, and a little stark. There's lots of places to sit (and wait for people, for example), but they are marble benches, so not comfy sofas that you could really relax on. Check-in was super easy, they had our reservations and accessed them easily. Everyone at check in spoke English. Check out was also easy and quick. They were able, for example, to break out the room, business center, and restaurant bills. The lobby also has a coffee shop, but beware, it is expensive! For 2 American coffees, a glass of milk and 2 small bottles of fizzy water, it was about $25. It's open 24 hours. There is also a downstairs lobby with a couple of restaurants and a shop - it's elegant, and the whole hotel, grounds, restaurants, etc. remind me a little of a Vegas casino hotel. You do NOT have to wear an abaya in the hotel, although most women do (either they wear them anyhow, or if they are western, they are wearing them because to go outside the hotel they have to wear them so being in the lobby they are either on their way in or out, hence wearing them).
Concierge - there is a concierge station in the lobby, and I have to give this at best mixed reviews. Many - most - of the folks working there didn't really understand English and gave wrong information. The people in the room service phone and the front desk spoke better English. There are many people who don't speak Arabic (or English) natively, but do use English as a lingua franca, so this is important. I could have switched to German, Spanish or French, but that wouldn't have helped either. A couple of them were really great, finding out challenging and excellent information for me. The one thing that I wasn't happy with was, they push you toward the Budget rent-a-car also in the lobby, there is no hotel car to hire (by this I mean something that the hotel connects with, so you aren't taking a taxi as they pull up, you pay a little more, but not the same rates as the Budget folks). Budget charges 100 riyals per hour or to drop off/pick up (each time) to go to al-Balad and the souks (al-Adel and Badu) there. (Note - if you do this, stay strong! You do NOT need a driver to accompany you, especially at the rate of 100/hr - they will try to convince you that you do, but really you don't, and it would be awkward anyhow, not to mention expensive.) But they also wanted 60 for a 10-minute drive away which was kind of a ripoff. One of the concierges did come through for us on that one, with a private friend.
Room - All of the rooms are on the diagonal - what I've been thinking is Saudi feng shui, as I saw this in Riyadh in a different hotel chain as well - but I like it. It affords more privacy than the standard way. Your entrance is more private, and your little outdoor balcony (table, 2 chairs, even on the 8th floor!) is also very private this way. My room was quite large. There was a sofa, a chair with ottoman, and a table. The bed and pillows were firm, and super comfortable. Probably the most comfortable bed I have EVER been in. I didn't want to leave it! I had a king size and there was plenty of space, plenty of pillows. You control your own air-con, and mine was constantly going because it was never as cold as I wanted it to be. They leave you the newspaper on your door in the morning in your chosen language. My room had views of the water and the Corniche, including some of the fantastic sculptures there. The one odd thing was the closet - the hanging clothes rod was from back to front, rather than side to side, so you couldn't see all your clothes at once, everything was in front of behind everything else. The rest of it, the shelves, were fine and there was this enormous safe in the closet as well. Great safe! There were lots of hangers, so no worries there. The plugs were sort of strange. The one right by my desk didn't work, it was blocked or something, so I had to charge my things on the floor then use them on battery. The plug by the windows only worked if the lights on that side of the room were on. It wasn't horrible, just needed to be mentioned. The bathroom was really big, with a hair dryer, bidet, Crabtree and Evelyn shampoo and shower gel. The tub was low - no vaulting over the side hanging on for dear life before you slip and fall - and the shower head is a regular kind, no rainshower or hand held type, but the water was consistent in temperature and the curved-out shower curtain bar was nice as well - again affording more space. There was a nice tea area supplied with a kettle, and they give you bottled water in the bathroom every day. (So, don't use the 20-riyal Evian!). There is a minibar but don't use it, it is hideously expensive! There's a shop in the lobby that you can buy sundries much much cheaper. There is a flat panel TV with cable, there are 3-4 each of English speaking news and movies.
Restaurants - so expensive.... The Iranian one is so-so. Manhattan, the burger place, was okay. Neither was super, and both were really, really expensive. OTOH, the room service was really excellent! I ate from them a couple of times, and they got every order correct. The hammour grill was super - cooked perfectly and very tasty - and the chicken tenders were amazing. And comparatively cheap! I asked for mine with Buffalo sauce (Manhattan does buffalo) and they brought it and it tasted really, really good. Not the spiciest, but the perfect wing sauce flavor. The tenders - I think they use Panko. They are probably the best chicken tenders I've had. I was there for a meeting and we had lunches provided on some days, and the food was excellent for that.
Fitness Centers - So, ladies, this is what you want to know. There IS a place for us! The Hilton itself has a fitness center that has all kinds of everything, even indoor and outdoor pools, open 6 am until 11 pm, but that's just for men. We have a gym too - kind of. About 50m next door to the Hilton is another hotel (it's actually more luxurious, from the looks of the public spaces, but I never saw anyone actually there), and it's in that hotel that there's a women-only spa. This spa is located on the top floor, you have to ask the front desk to punch in the code so you can take the elevator to the top. It's a spa, too - it felt a little artificial and awkward to me. I don't need the fuzzy slippers, etc., I just need to work out! But what is nice is they have lockers that you program the lock for, so you can keep your things locked up and not worry about it. So when you enter, it's a true spa, and then you have to fill out a form with all your health info etc. I don't know if the men's does that, when I've just been in hotel fitness centers about all you do is sign in and out with your name and room, not fill out a pretty detailed and kinda invasive form. But whatever. So then there's a really decent gym there - there's a circuit with weights, and then there's 3 each of ellipticals and treadmills. It is very quiet - almost no one was there when I was - and smells good. I didn't see that there was the little towels or water, but there might have been. There is a pool, and this is where I spent my time. It is rectangular, but it is shallow and short - maybe 15m (?) - and there are jets all over the place in it - it's some kind of special pool - and there are these beds at the end with jets too. But it was okay, not the easiest to do laps but okay. It was also really warm - no doubt because it's under this glass bubble that the sun comes shining in. (Unfortunately, no ladies outside pool.) There was a jacuzzi, it was pretty cool as far as jacuzzis go, and also a sauna and steam which I did not use. There are showers with shampoo and body gel and toilets in various areas scattered throughout, which was kind of interesting. There were hair dryers and changing rooms. They give you towels for showering (they are big) and also this blue cloth, I guess to cover yourself, but from what I'm not sure - since this is a ladies' only area, I was fine with my bathing suit and workout wear. (I wore the abaya to go between hotels.) Unfortunately, this spa and everything in it, doesn't open until 11 am - so you can't work out and shower and start your day that way.
Location - The location is I guess a good one. It's right on the Corniche and has nice views, and doesn't seem to be far from anything (although al-Bilal is about 40 mins. away and more with bad traffic). But there isn't really anything you can walk to. You could walk up and down the Corniche and look at the artwork, or go to the water, but in the sun and heat (and in an abaya) it is really a daunting and unmotivating idea. The grounds are quite large so getting off the hotel in those circumstances is in itself a feat!
Amenities (shops, pools, grounds, beaches, etc.) - There are some shops in the lobby and then another, antiquities-style shop in the lower lobby. The latter is crazy expensive. The lobby level shops are varied. There's a sundries shop that is pretty decent. They sell cans of soda for 3 riyals (as opposed to the minibar price of 21 riyals, and the souk price of 1.5 riyals) and munchies, as well as random gifts (purses and costume jewelry made in China, books about the Saudi soccer team, Zamzam water). There's also a place to get your thobe, a wedding cake shop (where I assume you'd look at catalogues and place your order, there's no bakery as far as I could see or smell), a hair salon, and a parfumerie with lots of oils, although they don't really speak English there, so you have to do a lot of pointing. They are also expensive, although not prohibitively so, if you have nowhere else to get souvenirs. (Bottles of oil cost 50, 100, 200 - as opposed to in the souk where the same sizes were 5, 10, 20 or maybe they were 10, 20, 50 - anyhow, a lot less!) But they were nice, they gifted me a small bottle of the Jasmine scent. It is such a nice experience to go in and smell the different oils, they are really nice.
Business Center - This was a bit frustrating. I had to get the room internet (500 riyals for the week or 100 per 24 hours), but I also had to get an internet card to use the computers in the business center because I need to print out documents. Unfortunately something weird was happening with their system and I couldn't get Gmail to come up in any kind of useful manner, so I couldn't scroll down to get my documents. Eventually I was able to but it was strange, and random, how I could or couldn't. The IT guys couldn't figure it out either, and in the meantime I lost 22 of my 30 purchased minutes. They didn't charge me for the internet card for that, because of that. Also, there are different prices for color and black and white printing, but I didn't have a choice to print. B/W would have been fine with me, but they came out color - and they charged me only for the B/W. But if I had known prior, I would have just asked for B/W printing only and seen if they could have done that.
All in all - there are some bumpy spots I wouldn't expect of a Hilton. However, I was impressed by the rooms, the room service food, and the fact that there is a place for women to work out.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC