Riyadh Airport Sleeping Pods Guide

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of embracing compact sleep pod technologies and is among the few countries with established regulatory guidelines for capsule hotel standards.

If you have an upcoming layover at this airport, this guide will help you understand these compact, pay-per-use sleep options available on 24-hour basis in one of the lounges. You’ll also find info on alternative sleep options at this airport if you don’t want to pay for layover sleep.

Some backgrund:

The concept of sleeping pods has gained significant traction across the Kingdom since their initial launch at prestigious institutions such as Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Umm Al-Qura University, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

Their successful integration in these academic environments paved the way for broader adoption, leading to their implementation in hospitals and various corporate settings. This widespread acceptance reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to innovative solutions that enhance convenience and comfort in various public and private sectors.

Airport Hotels make Sleep Pods the favorable option:

Riyadh Airport, a key hub in the Middle East, poses several challenges for travelers seeking rest. The two in-airport hotels, with nightly rates exceeding $250, are costly for many. Compared to capsule pods which cost $76 to $86, they are considerably more affordable.

Does Riyadh Airport Have Sleeping Pods?

Wassan Lounge Sleeping Pods

Yes, Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport introduced sleep pods in October 2023 to enhance the travel experience for passengers. The type of sleep pods at KKIA are capsule hotel stype pods with a floor space of about 2.4 sq meters and are arranged in rows with a top and bottom rows – capsule pods stacked on top of each of the bottom pods. These sleep pods are located in the Wasan lounge on the departure level of Terminal 5 – post security.

Other airports with the capsule hotels pod design include Narita Airport(NRT) in Japan, Changi Airport in Singapore, Mexico City Airport and Cancun Airport, among others.

The short video below provides better glimpse of the capsule pods;

Features

Comfortable Sleeping Environment:

  • Hotel-Grade Mattress: Each pod is equipped with a hotel-grade mattress measuring two meters in length and one and a half meters in width, ensuring a comfortable and restful sleep.
  • Optimal Environment: The interior of the pods is designed to provide a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.

Technological Integration:

  • Interactive Screen: Each pod comes with an interactive screen for personal entertainment and connectivity.
  • Charger Ports: Pods are equipped with charger ports, allowing passengers to power up their devices easily.

Convenient Storage:

  • Internal and External Storage Compartments: These compartments offer secure and convenient luggage storage.

Usage and Benefits

  • Daily Capacity: The pods cater to more than 300 users daily.
  • Purpose: Designed for transit passengers, the pods provide a private space to unwind, recharge, and prepare for onward travel.
  • Activities: Passengers can use the pods to catch up on rest, attend to work obligations, or enjoy leisure activities.

Get details on the Wasan Lounge’s webpage on KKIA’s website here.

Compact Sleeping Rooms at RUH Airport’s Wellcome Lounge:

I found a 2023 review indicating that RUH Airport’s Wellcome Lounge has sleeping rooms different from the Capsule Pods introduced in August 2023. The review noted that the sleeping area could be great if it were clean. The cost for a two-person, four-hour stay in a sleeping cabin is around 170 SAR(about $45).

Snapshot of a review of sleeping rooms at Riyadh Airport
Snapshot of a review of sleeping rooms at Riyadh Airport. Read the Google review and more pictures left by Cee Kaa here.
  • Pros: Helpful staff, and quiet environment.
  • Cons: High online booking prices compared to on-site payment.
  • Details: The Welcome Lounge provides a quieter, cleaner alternative with food and drinks included in the lounge fee. It’s recommended to pay at the door rather than booking online to save money. The staff is noted for being accommodating and can assist with printing tickets.

Riyadh Airport Sleeping Pod Pricing:

To access the Wellcome Lounge at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, where the sleeping pods are located, guests must pay an entrance fee of 149.5 SAR (approx. 40 USD) for adults and 74.75 SAR (approx. 20 USD) for children.

The cost for using the sleeping pods is charged separately, with a single bed priced at 134 SAR (approx. 36 USD) and a double bed at 172.50 SAR (approx. 46 USD).

Here is a table representing the pricing for accessing the Wellcome Lounge and the sleeping pods at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport:

ServicePrice (SAR)Price (USD)
Lounge Entrance Fee
Adults149.5~40
Children74.75~20
Sleeping Cabin Fees
Single Bed134~36
Double Bed172.5~46
This table provides a clear and concise overview of the costs associated with accessing the lounge and using the sleeping pods.

How to book Sleep Lounge and Pods in RUH’s Wellcome Lounge

To book a sleeping pod or sleeping room at RUH’s Wellcome Lounge, you can opt for walk-in bookings directly at the airport. However, for added convenience and to secure your spot, you can also book through third-party websites such as LoungeReview.com and BookFHR. On LoungeReview.com, there are two booking options available: a 3-hour stay or a 3-6 hour stay. See snapshot below;

Snapshot showing pricing and booking options for sleeping rooms at RUH
Snapshot showing pricing and booking options for sleeping rooms at RUH. See details and book on LoungeReview.com site.

If you have Priority Pass membership, you can also access Wellcome Lounge as per details explained on this Priority Pass page for Wellcome Lounge.

Key disadvantage of Wasan Lounge Capsule Hotel Pods:

A key disadvantage of the sleep pods managed by Wasan Lounge at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport is that access to the lounge is limited to just 3 hours before your flight departure. This time restriction can be inconvenient for travelers with longer layovers or those seeking extended rest.

As noted in our comparison of sleep lounges versus sleep pods versus hotels, we recommend choosing hotels over lounge-operated sleep pods due to these time limitations and the fact that lounges are not usually open 24 hours.

However, the sleeping rooms at RUH’s Wellcome Lounge are open 24 hours, offering more flexibility for travelers needing extended rest, although the operating hours for the Wasan Lounge capsule hotel could not be confirmed​.

Where to sleep in King Khalid International Airport/Riyadh Airport:

If you don’t want to pay for Riyadh’s capsule pods or sleep rooms, you can also get yourself sorted with a simple DIY sleep arrangement within the terminals without paying a cent. The airport is operational 24 hours and can use either airside or landside sleep areas.

From flier reviews I analyzed left on several sites including sleepinginairports.net, below are the best spots to catch some Zs during your layover:

Prayer Rooms, Between Terminal 1 & 2

  • Pros: Quiet, clean, and undisturbed by security.
  • Cons: Official signs discourage sleeping.
  • Details: Located between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, these segregated male and female prayer rooms unintentionally provide a peaceful place to sleep, as they remain largely undisturbed by security and are quieter than other areas of the airport.

Landside, Terminal 1

  • Pros: Very safe and quieter after midnight.
  • Cons: Seats are moderately comfortable and the area can be cool.
  • Details: This landside corridor offers a long stretch of seats with fixed armrests. It is quieter after 11:30 PM until daylight, making it possible to get some rest despite the seat design. Nearby facilities include 24/7 burger places and acceptable restrooms.

Newly Opened Terminal 3 and 4

  • Pros: Open concept with access to food outlets like Subway and Tim Hortons.
  • Cons: Bright and noisy, not suitable for sleeping.
  • Details: The open concept of these terminals makes it difficult to find a good sleeping spot due to the bright lighting and noise. There are no lounges set up for sleeping yet, although basic amenities like food and Internet are available.

Corridor between Terminal 1 and 2

  • Pros: Silent and comfortable for short naps.
  • Cons: Officially, sleeping is not allowed.
  • Details: This corridor offers a surprisingly quiet space where people often sleep despite signs discouraging it. The carpeted floors and the absence of frequent security patrols make it a temporary refuge for weary travelers.

Open Terminals 3 and 4

  • Pros: Variety of shops and a lounge with basic amenities.
  • Cons: No designated rest areas and uncomfortable chairs.
  • Details: Although these terminals offer a variety of shops and a lounge, they lack designated rest areas and have uncomfortable seating arrangements. The lounge does not have a shower, but it does provide a decent buffet, albeit without a shower facility.

Resting chairs at Gate 403-404, Terminal 4

  • Pros: Specifically designed for resting.
  • Cons: Limited number and availability.
  • Details: Located at gates 403-404 in Terminal 4, these resting chairs are designed to offer a more comfortable resting experience than regular airport seating. However, their limited number might make them difficult to access during busier times.

Burger King and Domino’s Pizza, Terminal 2

  • Pros: Open round the clock.
  • Cons: Limited comfort for sleeping.
  • Details: While primarily food outlets, Burger King and Domino’s in Terminal 2 remain open 24/7, offering a potential spot to sit and rest, especially during the quieter hours of the night. However, they are not ideal for sleeping due to the typical restaurant seating and the likelihood of noise.

Corridor Alongside Airport Road, Landside Terminal 1

  • Pros: Quiet during late hours, safe.
  • Cons: Cool temperatures and fixed armrests reduce comfort.
  • Details: This corridor provides a stretch of seats that are moderately comfortable, and it remains quiet, especially late at night. It is a viable option for those needing to stay landside, but the fixed armrests make it difficult to lie down completely.

Terminal 2 Arrival Areas

  • Pros: Long benches suitable for sleeping.
  • Cons: Bright lighting, can be noisy depending on the time.
  • Details: The arrival areas in Terminal 2 feature long benches that are more conducive to sleeping compared to other seating options throughout the airport. Bringing an eye mask is recommended due to the bright lighting in these areas.

Seating Areas Near Check-In Counters

  • Pros: Accessible and plentiful seating.
  • Cons: Generally noisy and busy, especially during peak times.
  • Details: The areas around the check-in counters often have seating that is not ideal for sleeping but can provide a temporary resting spot while waiting for check-in or during shorter layovers. The environment tends to be busy and noisy.

Gate Areas in Various Terminals

  • Pros: Ample seating, some areas quieter at night.
  • Cons: Bright lights and frequent announcements can be disruptive.
  • Details: The gate areas throughout the airport offer a lot of seating, and some gates might be quieter at night, offering a chance to catch some rest. However, the bright lights and frequent flight announcements can make sleeping challenging.

Other Lounges for comfortable stay during layover:

Alfursan Lounge, Terminal 2

  • Pros: Safe environment, plenty of plug points, and excellent hummus.
  • Cons: WhatsApp calls don’t work, couches are short, no shower facilities.
  • Details: The Alfursan Lounge offers a semi-private sleeping room that should ideally be booked in advance. There are many couches suitable for shorter individuals to sleep on. While it lacks shower facilities, it has comfortable washrooms. Despite the prohibition on WhatsApp calls, the lounge offers decent Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Get details of Hayyak Lounge on its website here

Showers at Hayyak Lounge, Terminal 3

  • Pros: Shower availability and good lounge services.
  • Cons: Limited access timing and higher cost for short-term use.
  • Details: The Hayyak Lounge in Terminal 3 offers showers, which is a rare find at the airport. Access is limited to 4 hours before the flight and has a fee, making it less ideal for longer layovers. Despite these limitations, it provides a relatively comfortable environment compared to other areas.
  • Get details of Hayyak Lounge on its website here

Other Riyadh King Khalid International Airport Lounges for comfortable layover stay:

Lounge NameLocationDetailsLink
Flynas LoungeTerminal 5 – DepartureA dedicated lounge for Flynas passengers with comfortable seating and amenities.Flynas Lounge – KKIA
Wellcome LoungeTerminal 2 – DepartureOffers general seating, buffet, beverage counter, sleep rooms, and kids room. Open to all travelers.Wellcome Lounge – KKIA
Al Fursan LoungeTerminal 4 & 5 – DepartureExclusive to Saudia and SkyTeam passengers, offering luxury amenities and services.Al Fursan Lounge – KKIA
Plaza Premium LoungeTerminal 2 – DepartureProvides a comfortable environment with refreshments, Wi-Fi, and shower facilities.Plaza Premium Lounge – KKIA
Wasan LoungeTerminal 5 – Departures – After Security CheckFeatures sleeping pods for travelers needing rest before their flight.Wasan Lounge – KKIA
Hayyak LoungeTerminal 3 & 5 – Departures – After Security CheckAvailable for first-class, business-class passengers, and bank cardholders, or for a fee.Hayyak Lounge – KKIA
Alawwal LoungeTerminal 3 – Departures – After Security CheckA premium lounge providing high-end services for travelers.Alawwal Lounge – KKIA
While no other lounge apart from Wasan and Wellcome Lounges are equipped with sleep facilities at KKIA, this table has overview details of different lounges at RUH. Find details on all the lounges on KKIA’s webpage here.

Summary Review of Riyard Airport’s Sleep Quality:

Based on traveler reviews from the narratives above, here are the consolidated pros and cons of attempting to sleep at Riyadh Airport:

Pros

  1. Multiple Lounge Options: Lounges like Alfursan and Welcome offer controlled environments with amenities such as Wi-Fi, food, and beverages, providing a more comfortable layover experience compared to public seating areas.
  2. Quieter Areas Available: Some travelers have found quieter spots for rest, such as prayer rooms and corridors between terminals, which are less frequented by the general airport crowd.
  3. Safety: The airport is generally considered safe for travelers, with areas where one can stretch out without concern for personal security.
  4. 24/7 Food Outlets: Establishments like Burger King and Domino’s Pizza in Terminal 2 remain open all night, offering places to sit and access to food during odd hours.

Cons

  1. Costly In-Airport Hotels: The two hotels within the airport have high nightly rates, often exceeding $250, making them unaffordable for many budget-conscious travelers.
  2. Lack of Affordable Sleeping Options: The absence of innovative, flexible sleep solutions like compact sleep pods limits affordable resting options.
  3. Noise and Announcements: Frequent loud announcements and general terminal noise can significantly disrupt sleep, especially in the more public areas of the airport.
  4. Bright Lighting: The airport is well-lit throughout, which can hinder sleep for those sensitive to light, requiring eye masks or other solutions.
  5. Uncomfortable Seating: Much of the seating throughout the airport has fixed armrests, making it difficult to lie down and rest comfortably.
  6. Temperature Concerns: Some areas, particularly landside, can be cool, necessitating warm clothing or blankets for comfort.

These insights draw a picture of an airport with some potential spots for rest but also significant challenges due to infrastructure and policy limitations, particularly affecting those who need to economize or have longer layovers.

What to Expect Sleeping in KKIA Airport:

Travelers considering an overnight stay at Riyadh Airport should be aware of several factors affecting sleep conditions:

  1. Noise Levels: Riyadh Airport is known for frequent loud announcements and general ambient noise which can be particularly disruptive. The prayer rooms and corridors between terminals 1 and 2 tend to be quieter, though not officially designated for sleeping.
  2. Temperatures: The airport can be cool, especially at night. It’s advisable to bring a blanket or wear layers. Landside areas, like the corridor alongside the airport road in Terminal 1, are noted for cooler temperatures due to less movement and airflow.
  3. Bright Lighting: The airport is well-lit throughout, with bright lights that remain on during the night, making it difficult to sleep. Eye masks are highly recommended for those attempting to rest in more exposed areas like gate seating or near check-in counters.
  4. Security and Safety: While Riyadh Airport is generally considered safe, the security personnel may discourage sleeping in certain areas, particularly in prayer rooms and corridors. Keeping your belongings secure and staying aware of your environment is advisable, especially when sleeping outside designated lounges.

Travelers looking for the best possible rest should consider these specific location details and prepare accordingly to mitigate the challenges presented by the sleep conditions at Riyadh Airport.

Are there hotels inside KKIA/Riyadh Airport?

Yes, there are hotels inside Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH). The Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel, formerly known as the Makarem Riyadh Airport Hotel, offers 5-star elegance and exceptional service. This hotel provides a luxurious stay with easy access to the airport facilities.

Additionally, the Riyadh Airport Radisson Hotel features warm, upscale accommodations with three outdoor pools, two indoor pools, a spa, and multiple dining options. Both hotels offer convenient amenities and proximity to the airport, making them ideal choices for travelers seeking comfort and convenience during their stay.

Riyadh Marriott Airport Hotel

  • Location: Directly adjacent to the airport terminal; no shuttle required.
  • Amenities:
    • Spacious rooms with high-speed internet and comfortable bedding.
    • Multiple dining options with local and international cuisine.
    • Fitness center, meeting rooms, and concierge services.
  • Accessibility: Ideal for those with early flights or late arrivals due to proximity to the terminal.
  • Check rates

Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport

  • Location: Close to the airport; no shuttle service offered.
  • Amenities:
    • Modern rooms with contemporary furnishings and flat-screen TVs.
    • Variety of dining experiences, from casual to fine dining.
    • Health club, spa services, and an indoor pool.
  • Accessibility: Convenient for business travelers and transit passengers due to minimal travel time to the airport.
  • Check rates

Both hotels provide excellent access to Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport, making them optimal choices for convenience and comfort.

Hotels Close to Riyadh Airport:

Here is a list of the 20 closest hotels to King Khaled International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh, along with their distances from the airport, prices, and average ratings:

#Hotel NameDistance from AirportPriceAverage Rating
1Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport3.7 miles$3004.2
2Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel3.0 miles$2384.3
3Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Qurtuba9.4 miles$2244.1
4Holiday Inn Riyadh the Business District6.7 miles$1604.0
5Fairmont Riyadh11.0 miles$5074.5
6Boudl Al Munsiyah9.0 miles$1063.8
7Madareem Crown Hotel11.6 miles$1543.9
8Braira Qurtubah Hotel10.6 miles$1584.2
9Fairmont Ramla Serviced Residences11.8 miles$3364.3
10Aber Hotel – Al Sahafa10.9 miles$1104.0
11Danat Al Khaleej Hotel11.0 miles$933.7
12Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh11.8 miles$2024.4
13Boudl Al Sahafa Hotel11.3 miles$1314.0
14Coupard Hotel9.0 miles$883.5
15Guests Inn11.4 miles$883.6
16Aber Al Munisiyah Hotel11.6 miles$1333.7
17Aswar Hotel Suites Riyadh11.9 miles$1754.0
18The One Resorts11.5 miles$1,0004.1
19Radisson Hotel & Residence Riyadh Olaya11.4 miles$2044.2
20Swiss Spirit Hotel & Suites Metropolitan Riyadh12.1 miles$1194.0
These hotels vary in terms of price and luxury, catering to a wide range of preferences and needs. They are all relatively close to the airport, making them convenient options for travelers either arriving in or departing from Riyadh.

FAQs

Can I sleep at Riyadh Airport?

Sleeping at Riyadh Airport is generally possible but can be challenging due to a variety of factors, as reported by travelers. Most reviews suggest that long, uninterrupted sleep might be difficult to achieve due to frequent loud announcements, bright lighting throughout the terminals, and the lack of designated sleeping areas with comfortable arrangements. Some lounges, like the Alfursan and Hayyak, provide more conducive environments for rest, albeit at a cost and with limited facilities such as showers.

Quieter spots like the prayer rooms and corridors between terminals are occasionally used for napping, though officially discouraged. For a more assured rest, travelers recommend bringing essentials such as a blanket, eye mask, and earplugs to mitigate ambient disturbances. Additionally, seating with fixed armrests makes it hard to lie down, so preparing to sleep in a curled position or securing a lounge with better amenities might be necessary for those seeking some sleep during their layover at Riyadh Airport.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.