A tour of the country will draw your attention to the large number of hotels here, new and old, and ones that are expected to open shortly. You wonder who will stay at these hotels, since we are neither a touristic country nor do we attract a lot of businesses, so this is a worthwhile question! I cannot remember the last time I spent a weekend at a hotel in Kuwait – probably when my kids were very young and wanted to enjoy the pool in summertime. But then I realized it was not worth to book a hotel or desirable to spend a large amount of money for a vacation inside the country.
Who are allowed to rent hotel rooms? They do not allow singles, both citizens and expatriates, to stay in hotels. It’s funny, of course, because they think that allowing singles in hotels means girls will enter the rooms and therefore problems will occur.
I cannot understand why someone would want to take his girlfriend to a hotel in Kuwait. He would look like someone who is looking for a scandal, because the reception staff and security will ask for a marriage certificate, photos of civil IDs, phone numbers, etc. It is an embarrassing situation for any person, whether citizen or expatriate, because it means losing privacy in addition to the assumption that the only reason to rent a room is to look for girls and sex.
Even if a family wants to spend the weekend in a hotel, they will be asked for the same papers. I have a friend who told me a ridiculous story. He wanted to give his parents a surprise gift to mark the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. It was a weekend vacation in a hotel, and when he wanted to reserve the room, he was told by the staff that he needed a marriage certificate to book the room! The friend could not stop laughing, because 50 years ago, marriage papers were not common as the ceremony was conducted by a sheikh. Many older Kuwaitis do not have a marriage certificate. The couple did not get their gift due to stupidity!
Hotels in Kuwait are expensive too. There are rooms ranging in prices of KD 100 and more per night, and if someone is willing to pay that much, it is because of boredom and the desire for change, especially by wealthy citizens. I do not see many people who are inclined to the idea of spending holidays and weekends in a hotel in Kuwait, especially with the absence of nightlife.
A lot of Kuwaitis tend to travel outside the country to spend short vacations, especially Dubai and Bahrain. I do not think the only reason is the availability of alcoholic beverages there, as there are a lot of families that do not seek nightlife or drinks, but are looking for comfort for their children and shopping that satisfies all tastes, with multiple avenues of entertainment available at all times.
What do hotels here have to offer? The pool and perhaps a health club, but this can be enjoyed without staying at the hotel. Some of the hotels here depend on conferences, weddings and perhaps breakfast buffets. All hotels are looking to achieve profits like any other business, but the problem here is that even holding a private party with a singing group requires a license from the ministry of interior. Why this complexity and the presumption of bad intentions, that people are troublemakers?
So I am not surprised that the majority of people spend their vacations abroad, even though it is expensive, because hotels in Kuwait are not necessarily attractive. Those that have achieved success here are four-star hotel apartments, because they are cheap and suitable for families. Hotels in Kuwait need to rethink their target audience and the services they provide to the local community.
By Muna Al-Fuzai