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In this second installment in our multi-part series on compound life I wanted to share some more details and pictures of the types of facilities available at KAUST and what you might expect to find at other compounds in the region.

Recreation Centers

Nearly every compound will include at least one recreation center which will typically include a gym or two (one for men only and one for women only), a pool, and a restaurant.  Due to the large size of KAUST we are lucky enough to have four separate recreation centers with each specializing in a different type of sport and/or activity.

The Island Club

The Island club is the largest and most diverse of the recreation centers.  It has a large coed pool that looks out over the red sea and beautiful sunsets.  It also has a small male only gym overlooking the pool and red sea.  In addition to the pool and gym this center also contains a large two story indoor padded playground for kids, an indoor rock-climbing wall, several specialized rooms for classes (yoga, Pilates, spinning, etc), a pottery room with attached kilns, and an outdoor skate park.  Finally, the restaurant attached to the Island club is one of the best in the compound and features surf and turf menu including lobster.

Island Recreation Center

Lobster at Island Recreation Center Restaurant

Island Recreation Center Main Pool

Island Club Kids Pool

Island Club Rock Climbing Wall

The Racquet Club

As the name implies this facility has a focus on racquet sports including badminton, tennis, squash, table tennis, and hand ball.  In addition to racquet sports this club also has a child soft play area and mat covered room for gymnastics classes.  This specific club does not however contain a gym or pool.  Finally, the club also has a small Sauna room and a steak restaurant.

Racquet Club

Racquet Club Steak Restaurant

Racquet Club Soft Play Area

Racquet Club Bike Park

Racquet Club Gymnastics Room

The Golf Club

Also, as the name implies the golf club is focused on the sport of golf and features a 9-hole golf course, locker rooms with golf club storage, and a clubhouse with pool tables and large tvs for watching sports.  Golf lessons and a club pro are available to assist players of all ages and skill ranges starting at 5 years old.  This specific club does not have a gym or pool, but does have an attached indoor/outdoor restaurant and grill serving American and North African dishes.

Golf Club Recreation Center

Golf Club Member Lounge

Driving Range

View from 1st Hole Tee Box

Golf Pro Shop

The Harbor Club

The Harbor club is one of the larger clubs at KAUST and contains the largest male and female gyms in the compound.  It also contains a coed pool and smaller female only pool.  In addition to the pools and gyms the club also has a large outdoor running track and soccer fields, a 12-lane bowling alley, arcade, indoor basketball courts, and an indoor/outdoor restaurant serving a variety of Asian and Indian dishes.

Harbor Recreation Center

Bowling Alley

Dynamite Shrimp at Harbor Restaurant

Harbor Arcade and Pool

Harbor Track and Field

Movie Theater

KAUST also has its own two screen movie theater.  This used to be a much bigger deal until recently when the ban on showing movies in public was lifted in KSA.  Since last year several large and modern multiscreen theaters have been built in bigger cities like Jeddah so this is not such a big novelty any longer, but it is still a nice option to have within the compound.  One other nice feature is the lower cost of seeing a movie in KAUST, with ticket prices around $1.5 per person and a large box of popcorn at around $2.  For a family of four this means we can catch the latest Avengers movie with snacks for around $10 total.  Not a bad deal on a hot day in KSA.

Movie Theatre Entrance
Movie Theater Snack Bar

Next in our Series: Fun in the Sun

Interested to learn more about Compound Life?  Then check out the next post in this series on Outdoor Activities in the compounds.



My name is Don Owens and I am a Chemical Engineer, US Expat, FIRE Enthusiast, Author, and Frequent Traveler. I blog about life as an Expat in KSA, my journal toward financial independence, travel, and science.

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