It’s summer again, fellow OFWs.
No more outdoor activities unless you want to be burnt to a crisp. It’s hot, hot, hot. (Or just scorchingly hot). At 43⁰C, who would want to be outdoors?
But who says we cannot do sports at this time of the year? Why not go bowling?
Bowling is one of the best things we can do this summer. Not only you get full body exercise but you also enjoy the game. Best of all, bowling doesn’t require a certain skill set, for as long as you can throw the balls (the scoreboard will judge you), you are good to go.
Here are the famous bowling lanes in the Riyadh and my review about them. Call on your family, friends, colleagues and hit the lanes.
The review is based on the ambiance, facilities, and other amenities.
The Universal Bowling Lanes
Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Abdulaziz Road,
Ar Rafiah, Riyadh
There are 12 lanes in the Family (Or Mixed Section) and 18 lanes in the Male Section. The lanes are spaced uniformly.
Wednesdays are Ladies Night in the mixed section.
It has modern facilities. But balls are scratched and worn. (Although I don’t know if they affect the speed and accuracy of hitting the pins). Some seats have wears and tears. So is the flooring in the lounge. Otherwise, they are still functional.
Score screens are big. The animation is very colorful. The lanes are well-lighted especially the pin deck. There is enough space between the approach and the ball return (source of the balls) for better maneuvering. Your Paeng Nepomuceno move will not be hampered.
Most of the times all the lanes are occupied because being the largest, and many bowlers come to this place. The ambiance is festive.
There are also billiard tables, table tennis, foosball, trampoline, and even electronic games. Perfect chilling and hanging out destination for the tired and stressed OFW.
The fee is SR25 per game per person which include use of the bowling shoes.
Refreshments or water are available at the corner for easy orders. There is also Dunkin Donut Café in the vicinity.
Parking space is not an issue.
Strike Bowling Alley
The Ritz Carlton
Al Hada Area, Makkah Road, Riyadh
Yes, it sounds fancy and glamorous. It is located at the Ground Floor of the (palatial) Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The ceiling is lighted in fancy green, orange and blue. There are seating sofas grouped together, away from the lanes.
The place is carpeted except for the lanes. Of course, that’s Ritz.
There are only six lanes grouped in twos. They are widely apart.
The scoreboard does not show ball speed. The scoreboard doesn’t show the full names in the screen. (Screenshot of the scoreboard doesn’t allow for bragging rights). Pin deck is not well-lighted. For visually-challenged like me, I have to rely on the score on the screen to see exactly how many pins I hit.
The ambiance is quiet and very relaxing. Background music is played.
There are billiard tables and wide TV screens to watch sports shows.
There are dine-in bar foods and juice bar. Food fuel after you score strikes after strikes.
Fee is SR50 (+VAT) per person per game .
No need to change shoes. Play at your own (shoes’) risk. But hygienically favorable to bowlers. Just come in non-slip shoes.
Yalla! Bowling Lanes
3rd Floor, Al Qasr Mall (beside the Cinema)
Al Suwaidi Al Am, Riyadh
This is the newest bowling lane in town. So the facility itself is new. Everything is clean and shiny.
There are eight lanes. The scoreboards are large and colorful.
No segregation between singles and family sections which is to the advantage of mixed group of friends. Still remember though to be always at your best behavior. We wouldn’t want our being OFWs cut short because we forgot to abide by the culture and norms of our host country.
The ambiance is more than festive. It is actually noisy with the very loud music played in the background. We could hardly hear each other.
There are no other game tables available. But the cinema is just on the other side.
The lounge is very comfortable and well-upholstered. At the back is the food station where more food options are available.
Bowling fee is SR35 per person per game. Or 135 for 4 players. This includes bowling shoe rental.
Palms Bowling Club
King Saud Road, Riyadh
There are 12 lanes, three of which are segregated for the family section. It is not very strict, I have seen a family who has crossed over the single section when the family section was full.
The bowling center itself is a little bit dark and warm. The food counter at the back might have stopped operating. But there is a nearby restaurant in the hotel.
The seats are a little bit cramped.
You may opt to use your own shoes.
The fee is SR26, including shoe rental if you prefer to use their bowling shoes.
Olaya cor Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Road, Riyadh
There are seven lanes and the screens are big with colorful animations.
The area is well-lighted.
No segregation. The seats are few but spacious. The ball return is spaced away from the approach, which is good.
There is a games arcade at the back.
It is next to the food court which makes the place ideal for after-game snacks.
You may opt to use your own non-skid shoes.
The fee is SR26 per head per game.
For lack of recreation activities in the Kingdom, especially for OFWs who have no family and relatives to spend time with, bowling lanes are ideal OFW destinations in Riyadh. It will help ease boredom, deal with homesickness, release some steam or just to while the time.
If you’re not into regular exercise, be sure to do some stretching before starting the game. It will prevent some pulled muscles or injury. Your body will thank you.