KAUST 2 bedroom housing

By | December 9, 2012

… this post is a follow-up to my post about the KAUST 2 bedroom townhouses. In that post, I describe the KAUST housing situation in a bit more detail. If you have not yet read that post, I suggest you read it first.

We decided it was time for a bit more space, so we recently moved from a 2 bedroom townhouse to a 2 bedroom detached house.

As I said in my previous post:

There are several different types of houses here and they are all pretty much variations on the same theme. For the most part a two-bedroom townhouse is pretty similar to all the other two-bedroom townhouses at KAUST. They’ll have slightly different proportions and back yards for instance, but the inside is mostly the same – and with the same or similar furnishings too.

That said, definitely don’t confuse a “detached” house from a “townhouse”. The detached ones have a lot more space. The detached 2-br has the follow differences from the 2-br townhouses:

  • Detached has 2 living rooms – one upstairs one downstairs, townhouse has only one.
  • Detached has a single car garage, townhouse does not (driveway only)
  • Detached has an office, townhouse does not
  • Detached has a larger kitchen with more storage and a separate pantry.
  • Detached has more built-in closets/storage – in garage, maids room, kitchen, and master bedroom.
  • Detached in Gardens Neighborhood have large balconies off the upstairs living room (island detached 2brs have a much smaller balcony with high walls). We’ve used this balcony almost every day since we moved in – it’s great!
  • Our townhouse had a much nicer back yard – but the KAUST back yards vary considerably from house to house and house size is really not an indicator of yard size.
  • Obviously, you also pay more for the upgraded accommodation. (Check with your move coordinator for pricing info).

Below are photos of the 2-br detached before we moved in. You can find photos of the 2-br townhouse in my previous post. All of the furniture and furnishings in the photos have been provided by KAUST:


Front of the house

Another shot of the front of the house

Foyer, as taken from the front door

Downstairs living room. Back yard to the left, front door to the right, dining room behind the photographer

Dining room. Not pictured is a large buffet and mirror to the right of the photographer.

This is the view of the dining room and living room from inside the kitchen (through the hatch).


Maids room – en suite bathroom and dresser not pictured.

The office. This photo doesn’t really do the office any justice. It’s actually quite spacious. (Located just inside the front door)


This upstairs living room is an excellent feature. It’s my favorite room in the house! Not pictured is a TV and TV stand to the left of the photographer.

You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you the balcony is huge!

Guest bedroom. Not pictured is the large closet space behind the photographer.


2nd shot of the guest bedroom

Guest ensuite

Master Bedroom (1)

Master bedroom (2)

Master bedroom walk-in closets


Master bedroom ensuite

I know how hard it can be to decide which house to choose based on a floorplan and inventory list. I hope that by sharing this info here, I can help others who are moving to or within KAUST to feel more informed.

Have I missed anything here? Feel free to add your experiences with 2-br houses below! Or, ask any questions you may have. 


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  • John

    Hey Claire, been reading your blog these last few months for snippets of info for our move to Kaust on 1st Feb. Thanks so much for the info you have posted since arriving at Kaust, it helps to make sense of the void of information there seems to be about life there and the moving experience.

    One question about the housing, privacy and decency rules over there. Would it be frowned upon for my wife to sunbathe in a bikini in the grounds of our house, or would you recommened to buy a screen for privacy?

    Also, on the sports facilities, my wife and I play squash together, but havent been established whether any of the sports facilities like squash courts are mixed use. Do you have any experience of this.

    Cant wait to get out there now, and who knows no doubt bump into you along the way


  • Hey John – I’m glad you’re finding the blog posts useful! Thanks for your kind words.

    To answer your questions:

    1. Sunbathing: First, I should say you can sunbathe at the beach or pool, no problem. And, many of the houses are quite private so you could possibly sunbathe at your house. It just depends on your housing situation and your neighbors. Obviously, it’s important to be respectful of any cultural considerations of neighbors who may not view sunbathing in the same way that you do. I know in both houses we’ve lived in, sunbathing with complete privacy would be an option. It’s the luck of the draw though…

    2. Sports: yes, there are places to play squash at the Harbor Sports Club and they are mixed use. They’re also opening an entire racquet club eventually (we can see it being built from our new house – it looks very nice!)

    I hope your journey here goes smoothly! I’m sure we’ll run into you when you get here. Be sure to refresh my memory about our blog convo… sometimes it’s hard to connect the names/stories with the faces upon first meeting :-)

  • Ernie

    When I was a postdoc in USA, I was basically living in a slum compared to this. This is crazy!

  • USAExpat

    I received an offer to join KAUST staff. I am considering living off campus, perhaps in KAEC. Would the yearly allowance maximum ($14,000) get you a 2 BR comparable to KAUST’s at KAEC? I appreciate your response.

  • inorite?! It’s pretty great :-)

  • I’m sorry but I really have no idea. You’ll have to go through the appropriate channels to find the answers to this question.

  • A&W

    Hi Clare, My husband and I are moving to KAUST in August. Your blog has been very helpful. Thank you! We will be in the detached 2 br. I have a few questions regarding that. Can you tell me if the bathrooms have any cabinets or storage units? Also, is it easy to buy king and queen size sheets in KSA? I noticed there are no curtain rods in the bathrooms. I assume, we can pick those up along with curtains there as well. I’m sure as we begin packing I’ll have more questions.
    Thank you in advance,

  • Hi Aasya – Sorry for my delay in replying and congrats on being invited to KAUST. This is a great place to live.

    To answer your questions:
    – There are no cabinets or storage units in the bathrooms, but the walk in closets in the master and 2nd bedrooms have plenty of space for your bathroom needs. They’re also both located just outside the bathroom doors. There isn’t obvious storage in the main bathroom on the ground floor though.
    – Yes, it’s easy to buy sheets of any size here. Ikea and Saco have them, as well as tons of places at the various malls. I think you can even buy sheets at the tamimi supermarket here on campus. When you initially move here, you will be issued a “soft-pack” including one set of unused sheets for each of the beds, as well as bath towels, hand towels, and pillows. The beds will even be made for you before you arrive!
    – The bathrooms don’t have curtains or rods, but the windows are covered in an opaque coating so you can’t see through them. If you want curtains you can pick them up at ikea or saco… or someplace similar.

    Happy to answer any other questions you have!


  • Adeem Zafar

    Hi Claire, can you tell me if there is any part of the house that is carpeted or is it entirely tiled?

  • Claire Sale

    The entire house is entirely tiled. KAUST provides several rugs for the houses though, and you can buy high quality afghan rugs in Jeddah (or low quality ones at places like IKEA.)

  • Hafiz

    Hi Claire,

    thanks for all the insight about KAUST. I have accepted a offer as Postdoc and will be moving soon with my family of 4 (two kids). The HR said I will be provided with 3 bedroom townhouse, since 2-bedroom ones are not available. I was wondering this 2-bedroom ditached townhouse you are talking about is actually the 3-bedroom townhouse the HR talking about?

    Could you please clarify.

    Thanks a lot.



  • Hi Hafiz –

    Sorry for the delay – your message went to my spam folder for some reason!

    This blog post is correctly labeled as a 2-bedroom townhouse (NOT detached). I think HR means that there are none available at the moment – as there are many that exist, but must just already be occupied.

    The 3 bedroom townhouse is also very nice. A slightly different layout, but similar design overall.

    Hope this helps!

  • Hafiz

    Thanks Claire. Hope to meet you soon.

  • Tana

    How much do you have to pay for a two or three bed house per month?

  • This depends on your professional connection to KAUST. Ask your relocation coordinator for details.

  • Talal

    Hi claire,

    What resturants are there at KAUST, I’m moving to KAUST soon, and was wondering if there were 24 hour fast food there. I’m still deciding if I should move to KAUST or live outside it i’m afraid i will get bored there

  • Larry

    I’m moving to KAUST in 2 months and was wondering if I wanted to have my own bought bedroom could they remove the beds they have now? or do i have to use the beds? there are some things i want in the house and some things i don’t want.

    Also I wanted to know are there any townhouses with a garage in it or are they driveways only?

    Can i choose the location of the house? lets say if i wanted a house closer to the beach or facing the beach.

  • The campus dining hall is open 24 hours a day – with a limited selection of salad and sandwiches during off-peak hours. I think that’s the only place that’s open 24 hours though. You can take a look at the fast food options here: http://kcomm.wikispaces.com/Restaurants

  • Hi Larry,

    Yes – you can remove any furniture you like. There is a form to fill out to make it all official, and they will come collect the furniture you don’t want.

    None of the townhouses have garages.

    I don’t think you can choose the location of your house upon first arrival, but once you get here you can bid on a new house that more closely fits your needs. This can be a long process though as people who have been here longer have priority. BUT… I would still check with your relocation advisor about choosing the location. Maybe there is something you can do ahead of time.

    Good luck!

  • Larry

    So when you say bid what does that mean exactly? What they offered me is a 2 bedroom house, should i go for it and then ask for something else and wait till it becomes vacancy??

    Also do you think its worth living in KAUST (for work) or should i live out of kaust and drive down there . I dont want to get bored there and feel like I’m stuck in jail or something.

    Are you guys liking it so far?

  • Bidding is done by people who are already here to get a different house – for whatever reason. I believe the main factors that determine your priority are change in status or family size, job level, and length of time here. The normal process is for you to accept the house you’ve been assigned then upgrade once you’ve been here awhile. But, if you know you want something in particular it can’t hurt to ask! One thing to keep in mind though – when you view the house for the first time upon your arrival, make sure you are happy with it and there are not any major problems that need fixing before you accept/sign for it.

    Living at KAUST and living outside of KAUST are two very different experiences. We love living at KAUST, but some people love living outside of KAUST and commuting here. I suggest you do some research on life in Jeddah (or wherever you may commute from) to help you decide. We definitely don’t feel like we’re bored or stuck here, but that’s because we’ve made good friends and participate in many of the activities here. We also go in to Jeddah every few weeks and leave KSA completely every few months.

    Hope this helps!

  • Phillip

    I’m due to work in 1 month, was wondering would they give me the house right away? or will i need to be looking for a hotel?

    I asked the housing department they said they haven’t assigned a house for me yet and would take 2 to 3 weeks, I’m worried. Does this usually take this long?

    Also I wanted to know if they do give me the house right away will they give me time to move in and settle or do I have to start work the next day after I move in.

  • Larry

    Hey Claire,
    I wanted to ask you, when the housing department assigns me a house , will i be able to look at it before accepting it? or will they just assign it to me and its a take it or leave it.

    I don’t quite understand the process…they told me it will take 2 to 3 weeks till they assign me the house. They did show me a sample of how its going to look like but not the assigned one.

    Thanks a lot!!

  • Larry

    BTW my relocation coordinator isn’t very helpful at all.

  • Hi Phillip –

    I suggest you try to move on a Thursday (if you can) so you have the weekend to settle in as most people are expected to work the day after they get here. You’ll need to speak with your hiring manager or relocation advisor to discuss that expectation though.

    As for your house, you should be issued one upon your arrival. You do not need to look for a hotel. KAUST will ensure you have some place to stay – if not in your new house then somewhere else on campus until your house is ready. (but you can pretty safely expect that it will be your new house)

    One thing to learn about the culture here is that things just generally happen at the last minute. So the fact that they haven’t issued you a house 1 month before your arrival does not surprise me at all. The day we moved here a friend told us “things just have a way of working out”. Always ask questions and remind people when necessary, but trust that you’ll be taken care of.

    You can and should talk to your relocation advisor about this.

    Best wishes!

  • Hi Larry,

    Just keep asking questions – ask them in different ways – eventually you’ll get answers! The culture here shares information on a need to know basis, rather than a proactive one. If you explain why you need to know something you might get a bit further. Or if you remind someone that you’re waiting on an answer. It’s something that has taken me time to get used to.

    When you get here you will be taken to your new house. They will want you to sign something that says you have received the house and accept it. BEFORE you sign, have a look around. Look for anything that’s damaged or not working, ensure there is no mold or water marks on the walls or ceilings (especially around the ac vents), and make sure that things like pots and pans, kettle, and sheets and towels are provided.

    They should be able to show you the layout of your model house before you get here. So for instance when we moved we got a blueprint for a two-bedroom townhouse (they are all the same).

    Good luck!

  • Farnaz

    Hi Claire, I liked so much your words and the way you explained in details the little notch about the housing and the nice community at KAUST. My name is farnaz and I recently moved from Dubai with my newly born triplets ( almost 4 weeks ago ) and currently live in Jeddah with my husband who works for the airline but after seeing and hearing about KAUST , I can’t wait to move in and become an active member of this beautiful new community. our lease contract in Jeddah will finish the end of DEC this year and its the perfect time to move out to a better place. kindly advise on where would be the best place for us to lease a town house and whom we should contact to view and sign the contract. I highly appreciate your weblog.

  • Hi Farnaz – Thanks for your kind words and congrats on the babies!

    KAUST housing is only available for the people who work here. So unless you’re planning to get a job here I’m afraid that this will not be an option for you.

    Good luck finding a new place.

  • Tana

    Hie Claire
    I just wanted to find out if the rent includes general housekeeping like cleaning of the house every week. If not is there such help available in the compound and how much does one pay for?

  • There is this kind of help that you can get via the vendor Saudi Oger by calling 959 on your landline phone once you arrive. You can schedule cleans as frequently as you like. There are different packages you can get – 4 people for 1 hour or 2 people for 2 hours etc. They all cost different prices… Budget around 50-100 sar per clean depending on your house size and need.

  • Rizwan

    Hi Claire,
    I cant tell you that how much your blog is of a help to new people planning to relocate to KAUST.
    it is a huge help indeed.
    I have recently signed a Job contract with KAUST and my visa is undrer process. I would most likely be relocating to KAUST in 2-3 months
    I have gone through the details about the items available in house and have asked my Relocation advisor to provide me the Inventory list too.
    Just wanted to clarify that cutlery, pillows, blankets would be provided in beginning or not as i could not find them listed in Inventory list !!!


  • Hi Rizwan — thanks for the kind feedback. I’m so glad that my blog has been of help to you! Congrats on your new job here.

    You need to ask your relocation advisor specifically about what will be in your “soft-pack”. I believe that everyone still receives pillows, blankets, and towels for every room. Basic cutlery too. But.. these things change often so it’s definitely worth double checking!

  • Rosendo Bindoy

    Hi Claire,

    I just recently accept a job offer from KAUST and I think we are about to move in with 2-3 months. Your blog is actually giving us a good view on what can we expect on the house that KAUST will provide for us. I just want to ask if the house rent includes all the utilities bill (water, electricity, etc.). I have asked this to the HR personnel but I’m still waiting for her response.



  • Monica Hall

    Hi Claire,

    My family is moving to Kaust in July 2015, we will be working for the KAUST school. Your blog has been amazing and I am so glad I found it. We have two daughters and I cannot wait to move! I have quite a few questions I would like to ask you if you don’t mind. I think we will be assigned a 3 bedroom house, from your description of the 2 bedroom one they sound amazing! Do you know anything about the 3 bedroom ones?
    Do you know anyone who is leaving and looking at passing on a nanny? Both my husband and I will be working and I am quite worried about childcare. Any advice would be so appreciated.
    Thank you!

  • Claire

    Hi Monica, thanks for your kind words! The three bedroom houses come in 2 different forms – the townhouse and the detached. The 3br-detached is quite similar to the 2br-detached which I featured – just with an extra bedroom upstairs. The kitchen is a bit bigger as well. With the townhouse, you get a two-car garage. With the detached you get a single garage. I personally like the 3-br detached much better than the townhouse version.

    As for the nanny – they are always in short supply and I don’t know of anyone looking for work at the moment. I think you’ll need to come here and figure it out upon your arrival. You can always get saudi oger nannys for part-time work until you can get a full-time nanny. There is also a very good daycare and afterschool care for older kids.

    Hope this helps!

  • Claire

    Hi Rosendo – congrats on your job here! I’m glad that my blog gave you a good idea of what you can expect. The rent does include the utilities including water, electricity, and internet.

  • Keith

    Hi Claire
    thanks for your very useful post. I have a couple of questions please….
    1. I have a position working for saudi oger based at kaust in thuwal, do you know if i can rent an apartment in the kaust campus?
    2. I have a housing allowance to be paid after completion of my probation, if i dont spend all my allowance on the accommodation do i get the keep the difference?
    Thanks if you can help

  • Hi Keith – Thanks for your kind words! Congrats on your new job! What will you be doing here?

    You will need to talk to your employer about both of these questions. There are many Oger employees who do not qualify to live at KAUST and there is not an open rental agreement, it must be done through your employer (as far as I know).

  • keith

    Many thanks for the speedy reply and your congratulations Claire,
    I am going to be the Recreation Manager for SO Ltd. My accommodation allowance upon probationary completion is quite substantial but its just the first 3 months I am in the dark about. I am hoping to be based in the Kaust compound, if so, any idea what i can expect?

  • Oh! I am very excited to meet you, Keith – I didn’t realize you were the new recreation manager – thank you for saying so! I’m really glad you’re getting to know KAUST through by blog before you get here. I definitely think that as recreation manager you need to be a part of the community by living at kaust.

    Let me see if I understand what you’re saying?? You will be living at KAUST after the first 3 months but you are not sure where you will live during the probation period? I believe your best options in that case would be either the KAUST inn (which is very expensive) or the Bay La Sun at the economic city north of KAUST (which quite far for a long term situation).

    I’m going to send a friend an email to see if I can put you two in touch. He may know more about your situation than I do. I’ll keep you posted.

  • keith

    Thanks Claire,
    I am excited to meet you and everyone else there too! I am due to start there in early June (exact date tbc). Yes, you are correct, I think I am living in KAUST after 3 month probation, and may well be from the start but just waiting to hear back from Oger HR on this. Many thanks also for the alternative suggestions, the connection with your friend John and the kind offer mentioned in your personal email; that would be lovely.
    Speak soon no doubt

  • Hoang

    Hi Claire,

    Thank you so much for your blog! I just got an offer from KAUST and wonder if a family with 2 kids could still in a 2 bed room town house. For us, that’s huge already. Is there any choice other than living in a much-bigger house for an additional fee? Thanks.

  • As far as I know, you will need to be in a 3 or 4 bedroom house. You may have some lee-way based on availability of housing – but I believe the 2-bedroom houses are very popular, so that may not work for you! I encourage you to speak with your relocation advisor about your preference. You never know – it might work!

  • Hoang

    Thanks, Claire for your quick reply. I’ll speak to the relocation advior as you advised.
    Another question, should we bring books for kids (2nd grader) or is the library there already has a lot of them. Thanks.

  • The school has lots of good books which you can access and check out (if you are enrolled in the school). I always like to have my own books too though. I’d bring them if it was me, but maybe filter them just to bring the good ones!

  • Muhsina Abdul Gafoor

    Hey Claire… I’ve heard that the housing facility is for rent for the staff… Can u give me an idea about how much the rent is per month??? Thanks a bunch
    Great work on the blog

  • Rent differs in price based on: who your employer is (Kaust or a service provider) as well as your position within the university. I don’t know all of the different scenarios but your relocation advisor should be able to let you know the prices for your situation.

  • Suha Sayed Osman

    hi there
    we will soon be moving to kaust from uk,we have been offered the 4 bedrooms villa,i would like to know if i can choose the furniture or is it something standard and can’t be chosen ? also would like to know what are the needs sizes comparing to the bed sizes is uk?
    many thanks
    suha osman

  • Hi Suha, KAUST provides standard furniture in all accommodations. It’s pretty nice furniture, but there is no choice. That said, if you would like to buy different furniture, KAUST will collect the unused items at no cost.

    I don’t have a 4-bedroom but I assume that you’ll mostly have King and Queen size beds. Best to check with your relocation advisor on that though.

    Congrats on your upcoming move!

  • Sajid

    Hi Claire,
    We are shifting to KAUST for work. As we will work for another company. I just want to know that is there any room or studio available for rent at kaust?