- Chedi Hegra boutique hotel to open by Q4 2023 at UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra
- 2024 launch of Dar Tantora by The House Hotel eco-lodge in historic AlUla Old Town
- Further details revealed on Sharaan Resort designed by Jean Nouvel
The global heritage destination of AlUla has announced plans for three new luxury hotels, all of which highlight its beauty, variety, and rich history.
While each of the three properties embody premium hospitality combined with architectural integrity, the showstopper for many international luxury travellers and luminaries will undoubtedly be the eagerly anticipated Sharaan Resort, designed by Jean Nouvel. Sharaan Resort’s construction is inspired by the ancient techniques of the Nabataean inhabitants who crafted their monuments as integral to the local landscape more than 2,000 years ago. The Resort will have 53 keys, divided amongst suites, hospitality pavilions and villas built into the mountain of Sharaan Nature Reserve.
The second hotel is the Chedi Hegra that will be the first hotel to be located in Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. Set to welcome its inaugural guests by Q4 2023, the heritage boutique hotel will offer 35 guest rooms, each offering a distinct connection to Hegra’s monumental landscape.
With an opening slated for 2024, upscale eco-lodge Dar Tantora by The House Hotel is currently under construction in AlUla Old Town. AlUla is developing 30 guest rooms by restoring and repurposing historical mud-brick buildings using modern engineering in tandem with traditional materials and techniques.
Phillip Jones, Chief Tourism Officer at RCU, said: “With their combination of audacity, authenticity, sustainability and luxury, these hotels celebrate what makes AlUla a special destination for travellers seeking a distinct blend of comfort and adventure. Such sophisticated properties are intended to deepen the connection between guests and the extraordinary historic landscape of AlUla. These properties also move us nearer towards meeting our goal of 5,000 keys by 2030 to cater to our growing visitor numbers.”
The three hotels will provide roughly additional 120 keys and generate hundreds of jobs for the AlUla region. All of the hotels will emphasise sustainability in accordance with the AlUla Sustainability Charter, which guides the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in its regeneration of AlUla County in north-west KSA as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.
AlUla welcomed 185,000 visitors in 2022 and is forecasting 250,000 for 2023. By unlocking a swathe of opportunities for new employment and career paths for residents, the three properties are anticipated to make a significant contribution to the local economy and further the region’s goals for community development.
The three upcoming AlUla hotels – in detail
The Chedi Hegra:
The boutique hotel is being built directly into several of Hegra’s existing structures, including an old railway station and surrounding buildings such as Hegra Fort. Structural and exterior walls, some with historical mud-brick construction, are being preserved and integrated with modern architecture. The vast majority of the Hegra UNESCO World Heritage Site will remain untouched.
The Chedi Hegra will use local construction materials and work with local businesses and labour as much as possible. The hotel is expected to create at least 120 jobs once fully operational.
Guests will park their vehicles at the entrance and be escorted into the hotel premises on electric vehicles. They will find three fine-dining restaurants, a café, and a full-service spa and pool, with many of the buildings connected by an overhead art canopy that makes use of natural wind and light.
The property will be managed by GHM, the Singapore-based company that manages the Chedi brand.
Dar Tantora by The House Hotel:
Besides incorporating the mud-brick structures of AlUla Old Town, this eco-lodge will showcase AlUla Old Town as a vibrant cultural hub through its use of traditional décor, furniture and artistic treatments, along with storytelling elements that capture the area’s intangible heritage. Local artisans have been trained to take part in the restoration effort.
Amenities for guests will include a pool and spa, restaurant and café. The food and beverage facilities will use exclusively local ingredients and focus on the culinary traditions of AlUla.
These traditions, and RCU’s work to sustain them, received global recognition when the United Nations World Tourism Organisation designated AlUla Old Town as a “Best Tourism Village” for 2022.
The House Hotel is a brand of Dublin-based Kerten Hospitality.
The resort will feature 51 suites. A fine-dining restaurant will sit atop the mountain with panoramic views. A glass elevator will pass through the mountain, offering views of sedimentary layers and niches filled with art.
Inside an adjacent mountain, the international summit centre will host events and leaders from around the world. Its facilities will exist in a completely secure and private environment. The summit centre will have 13 hospitality pavilions.
Two villas nearby will complete the project with 53 total keys.
Sharaan Resort will work in harmony with its surroundings. Studies of the site have informed the design of passive strategies and natural geological heat transfer to cool the property in summer and provide warmth in winter. The project will aim for zero wastewater by using potable water only when needed and by recycling all treatable wastewater for irrigation and other purposes.