For its Middle Eastern debut, luxury hotel group Aman has chosen to open three resorts in Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary Al Ula region. The partnership deal between the Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU) and the Singapore-based hotel and resort brand will undoubtedly help to boost tourism to the spectacular region that’s surrounded by heritage sites.
Commenting on the agreement, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture, said, "The decision by Aman to open its first resorts in the Middle East in Al- Ula shows the promise and progress of the vision for Al-Ula to become a worldwide destination for those seeking unique experiences.” Al Saud, who is also the Governor of the RCU, which was created to establish Al-Ula as a new destination as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to boost tourism, also said, “This partnership will be the next step in the development of the yet to be discovered masterpiece that is Al-Ula."
Each of the properties, which will start welcoming guests in 2023, will offer amazing architecture as well as the high levels of luxury and refined guest experience Aman is renowned for. While one resort will be a luxury tented camp, another will be close to Al-Ula’s outstanding heritage areas. Meanwhile, the third resort is to be designed in an exceptional desert ranch style. And the RCU has set strict eco-tourism restrictions to be observed while building goes on in each of the resorts in a bid to protect the region.
Vladislav Doronin, Chairman and CEO of Aman, said: “Many of our existing Aman destinations are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty and rich history. With the addition of spectacular Al-Ula, this takes us to 10 properties situated near or in UNESCO heritage sites, making it a fitting location for our first destination in the Middle East.” He also said: “Aman is committed to preserving this archeological wonder with our resorts that will blend into the dramatic surroundings. As part of Aman’s pathfinder spirit, we have a continued mission to not only curate resorts of architectural distinction, but to seek out and introduce our guests to new destinations and experiences.”
The significant partnership is part of RCU’s plan to see Al-Ula as a top tourism destination for international visitors and attract more hotels and investors. Such new openings create new career opportunities for the local community, including young Saudis being trained by some of the most famous names in hospitality. This is the second weighty international resort development for the Al-Ula region following Jean Nouvel’s Sharaan Nature Reserve. The French Pritzker Prize-winning French architect, who designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, is designing a 925-square kilometre reserve that will “highlight the rocky landscape” and “reestablish the diversity of the region’s once-rich desert plant life,” according to Middle East Architect.
About Al Ula
Found in northwestern Saudi Arabia, Al-Ula, which stretches across 22,561 square kilometres, has one of the Kingdom’s most captivating landscapes. Whether it’s the oasis valleys, towering sandstone mountains or ancient cultural sites that date back thousands of years, it’s a must-visit for any culture vulture.
The area is also home to the ancient city of Hegra, the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the country. The village, that’s about half a square kilometre, used to be the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom. Visitors are able to see over 100 well-preserved tombs with elaborate facades cut from sandstone outcrops. Plus, there’s a settlement dating to the 2nd century BCE.