It's all happening in Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea development, one of the kingdom's many ongoing megaprojects, has launched its first flights to Riyadh.
They connect the new Red Sea International Airport with the capital. Located on the country's west coast, the development is one of the world's most ambitious regenerative tourism projects, spanning more than 28,000 square kilometres of land, including an archipelago of more than 90 islands.
The destination is rapidly taking shape and some of the project's upscale hotels, including an eco-friendly resort carved into the mountains and futuristic overwater villas with views to rival the Maldives, are now taking bookings.
|The inaugural flight to Red Sea International Airport recently touched down. Photo: Red Sea Global|
This includes Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, which will be the first to open with stays from December 1. With the Hijaz Mountains as a backdrop, this luxury resort pays homage to Nabataean architecture and its desert surroundings while retaining its trademark wellness approach.
The openings of The St Regis Red Sea Resort and Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve are also part of phase one. When it's finished in 2030, the project will have 50 resorts and 8,000 hotel rooms spread over 22 islands and six inland sites.
From one megaproject to another, it was also announced this week that W Hotels will be opening its first resort in Saudi Arabia. It will be developed in the snow-capped mountain destination Trojena in Neom, the $500 billion futuristic megacity being built in Tabuk. Several other hotel groups have already announced plans to open in Neom, including Minor Hotels, Four Seasons, Ennismore, Collective Retreats and GHM Hotels.
Like I said, it's all happening in Saudi Arabia.
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The National Travel desk
DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: Venice
|The colourful lagoon island of Burano is a magnet for day-trippers from Venice. Photo: Mattia Mionetto|
As Venice narrowly escapes being placed on Unesco's World Heritage in Danger list, John Brunton asks how you can travel to Italy's floating city responsibly. The answer, he says, is by not staying in the historic centre, but finding less-crowded destinations on the outskirts. He discovers three alternatives – a renovated fisherman's house, an eco-friendly camping site and an opulent glamping hideaway – that are close enough to Venice so you don't miss out and are worth every euro.
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