Saudi Arabia to open Azulik AlUla, an otherworldly eco-resort in the desert

The luxury hideaway is set in an ancient valley and aims to bring sustainability and art together

Saudi Arabi'a Azulik AlUla Resort aims to combine art and sustainability in a unique landscape. Photo: Royal Commission for AlUla
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Saudi Arabia's newest luxury resort is a striking eco-chic hotel designed to bring together art and sustainability.

Tucked into canyons in AlUla's Nabataean Horizon District, Azulik AlUla Resort will connect travellers with the region's natural surrounds and human heritage.

Rising from the desert in peaks and mounds, the resort is located near Wadi AlFann, an ancient valley being developed to incorporate large-scale artworks against an age-old landscape.

Slated to open in 2027, Azulik AlUla has 76 luxury villas across six different standards, all of which will be set against an unobstructed backdrop of terracotta cliffs, towering dunes and ancient heritage sites.

The resort will also have a spa, welcome lounge and all-day dining restaurant. The Sfer Ik museum – a nature-inspired contemporary art space – will offer visitors a chance to see world-class art alongside AlUla's natural elements.

Guests staying at the retreat will have several opportunities to connect with the unique heritage of the region, including access to nearby ancient rock art inscriptions, which the resort will help to safeguard.

To ensure the surrounding lands are protected, no private cars will be allowed at Azulik AlUla and guests will instead travel around via an all-electric vehicles, or on horse or camel back.

Stunning hiking trails cut through the surrounding cliffs, allowing those who prefer to wander on foot plenty of opportunities to self-explore.

The Royal Commission for AlUla is developing the resort as part of the region's Journey Through Time master plan.

The property's flowing design is inspired by the natural ecosystems and towering sandstone cliffs in this part of the kingdom, and it will be constructed using local and natural materials. It will also make use of a natural system of existing waterways for irrigation and safeguarding against floods.

Designed in line with the AlUla Sustainability Charter, the resort will be constructed with the lowest possible environmental impact.

“As a Tribe, we feel honoured to bring Azulik's vision to AlUla. It is with gratitude and profound respect that we embark a journey into AlUla’s vibrant heritage and culture. Rooted in its unique natural landscape, we begin a project that is both close to our heart and our brand values. These are our first steps together and I’m confident we will walk a beautiful and exciting path,” said Eduardo Neira, chief executive and founder of Azulik.

As well as offering guests a unique place from where to explore the ancient lands of AlUla, the resort is expected to create more than 300 new jobs in the region.

Updated: May 23, 2023, 8:02 AM