Designs revealed for Saudi Arabia's Envi eco-lodge opening at Unesco-listed Al Ahsa

Envi Al Nakheel Lodge will offer guests a place to stay in nature, sleeping in eco-pods and swimming in a palm tree-lined pool

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Travellers heading to Saudi Arabia will soon have a new place to stay that minimises the environmental impact of their trip.

Envi Al Nakheel Lodge is set to open at the kingdom’s Unesco-listed Al Ahsa next year.

The first of three eco-lodges in the largest self-contained oasis in the world, the upscale resort will have 25 eco-pods, with the option of one or two-bedrooms. Surrounded by nature, it will offer farm-to-table dining, a wellness sanctuary, swimming pool and a well-equipped kids club.

Designed by Fractal Architecture and Design in Thailand, Envi Al Nakheel Lodge uses inspiration from the surrounding landscape to create a calming location. The region is famed for its 2.5 million date-palm-tree oasis and guests will see patterns inspired by the trees' trunk, fronds and leaves.

The buildings have also been designed to imitate the palm tree – with structural elements reaching upward and outward, similar to the branches of the indigenous trees.

Other design inspiration comes from the traditional mud-brick homes that are typical to Al Ahsa. The eco-pods are being constructed using a material that mixes mud and straw to provide a delicate, textured finish.

“Our debut project, Envi Al Nakheel … demonstrates our steadfast commitment to sustainability, with each eco-lodge inspired by the location and built with local and sustainable materials that mitigate damage to the environment,” said Noelle Homsy, co-founder of Envi Lodges.

“We seek to champion a new way of travelling, where the real luxury for guests is in knowing their stay has considered protection of wildlife, the mindful use of resources, and support for local communities.”

Each lodge at the Saudi Arabian hideaway incorporates sustainable building practices and organic materials from the local setting, such as palm leaves, bark and locally derived paint and texture finishes.

Envi Lodges also plans to open two other eco-lodges in Al Ahsa. Each will have their own identity and concept, but will be within travelling distance of one another so that visitors can stay at more than one property during a trip to the desert oasis.

Al Ahsa is one of several destinations in Saudi Arabia that has been targeted for tourism development. Rich in archaeological features that show evidence of human settlement since the Neolithic area, it was Saudi Arabia’s first site to be registered on the Unesco World Heritage list.

Updated: June 22, 2023, 11:03 AM