Eco-friendly luxury has been the dominant message from Saudi Arabia, as it seeks to expand its tourism industry. This is evident at AlUla, a Nabataean-era destination that's home to Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site; mud-brick buildings dating back to the 12th century; and near-vertical sandstone cliffs.
And now, the equally dramatic Neom is following suit.
At a press conference held in the metaverse today, Chris Newman, Executive Director of the Neom Hotel Division, announced that the Habitas group would oversee the operations of three hotels in Neom's Leyja sector. With just 140 keys among them, the trio of hotels are named Home of Adventure, Oasis and Home of Wellness. Habitas already operates a five-star resort in Saudi Arabia's Ashar Valley.
Set to open in 2028, the hotels will be “gently placed” into the landscape, said Jeremy Lester, Neom's executive director of Gulf of Aqaba. This is keeping with the Neom team's intention to preserve 95 per cent of Leyja, with the construction and design blending into the landscape with minimal interference.
“Human connection lies at the core of our ethos and guests will be invited to embark on their own transformative journey,” said Oliver Ripley, Habitas co-founder and chief executive. “This will begin with a welcome ceremony where they can set their intentions.”
Newman adds: “We want to make guests part of the journey such that they can measure their own carbon footprint while in Leyja.”
Conscientious construction aside, all three hotels will also use the dramatic wadi to gorgeous effect in their design, in the views each room is afforded and via the adventure, wellness and leisure activities on offer. Think watersports in the undiscovered waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, flanked by the valley carved between 400-metre-high mountains.