Seven remarkable hotels to open in Saudi Arabia soon

From palatial stays to adventures on oil rigs, the kingdom's hospitality offering will be extremely diverse

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A flurry of openings over the next two years will increase Saudi Arabia's hotel-room count exponentially.

From luxury island resorts on the Red Sea to converted palaces in the country's biggest cities and a Jean Nouvel-designed resort that captures AlUla's natural grandeur, here are some of the most remarkable properties being developed in the kingdom.

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

When it opens in 2023, Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will form part of The Red Sea project. Photo: Marriott International

There are currently only five Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotels around the world — and Saudi Arabia will be home to the sixth. Marriott International has announced it will be bringing the ultra-exclusive hospitality brand to the kingdom’s Red Sea in 2023. Other Reserve properties are currently found in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will be located on a collection of pristine private islands in the Red Sea’s Blue Hole atoll, which forms part of the The Red Sea Project, a mega-development taking shape off the west coast of the country.

Blending indigenous design and highly personalised services, Nujuma will feature 63 one to four-bedroom water and beach villas, complemented by a spa, swimming pools, several culinary venues, a retail area and a range of other leisure facilities, including a conservation centre. The property will also offer 18 Ritz-Carlton Reserve-branded residences.

Miraval The Red Sea

Miraval The Red Sea will have the largest spa in the region, with 39 treatment rooms and about 4,000 square metres of space. Photo: Hyatt

Hyatt has revealed that its first Miraval property outside of the US will be located within Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project. Located on Shaura Island, the resort will feature a 4,000-square-metre spa — the largest in the Red Sea region — with 39 treatment rooms, a network of walking trails and temperature-controlled swimming pools with views over the ocean.

The 180-room resort includes 20 private villas and is spread over 310,000-square-metres. It is being designed by British architects Foster+Partners. The high-end luxury wellness resort will open as part of phase one of the Red Sea project, which is expected to be up and running by the end of 2023.

The boutique wellness resort will join Hyatt's three existing Miraval properties in Austin, Arizona and Massachusetts.

Armani Hotel, Diriyah

Riyadh’s Diriyah will be home to an Armani hotel. Photo: SPA

Saudi Arabia’s historic city of Diriyah will be home to an Armani Hotel. This will be only the third Armani-branded property in the world and will be managed by Dubai's Emaar Hospitality Group.

Overlooking Diriyah's retail district, the property will offer 70 rooms and two restaurants. Suites will have their own swimming pools and spa facilities. The property will also be connected to 18 Armani-branded residences — designed and furnished by Giorgio himself — with spacious interiors, outdoor pools and landscaped terraces and rooftops.

As part of plans to develop the area into a leading historic tourism destination, 11 square kilometres of Diriyah are being regenerated into a mixed-use urban community, embracing the Najdi architectural style typical of traditional Saudi villages.

Led by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the project, which is located minutes from Riyadh, will include cultural institutions and museums, galleries, restaurants, luxury retail, public squares, hotels, recreational spaces, residences, educational institutions and offices.

The Red Palace

A rendering of the new hotel to open in the Red Palace in Riyadh. Photo: PFI

Launched earlier this year, the Boutique Group is planning to transform some of the kingdom's most prominent palaces into opulent hotels that convey a “story of heritage and hospitality”.

Among these is the Red Palace in Riyadh’s Al Fouta neighbourhood, which was completed in 1944 for Crown Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz, who reigned from 1953 to 1964.

The 16-suite palace was the first reinforced concrete and steel building in the capital and was the royal residence for many years. After King Saud’s move to Al-Nasriya Palace in 1953, the Red Palace became the office of the Saudi Council of Ministers office and subsequently the Board of Grievances, until 1987.

It will now be converted into a boutique 71-key hotel with 46 luxury suites and 25 guest rooms.

Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotel

Exceptional spatial and lighting concepts will give Saudi Arabia’s Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotel a futuristic vibe. Photo: Saudi Tourism Development Fund

The Middle East’s first Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotel will be in Saudi Arabia, although it has yet to be confirmed where in the country it will be located.

The car brand announced it would launch the luxury hotel in the kingdom as part of a new partnership between Deutsche Hospitality and the Porsche Design Group.

The property will fuse design, technology and high-end hospitality and offer each guest an “individualised journey”. Facilities will include a high-end restaurant and bar, and a state-of-the art health and fitness facility spanning more than 1,000 square metres.

Sharaan by Jean Nouvel

The resort's distinctive views. Photo: Jean Nouvel

One of the most remarkable hotels set to open in Saudi Arabia is Sharaan by Jean Nouvel. The French architect’s designs for the property in AlUla draw on the nearby Nabataean wonders of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, and pay tribute to a unique 2,000-year-old architectural heritage.

The 40-key resort will be located in a valley within Saudi’s Sharaan Nature Reserve, which was chosen for its dramatic cliffs, rocky plateaus and spectacular sand dunes. Consisting of guest suites, tented pavilions and resort villas, as well as restaurants and a large spa, the property is scheduled for completion in 2023.

At the heart of the design is a hollow sphere that opens to the sky and creates a kind of internal patio, with views that extend out towards the resort’s lobbies and rooms.

The Rig

A proposed 800-room resort on an oil rig platform is among Saudi Arabia’s more unusual hotel projects. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has unveiled plans for a tourist attraction called The Rig — a series of connected platforms that span 150,000 square metres.

“This is no theme park — it’s an extreme park” reads The Rig’s website, which promises to offer a “state-of-the-sport platform” combined with world-famous Saudi hospitality.

From base and bungee diving to undersea dining, The Rig will be the site of a series of extreme sports, as well as three hotels, 11 restaurants and live shows. It is due to start welcoming adrenalin-fuelled guests this year.

Updated: May 26, 2022, 8:25 AM