Ritz-Carlton Reserve takes shape in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea and guests expected in 2023

New photographs depict progression of the beach and overwater villas at the exclusive retreat on Ummahat Islands

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The first travellers to Saudi Arabia’s Ummahat Islands in the Red Sea are expected to be able to check-in next year.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve will open its doors on the low-lying islands and, judging by new pictures shared on social media, work on the luxury development is well under way.

Azure blue waters, untouched beaches and private villa structures are visible in the photographs, which depict progress at the archipelago in the west of the kingdom.

A sprawling circular extension, which will function as a walkway to the Ritz-Carlton's overwater villas, can also be seen taking shape in one of the aerial pictures.

John Pagano, chief executive of the Red Sea Development Company, shared the new images on Twitter writing, “Great progress at #TheRedSea's Ummahat islands where the overwater and beach villas of the 82-key Nujuma, a @RitzCarlton Reserve are shaping up nicely.”

He also confirmed that the first hotel guests will be able to check-in for stays next year.

The Ritz-Carlton Nujuma will join only five other Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the world, with the Saudi Arabian outpost being its sixth.

Nujuma 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.

A rendering of a villa at Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Photo: Marriott International

Blending indigenous design and highly personalised services, the ultra-exclusive hospitality brand by Marriott will combine luxury accommodation and service with a strong focus on regenerative tourism and an on-site conservation project.

The Red Sea island destination is expected to be completed by 2030, with phase one scheduled to open in 2023.

Consisting of 50 resorts, it will have nearly 8,000 hotel rooms spread across 22 islands.

Other luxury hotel brands headed to the destination include St Regis, Six Senses and Raffles, plus Jumeirah, one of the UAE's most popular hotel groups. Sixteen hotels are expected to open as the first phase of the project.

The destination is one of several giga-projects under way in Saudi Arabia with others including the futuristic mega city of Neom in the north-west and entertainment-centric Qiddiya on the outskirts of Riyadh.

Scroll the gallery below to see more of Saudi Arabia's megaprojects.

Updated: August 18, 2022, 10:49 AM
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