Hotel

Stephen Bailey
New Luxury Eco Hotel Set to Wows Visitors to Saudi Arabia
New Luxury Eco Hotel Set to Wows Visitors to Saudi Arabia
Stephen Bailey

Saudi Arabia is slowly blossoming as a tourist destination. The country is keen to throw off stereotypes and was recently headline sponsor of the world’s biggest travel trade show, WTM. Taking inspiration from nearby Dubai, Saudi Arabia aims to generate 10% of GDP from tourism by 2030. 

But where do you go in Saudi Arabia? And will Saudi Arabia ever be a relevant travel destination for Europeans? A new eco-hotel development Habitas Alula is hoping to change perceptions.

Central to the Saudi tourism plan is the destination of Alula, a desert landscape packed with unusual natural rock formations and a number of historic sites. These include the country’s first World Heritage Site, the Nabataean tombs of Hegra, along with the old town of Alula. 

Habitas AIula is the first luxury hotel to open in the region. Located in the Ashar Valley, all the hotel’s rooms are located on the ground level, with views into a red canyon. Privacy is paramount and each room has a private terrace with its own view onto the desert and nighttime sky. 

Some rooms also have telescopes, while tea ceremonies and small-scale traditional music evenings are other things to do after sunset. As with most new development in Saudi Arabia, the hotel design is a flashy and modern take on “traditional.”

Impressively for the oil-rich state, Habitas Alula is designed around sustainability principles and is very eco-friendly, almost net-zero hotel, even if an infinity pool overlooking the valley may suggest otherwise. Guests travel around the resort on electric carts and there’s an emphasis on slow exploration of the region. 

Habitas Alula opens in October and is located around 300 kilometres from the city of Medina. Initially it’s expected to focus on the Arab travel market, but as more projects like this are realised across the country, Saudi Arabia may become a travel destination for Europeans in the coming years. 

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