Saudi Arabia’s Alula previews eight-strong hotel pipeline

Pictured: rendering of Autograph Collection by Marriott Alula.
Alula, the historic city in Saudi Arabia’s northwest, has outlined it is expecting to welcome eight major new hotels and resorts in the coming years.

Two sites will open next year, another four will follow from 2025 and a further duo are due to complete in 2027.

Immediate openings

In early 2024, the first upcoming Alula hotel openings will comprise Dar Tantora and Hegra Boutique Hotel.

Dar Tantora is an upscale eco-lodge launched by The House Hotel in historic Alula Old Town. A total of 30 guestrooms are being created by restoring and repurposing historical mud-brick buildings using modern engineering in tandem with traditional materials and techniques for an authentic experience,  fusing heritage and contemporary comfort.

The other immediate site, Hegra Boutique Hotel, will be the first hotel located at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. Set to welcome its inaugural guests by Q1 2024, the heritage boutique hotel will offer 35 guestrooms, each offering a distinct connection to Hegra’s monumental landscape. The hotel will occupy several existing structures, including an old railway station, Hegra Fort, and other surrounding buildings. Each of the hotel’s three restaurants will offer a unique dining experience.

2025’s additions

2025 will see Autograph Collection hotel The Bethesda opening, following a recent agreement between Marriott International and Alula Development Company. The brand’s regional debut will be situated in central alula, adjacent to Alula Museum and opposite the Alula Farmer’s Market. Plans for the hotel include 250 rooms and suites, and extensive recreational and entertainment offerings including four dining venues, a spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, business centre, meeting facilities and retail space.

Then from 2025 onwards, Aman Hotels International will create three new resorts, including Sharaan Natural Reserve Resort and the 250-key Janu Alula. Construction has already begun on Sharaan Resort and International Summit Centre, a global architectural landmark designed by Jean Nouvel. Carved into the sandstone cliffs of Alula, Sharaan’s construction is inspired by the ancient techniques of the Nabataean inhabitants who crafted their monuments as integral to the local landscape more than 2,000 years ago. It will house 51 suites, hospitality pavilions and two villas.

Ecoluxury in 2027

Ecoluxury looks to be the focus for 2027’s new resorts, with IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Six Senses Alula on the slate. Thanks to a management agreement with Alula Development Company, Six Senses’ new outpost will span across 1,200,000 sq m in a natural oasis surrounded by palm groves, overshadowed by red-sandstone cliffs. It will feature 100 guest villas and 25 residences, designed to integrate with Alula’s natural landscape.

The ecoluxury theme continues with Azulik Alula Resort, the other property slated to launch in 2027. Creating a connection with Alula’s heritage and the area’s ecology, the resort will protect and incorporate nearby ancient rock art inscriptions. It will be made up of 76 luxury villas of six varieties.