A series of hotel launches are expected on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia over the next three years. These recently revealed hotel openings are spread over three Saudi giga-projects, namely, NEOM, Red Sea Project, and Amaala.
In late May, the futuristic NEOM city revealed that the project’s first hotel will be inaugurated by the end of 2022. Another 15 hotels are planned to be opened during 2023-2025 in NEOM.
NEOM tourism chief Andrew McEvoy has told The National that NEOM is currently in negotiations with renowned hotel brands including IHG, Hilton and Accor.
He revealed that NEOM increased its working progress during the coronavirus pandemic, explaining that there’s a lot of construction going on and that 10 of NEOM’s 39 islands are being developed and are on track to launch.
NEOM is planning to welcome between 20,000 to 50,000 visitors in 2022, which are expected to rise to 1 million in 2025 and 5 million by 2030, according to McEvoy.
Accordingly, NEOM will need a large amount of hotel room keys, he explained, as the mega-city is not just a beach destination, but it will be a part of a visitor economy, incorporating visitors who plan to take an adventure trip or a holiday.
NEOM is one of the major projects that the Kingdom included in the Saudi 2030 Vision, along with several other destinations and attraction such as the Red Sea Project, Amalaa, Qiddiya, and AlUla.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project: A sanctuary offering indulgent experiences
The first hotel is expected to commence delivery on 1 July 2021, according to The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) CEO John Pagano.
He recently told Zawya that the site will also contain a desert resort, revealing that Phase 1 of the Red Sea Project, which is being built on Shurayrah Island, will feature 11 hotels and a golf course.
To date, TRSDC has allocated SAR 15 billion ($4 billion) to construction and an additional SAR 20 billion ($5.3 billion are expected to follow.
According to Pagano, another 3 new hotels will commence delivery in Red Sea Project in 2022, followed by another 13 hotels in 2023, those 16 hotels will provide around 3,000 hotel keys.
He added that two of the three hotels are already under construction and the developer is using off-site manufacturing techniques wherever possible.
According to the company’s press statements, The Red Sea Project has already passed major milestones and work is on track to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022 when the international airport and the first hotels will open. Phase one, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete in 2023.
Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities.
The Red Sea Project is being developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands. The destination also features sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient culture and heritage sites. It is designed to include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and reuse, as well as a circular waste management system to achieve zero waste to landfill.
The Red Sea Project is being created as a unique, luxury tourism destination that will embrace nature, culture and adventure, setting new standards in sustainable development and positioning Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.
The destination is rich in culture and tradition. Visitors will have a wealth of opportunities to explore the history of the region and experience first-hand the fabled hospitality and fascinating culture of Saudi Arabia.
A special emphasis on environmental sustainability will ensure that the natural beauty of the Red Sea Project will engage and excite visitors for generations to come.
A sanctuary offering indulgent experiences, seamlessly customized to the unique needs of each visitor. Extending over 28,000 square kilometres on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, the Red Sea Project will offer a uniquely diverse range of experiences, from island getaways to resort holidays, mountain retreats and desert adventures.
The 90-plus pristine islands are a haven of natural beauty, 75% of the islands will remain undeveloped and nine have been designated as areas of special conservation interest.
Moreover, the Red Sea Project inland natural features including volcanic craters and mountain ranges. It also features desert petroglyphs, archaeological treasures and heritage spice trails.
It is also near to a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Harrat Lunayyir – a volcanic field with mineral-rich soils and clays.
The old trading routes date back to the Nabatean civilization, reflecting the history of the region as part of the Incense Trail and the maritime spice route.
Another notable feature of the Red Sea Project’s location is its position on the pilgrimage route from Egypt to the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah. Within a walking distance, visitors can explore the ancient traders and the relics left behind.
The Nabatean city of Mada’in Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is close to the Red Sea Project, ideally placed for fascinating excursions.
Nevertheless, the Hijaz Mountains and the Red Sea are home to an abundance of flora and fauna including rare species such as dugongs, wildcats and green and hawksbill turtles. The Red Sea Project lagoon contains 175 different species of coral and 195 species of fish, while endangered sea birds such as the sooty falcon and crab plover populate the skies.
According to the company, preservation of these habitats and species is central to the Red Sea Project development, as 75% of the islands will be left untouched with nine designated as special conservation zones.
Amaalaa: A year-round destination focusing on transformative personal journeys
Moving to the Amaala project, the first phase includes 6 hotels with 1,000 keys, as well as a huge marina and golf course, that are expected to be delivered in 2024.
According to the company’s website, the project focuses on transformative personal journeys inspired by wellness, arts, culture, and the purity of the Red Sea.
In a press statement, the company CEO Pagano revealed that they will bring the project up to speed to reach the planned milestones.
Amaala, which spans over a total of 4,155 square kilometres is envisaged to become a year-round destination. It will feature 30-35 hotels with more than 3,000 keys.
Nevertheless, Amaala will feature more than 900 residential units, including villa and apartments, as well as 200 retail establishments, fine dining, wellness and recreational facilities.
In May, the company’s CEO told Bloomberg that Amaala may raise up to SAR 10 billion ($2.7 billion) in 2022.
The company which is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) recently announced that it has contracted several Saudi companies including Al-Tamimi Group, HASCO and Saudi Real Estate (Binyah) to do the construction works.
According to the company’s website, Amaala features an integrated approach to health and wellbeing and is centred around the three pillars of wellness and sports, arts and culture, and sea, sun and lifestyle. The 4,155-square kilometre destination inhabits the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Natural Reserve on the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea.
This spectacular setting will encompass: Triple Bay, a sports and wellness community; The Coastal Development, set to offer a year-round artistic programme; and The Island, an artists’ community and hub of creativity.
Triple Bay spreads over 11.3 square kilometres, featuring 15 hotels, 529 residential units, and a total of 1,475 hospitality keys. It is set against a backdrop of imposing mountains and sparkling seas – and running alongside a coastline of beautiful coves – this seascape will offer one of the world’s most exclusive wellness retreats.
Triple Bay will be supported by world-class luxury resorts, recreational activities, a sports performance academy and active sports club facilities including equestrian, polo, camel racing, falconry, golf and tennis.
While The Coastal Development extends over 7 square kilometres, with 6 hotels, 200 residential units and a total of 925 keys.
It is designed to play host to a dynamic programme of exciting events from the global arts and cultural calendar, this coastline will be a gathering place for a community of influencers and connoisseurs,
featuring a contemporary art museum and cultural district. it is set to become the epicentre of the arts in the Middle East.
Finally, The Island has an area of 5.5 square kilometres, featuring 5 hotels and 205 units, with 400 keys in total. Once completed The Island shall become one of the world’s most exclusive enclaves offering exquisitely designed Arabic botanical gardens showcasing works of art and sculpture, with elegant private villas surrounded by breath-taking landscapes.
Anchored by an artists’ village of working studios, artisan shops, exhibit and performance facilities, The Village shall host an active arts community supported by uber-luxury beachfront resorts and marinas transforming The Island into a stunning sea treasure.