Beyond Oil: Saudi Arabia’s Grand Transformation Into A Global Hospitality Hub

Saudi Arabia is flourishing in the world of hospitability, opening an unprecedented number of new, ultra-modern hotels that defy expectations in terms of architecture and technology.

It’s all in flow with its current plan to transition from an oil-based to a tourist economy. The country isn’t just creating new hotels; it’s doing so strategically by offering stays with a wide range of price points and styles, from futuristic to cultural.

A Futuristic Dive

When it comes to the futuristic world, Saudi Arabia has many plans in store. Just taking a look at their up-and-coming 26,500 square kilometers futuristic city known as NEOM, multiple hotels are already planned to open across NEOM’s 10 regions:

NEOM’s Siranna

Only accessible by watercraft is Siranna, a hotel that’ll be made into a tower boasting massive hexagonal pillars surrounded by lush greenery. It’ll sit on a secluded spot on the Gulf of Aqaba coastline in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia.

Exuding luxury, the hotel is all about bringing comfort to its guests through its many facilities, including a beach club, spas, wellness facilities, as well as activities like horseback riding and nature walks.

Via Dezeen

NEOM’s Aquellem

Described as an “experiential space embedded within the mountains,” NEOM’s Aquellem is a hotel that’ll literally be hidden within a 450-meter-high mountain. Giving guests the feel of being in a spy movie, accessing the hotel requires a boat ride through an underground canal to enter its interiors.

Once inside, they’ll get to navigate through a 100-meter-high vertical experience of interconnected social spaces, hospitality, immersive arts, events, shopping, and dining.

Placing Heritage At The Forefront

Besides NEOM, the country is also creating hotels by making use of Saudi Arabia’s natural desert environment. That’s why some of their projects include hotels inspired by the heritage and culture of the country itself:

Six Senses Southern Dunes – The Red Sea

Along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast are going to be a collection of hotels that’ll make use of the surrounding sea and desert landscape, all falling under “The Red Sea” project.

One of these hotels is Six Sense Southern Dunes, which sits in the midst of a remote desert environment. The entire hotel pays homage to the Nabataean heritage of the desert surroundings through its tent-like accommodation offering a way to escape the bustle of daily life.

Our Habitas AlUla

Exuding Bedouin culture with a modern flair is Our Habitas AlUla, which is nestled in the Ashar Valley and surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes. It boasts simple and modern architecture of tent-like spaces, focusing more on the surrounding landscape to make guests feel like they’re truly living within a desert.

Mid-Market & Affordable

While luxury stands as a major element in most of Saudi Arabia’s new hotels, the country aims to expand its guest base by developing several new mid-market affordable hotels.

John Pagano, the CEO behind Red Sea Global (RSG) group, the global multi-project development group in Saudi Arabia behind projects like Six Senses Southern Dunes, said they’ll focus on 3-star hotels offered in bigger sized spaces.

All these hotels are planned to open up in the South of The Red Sea, close to Jeddah.

What Does This All Mean?

All these steps taken to bolster and redefine hospitality experiences in the kingdom are in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

For some time now, the kingdom has been making a major shift to becoming a tourist economy. In addition to boosting its hotels, Saudi Arabia has flourished its entertainment sector by opening up movie theaters, theme parks, live mega-events, and much more.

In just the first quarter of 2023, the country managed to triple its tourism revenue, reaching 9.9 billion dollars. Through time, it’ll become a prime tourist destination with people from all over the world flocking to experience its evolution in architecture, hospitality, and tourism.

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