Following the establishment of sustainable retreats in Bacalar, Namibia, and Tulum, Meixco, Habitas has recently opened a 96-room resort in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia. On-site are a range of exclusive villas, a swimming pool, fitness center, yoga deck, and restaurant.
As Habitas’ first foray into the Middle East, the selection of Al Ula as the site for this resort is intriguing. Moreover, it speaks volumes about Saudi Arabia’s appeal as a viable tourism destination, something that the kingdom has been working to promote in recent years.
In addition to serving as an exclusive hotel, the Habitas resort in Al Ula screens weekly films from its outdoor cinema, aiming to reflect the charm and individuality of the local customs and traditions of the area. Tourists who visit the resort are also welcome to explore the ruins of a local Nabatean city, which further adds to the cultural allure of the experience.
Located in the Ashar Valley, the rooms at Habitas Al Ula are tastefully decorated to mimic the unique natural surroundings and have been constructed using ethically sourced organic materials from the locale. The resort fits seamlessly into the desert surroundings while providing exceptional luxury without compromising on the delicate aesthetics of the broad desert landscape.
The entire resort is designed around music, adventure, culture, learning, food, and wellness, ensuring visitors enjoy much more than a stereotypical desert retreat during their stay. Instead, tourists who make it to Al Ula will be exposed to a unique experience that will enhance their understanding of this under-explored part of the world.
According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is seeking to welcome more than 50 million visitors in 2022. And while the kingdom has hosted religious visitors for thousands of years, the establishment of luxury resorts like Habitas is an attempt to attract a broader spectrum of international tourists, as Saudi Arabia has so much to offer from a culture and tourism perspective.
Following Habitas into the Ashar Valley will be Banyan Tree, which is seeking to open a new resort at the former site of the original Ashar Resort. In the coming years, Janu and Sharman will also open their doors in the region, due to the huge potential of the Saudi tourism industry.
Given the success of the neighboring United Arab Emirates in transforming its image to appeal to tourists from all over the world, it will be interesting to see whether this re-branding of Saudi Arabia will enable the kingdom to welcome more tourists every year.
One thing is for sure – the Habitas resort in Al Ula certainly won’t be the last exclusive tourism venue in the country, and there’s undoubtedly more to come regarding the development of the exquisite Ashar Valley.