AlUla’s Aman resorts will be first of their kind in Mideast

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Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al-Saud signs the agreement with Aman CEO Vladislav Doronin on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 07 August 2019

AlUla’s Aman resorts will be first of their kind in Mideast

  • The new resorts hope to be an attractive destination for residents of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and the growing number of tourists from around the world

JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced a partnership with renowned hotel and resort brand Aman.
Culture Minister and RCU Gov. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al-Saud signed the agreement with Aman Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin on Monday. The partnership covers the development of the first three Aman resorts in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Prince Badr said that Aman’s decision to base its first Middle Eastern property in AlUla “shows the promise and progress of the vision for AlUla to become a worldwide destination for those seeking unique experiences. I believe this partnership will be the next step in the development of the yet-to-be-discovered masterpiece that is AlUla.”
Doronin was also enthused by the partnership. He said: “Many of our existing Aman destinations are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty and rich history. With the addition of spectacular AlUla, this takes us to 10 properties situated near or in UNESCO heritage sites, making it a fitting location for our first destination in the Middle East.”
The RCU told Arab News about the new elements Aman is bringing into the Kingdom that differentiates it from other brands. It said: “Aman is an experiential brand capturing the imagination of the global travel cognoscenti. They have an innovative approach where the experience of guests takes center stage in places that are off the beaten track.
“Aman works in a way of making visitors ‘get under the skin’ of their destination and learn about it in a personal, authentic way that doesn’t feel staged.”
The new resorts hope to be an attractive destination for residents of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and the growing number of tourists from around the world.
“Our partnership with Aman will put the world on notice that we are open for business and help to encourage other global brands to partner with us,” the RCU said.
The first Aman property will be a spa resort with 30 luxury tents, situated within a serene and secluded mountain valley, close to many cultural and heritage areas in AlUla.
The second resort will be developed in an area that uncovers AlUla’s splendor and nature, strengthened with the hotel brand’s commitment to create an unparalleled experience to its guests in awe-inspiring locations.
Its third resort will explore a desert ranch with panoramic views of AlUla’s beautiful nature.
The design work on the three resorts is set to begin in the coming months, and they will welcome their first guests by 2023. 
The partnership falls in line with the RCU’s strategic plan to expand tourism in AlUla by welcoming top hotel operators, developers, investors and other business opportunities that will transform it into a destination for visitors from around the globe.


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”