The incredible plan to create the largest public park in the world at the heart of Riyadh

The incredible plan to create the largest  public park in the world at the heart of Riyadh
A key aspect of the park’s design is its location, which was carefully chosen to make it as accessible as possible to the entire population of the city. (KSP website)
Updated 21 March 2019

The incredible plan to create the largest public park in the world at the heart of Riyadh

The incredible plan to create the largest  public park in the world at the heart of Riyadh
  • King Salman Park will be five times larger than London’s Hyde Park

RIYADH: As revealed on Wednesday by Arab News, ambitious plans have been unveiled in Riyadh for the largest city park in the world. King Salman Park is part of a $23 billion project to create vast open green spaces in the Saudi capital that will create sustainable communities, drive action against climate change and provide up to 70,000 new jobs.

At 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be five times larger than London’s Hyde Park and four times larger than Central Park in New York. It aims to become a one-of-a-kind destination, with more than 160 features and attractions covering art, culture, sport and entertainment. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The architecturally beautiful yet practical and sustainable project is more like a mini city than a park. It will have open green spaces covering 9.3 million square meters in total, split into smaller areas of up to 400,000 square meters each, along with about 300,000 square meters of water features. Connecting it all will be a 7.2 km circular pathway.

World-class athletic and sports facilities are core elements of the park, including an international-standard 18-hole, 850,000 square meter golf course. It will also host the Kingdom’s first virtual-reality playground and its first first bungee jumping and parachuting center, along with facilities for a wide range of other sports and activities.

Art and culture will be served by the Royal Art Complex, which will include six museums, water parks, and other artistic attractions. There will also be an 80,000 square meter visitors’ center, including restaurants and cafes, 12,000 residential units, 16 hotels and an office complex.

“The park is a symbol of urban development that is designed in an environmentally correct way that will match current and future requirements by integrating the park with the urban network around it,” said Basem Alshihabi, the founder and managing partner of architecture and engineering design company Omrania, which won the contract to design the park. This integration will offer great investment opportunities, he added.

The project aims to create a “human space that will bring back the human life to Riyadh, rather than the current situation where cars are the main means of transportation and there is little consideration for the natural human need to walk, ride bicycles and go running.”

A key aspect of the park’s design is its location, which was carefully chosen to make it as accessible as possible to the entire population of the city. It is well served by public transport, including five metro stations. 

“King Salman Park can be reached within 30 minutes from anywhere in Riyadh through public transport,” said Alshihabi. “In planning the mid area of the park we ensured two important features: The loop (the traffic-free path around the park) and a valley that is more than 30 meters deep and uses the micro climate in the area so that people will feel cooler while they are in it.”

King Salman Park also aims to break new ground in the use of technology, including the use of driverless cars.

“This is a pilot project in the Kingdom for self-driven cars,” said Alshihabi. “An application will enable users to request a vehicle that can pick them from the metro station, accepts electronic financial payment, and drops them off anywhere within the park, while driving safely due to its sensors.”

The 5 million square meter first phase of the park is due to be completed by the end of 2020, with the full project finished by 2024. About 400,000 visitors per day are expected, in addition to workers and residents.

“King Salman Park will change the very nature of Riyadh,” said Alshihabi. “It will actually fulfill the meaning of Al-Riyadh: The green land.”

King Salman Park is part of a massive environmentally friendly development plan for Riyadh that also includes Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art.


Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery. (Supplied)
Updated 17 January 2021

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
  • Saudi capital’s latest desert attraction features live entertainment, shopping and international fine dining

RIYADH: The highly anticipated Riyadh Oasis will begin serving customers from Sunday until April 12.
The event, sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and the International Company for Organizing Events and Activities, in cooperation with Seven Experience and Rotana audio and video company, is a luxury entertainment project in the Kingdom’s desert interior.


Saudi Royal Court Adviser and Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Alalshikh took to Twitter to announce the date of inauguration, telling followers that “our rendezvous will be on Sunday, God willing, out of your wildest imagination!”

Described as “a tailor-made 5-star winter sanctuary at the heart of Riyadh’s beautiful golden desert landscapes,” Riyadh Oasis will offer an entertainment experience where visitors will be able to explore, eat, play, celebrate and camp out with friends and family.

Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery.
The oasis will provide Saudis with the chance to experience the country’s rich culture, live entertainment and fine dining, along with multinational cultural music and live performances.

Also featured is a shopping area with brands such as perfumery Tolat Etr, luxury jewelers Cardial, and local home and retail store Papillon.
The oasis also offers accommodation in the form of “glamps” — “glamorous camps.” Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends.
A selection of award-winning international cuisines will be on offer, with pop-ups of famous international outifts such as Japanese restaurant Zuma, Latin American fusion restaurant Amazonico, Emirati Arabic restaurant Ninive, and Greek seafood restaurant Nammos.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The oasis offers accommodation in the form of ‘glamps’ — ‘glamorous camps.’ Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.

• People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.

People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.
Maha Abdulmajeed, a Riyadh resident, told Arab News that she had booked a reservation for Zuma “almost immediately” when news broke of its opening.
“I’m a big fan of Zuma; I’ve been to both their Dubai and New York locations. I’m very excited to visit the pop-up, especially with COVID-19 affecting my ability to travel,” she said.
“I’ve been to several other pop-ups that came to Saudi during Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season, such as Nusr-Et and Coya, so I have no doubt that the Riyadh Oasis pop-ups will be just as well-done and enjoyable,” she said.
Sarah Alghamdi, who plans to travel to Riyadh from her hometown of Alkhobar, told Arab News that she would be making a reservation for at least one of the restaurants.
“I haven’t had the chance to visit any of the permanent locations yet, so I’m not sure which one to try, but I would love to be able to visit at least one of them,” she said.
Alghamdi said that she appreciated the efforts that the Kingdom was making to keep citizens entertained and happy while international travel was not possible.
“My family is in the habit of traveling abroad every year around this time, and since we were unable to do so this year, it kind of bummed us all out. It’s great that we still have the opportunity to travel and experience new things even if we can’t go abroad. It’s also really made me appreciative of domestic travel. It’s very easy to assume that there’s nothing to do at home and that international destinations are the only ones that can hold any appeal,” she said.