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.


Festivities around Riyadh Boulevard irk Hittin residents

Updated 1 min 8 sec ago

Festivities around Riyadh Boulevard irk Hittin residents

RIYADH: The tranquility of an upper-class neighborhood in the north of Riyadh has been disrupted by the Riyadh Season and the opening of Zone 1 on Oct. 17.
After Riyadh Boulevard opened — one of the 12 zones in the season — it amassed a crowd of 1.2 million in just two days. Now residents are complaining about noise levels, overcrowding and being trapped in their homes.
Um Yousef, an elderly resident, complained: “What if an emergency arises and me or my husband need to go to the hospital? The visitors’ cars are parked right in front of ours, the streets are jampacked and we worry about our safety.”
Should Riyadh Boulevard, one of the main zones, have been constructed in the heart of a residential neighborhood?
Riyadh Boulevard can hold up to 60,000 visitors, but the opening days have seen an overflow of people parking anywhere, including in front of residents’ garages and homes, blocking residents in their homes.
Concerned about their privacy and mobility, a “suffering of Hittin residents” hashtag has been created, where residents are asking the traffic department, General Entertainment Authority (GEA), and chairman of GEA Turki Al-Sheikh to find a solution.
The disruption of the neighborhood’s daily lives prompted the hashtag. Their inability to move from their homes or return and find their parking spots taken by visitors has become a nightmare for residents.
These are some of the reactions on Twitter under the hashtag:
@LeenNaif_: “With the beginning of the Riyadh season we hope to find a solution for the residents of Hittin and neighboring neighborhoods to facilitate entry and exit easily without closing the entrances to them like other visitors. Is it acceptable that I’m at the turn-off with my road closed off and obliged to sit in the traffic jam when my house is just on the opposite side?”
@Ebtesamss: “My parents live in the neighborhood and they suffer from exiting and entering it. We are deprived of visiting them. My father is ill and needs care, he repeatedly goes to the ER. Does it make sense to close the streets and the residents cannot exercise the simplest things? The traffic department — may God strengthen them — can only implement and prevent people based on orders, while people urge them to open the roads.”
@i_Noura: “We, the residents of Hittin district, have a right in this precious homeland just as others. We must take into account the residents of the neighborhood not to restrict them and facilitate their entry and exit from the neighborhood.”
It is noticeable that after the first couple of days the chaos and hectic crowds have died down and the traffic flow has eased. However, illegal parking in front of homes and parked cars is an issue that most residents are still struggling with.