New royal decree a boost for Makkah’s Masar project

New royal decree a boost for Makkah’s Masar project
Masar — whose core component is King Abdul Aziz Road — is considered a modern signature landmark and an urban destination with multiple features.
Short Url
Updated 04 April 2021

New royal decree a boost for Makkah’s Masar project

New royal decree a boost for Makkah’s Masar project

Yasser Abuateek, chief executive of Umm Alqura for Development and Construction (UAQ) — the owner and developer of the Masar destination in Makkah — has expressed gratitude and thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for a recent royal decree to issue four title deeds for the upcoming project. The royal directive, Abuateek said, confirms the rulers’ great interest in the holy city’s vital development projects.

Abuateek added that the support from the leadership reflects the importance of Masar, also known as King Abdul Aziz Road Project, and its role in contributing to sustainable development in line with the programs of Saudi Vision 2030, improving the quality of life of the residents and visitors of Makkah, and enhancing the services provided to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. He also thanked the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites and the State Properties General Authority for their efforts in supporting the issuance of unified title deeds for the destination.

The unified title deeds, considered a substitute for all the title deeds of the 3,626 properties on which the project is based, are an effective mechanism and a regulatory tool for the concerned authorities to address the obstacles facing megaprojects. The issuance of the unified title deeds also marks the first step toward completing Masar’s initial public offering (IPO) and attracting investments. The unified title deeds will have a role in encouraging the private sector to be a part of and contribute to development projects, by strengthening the current and future funding capacity aimed at accelerating the project completion pace and providing a safe, long-term investment environment. 

Abuateek said that Masar focuses on integrated infrastructure development based on the concept of comprehensive mobility. He noted that the royal decree will promote the destination that aims to create a development environment by introducing the concept of real estate investment collateral and pave the way for investment opportunities for operators of Hajj and Umrah services, as well as in the hotel and residential sectors and business centers. 

“Masar sets itself apart from other traditional real estate development projects by focusing on implementing an integrated development structure based on a unique infrastructure established for the next 100 years, including service facilities that extend over the entire destination, thus providing fully equipped lands for development by the developer or investors,” Abuateek said.

Masar — whose core component is King Abdul Aziz Road — is considered a modern signature landmark and an urban destination with multiple features. Located in the western part of Makkah and spanning a total area of 1.25 million square meters, the destination includes a pedestrian walkway, utility gallery and other routes such as the Bus Rapid Transit network route and the Makkah Metro route, as well as car parks and bridges connecting the destination to the strategically important western entrance of Makkah.


LuLu’s Ramadan campaign a mix of retail offers, charity activities

LuLu’s Ramadan campaign a mix of retail offers, charity activities
Updated 17 April 2021

LuLu’s Ramadan campaign a mix of retail offers, charity activities

LuLu’s Ramadan campaign a mix of retail offers, charity activities

LuLu is highlighting a host of retail promotions and charity activities in its Ramadan campaign this year.

In an effort to improve customer experience and make shopping easy and affordable during Ramadan, LuLu has introduced its pre-packed Ramadan kit for SR99 ($26), which has been especially created for essential shopping and donation.

In partnership with Saudi Food Bank, these kits along with the iftar boxes (priced at SR15 each) will be distributed to the needy and charity groups. An agreement was signed between Abdul Rahman Al-Huzaimi, regional manager of Saudi Food Bank in Riyadh, and Bashar Al-Besher, administration director of LuLu Hypermarkets, Saudi Arabia, in the presence of Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets, Saudi Arabia, LuLu officials, and other guests.

These kits are priced lower than the regular market price and have grocery products, such as rice, milk powder, sugar, oil, and others. LuLu’s Ramadan kits are available across all its stores and online via www.luluhypermarket.com.

Mohammed said: “As the current pandemic situation continues to restrict the majority with smaller gatherings and with more people staying at home, we launched products offers and Ramadan kits to make grocery shopping easier and more convenient. Our promotion sections in stores are fuller and wider with lots of product essentials offered with great discounts. The same offers are also boosted in our online shopping with deals and promotions to ensure safe shopping for those who do not want to buy from stores.”

LuLu will also launch traditional food stations at its stores celebrating essential delicacies savored in the holy month. 

The food stations will host themed events such as the Meat Fest, Dates and Nuts, Iftar Delights and Dessert Festival. Moreover, LuLu has introduced “Souk Al-Fawakeh” to provide customers with fresh fruits and vegetables at competitive prices in bulk packages. It features 30 exotic fruits for the entire month.

In keeping with the spirit of giving in the holy month, LuLu has launched Ramadan-themed cards, which are available at SR15 and SR150.

Abdulla Hamdan, marketing manager of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, said: “We’re glad to launch these Ramadan-themed cards for our customers, in line with our goal to make their shopping experience unique, especially during important occasions like Ramadan. Since gathering in large groups for iftar is restricted to prioritize the health and safety of everyone, this card is a perfect choice for gifting. 

“It is a convenient way to show your loved ones that you remember them and care for them in the midst of these challenging times.”

In collaboration with Saudi Food Bank, LuLu has launched iftar boxes featuring convenient packs of after-fasting essential meals that customers can buy for SR15 each. There is also an option to donate SR15 through the cash counters.

In collaboration with the Kayl Association for Combating Obesity, LuLu launched the “Health is Wealth” campaign to raise awareness on obesity and its risks to health along with the importance of limiting its spread among the community. For every purchase of a healthy iftar or sahoor meal, 5 percent will be donated to the charitable organization.


Uber offers discounted rides to people getting the jab

Uber offers discounted rides to people getting the jab
Updated 17 April 2021

Uber offers discounted rides to people getting the jab

Uber offers discounted rides to people getting the jab

This Ramadan, Uber has announced it will offer discounted rides to people looking to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia. The initiative is part of Uber’s global campaign to help communities “move what matters,” supporting public authorities in the Kingdom as they work to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riders will be able to avail 25 percent off two Uber rides, up to SR20 ($5.3) each to and from public vaccination centers across the Kingdom. The applicable centers are listed in the Sehhaty app, developed by the Ministry of Health to advance healthcare in the Kingdom. The offer came into effect from April 12 and will run until May.

Mohammad Gazzaz, general manager, Saudi Arabia at Uber, said: “We want to support the government’s efforts to vaccinate more of the population and ultimately contain the spread of the virus. Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve worked to enhance health and safety for both riders and drivers, and the vaccination drive is another step in the process to help people prioritize their health and safety and facilitate mobility around the city.”

How to claim your ride:

• Tap on the top left of the Uber app and select “Wallet.”

• Select “Add Voucher Code” at the bottom.

• Click on the voucher link KSAVACCINE and get 25 percent off two Uber rides to/from vaccination centers up to SR20 each, valid until May 11.

• Navigate to the rides home screen and enter the pickup/drop-off location for yourself or the person you are booking for. The trip must start or end at the vaccination centers listed on the Sehhaty app.


Bupa Arabia named Middle East’s most valuable insurance brand

Bupa Arabia named Middle East’s most valuable insurance brand
Updated 17 April 2021

Bupa Arabia named Middle East’s most valuable insurance brand

Bupa Arabia named Middle East’s most valuable insurance brand

Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance has been named as the Middle East’s most valuable insurance provider, in the annual report for 2021 by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy headquartered in London.

The report noted that Bupa Arabia’s strong financial forecasts have driven its brand value up by 23 percent to $618 million (SR2.31 billion).

Bupa Arabia’s innovative insurance solutions and unique initiatives in line with Saudi Arabia’s Council of Cooperative Health Insurance has taken the company from strength to strength over the past 20 years, making it a national leader and provider of healthcare services for millions of national and residents in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Bupa Arabia ranked 13th in Brand Finance’s “Top 50 most valuable Saudi Arabian brands” list, moving six notches up the scale from last year.

Tal Nazer, CEO and member of board of directors, Bupa Arabia, attributed the company’s advancing position in the Brand Finance rankings to the successful strategies implemented by Bupa Arabia.

He said: “This has been evident through the adoption of the concept of ‘making change’ in the local healthcare sector, the commitment to improving the customer’s overall health, and upgrading its digital solutions through the Bupa Click campaign under the inspiring slogan ‘Integrated healthcare only one click away.’

“Additionally, Bupa Arabia’s Tebtom program offers a set of healthcare services that go beyond medical insurance coverage, such as home-based vaccination for children, doctors, telemedicine services among others, while our Rahatkom program is designed to make hospital experiences positive and stress-free by supporting customers when and where it matters, focusing on on-site case management, quick coverage responsiveness and post-admission services.”

Brand Finance was set up in 1996 with the aim of “bridging the gap between marketing and finance.” 

Every year, the agency undertakes the world’s largest study on brand valuation, ranking over 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands across all sectors and geographies.


Versace to design interiors for Dar Al-Arkan homes in Riyadh

Versace to design interiors for Dar Al-Arkan homes in Riyadh
Updated 14 April 2021

Versace to design interiors for Dar Al-Arkan homes in Riyadh

Versace to design interiors for Dar Al-Arkan homes in Riyadh

Dar Al-Arkan, a real estate company in Saudi Arabia, has announced a collaboration that will bring the world’s first-ever villas with interiors by Versace Home to the Kingdom’s Shams Ar-Riyadh project. 

Versace Home’s outstanding design and craftsmanship will augment the “Upside Living” design of the limited-edition luxury villas, which will be built overlooking the historic and natural setting of Wadi Hanifa. The entrance and living areas will dominate the first floor, together with floor to ceiling windows, which will flood the living space with light and make a feature of the spectacular views over Wadi Hanifa. Meanwhile, the bedrooms and family rooms will be repositioned on the ground level, creating an overall space that combines elegance and practicality.

The villas have also been designed for a smarter life incorporating the latest hi-tech solutions throughout and setting a new benchmark for residential technology. Lighting, heating and air conditioning will be engineered to provide a more enhanced, ambient lifestyle controlled by motion sensors. A sophisticated security and surveillance system will be fully integrated, together with a smart home entertainment system including a home theater, in addition to standard smart kitchen appliances. The emphasis will be on creating luxury and sophistication in every detail.

Situated overlooking Wadi Hanifa with easy access to the city’s prime lifestyle destinations and top attractions, the villas have been designed to make the most of their natural setting and offer a new way of living in comfort, luxury and privacy. 

Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Shalash, chairman of Dar Al-Arkan, said: “We could not be prouder to partner with such a world-famous brand as Versace on this unique project. To have a design house of such a high caliber create the interiors of these very special homes encapsulates the high level of luxury living we are striving for with Shams Ar-Riyadh.”

He added: “At Dar Al-Arkan, our ambition is to elevate the real estate market in Saudi Arabia. Our close relationship with leading international designers will help achieve this and cement the Kingdom’s growing reputation for outstanding architecture and design on a global scale.”

The Shams Ar-Riyadh project is located in a strategic area north of Riyadh, on the King Khalid Road. Extending over an area of more than 5 million square meters, the location offers easy access to the city’s most important landmarks. The stunning landscapes of Wadi Hanifa, parks and open spaces all provide a wonderful, comfortable ambiance for families.  

Founded in 1994 by six prominent business families, Dar Al-Arkan has executed a number of successful real estate projects and contributed to the development of efficient real estate solutions for the regional market, through more than 30 commercial, residential, and real estate projects.


Hyundai unveils Staria MPV, a new futuristic minivan

Hyundai unveils Staria MPV, a new futuristic minivan
Updated 14 April 2021

Hyundai unveils Staria MPV, a new futuristic minivan

Hyundai unveils Staria MPV, a new futuristic minivan

Hyundai Motor Company has officially launched its new Staria multipurpose vehicle (MPV) lineup via a digital world premiere, establishing a model for its future purpose-built vehicles (PBVs).

Staria’s debut furthers Hyundai Motor’s transformation as a smart mobility solution provider and embodies the company’s “inside-out” design methodology that emphasizes interior spaciousness and usability.

The minivan is available in two- to 11-seat configurations and in two variants: Staria and Staria Premium, the latter elevating mobility to the next level with upgraded features and variant-exclusive finishes for a more luxurious look and feel.

“We are thrilled to introduce Staria, which represents our latest effort to spearhead the evolution of mobility, and to address emerging lifestyle needs as we adapt to new ways of living,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and global chief marketing officer. “Staria is a step forward in connecting us more closely with our environments so that we can get more out of our everyday lives and do more for ourselves in transit.”

Staria will go on sale in select markets starting from the second half of 2021.

Evoking the streamlined form of a spaceship, Staria’s sleek exterior is defined by a single stroke running from front to rear — inspired by the curve of light that illuminates the Earth’s horizon at sunrise when viewed from space.

Staria models are available in eight exterior colors: Abyss Black Pearl, Creamy White, Graphite Gray Metallic, Moonlight Blue Pearl, Shimmering Silver Metallic, Dynamic Yellow, Olivine Gray Metallic and Gaia Brown Pearl.

The cruise ship-inspired interior delivers an open and unique atmosphere through its innovative design architecture. The vehicle’s lower beltlines and panoramic windows create a spacious, stimulating environment for all passengers.

The driver’s seat has a futuristic high-tech look with an advanced 10.25-inch front display screen, touch-based center fascia and a button-type electronic shift lever. The digital cluster is located on top of the dashboard, providing an unobstructed view for the driver.

“Staria is not just reinterpreting spatiality, but also reimagining time spent in transit for the future. Designing for mobility isn’t about vehicle design. It’s about designing to accommodate a variety of lifestyles,” said SangYup Lee, senior vice president and head of Global Hyundai Design. “Staria’s interior space and functionalities aim to transform how people experience in-car travel, optimizing journeys by making the most of time in transit.”

Staria’s interior is available in these colors: Black, Black and Beige two-tone, and Black and Blue two-tone. The Premium variant offers additional options of Gray and Brown two-tone as well as Gray and Light Gray two-tone.

Staria offers powertrain options of a diesel-powered 2.2-liter VGT engine and a gasoline-powered Smartstream G6DIII 3.5-liter MPI engine.

Staria has secured the highest level of vehicle safety. It offers an option to add as many as six airbags, and all seats come with three-point seat belts and headrests. Safety is further bolstered by smart features such as forward collision avoidance assist and blind-spot collision-avoidance assist.