AlUla expands with luxury accommodation as demand spikes

The commission aims to expand AlUla into a destination that can meet the standards of the luxury market category. (Shutterstock)
The commission aims to expand AlUla into a destination that can meet the standards of the luxury market category. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 March 2022

AlUla expands with luxury accommodation as demand spikes

The commission aims to expand AlUla into a destination that can meet the standards of the luxury market category. (Shutterstock)
  • 2,000 more rooms by 2025, amid 146,000 visitors last year Saudis training as chefs in Paris as 1,600 jobs created for citizens

ALULA: The historic city of AlUla is expanding rapidly to accommodate the needs of the country’s growing tourism industry, including the establishment of new hotels and restaurants, and training up citizens, according to the Royal Commission for AlUla.

“We have a lot of future projects; we have several new hotels coming up. This year, we opened Habitas, and we’ll be opening Banyan Tree at the end of the month. We have three new hotels currently under construction that will be opening by the end of 2022,” the commission’s chief destination marketing officer, Philip Jones, told Arab News.

Banyan Tree AlUla is set to open in the third quarter of 2022 and will be a refurbishment of a previous destination known as Ashar Resort. AlUla has quickly become a favorite travel destination because of its landmarks and seasonal events hosted by the Royal Commission.

HIGHLIGHTS

• 2,000 more rooms by 2025, amid 146,000 visitors last year.

• Saudis training as chefs in Paris as 1,600 jobs created for citizens.

With an expanding list of events, more accommodation is being provided. “We have five new hotels that will be under construction in 2023, including some of the Aman hotels (Swiss multinational hospitality company), and a couple of new brands that will soon be announced,” he said.

Aman will open in 2023 and will be an upscale tented desert camp — a resort that closely complements its natural environment. “That will give us 1,000 keys by the end of 2023, (and) 2,000 keys by the end of 2024, 2025. So we’re making progress,” Jones said.

Describing the future projects, Jones said: “One of the things that we’re very proud of is we expected to have 95,000 visitors by 2021. We ended up with 146,000 … So we’re starting to make our mark and position AlUla as one of the hot up-and-coming boutique cultural heritage destinations globally.”

From hosting some of the world’s biggest names in music and entertainment including Alicia Keys, Lionel Richie, and Andrea Bocelli, AlUla has made a name for itself on the global tourism scene.

“Twenty four percent of visitors who are now coming to AlUla are international visitors. So we have a big number … coming from KSA in the region, but also a significant number coming from around the world,” Jones said.

AlUla Arts, AlUla Skies, Winter at Tantora, and the AlUla Wellness Festival are just a few of the events hosted by the RCU that has welcomed thousands of international and regional travelers.

Jones also said that AlUla citizens are playing a more prominent role in the tourism sector by arranging guided tours, transportation, and accommodation for visitors. “So that’s something we’re excited about because that’s part of the Vision 2030 (which) is training up the local community to be part of the tourism industry, as we go about developing this destination,” he said.

“One of the projects that the Royal Commission has done is they sent a number of locals to be trained as chefs in Paris and elsewhere, so they can come back and bring that knowledge and share it with the local communities,” he said.

“We’re training up the locals for jobs in the tourism industry, I think this year alone across the destination, we will have trained up and engaged about 1,600 locals in jobs in the hospitality sector,” Jones said.

Citizens are also playing a major role in the food and beverage sector of AlUla. Local farmers are producing the products to create the farm-to-table dishes at many restaurants. As a part of the Wellness Festival, the Five Senses Sanctuary sourced its produce from local farms in the surrounding areas.

“A lot of the locals are providing the product. So you have this amazing restaurant on site. And they’re providing the local produce, the citrus, and the dates,” he said. “What we call farm-to-table organic sort of ingredients that are being used, are being sourced locally. And so that’s something that the local community is participating in,” Jones said.

The RCU aims to expand AlUla into a destination that can meet the standards of the luxury market category, while also providing wellness and other experiences in the tranquility of the area’s historic landmarks.


Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law
  • The embassy expressed its full confidence in the Tunisian judiciary

RIYADH: A Saudi man has allegedly been killed by his Tunisian wife’s brother in Bizerte, Tunisia.

This is according to a statement released by the Kingdom’s embassy in Tunis, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.

“The embassy would like to clarify that it has followed up on the details of the tragic incident since its occurrence with the concerned authorities in Tunisia.”

The embassy stated that the Kingdom was confident the Tunisian courts would deal effectively with the matter.

The body of the citizen has been returned to the Kingdom.

The embassy extended condolences to the family of the deceased.


Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Tuesday from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
During the call, they reviewed aspects of bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Germany, opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries, and ways to develop them.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments and efforts exerted to achieve peace and stability, in addition to reviewing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
  • Ready-to-wear Saudi fashion label launches “SEASON V”

RIYADH: Ready-to-wear Saudi luxury label Hindamme launched its new collection, “SEASON V,” that explores relationships to families, communities, and the Earth.

The brand, established by designer Mohammed Khoja, became well known for successfully fusing Eastern and Western cultures through modern, opulent apparel in forward-thinking, creative designs.

“Autobiographical in its spirit, the brand’s latest offering investigates the deeper and more meaningful connections in life,” said Khoja.

“What inspired this collection is bringing together the community and building new connections and reconnecting with nature. It has a very positive theme, and the reason why I wanted to create it was because I felt it was therapeutic for myself, and also the need to focus on our planet,” he added.

Through its aesthetic, “SEASON V” applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood-inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, “SEASON V” reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

“Every time I wear the bomber jacket from (the) ‘SEASON V’ collection, people stop me and ask me where did I get it from, which is rewarding for me. The jacket has an attractive lavender color with the calligraphy of the Arabic word for ‘Earth’ on the back,” Khoja said.

HIGHLIGHT

Through its aesthetic, ‘SEASON V’ applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood- inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, ‘SEASON V’ reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

Indeed, much of the collection reflects the designer’s love of calligraphy, with the Arabic ‘Earth’ motif applied in embossed, padded embroideries throughout several items.

“SEASON V” also introduces a specially commissioned collaboration with Kyoto-based Japanese artist Ikegami Yorikyuki, that features prints of a mural entitled “A Certain Planet” in several pieces throughout the collection.

The most recent editorial lookbook of “SEASON V” also brought together a number of Middle Eastern multi-disciplinary artists to produce a collection of prints that reflect an NFT-inspired universe that honors nature and denotes both our current connection to, and disconnection from it.

“I collaborated with a number of Arab creatives. I really look up to producing a series of artistic photography as an editorial for the new collection. It was beautiful, in a sense, as it produced a diverse fusion of art, photography and fashion within these visuals,” said Khoja.

About naming the collection “SEASON V” Khoja told Arab News: “From the beginning of establishing my brand, I decided to do drops, as what they refer to in the fashion world, rather than follow a season, and I felt like the easiest way to document each season was by giving it a number, and in this case, it was in Roman format, but I also do smaller collections between each season.”

In each of its collections, Hindamme, which in the old Arabic dialect means “to possess perfect harmony,” frequently combines different genres.

Khoja spoke about the importance of connecting young Saudi designers to investors for support, putting Saudi fashion brands in malls and showrooms.

Through Hindamme, Khoja has been a trailblazer in influencing and advancing Saudi Arabia’s fashion and cultural landscape with his “East meets West” philosophy.

He launched Hindamme in 2016, incorporating patterns like “Al-Qatt Al-Aseeri” from his native land and highlighting frequently ignored elements of heritage to a new audience in a contemporary and forward-thinking format.

He was inspired by reflecting elements of his everyday life and larger cultural and social themes through his designs.

Many of his pieces have also won recognition on a global scale and are now part of permanent collections at a number of museums.


Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the UK held a ceremony on Tuesday to honor a number of employees who have ended their work term at the mission in the capital, London.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Britain, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, expressed his thanks and appreciation to the employees for their effort and dedication in serving their religion, king and country, wishing them more success in their endeavors inside and outside the Kingdom, in the interest of the nation in various fields.


Saudi Arabia’s regions provide healthcare to thousands of patients

Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s regions provide healthcare to thousands of patients

Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
  • In Riyadh, the emergency departments and outpatient clinics of Dawadmi General Hospital provided their services to around 86,434 people

JEDDAH: Clinics and hospitals in the Kingdom’s central and eastern regions provided medical services to thousands of patients in the first half of 2022, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In Buraidah, the blood clinic at the Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qassim helped more than 1,870 people.

The services included medical consultations, guiding patients on how to get medicines from the pharmacy, and delivering patient medication to homes in cooperation with Saudi Post.

It also held a virtual clinic through the Anat app to help healthcare officials interview patients remotely, follow up on their appointments, or get them tested by the nearest healthcare center without the patient visiting the center.

In Riyadh, the emergency departments and outpatient clinics of Dawadmi General Hospital provided their services to around 86,434 people. It performed 836 surgeries, 17,073 radiological examinations, and 366,469 laboratory tests.

Hafr Al-Batin Central Hospital, represented by the Cardiac Surgery and Catheterization Unit, performed 39 successful cardiac catheterization operations during July.  

Hafr Al-Batin Health Affairs said seven emergency cases of high-risk heart attacks were treated.

An advanced and complex cardiac catheterization was carried out on a patient suffering from chronic obstruction in the coronary arteries using the CTO technique, in addition to three cardiac catheterizations for patients suffering from coronary artery blockage using the internal imaging technique by intravascular ultrasound.

Hafr Al-Batin Central Hospital provided services to 237 beneficiaries last year. It also dealt with 150 emergency cases, 80 diagnostic and therapeutic cases, four implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and seven electrocardiography.