The Royal Commission for AlUla was established five years ago to preserve an area of outstanding natural and historical significance in northwest Saudi Arabia. Work is well underway to transform AlUla into one of the world’s premier destinations for nature, culture and heritage.
The hotels and resorts team at the RCU is focused on developing the accommodation sector to cater to various consumer archetypes and demands. It oversees all master plans for the district and is also in charge of licensing and regulating hotels and resorts in AlUla.
This October marks the completion of the accommodation on offer in the luxury Ashar Valley hub with the opening of the Banyan Tree AlUla resort.
Ashar Valley is home to the world-famous Maraya Hall, which has hosted numerous concerts and events over the past three years and has put AlUla on the map, particularly from an entertainment perspective. Maraya Hall was joined by the Habitas Resort and the Caravans by Habitas that opened a year ago in a secluded and spectacular canyon in the northern part of Ashar Valley.
Now these facilities will be joined by the Banyan Tree AlUla resort, the first internationally branded five-star property in the AlUla district and the first with an all-villa product. The resort is also the first Banyan Tree in Saudi Arabia.
The selection of Banyan Tree to operate this resort was driven by the fact that the brand is in synergy with the vision of RCU for the destination. The ethos of Banyan Tree is to provide a sanctuary for the senses in an awe-inspiring location with a great sense of place.
Everything needs to be connected, starting with the design and architecture, respect for the local environment, food sourcing, and curated experiences. The Banyan Tree group is also committed to empowering its people and caring for the community.
With all this in place and working together seamlessly, Ashar is ably emerging as a luxury hub in a thriving destination. Guests at the Banyan Tree AlUla will be within minutes of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hegra in one direction and the lands of the ancient Dadan civilization in the other.
With a target of having 9,400 rooms by 2035, when 2 million visitors are expected to experience AlUla, the completion of the Ashar Valley project is a monumental milestone and a source of great pride.
• John Northen is head of hotels and resorts at the Royal Commission for AlUla