It’s official, you’ll no longer be venturing out into the void when visiting the Saudi desert. Luxury is taking over Al-Ula. The Saudi Arabian ancient archaeological gem will be the home of a Jean Nouvel-designed resort.
The project was announced over a year ago, but the French architect just unveiled his plans for the resort, and we can’t wait to visit. Named ‘Sharaan’, the project is said to be inspired by Hegra, an archeologically significant Nabataean location in the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The structure will be carved within the canyons and hills of the site, where Nouvel introduces innovation and modernity without sacrificing the historical and cultural significance of the site.
“It’s vital we keep all its distinctiveness and conserve its attractiveness, which largely rests on its remote and occasionally archaic character. We have to safeguard a little mystery as well as the promise of discoveries to come,” he explained.
“Al Ula is a museum. Every wadi and escarpment, every stretch of sand and rocky outline, every geological and archaeological site deserves the greatest consideration.”
The resort will be surrounded by sand dunes, valleys and rocky cliffs, according to the Royal Commission for Al Ula. Shabaan will feature 40 rooms, three private villas, and a balcony for each suite for guests to enjoy the spectacular views. Guests can dine at restaurants in the Sharaan resort, as well as visit the spa after a day of trekking and climbing.
The French architect has gained recognition in the region for his several local projects, including the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Museum of Qatar; but one thing for sure, his latest venture at Al Ula will be unlike any other.
Photos courtesy of the Royal Commission for Al Ula