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The World’s First Earth-Built Hotel Opens In AlUla

Introducing Dar Tantora

Ever wanted to spend the night in a labyrinth of 12th-century mud and stone brick buildings encircling a 10th-century castle? Now you can. Enter: AlUla’s latest venture, Dar Tantora, the world’s first “earth-built” hotel, now open for bookings.

AlUla, with a history spanning 7,000 years as a crossroads on the ancient Incense Road trade route, has long been a place of respite for pilgrims traveling to Mecca. The Old Town, established during the Islamic era, is renowned for its shady palm oasis and abundant wells. Today, the centuries-old oasis town is home to a variety of unique accommodations, adding another gem to its collection with Dar Tantora The House Hotel, operated by Kerten Hospitality. 

This eco-friendly haven features 30 rooms and suites, all inspired by the region’s rich heritage. Nestled in AlUla’s Old Town, a site dating back to the 12th century, the hotel is built with sustainability in mind, lit by candlelight to minimize its impact on the environment.

Renowned Egyptian architect Shahira Fahmy designed Dar Tantora in collaboration with local craftspeople, restoring original 12th-century structures using traditional mud bricks, stonework, and intricate murals. These vibrant wall paintings, depicting local flora, fauna, and cultural motifs, revive the celebratory art that once adorned newlywed homes, enhancing its cultural charm.

The hotel offers a range of amenities, including a restaurant, spa, infinity pool, gym, and yoga and meditation studio. The signature restaurant, JOONTOS, prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, building relationships with local farmers and suppliers to create a zero-waste kitchen.

Inspired by the traditional sundial, the tantora, the hotel’s design showcases its surroundings with terraces, rooftops, and an infinity pool offering stunning views of dramatic rock formations and the starry night sky.

Adding a personal touch, many staff members have personal ties to the Old Town, having grown up in the very houses that now welcome visitors, ensuring a heartfelt connection to the rich history of AlUla.

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