Aman has signed a deal to open three properties in Saudi Arabia in 2023, marking its debut both in the kingdom and in the Middle East.
The luxury hotel group this week announced plans for a tented camp and two resorts, all in the northwestern Al Ula region.
Al Ula covers 22,561 sqkm and features an oasis valley, sandstone mountains and the ancient city of Hegra (pictured below), a Unesco World Heritage site with more than 100 well-preserved tombs and a settlement dating to the 2nd century BCE.
Singapore-based Aman signed the deal with Saudi officials including the minister of culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al- Saud.
The kingdom is currently pursuing a programme called ‘Vision 2030’ which is seeking to reduce its economy’s reliance on oil and boost tourism, among other goals.
As part of that it has set up an Al-Ula Royal Commission to establish the area as a new destination. The commission’s CEO recently told Euronews that he wants “significant tourism and hospitality and culture infrastructure” by 2023, when the Aman properties are set to open.
French architect Jean Nouvel is designing a 925 sqkm nature reserve in the area which will “highlight the rocky landscape” and “reestablish the diversity of the region’s once-rich desert plant life,” according to Middle East Architect.
Aman CEO Vladislav Doronin said the new Saudi Arabian openings would take it to 10 properties situated near or in Unesco World Heritage sites.