A unique community-focused eco-friendly resort featuring 100 “experiential rooms” is under construction in the desert canyons of Ashar Valley, Alula, in north-western Saudi Arabia.

The Royal Commission for Alula (RCU), as part of its strategy to expand local economic opportunities through light-touch tourism and sustainable development, has partnered with Habitas, a company known for redefining modern luxury by focusing on human connections, to develop Habitas Alula, a resort that will offer guests enriching experiences and support the region’s community.

Habitas minimises environmental impact by using sustainable materials that are manufactured off-site and then assembled on-site.

Its AlUla resort has been designed to blend seamlessly with the destination’s world-famous landscape and heritage and will prioritise authentic experiences that immerse guests in the environment and provide opportunities to engage with local people.

Habitas will spearhead multiple community empowerment projects that include training schools for local staff, sourcing local handicrafts and food supplies, showcasing Saudi artists, promoting conservation and establishing tourism experiences with local chefs, residents, farmers, schools and more.

The first phase of the resort, including 50 rooms, will be unveiled in early 2021, with further phases scheduled for completion later next year.

Known for its breathtaking landscape and home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra, Alula is one of the kingdom’s most popular tourism destinations.

Its people, history and natural beauty are “inspiring” according to Habitas CEO Oliver Ripley, making it an ideal location for a Habitas property because “the world, now more than ever, needs to create places to reconnect with one another and with nature”.

A brand popular with next-generation travellers, Habitas currently operates resorts in Mexico, Asia and Africa.