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Luxury tented resort commissioned in Alula, deep within the Saudi Arabia desert

By Phoebe Hughes on 9th December 2020

For those seeking out a truly remote destination but with all the benefits of a high end resort, some new luxury tented suites deep in the desert could be just what you need.

Nestled deep within the vast desert of north west Saudi Arabia lies Alula, a place that holds more than 200,000 years of history and is the site for the new five-star tented resort.

Ashar is one of the project sites selected by the Royal Commission of Alula (RCU) to develop the area into a world class tourist destination. The architecture and interior design studio AW² was selected by the RCU in partnership with the French agency for Alula Development, to design the resort, which is to be located 15km from the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World heritage Site, Hegra.

There is set to be 47 new high-end tented suites in addition to 35 renovated suites positioned on a neighbouring site. Each tented suite has been positioned to enjoy extensive views over the rock formations or desert whilst providing maximum privacy and will be complemented by a luxury spa and several gourmet restaurants.

Stéphanie Ledoux and Reda Amalou, partners at AW² and leading the Tented Resort project, said: “Our architecture responds to the fragility of the Ashar site and aims not only to restore but also to protect it from future harm by consciously addressing the balance of man and nature.”

A Nabataean-inspired pattern and traditional motif are carried throughout the interior to evoke the culture of Ashar. The resort promises a stay inspired by the traditional way of Bedouin life and guests are promised the highest international luxury standards in hospitality design.

The tented resort concept has been inspired by nomadic nature or Bedouin architecture. The natural colour palette is used throughout allowing the three-tiered design to disappear into the natural site. A private swimming pool is integrated into the terrace whilst an outdoor living space is organised around a fire pit.

There are both pedestrian and electric buggy tracks throughout the resort amongst the sand dunes to reinforce the camping mindset and the location and the guest experience has been taken into account, as the site has such a large-scale, privacy and shelter were both considered.

There is set to be 47 tents (28 one bedroom, 15 two bedroom and four 3 bedroom), two garden pavilions including restaurants, guest areas and outdoor areas as well as a state of the art spa.

In relation to the state of the art spa, Ledoux said: “The spa will bring guests another step closer to nature. It will be the epitome of the architectural experience with treatment rooms facing the rock cliff creating an exclusive sanctuary. A rock pool suspended between two rock cliffs provides guests with a unique sensory experience converging two natural elements – water and earth – to frame an elevated breath-taking view across the valley.”