Construction starts on RCU’s Ashar Valley resort in KSA

In a partnership with Habitas, the first phase of the resort will be completed in the first quarter of 2021

"Innovative modular development approach allows for minimal ecological impact," says RCU
"Innovative modular development approach allows for minimal ecological impact," says RCU

Saudi Arabia’s The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has partnered with global hospitality group Habitas to develop an eco-friendly desert resort – The Ashar Valley – featuring 100 luxury rooms.

With the first phase delivering 50 keys by the first quarter of 2021, the Ashar Valley resort will be developed and operated by Habitas in AlUla with more phases scheduled for completion later next year.

RCU said it is expanding AlUla’s “economic opportunities through light-touch tourism and sustainable development”, while Habitas is redefining modern luxury by focusing on bringing likeminded but diverse travellers together.

Habitas will use off-site modular construction to create its hotels using sustainable materials, which are manufactured in its facilities in Mexico and delivered and assembled on-site to minimise the impact on the environment.

The collaboration further supports RCU’s Cultural Manifesto for AlUla, which details the principle cultural landscape developments planned for the area over the next 10 years. By 2035, RCU expects to host two million visitors annually.

Habitas will also work with RCU for community projects including a number of initiatives that will be rolled-out in phases.

These include collaborating with the AlUla Girls School, a former girls-only school that was transformed into a hub for AlUla nurturing local artists and artisans; creating local jobs based around local artisans, skills, and products; showcasing local Saudi artists through collaborations and installations at the Habitas resort.

Other initiatives include localising food supplies by sourcing from AlUla’s farmers and setting up cooking classes led by local chefs; establishing community-tourist links through ‘meet and eat’ experiences with residents and farmers, visits to schools, and local staff, and promoting local conservation efforts by building awareness among guests/tourists of local sustainability and environmental causes.

Commenting on the partnership, RCU CEO Amr AlMadani said: “This agreement reflects our commitment to making AlUla a global destination that offers visitors unique, authentic experiences as we protect, share and celebrate our natural and cultural heritage.

He added: “Construction is underway, a fact that signals that we are actively opening up new opportunities for regional and international investors in the hospitality sector while empowering and enabling our community.”

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