August 6, 2019
Aman is pleased to announce its forthcoming debut in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023. Following a partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), Aman will develop three distinct resorts of architectural excellence in North West Saudi Arabia, in AlUla, a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage.
True to the pioneering spirit of Aman, the three resorts will offer an incomparable insight into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its magnificent unspoilt natural landscapes and archaeological sites, which have long remained undiscovered. This development will encompass a fascinating journey to include a tented camp, at one with nature; a sublime resort close to AlUla’s spectacular heritage areas; and a third development as Aman’s take on a ranch-style desert resort nestled in an otherworldly setting.
The vast area of AlUla covers 22,561 sq. km, and includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean Kingdoms reigned. The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and comprises more than 100 well-preserved tombs with elaborate façades cut from the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement dating back to the 2nd Century BCE.
The partnership agreement was signed by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture, the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al Saud, and Chairman and CEO of Aman Mr. Vladislav Doronin, marking the brand’s first entry to Saudi Arabia and the region.
Chairman and CEO of Aman Mr. Vladislav Doronin welcomed the new partnership and said, “Many of our existing Aman destinations are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty and rich history. With the addition of spectacular AlUla, this take us to 10 properties situated near or in UNESCO Heritage Sites, making it a fitting location for our first destination in the Middle East.” He added, “Aman is committed to preserving this archaeological wonder with our resorts that will blend into the dramatic surroundings. As part of Aman’s pathfinder spirit, we have a continued mission not only to curate resorts of architectural distinction, but to seek out and introduce our guests to new destinations and experiences.”
Commenting on the agreement, His Highness Prince Badr said, “We are proud to be signing this agreement with a luxury operator who shares our vision of responsible development, demonstrating our commitment to delivering an extraordinary visitor experience in AlUla.” He added, “The decision by Aman to open its first resorts in the Middle East in AlUla shows the promise and progress of the vision for AlUla to become a worldwide destination for those seeking unique experiences. I believe this partnership will be the next step in the development of the yet to be discovered masterpiece that is AlUla.”
All three projects represent an authentic move for the brand and will embrace eco-tourism standards in line with RCU’s commitment to sensitive development, and with Aman’s aim to ensure its destinations are pervaded by a tranquil simplicity offering unmatched opportunities for exploration and discovery.
Aman was founded in 1988 with the vision of building a collection of intimate retreats with the unassuming, warm hospitality of a gracious private home. The first, Amanpuri (place of peace) in Phuket, Thailand, introduced the concept and, since then, Aman has grown to encompass 37* exquisitely serene hotels and resorts in 22 destinations across the world. Future openings include Aman Kyoto (2019), Aman New York (2020) and Amanvari in Mexico (2020). The introduction of Aman Skincare in 2018 continued the holistic journey beyond the perimeters of Aman’s havens. Offering a soothing journey to a place of beautifully scented repose and respite, Aman Skincare represents the spirit of Aman in a bottle. Cementing Aman’s commitment to providing guests with insightful and unique cultural experiences, Atma, launched in 2019, curates one-off events that are inspired by Aman destinations and designed to connect mind, body and spirit.
Located in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Laos, Mexico (2020), Montenegro, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia (2023), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, the Turks & Caicos Islands, the USA (New York 2020) and Vietnam.
About The Royal Commission for AlUla
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to protect and safeguard AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in Northwest Saudi Arabia. RCU is embarking on a long-term plan to develop and deliver a sensitive, sustainable transformation of the region, reaffirming it as one of the country's most important archaeological and cultural destinations and preparing it to welcome visitors from around the world. RCU’s development work in AlUla encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting the ambitious commitment to cultivate tourism and leisure in Saudi Arabia, outlined in Vision 2030.
Located 1,100 km from Riyadh, in North-West Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561 sq. km, includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms reigned.
The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and comprises more than 100 well-preserved tombs with elaborate façades cut from the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement.
Current research suggests Hegra was the most southern outpost of the Roman Empire after the Nabataeans were conquered in 106CE.
In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to a series of fascinating historical and archaeological sites, including: Ancient Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan Kingdoms, which is considered one of the most developed first-millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; thousands of ancient rock art sites and inscriptions; and Hijaz Railway stations.