- The luxury boutique hotel will open by Q4 2023 with 35 guest rooms
- RCU names GHM to operate the hotel under The Chedi brand
- RCU is carefully uplifting several existing heritage buildings, including an old railway station, Hegra Fort, and surrounding structures, restoring them to their original grandeur
ALULA, Saudi Arabia, April 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Surrounded by awe-inspiring human and natural heritage, The Chedi Hegra will be the first hotel to welcome guests to a uniquely authentic luxury experience deep in the ancient Nabataean site in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU has selected luxury hotel management company GHM to operate the hotel as The Chedi Hegra.
Situated within Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and opening by Q4 2023, The Chedi Hegra will offer 35 bespoke guest rooms, each with its own distinct connection to the Hegra landscape, a breathtaking testimony of human expression within the natural environment.
RCU is building the hotel directly into several existing structures, including an old railway station and surrounding buildings, Hegra Fort, and others. Structural and exterior walls, some with historical mud-brick construction, are being preserved and integrated with modern architecture. The vast majority of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will remain untouched by construction and carefully preserved by RCU to maintain the integrity of Hegra’s incredible human and natural heritage.
RCU has also ensured all design and construction efforts align with the Sustainability Charter for AlUla, including a light-touch tourism approach, imaginative infrastructure, planting of native flora, and an all-electric mobility system. Where possible, the project will use local construction materials and work with local businesses and labour, and the hotel is expected to create at least 120 jobs once fully operational.
The property will feature three fine-dining restaurants, a café, and a full-service spa and pool, with many of the buildings connected by an overhead art canopy focused on wind movement and natural light.
The on-site restaurants will each offer unique experiences for hotel guests and others visiting Hegra. One of the restaurants inside the old railway station will feature an exhibition of carefully preserved artefacts, including a fully-restored train, while another will sit within the Hegra Fort, and a third will feature unobstructed views from a sunken water basin seating area.
John Northen, RCU Vice President of Hotels & Resorts, said: "Sitting at the nexus of AlUla’s living museum, The Chedi Hegra embodies the fulfilment of our Journey Through Time master plan with its deep respect for heritage, sustainable design features, and an authentic luxury experience that celebrates what makes AlUla a special destination for travellers seeking both comfort and adventure."
Tommy Lai, Chief Executive Officer of General Hotel Management Pte Ltd (GHM), said: "GHM is thrilled to introduce this luxurious heritage boutique hotel that will offer authentic, unrivalled lifestyle experience deep within the ancient Nabataean site of Hegra. As the first hotel within Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, we are committed to preserve the site’s integrity while seamlessly integrating modern architecture and comforts. I am certain that guests will recognise and appreciate the value we place in minimising our environmental impact, through the sustainable efforts of the hotel, in addition to our dedication in conserving the legacy of Hegra – a true GHM hallmark of creating inspired spaces."
Noted for editors:
It is always AlUla / not Al-Ula.
About the Royal Commission for AlUla
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.