Al Ula
Global hospitality giant Accor is set to operate an expanded Ashar Resort under the Banyan Tree brand at Al Ula in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Saudi Royal Commission for Al Ula Governorate has started work on the Ashar Resort expansion project, in partnership with Accor Hotels, a leading group in hospitality and resorts, Saudi media reported.

The commission said the expansion agreement comes as part of its strategy to develop Al Ula as a distinctive tourist destination, in which its visitors enjoy the wonderful nature, culture and heritage it offers.

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The hotel and tourism sector in the authority will work on expanding the Ashar Resort andwill be managed by the international hotel brand Banyan Tree which operates a number of hotels in the most famous tourist cities in the world between Europe and East Asia.

The expansion will include the addition of 47 new villas constructed by adopting designs characterized by elegance and originality according to international specifications commensurate with the privacy of the environment. These will make a total of 82 high-end villas of varying sizes to suit the different requirements of individuals and families.

Beautiful views

The resort gives its guests a unique experience, as they enjoy the beautiful views of the valley and the combination of elegance and a wild and natural environment.

Eng. Amr Al Madani, Chief Executive of Al Ula Authority, said, “This partnership highlights the importance of Al Ula as a tourist destination with the ability to attract global magnates to invest in the governorate, in order to enhance economic diversity and contribute to achieving its vision launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2019.

“We are working on a long-term plan to develop Al Ula to host two million visitors annually by 2035, which will have a direct positive impact on strengthening the economy and contributing to the creation of 38,000 new jobs,” he added.

He revealed a series of projects and investments will soon be announced, including 15 new projects to develop the hospitality sector and tourism infrastructure in the province, stressing their commitment to work with the best hotel operators and developers worldwide to accomplish these projects that “represent an extension of our cultural heritage and enhance the nature of our picturesque region, with the aim of developing Al Ula, and ensuring human and urban development in the region by providing new job opportunities, training and qualification Local cadres to enable them to build the future of Al Ula.”

Celebrating heritage

Sebastian Bazin, CEO of Accor, said, “In line with our commitment to developing the Accor group and its unique products in Saudi Arabia, and as one of the first global hospitality groups to start operating in the kingdom, we are extremely proud to participate in the development of Al Ula Governorate, and to celebrate the heritage of And the culture of the country,” he continued.

Bandar Al Harbi, head of the hotels and resorts sector at the Royal Commission for Al Ula, said, “Ashar Resort is part of our strategy to create a high-end destination that offers unforgettable experiences throughout the year and establishes authentic hospitality standards.”

He continued, “We aim to create a unique experience that combines the programmes of the distinctive events and festivals that we offer and a group of tourist experiences that provide visitors with the pleasure of enjoying nature, arts and heritage as part of the living environment.”

Wadi Ashar includes a hall of mirrors that hosted the first stone conference for holders of the Nobel Prize, in addition to a number of concerts by major artists from around the world, which meet the needs of tourists looking for a historical and cultural scene that provides them with the opportunity to enjoy nature and recreation.