Desert Rock will integrate architecture with nature as the hotel and facilities will be built into the stunning Saudi mountain landscape…

When you combine Saudi Arabia’s tourism boom and the fact that the country will be seeing some of the most innovative Giga projects, you get to see plans like this: a spectacular luxury resort construction project embedded in the mountains of the Saudi desert.

It’s a bold idea.

Named Desert Rock, the project is the first inland resort of The Red Sea Project, a destination comprising 50 resorts, 8,000 hotel rooms, and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

This dramatically situated resort in western Saudi Arabia is designed to blend modern architecture into the natural landscape.

With its uninterrupted views of the boundless wadis, Desert Rock is slated to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022.

Hard rock hotel

The 60-key property will not be built on a mountainside. Instead, it will be carved directly into the ancient rock to preserve the striking silhouette of the surrounding environment.

Materials excavated from the site will then be reused to create the resort’s infrastructure. For example, the stone will be used for interior and exterior walls and floors. In addition, the ground stone and existing sand will be used for concrete aggregate, which is the primary building material for all the architecture.

Guests will enter the resort through a hidden valley nestled between the mountains.

Most roads leading into the resort will be pushed to the edge of the main wadi and hidden behind landscape mounds. This will minimise sound and light pollution, allowing guests to absorb the dramatic desert landscape fully.

Unique inland experience

Desert Rock will feature 48 luxury villas and 12 hotel rooms that offer uninterrupted spectacular views of the surrounding desert. A range of accommodation will be available, from ground level dwellings to crevice hotel suites midway up the mountain. A select number of excavated rooms will be located within the rock massif itself.

State-of-the-art resort amenities will include a spa and fitness centre, remote destination dining areas, and a feature lagoon oasis. Guests will also be able to hike, use dune buggies, and stargaze as part of the site-wide activities program.

The project also aims to maintain the site’s ancient history by hiring local community members to act as stewards of the land and provide educational tours for visitors about the area’s local history.

Constructed for sustainable tourism

Desert Rock will be designed to achieve the highest LEED certification level.

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The architecture has been designed to reduce energy consumption and regenerate native flora. Water retention and distribution systems will be used throughout the site, with harvested rainwater creating a more green, flourishing wadi.

The resort is the work of Oppenheim Architecture, a company known for its philosophy of building with the land, rather than on the land. Site preparation works have commenced, and construction began in July 2021.

Chad Oppenheim, the founder of Oppenheim Architecture, said, “Desert Rock is one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world, which is why we wanted to use the architecture as a way to honour and respect it.”

“By utilising natural materials and integrating the resort into the rock, guests can connect physically with the destination and experience Saudi Arabia’s stunning, natural beauty.”

Images: Provided