10 upcoming mega-projects in Saudi Arabia we can't wait for
Dining destinations, palatial stays and some seriously epic new attractions…
Saudi Arabia is no stranger to some mind-boggling and stunning architectural projects. Across the Kingdom, new developments are paving the way for incredible hotels, world-class leisure destinations and an unforgettable array of experiences as the country edges ever closer to realising the goals of Vision 2030.
Here are 10 upcoming Saudi mega-projects we can’t wait for.
International restaurants aplenty at Bujairi Terrace
Premier dining is on the horizon at Diriyah Gate’s upcoming development, Bujairi Terrace. Due for completion in 2022, Bujairi Terrace is a stunning 15,000-square-metre project in the historic city of Diriyah, 15-minutes northwest of Riyadh city centre. A glittering 18 globally renowned restaurants – from cafes to fine dining experiences – are set to shine a spotlight on the Saudi capital’s culinary offerings. In addition, four of the 18 brands hold Michelin stars at their flagship venues abroad, those being Bruno, Hakkasan, Long Chim and Spanish restaurant Tatel.
A luxury hotel masterpiece in AlUla
Renowned architect Jean Nouvel is one of a number of masterminds turning their attention to the breathtaking AlUla landscape, creating a resort that brings a modern take on millennia-old Nabataean ways of living. Monumental designs for Sharaan by Jean Nouvel are described as “world-firsts in contextual architecture” and are carved into the rocks in a way that sustainably respects and preserves AlUla’s landscape. Set to be completed by 2024, the property will include 40 guest suites and three resort villas – plus a retreat summit centre near the resort that will feature 14 private pavilions.
The world’s fastest rollercoaster at Six Flags Qiddya
On a future visit to Saudi Arabia, thrill-seekers will have a new paradise destination to travel to – Six Flags Qiddiya. Situated on the outskirts of Riyadh, Qiddiya is one of Saudi Arabia’s Giga projects, which is currently under development. The 320,000-square-metre Six Flags Qiddiya, set against the Tuwaiq mountain range, will be the largest and most heavily themed Six Flags yet and is expected to open in 2023. Larger than Walt Disney World, Six Flags Qiddiya will serve to be a key entertainment attraction for Qiddiya and the city of Riyadh. The theme park will feature 28 rides and attractions, of which five will be record-breaking signature rides. These include Falcons Flight, the world’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster; Sirocco Tower, the world’s tallest, free-standing shot tower ride; Gyrospin, the world’s tallest pendulum ride; Spitfire, the world’s tallest inverted top hat coaster; and Iron Rattler, the world’s tallest tilt coaster.
Experience an alternative holiday on an oil rig
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Thanks to the Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) newest attraction, The Rig, you’ll soon be able to go on a holiday on an oil rig. You may not find any white-sand beaches on the itinerary, but an 800-room hotel resort and an extreme park on an oil rig platform are the main draw of this off-beat cruise. A series of connected platforms that span 150,000 square metres, The Rig will feature three hotels with endless sea views and world-class dining establishments, including an underwater restaurant. And the action won’t just be limited to water sports. Expect a range of adventurous and extreme sports activities, too.
Apres vibes at Trojena, a futuristic mountain resort
Trojena, part of the supersized NEOM masterplan, is described as a destination that will ‘redefine mountain tourism.’ The new year-round tourist destination will be divided into six districts: Gateway, Discover, Valley, Explore, Relax and Fun, all of which will offer a diverse array of activities and experiences. A year-round ski village will offer Apres vibes in the Saudi mountains, complete with a wide range of restaurants and shops, while hotel highlights include ‘The Bow’ – an ultra-luxury architectural masterpiece; and the Vault, a vertical village within the mountains overlooking a stunning man made freshwater lake. It’s due for completion in 2026.
Making a splash at the region’s largest water park
Alongside the Middle East outpost of legendary theme park Six Flags, the future capital of entertainment in Saudi Arabia – Qiddiya – will also be home to the region’s largest water park. The Qiddiya Water Theme Park will be spread over an expansive 252,000 square metres, with a collection of 22 rides and attractions for visitors to make a splash at. The water park will be split into nine innovative zones each inspired by the native animals that surround Qiddya: Entry Gate, Camel Rock, Dub Grotto, Wave Wadi, the Den, Viper Canyon, Arabian Peak, the Herding Grounds and Surf Lagoon. For now, there’s no timeline on when we might be able to test out all the thrilling rides, but QIC has now awarded a contract to the value of SAR 2.8 billion to build the park.
Palatial stays from Boutique Group
Saudi Arabia has launched its own luxury hospitality brand that will convert a collection of iconic historic palaces into ultra-luxury boutique hotels in Saudi Arabia. Called Boutique Group, the hotels will draw on the traditional hospitality and vibrant heritage and culture of the Kingdom and fuse it with modern amenities to create an exclusive guest experience experience. In phase one, Boutique Group will transform develop three palaces: Al Hamra Palace in Jeddah, Red Palace in Riyadh and Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh. Alongside lavish accommodations, Boutique Group will develop an array of fine-dining, wellness and cultural experiences in keeping with the ultra-luxury setting for each property.
Setting sail on a super yacht
Ultra-luxury Aman Resorts are teaming up with Cruise Saudi to launch Project Sama: a floating hotel designed on a 183-metre superyacht that will provide a luxurious new way to explore Saudi Arabia’s incredible coastline. There’s just 50 suites onboard, each with a private balcony where guests can soak up the stunning sea views as they sail across the coastline. Alongside typical cruise features such as an all-day dining restaurant, club lounge and spa, Project Sama will also feature one-of-a-kind amenities such as a Japanese zen garden, two helipads and even a beach club, where guests will benefit from direct access to the sea from the stern of the ship. Those hoping to bag themselves a cabin on the luxe new floating hotel will have a little while to wait, as the project isn’t expected to launch until 2025.
Relaxing Maldives-style on on the Red Sea
Saudi Arabia’s much-anticipated luxury destination, The Red Sea Project is one of the biggest giga-projects under construction in the Kingdom. Located along the western coast of the Kingdom, between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, the numbers are dizzying: 28,000 square kilometres, 90 resorts, 50 hotels, all designed carefully around preserving the local environment, rather than destroying it. All the big hotel names are headed here: EDITION, Six Senses, Raffles Jumeirah – but among the most exciting resorts opening in phase one is the St. Regis Red Sea Resort. This property will be situated on its own private island, featuring 90 villas (including a collection of overwater abodes), two signature restaurants, an outdoor pool, fitness centre, spa, and a children’s club.
Strolls in King Salman Park
Covering over 13 square kilometers, King Salman Park in Riyadh is set to become one of the world’s biggest city parks. For context, it’s four times the size of New York’s Times Square. Inside the development, there’s plenty more than just leafy green spaces, including a royal art complex, opera house and an 18-hole golf course. Vertical gardens, a maze garden, and bird and a butterfly sanctuary are environmental elements the whole family can enjoy, while leisure attractions will include a virtual reality court, sky diving center, equestrian center plus an aqua park and amusement park.