15 upcoming megaprojects 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 15 upcoming Saudi mega-projects we can’t wait for.
A breathtaking new vertical city, The Line
Say hello to the future of urban living at NEOM’s flagship development, The Line. Saudi Arabia’s revolutionary smart city project is set to be home to an architectural marvel running in a straight line from the mountains of NEOM to the Red Sea. The entire 170-kilometre coastal strip in the northwest of Saudi Arabia is only 200 metres wide and 500 metres above sea level. It will run on 100 per cent renewable energy and prioritise people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities. Communities will be built around people, with raised walkways connecting the site. Roads and streets will be replaced by piazzas and walkable boulevards filled with parks and green spaces. The Line will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and will be built on a mere footprint of 34 square kilometres.
A new global icon, the Mukaab
In February 2023, The New Murabba Development Company (NMDC) was launched as the backbone to New Murabba, a megaproject situated north west of Riyadh. Within the development, there will be an iconic museum, a technology and design university and a multipurpose immersive theater. More than 80 entertainment and culture venues will await residents and visitors, too. At the heart, you’ll find the Mukaab, which is set to be an iconic landmark in the capital. At 400 metres high, 400 metres wide, and 400 metres long, it’s big enough to house 20 Empire State Buildings and the super-sized structure will be inspired by Najdi-style architecture. Set to redefine the Riyadh skyline, it’s described as ‘the world’s first immersive destination,’ where visitors will be able to experience digital and virtual technology with the latest holographs. The landmark will have a tower perched on top of a spiral base and a premium hospitality destination.
Luxury hotels galore in AlUla
AlUla’s jaw-dropping desert landscape is already home to resorts from Banyan Tree and Habitas. But in the coming years, new hotels will also be developed by Aman, with a trio of properties in the pipeline. Renowned architect Jean Nouvel is also 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) 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. Already confirmed hotels at the destination include a 25hours Hotel, an Anantara, and a Chedi property. It’s due for completion in 2026.
An entirely new entertainment destination at Tabuk
Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN), has announced a brand new entertainment destination in Tabuk. Although SEVEN has yet to reveal the name of the new leisure project, it’s set to transform Tabuk’s entertainment landscape with an array of experiences set over a super-sized 40,000 square metre plot. Inside, it will be largely entertainment, although space will also be dedicated to retail and food and beverage offerings. Within the new attraction in Tabuk, there will be eight entertainment zones. These will include a 4,000 square metre highly immersive family entertainment centre; an e-karting experience under Mattel’s Hot Wheels Brand; and Discovery Adventures centre, an indoor edutainment attraction that integrates content developed in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery.
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 2027.
Relaxing Maldives-style at 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, SLS, Raffles, Jumeirah – all of which will open in the first phase. The first part of the first phase, debuting later in 2023, will see Six Senses, Ritz-Carlton Reserve and St Regis all welcome guests.
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.
Discovering ultra luxury living in AMAALA
Self-described as the world’s first integrated family wellness destination, AMAALA is another Saudi mega project under development at the Red Sea, which promises to offer unique and restorative guest experiences. On the northwest coast, AMAALA will be home to more than 3,000 hotel rooms all with a high-end, luxury focus, entertainment facilities, a world-leading marine life institute and iconic Yacht Club, all set within an area of outstanding natural beauty. So far, hotels confirmed for AMAALA include Six Senses, Rosewood, Clinique La Prairie and Jayasom.
Get your edu-tainment fix at Warner Bros. Discovery indoor theme park
With almost two dozen projects in the pipeline, Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN), are going to turn Saudi Arabia into one of the world’s most premier entertainment destinations. In partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery, an indoor theme park will be built as a first-of-its-kind edutainment attraction. Enabling young and old alike to not only be entertained but gain informed insights with educational value, the 3,000 square metre park will open in Riyadh’s Al Hamra district. The Warner Bros. Discovery theme park is just one of ten offerings at the 167,000 square metre SEVEN Al Hamra. It will also be home to the Kingdom’s first Clip ‘n Climb facility, first Transformers themed ride-based attraction, an indoor surfing facility, cinemas, bowling, and lots more.
Be transported through time at Ad-Diriyah
As part of the Kingdom’s ambitious tourism strategy, Vision 2030, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) will transform the birthplace of Arabia into the world’s largest cultural and heritage destination. Inspired by the timeless Najdi architecture of At-Turaif, this rich cultural landscape is being transformed at a cost of SAR65 billion. A showcase of Saudi Arabia’s 300-year history, within Diriyah you’ll find the Turaif District UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts are already open, including the delectable dining destination, Bujairi Terrace, which houses restaurants like Hakkasan and Chez Bruno. As the project continues to develop, it will also feature more than 30 luxury hotels, purpose built pavilions and museums.
Jeddah Central Project
Jeddah Central will see an area of 5.7million square metres in the heart of this coastal city developed in three phases, the first of which will welcome visitors from 2027. Among the star features, there will be a 9.5km waterfront with a world class marina and some 2,700 hotel rooms. Four outstanding landmarks are exciting pillars of culture and creativity: an opera house, museum, sports stadium and oceanarium are all in the works.