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New concept designs for the Sharaan by Jean Nouvel resort have been revealed during the Future Hospitality Summit in Saudi Arabia.

Located deep within the Sharaan nature reserve, the designs draw on the nearby Nabataean wonders of Hegra, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country.

In a world-first, this 2,000-year-old architectural legacy is being revived by Nouvel for potentially the first time since the Nabataeans carved into the region millions-of-years-old sandstone rock.

As the concepts were unveiled, architect Nouvel described the new cultural oasis of Alula as: “The coming together of a landscape and history; the history of past civilisations in an extraordinary landscape – the only place to create such a masterpiece.”

Nouvel emphasised the importance of preserving such a unique landscape: “Alula is a museum.

“Every wadi and escarpment, every stretch of sand and rocky outline, every geological and archaeological site deserves the greatest consideration.

“It is vital we keep all its distinctiveness and conserve its attractiveness, which largely rests on its remote and occasionally archaic character.

“We have to safeguard a little mystery as well as the promise of discoveries to come.”


Nouvel views this resort as an opportunity to bring to life a strong spatial, sensorial and emotional experience on the borders of nature, architecture and art – where the sound, musicality, harshness, tactility, power and complexity of nature are everywhere.

He added: “Our project should not jeopardise what humanity and time have consecrated.

“Our project is celebrating the Nabateans spirit without caricaturing it.

“This creation genuinely becomes a cultural act.”

The end result will see guests immersed deep within in a memorable journey through time and space, offering a true discovery of the essence of Alula.

The Sharaan by Jean Nouvel Resort will be a key element the strategy to develop Alula as a global destination for culture, heritage and eco-tourism.

Future Hospitality Summit is a hybrid virtual conference developed to explore big ideas and tackle the challenges facing the hospitality industry, and will take place in Riyadh over the next two days.

The event, which promises to be one of the most impactful gatherings of the hospitality community, will be delivered on a cutting-edge event platform from Bench Digital.

It will provide an immersive live experience, including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking and integrated chat features to all participants.

More Information

Future Hospitality Summit is organised by ministry of tourism Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of the International Conferences Program, honouring the G20 Saudi presidency 2020.

Find out more on the official website.