Accor to operate 82-key villa resort in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla
Ashar Resort will be flagged as a Banyan Tree property
Saudi Arabia’s ambitious AlUla project has strengthened its hospitality portfolio with the announcement that hotel group Accor will operate an expanded Ashar Resort under its Banyan Tree brand.
Inked between Accor and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the deal will see the Ashar Resort expand by 47 units, bringing the number of villas to 82. Additionally, a luxury spa will be added and several F&B venues.
Commenting on the agreement, the CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, Amr AlMadani, said: “This new partnership demonstrates how AlUla’s unique appeal as a cultural, heritage and nature destination fits with Accor’s Banyan Tree brand, which is synonymous with authentically unique experiences.
"We’re working with the world’s best developers and hotel operators to deliver projects that complement our cultural oasis, as well as benefiting our local community.
“The partnership agreement with Accor is part of a major series of capital projects and multiple investments made by RCU into fifteen plans in AlUla, many of which will be announced in the coming months. This is a clear sign of our confidence in the future strength of the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia."
The partnership was made just in time for the destination’s opening in October 2020. Over several years the destination will gradually increase its number of keys, reaching 9,400 by 2035. Currently, visitors can choose from five accommodation providers.
Starting from October, visitors will be able to access four key heritage sites including Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008; Dadan, one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Ikmah, often referred to as the ‘Lihyanite library’; and Old Town, the ancient walled city of AlUla.
Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor said: “In line with our commitment to grow Accor’s unique portfolio in Saudi Arabia, and as one of the first global hospitality groups to set foot in the Kingdom, we are extremely proud to take part in the development of the historic county of AlUla, thus celebrating the Kingdom’s vast heritage and culture.
"We are very excited to be working on bringing our partner brand Banyan Tree's unique sanctuary offering to the Ashar Resort.”
By 2035, RCU expects to host two million visitors annually, generating 38,000 new jobs.