Manage episode 283657850 series 2530089
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Saudi Arabia has announced its plans to build a luxury resort within a sandstone hill in the Al-Ula Desert. The resort, called Sharaan, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Its architecture was inspired by the buildings of the ancient city of Hegra, which is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site. Just like buildings from the old city, the hotel was designed to use light and shadow to accentuate its features. The new tourist destination is set to welcome guests by 2023. It will have 40 guest rooms and three resort villas. Among its notable features is an 80-meter-high glass elevator that lets guests see the layers of rock inside of the sandstone hill. Each hotel room will also have a balcony that overlooks the desert landscape. Nouvel will be supervising the resort’s construction. The project is one of the country's initiatives aimed at rebranding itself as a tourist destination. Currently, the country is not very popular among travelers, except for those who visit for business or religious purposes. The project was planned in collaboration with the Royal Commission for Al-Ula. The commission was established in 2017 to protect the Al-Ula Desert, which has remained unaltered for thousands of years. In an official statement, the government said it believes that Sharaan will be a world-renowned destination. The resort’s architect added that he aims to give the desert environment a modern touch while still celebrating its historic past and heritage.