Skift Take

Behold, Thuwal Private Retreat: A private, buy-out-only island being developed in Saudi Arabia. While the kingdom's richest have been known to head to Maldives for such pleasures, they will now be available at home.

Saudi Arabia announced Thuwal Private Retreat, an ultra-luxurious and likely ultra-secretive private island along its Red Sea coast. Promised as a place of “indulgence” the island opens next year, available for total buy-outs only.

The retreat is being developed by Red Sea Global, the same company behind the multi-billion-dollar tourism projects The Red Sea and Amaala, also on the Red Sea coast. Unlike those projects, however, which will have close to 100 hotels between them, Thuwal Private Retreat will be very intimate.

The 1.7-hectare sandy islet will have a main three-bedroom villa, three one- bedroom suites, a beach club, gym and wellness center. Unlike Amaala and The Red Sea, there will be no third parties involved. Red Sea Global will develop and manage the site.

RSG said: “There are no third-party hospitality or hotel operators involved for the first time in RSG’s development history.”

“This is a milestone for us personally, said group CEO John Pagano. “It is the latest project we can reveal since we announced our expanded portfolio of projects last year and it is significantly advanced in terms of delivery. It is also the first time we are creating a destination owned and operated end-to-end by the expert team here at Red Sea Global, from development and planning to accommodation and guest services.”

The island will have a team of staff and butlers, as well as at least one bar area, confirms an image sent by the Red Sea Global team.

Island Escapades Of The Saudis

In Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck’s book “Blood and Oil: Mohammed bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power,” the pair detail a party held by the Saudi crown prince in the Maldives.

It featured interviews with staff surrounding one such party in 2015 at Velaa, one of the most exclusive properties in the Maldives. According to them, models arrived by boat to the island, celebrities were brought in to perform, and parties would go on for entire days.


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Tags: red sea global, Saudi Tourism

Photo credit: Rendering of Thuwal Private Retreat. Red Sea Global

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