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Twice the price of The Plaza, more than the Maldives and outdoing Dubai, Saudi Arabia means business with its luxury hotel expansion.

$3,431: That’s how much it will cost to stay at the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel in Saudi Arabia for a night. The super-exclusive, small key-count resort opens for bookings on May 26, hitting the market with the highest rates in the region.

It is priced higher than any hotel in Dubai right now – long seen as the epicenter of Middle East luxury.

Called ‘Nujuma,’ the Ritz-Carlton Reserve property will have 63 villas set around a ring over the water as you might find in the Maldives. It will be operated by Marriott, and is its smallest brand but also its most luxurious.

Plans include a spa, swimming pools, various dining spots, a retail area, and leisure facilities like a conservation center. The property will host a diving center focused on underwater exploration, providing deep-sea diving trips and snorkeling around the island’s outer reef.

Part of The Red Sea

Nujuma is located within one of Saudi Arabia’s fast-developing projects called The Red Sea. The coastal tourism project will eventually house 50 hotels. The plan is to open 16 hotels by 2025, and another 34 before 2030, with most being operated by international brands.

Being built as a storefront window to the future of Saudi tourism, The Red Sea has spared no expense in creating a luxury destination that can rival the likes of Dubai and the Maldives. The exact budget of The Red Sea isn’t known, but the developers spent $5 billion in total by 2023, and said they’d spend another $15 billion in 2024.

The Red Sea likes to open its hotels at record rates – with those records broken by the next launch. So far, two hotels have opened.

In November 2023, IHG’s Six Senses Southern Dunes resort opened, where a one-night stay cost $1,727. The villa-only St. Regis Red Sea (also run by Marriott) opened in January this year, priced slightly higher at $1,866 a night.

Looking at stays on May 26, a room at the Six Senses starts at $1,058, while a villa at St. Regis starts at $2,678.

Will There be Anything More Expensive Than Nujuma?

Right now, the only hotels that could be priced higher than the Reserve are still being built and haven’t opened for bookings. Of the 16 hotels announced for The Red Sea, a handful stand a chance of being more costly.

Confirmed hotels:

  • Desert Rock Resort — 60 keys (operated by Red Sea Global Hospitality)
  • Faena The Red Sea — 150 keys (operated by Faena/Accor)
  • Fairmont Red Sea — 200 keys (operated by Accor)
  • Four Seasons Resort The Red Sea — 149 keys (operated by Four Seasons)
  • Grand Hyatt The Red Sea — 430 keys (operated by Hyatt)
  • InterContinental The Red Sea — 210 keys (operated by IHG)
  • Jumeirah The Red Sea — 159 keys (operated by Jumeirah)
  • Miraval The Red Sea — 180 keys (operated by Hyatt)
  • Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve — 63 keys (operated by Marriott)
  • Raffles The Red Sea — 200 keys (operated by Accor)
  • Rosewood The Red Sea — 200 keys (operated by Rosewood)
  • Shebara Sheybarah Island — 73 keys (operated by Red Sea Global)
  • SLS The Red Sea — 153 keys (operated by Ennismore/Accor)
  • Six Senses Southern Dunes — 76 keys (operated by IHG)
  • The Red Sea Edition – 240 keys (operated by Marriott)
  • St. Regis The Red Sea — 90 keys (operated by Marriott)

With Reserve being Marriott’s flagship brand, it’s unlikely its other hotels will cost more. Grand Hyatt has already been announced as the project’s “entry” luxury hotel.

Of the remaining, the Four Seasons and the Shebara have the most potential. The Shebara brand will be deployed for the upcoming Sheybarah Island resort – seen as the most exclusive of the current 16-property lineup in the archipelago development.

Opening in the summer, the resort contains 73 keys, including overwater and beach villas and guests arrive either by a 45-minute boat ride from the mainland or 20 minutes by seaplane. The resort has been designed by renowned firm Killa, behind the Museum of the Future in Dubai, and is most recognizable for its stainless steel orbs that act as private villas.

What About Outside The Red Sea?

The Red Sea is only one of many projects being created up and down the kingdom. All of them are promising five-star hotels.

There are Aman resorts slated to open in both Diriyah Gate and AlUla; while Neom is set to welcome a Chedi ski retreat – another luxe brand founded by Zecha. A Four Seasons is also expected at Sindalah – the yachting island project of Neom.


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Tags: future of lodging, hospitality news, hotel news, marriott, saudi arabia, saudi hotels, The Red Sea

Photo credit: Nujuma A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

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