Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Red Sea Global Creates Own Luxury Hotel Group Called Shebara

4 months ago

Saudi Arabian development group Red Sea Global has created its own luxury hotel brand called Shebara. 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 next 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 which act as private villas.

The Shebara Resort will be run by Red Sea Global, meaning the firm both owns and manages the asset. Last month, RSG also announced it would self-operate a private island project called Thuwal Island near the Red Sea Project.

It is the latest hotel brand to come out of Saudi Arabia. At the start of last year, Boutique Group was announced: A hotel brand designed to repurpose former palaces and government buildings into luxury hotels. Both Shebara and Boutique Group come under the ownership of the vast Public Investment Fund.

Much like how Jumeirah Group has become a showcase of Dubai’s approach to Arabian hospitality, Red Sea Global hopes Shebara will do the same for Saudi.

RSG CEO John Pagano said: “Shebara is a beacon for all that RSG stands for, showcasing the very best in Saudi hospitality while setting new standards in responsible development and sustainable operations.”


Marriott’s Giga-Resort in Saudi Arabia Banking on Cash-Rich Locals

6 months ago

The next generation of Saudi Arabian hotels is coming, marked by the opening of the Kingdom’s multi-billion-dollar giga-projects. Marriott is showing what is possible at these spare-no-expense properties: Asking for the highest room rates in the country.

Skift’s Josh Corder reports:

Just two hotel operators are entrusted to introduce Saudi Arabia’s “untouched” Maldives-rivaling Red Sea to international guests: Marriott and IHG. Three of the planned 50 hotels at the $50 billion giga-project open this year, a St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton Reserve from Marriott and a Six Senses from IHG.

For Marriott, it’s familiar territory. The group operates the ultra-exclusive and somewhat secretive Bulgari Resort in Dubai, a vast St. Regis Resort on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, and another St. Regis on Qatar’s Marsa Arabia island.

Much like these fellow five-star island properties, Marriott’s St. Regis Red Sea Resort appears to be positioning itself a cut above other hotels in the country. Currently, the property is bookable for stays from February 1, 2024 (the official word is that it will open before the end of 2023). Priced at about $1,600 a night (6,037 Saudi Arabian riyals) a night, it is comfortably one of the country’s most expensive hotels — comparable only to IHG’s Six Senses nearby.

Six Senses The Southern Dunes, The Red Sea takes bookings from November 1, and, with an imposed two-night minimum stay, rates start from about $1,700 a night (6,618 riyals) a night.

Bookings for the ‘Nujuma’ Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort have not yet opened.

The St. Regis will have just 90 keys, all of which will be villas.

While the hotels are said to open this year, they won’t see international guests until 2024. The project’s Red Sea International Airport — also developed by the same company, Red Sea Global — will operate domestic flights this year and international next year. Dubai will be the first overseas destination connected to the new airport.

Made For Mocktails

For this domestic crowd, which will fly in from Jeddah and Riyadh, pricing remains a barrier. In Knight Frank’s Saudi Report 2023, cost was a reason why respondent Saudi travelers would not stay in a hotel in their own country. The survey found that 28% of 25–35-year-olds put it as their biggest barrier, 41% of those up to 45 years old said the same, and 54% of those over 45.

For young Saudis, the thing that put them off most from staying at domestic hotels was restrictions. Alcohol, for example, remains prohibited.

Speaking with the FII Institute earlier this year, Red Sea Global group CEO John Pagano assured that his post-card tourism project “doesn’t need alcohol.”

“Alcohol is not on the agenda,” Pagano said. “I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. There’s a new industry evolving. The no/low alcohol industry, it’s booming.”

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort will have its own St. Regis Bar, complete with oysters and caviar, live music, and mocktails.

More broadly, Pagano said visitors will discover a changing Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve seen so much change in the five years I’ve been here — it’s incredible,” Pagano said. “Western attire will be perfectly acceptable within the destination. Obviously, if you wander into some of the local towns, we expect people to respect the customs and cultures. Within the resorts, you can wear bikinis without any issue.”

Story by Josh Corder


IDEAS: Red Sea Global Unveils a 3D Printed 5G Tower at Six Senses Resort

6 months ago

Red Sea Global and Zain KSA have unveiled the world’s first zero-carbon 5G network, which is powered by 100% renewable energy.

Credit: Red sea Global

The tower, which is located at Six Senses Southern Dunes resort at The Red Sea, will bring guests ‘the highest speeds for 5G connectivity in the region’ according to a release from Red Sea Global.

Utilizing 3D printing technology, the tower has been designed to seamlessly blend with the landscape by imitating rock formations, ensuring the tower has a minimal visual impact on the surrounding environment.

The network is also set to powered by over 760,000 solar panels, which have been built by Red Sea Global to power the entire 28,000km2 destination. 

“We aspire to be global pioneers of regenerative tourism development, adopting 100% renewable energy at our flagship destination, The Red Sea, and working towards the achievement of a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040. These ambitious goals demand ambitious partners, and our collaboration with Zain KSA transcends telecommunications, extending into sustainability and environmental protection,” said John Pagano, group CEO at Red Sea Global. 

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.


Saudi Top Tourism Developer Rebrands to Red Sea Global and Plans 16 New Resorts

1 year ago

Saudi Arabia’s flagship tourism project developer has rebranded to Red Sea Global (RSG) and said it would open three resorts in 2023 and 13 more in 2024, reported Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

Formerly known as The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), Red Sea Global has long been working on a project along the Red Sea and Amaala, a resort being constructed on Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast. Both efforts are part of the country’s efforts to diversify its economy by boosting new sectors such as tourism while using renewable energy.

On Tuesday, the developer said its mandate had expanded to oversee up to a dozen projects stretching the length of the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, with the potential to expand beyond the kingdom. It plans to open 16 resorts between now and 2024.

Red Sea Global is a closed joint-stock company owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.