“Like Traveling Back in Time”: Discover AlUla, the World’s Best-Kept Secret

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Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

The historic village of AlUla still feels like a well-kept secret. Nestled in the heart of Medina province (in northwestern Saudi Arabia) lies the exotic and enchanting oasis city. The Hejaz region, home to AlUla, boasts a rich history steeped in Islamic civilization. Once a bustling market city along the historic incense route, AlUla linked the Gulf and India to the Levant and Europe, making it an active hub of trade and culture.

Since opening its doors to tourists in 2019, Saudi Arabia has become the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination, gaining recognition for its unparalleled luxury offerings. The true jewel of the country lies in its exceptional hospitality, and nowhere is this more evident than at Banyan Tree’s debut Saudi property, in the breathtaking surroundings of AlUla. Through its philosophy of ‘in-villa’, ‘in-valley’, and ‘en-voyage’, the all-villa resort offers a unique desert retreat that fully immerses guests in the natural surroundings of the Ashar Valley.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

First Impressions

The resort embodies Banyan Tree’s commitment to local influence, drawing on its breathtaking natural landscapes and the culture of the Bedouins, who have inhabited the area for centuries. Sustainability and a dedication to using locally inspired elements are key pillars of the Banyan Tree brand, and the AlUla property fully embraces this decree.

Upon arrival, you’ll be captivated by the stillness and the stunning rock formations, making you feel as if time and space are suddenly suspended, allowing your senses to awaken fully. At night, the area feels like the set of a movie, with an inconceivable feeling of peace that seeps into your bones. All you’ll want to do is lie still and watch the stars twinkling in the open skies. It is wholly serene; almost healing.

 

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

Location, Location, Location

AlUla, which now has its very own international airport, is home to a host of historical sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra, as well as Maraya, the largest mirrored building in the world. The city itself is a treasure trove of priceless artifacts, including remarkably preserved ancient stone inscriptions that showcase the evolution of the Arabic language. The region is also home to an impressive concentration of rock dwellings and tombs, dating back to the Nabatean and Dedanite periods, offering a unique glimpse into the lives of these ancient societies. 

The Banyan Tree AlUla Resort is strategically situated to offer bespoke well-being and adventure excursions, allowing guests to experience the ancient landscapes and to immerse themselves with the local people who call it home. From massages in a nearby cave to soothing sound baths under the stars, well-being and nature go hand in hand here. Sunrise and sunset activities allow guests to go deeper into Bedouin life, and the opportunity to experience traditional rituals like stargazing – which the tribes have used for centuries to navigate the desert terrain – is an exceptional feature that sets it apart from other destinations.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

Suite Stay

Nestled amidst the mesmerizing red rock formations, the ‘Dune Two-Bedroom Pool Villa’ is a Savoir Flair favorite. Its chic and contemporary design, adorned with exquisite Arabian-inspired accents, embody the resort’s opulent allure and make it a haven of tranquility.

The villa is expansive and indulgent, boasting a spacious living area, two lavish bedrooms, and an inviting outdoor dining area with its very own fire pit and private pool. Sit back on the lounge bed and take in the striking views as you savor delectable cuisine and get treated to impeccable service that caters to your every whim. It’s the ultimate luxury experience.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

Food Matters

The resort’s impressive F&B offerings make it a haven of epicurean delights. Among the standout options, Saffron takes center stage as the signature restaurant, offering a contemporary twist on classic Thai cuisine prepared by (you guessed it) expert Thai chefs. Helmed by the passionate storyteller, Chef Riccardo Lujan, the intimate dining experience takes diners on a gastronomic journey with every bite. With the scent of lemongrass, coconut milk, and spices permeating the air, you’re immersed in the true essence of Thailand — only it’s in the beating heart of Arabia.

For a taste of the local cuisine, Harrat is a must-visit destination. The vibrant fine-dining restaurant features a stunning array of locally made handicrafts, from rugs to earthenware, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The restaurant, whose name is derived from Harrat Rahat, Saudi Arabia’s largest volcanic lava field, offers a menu with a range of dishes to suit every palate, from seafood to Middle Eastern mezze, pasta, and freshly grilled meats. It’s an enchanting locale to indulge in the local cuisine.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

Adventure Awaits

In this enchanting corner of the world, adventure awaits at every turn. From the break of dawn to the fall of dusk, thrill-seekers of every persuasion can indulge their appetite for excitement. Embark on a heart-pumping rock climbing or ‘via ferrata’ expedition, scaling the majestic mountains of AlUla and absorbing the splendor of nature. Or, put your limits to the test as you explore the breathtaking desert terrain from atop towering sandstone canyons. For a bird’s-eye view of the landscape, hop on a thrilling vintage plane or helicopter adventure, soaring over the magnificent sites of the region, with the possibility of extending the journey as far as the Red Sea.

For those seeking a minimal dose of adventure, a trip to Old Town will feel like walking into a time machine and coming out two thousand years ago. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra, marveling at the awe-inspiring Nabataean tombs and delving into the mysteries of this ancient civilization. And for the ultimate experience, venture out to Elephant Rock — a testament to the indomitable spirit of this majestic landscape.

Cap off the evening with a private sunset camel ride and an authentic Bedouin dinner, served in a traditional tent and featuring a feast of local cuisine prepared by passionate chefs. A journey into the heart and soul of an ancient land, you’re welcomed with traditional Arabic hospitality and entertained by local performers, including oud players, belly dancers, and henna artists.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

Rest and Relaxation

For those who value self-care and wellness, The Banyan Tree Spa, offering world-class treatments for physical, mental, and spiritual renewal, is a must-visit. From time-honored massages and facials to signature treatments featuring natural ingredients, the spa seamlessly fuses local and Eastern rituals, transporting guests into the healing elements of nature. In addition to the spa, outdoor well-being experiences allow guests to connect more deeply with the pristine natural surroundings. 

The highlight of the spa is the infinity-edge rock pool, which is carved into a canyon with an enchanting view out over the valley. With well-trained therapists and frequent retreats and workshops by world-renowned masters, this spa — much like the resort itself — is a destination like no other.

Banyan Tree AlUla
BANYANTREE ALULA

To find out more about Banyan Tree AlUla, or to book your stay, click here

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