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The new subway luxury resort, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, will be based on emission-free energy with new sustainability standards.


French architect Jean Nouvel and his architectural firm have presented a project for a subway resort hotel. This construction will be located inside the rocky dwellings of AIUIa, one of the most historic and archaeologically rich regions of Saudi Arabia. This area is located in the northwest of the Arab country, 370 km from Medina and 1250 km from Riyadh, the capital.


Resort courtyard

The ‘Sharaan by Jean Nouvel’ project will be completed in 2024. It includes the construction of 40 suites, 14 pavilions and three villas resort in a space of almost one hundred thousand square meters. The client in this case has been the Royal Commission for AIUIa, an institution created for the preservation and development of the area. This is why the hotel and resort project will be a good tourist attraction for culture, heritage and ecotourism.


Swimming pool concept

Inspired by the Nabataean people

With the aim of preserving the region’s heritage and landscape, Nouvel has been inspired by the ancient Nabataean people. This culture settled in the Arabian desert between the 2nd and 4th centuries BC, and were also responsible for the excavation of the city of Petra in Jordan.


Terrace of one of the hotel rooms

Jean Nouvel has created public spaces oriented to live by day, by night and invites visitors to immerse themselves in a journey through thousands of years of civilizations and geographic strata within every detail of his designs, with a permanent sensation of feeling the rocks with all the comforts of a luxury hotel..

It offers a true discovery of the essence of AlUla, through immersive experiences in the Sharaan wilderness.


Hegra is the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Saudi Arabia and the main point of interest in the AIUIa area. It is an ancient city of 52 hectares. Formed by more than a hundred tombs in a good state of preservation. These have facades cut into sandstone outcrops. The landscape has been sculpted in a way that protects guests from both the intense summer heat and the winter cold.


The entrance to the hotel will be circular.

The desert is not a new motif in Nouvel’s architecture, the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi or the National Museum of Qatar demonstrate the French architect’s admiration for the desert landscape. On the other hand, Barcelona has already witnessed the creativity of the Gallic architect, the Torre Agbar, the Parc del Centre del Poblenou or the Hotel Catalonia Fira are proof of this. In Madrid, the Hotel Puerta América or the Reina Sofía Museum Extension are also works by Nouvel.

If you have never traveled to Arabia, from 2024 you will have the perfect excuse. This subway resort hotel offers a unique opportunity to sleep among the rocks in an unusual place.

Images courtesy of the Royal Commission of AIUIa