The excavation work at the Sharaan Resort project site

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has marked a significant milestone in the development of the Sharaan Resort in AlUla, the ancient city of northwest Saudi Arabia, with the inaugural rock excavation, kickstarting the much-anticipated project.

The excavation, that has heralded a mission combining Jean Nouvel’s architectural innovation with Bouygues' engineering expertise, is an important step forward in AlUla's evolution into a premier destination for sustainable luxury tourism, a statement said.

Nestled within the ancient geological treasures of the Sharaan Nature Reserve, the resort will offer 38 custom suites carved into sandstone mountains, comprehensive wellness facilities, family-friendly amenities, diverse dining options, and unique panoramic views.

RCU and its contractor partners have agreed to adopt construction techniques that will follow the ancient Nabataean practice of creating spaces within rock, and then apply modern engineering methods to create habitable spaces that are more aligned to modern-day expectations.

Part of the project’s uniqueness lies in having excavated areas one on top of the other.

Aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the AlUla Sustainability Charter, the project represents RCU’s dedication to pioneering sustainable development practices, a statement said.

Ben Hudson, Chief Development and Construction Officer at RCU, said: "The Sharaan Resort is our most ambitious project yet. This initial excavation is tangible evidence of our continued efforts to develop AlUla into a premier destination that harmonises luxury tourism with the preservation of unique cultural and natural heritage.

“Our work is fully guided by RCU’s environmental, social and health impact processes, and we are ensuring that all stakeholders appreciate the special location we are working in.”

GThe Sharaan Resort stands as a flagship project in line with RCU goal of achieving 5,000 hotel rooms by 2030 and 8,500 rooms by 2035 that exemplify the blend of luxury and sustainability. TradeArabia News Service