Sneak peek: The Chedi Hegra in Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Chedi Hegra will be the first hotel to welcome guests to a uniquely authentic luxury experience deep in the ancient Nabataean site in north-west Saudi Arabia… 

stone walls and lanterns in render of The Chedi Hegra boutique hotel

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has partnered with luxury hotel operator GHM to develop The Chedi Hegra. Situated within Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and opening by Q4 2023, The Chedi Hegra will offer 35 bespoke guestrooms, each with its own distinct connection to the Hegra landscape, a breath-taking testimony of human expression within the natural environment.

RCU is building the hotel directly into several existing structures, including an old railway station and surrounding buildings, Hegra Fort and others. Structural and exterior walls, some with historical mud-brick construction, are being preserved and integrated with modern architecture. The vast majority of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will remain untouched by construction and will be carefully preserved to maintain the integrity of Hegra’s incredible human and natural heritage.

stone colours and surfaces in the guestroom The Chedi Hegra

Image credit: GHM

RCU has also ensured all design and construction efforts align with the Sustainability Charter for AlUla, including a light-touch tourism approach, imaginative infrastructure, planting of native flora and an electric mobility system. Where possible, the project will use local construction materials and work with local businesses and labour. The hotel is expected to create at least 120 jobs once fully operational.

the art canopy at Chedi Hegra that reflects natural light and moves in the wind

Image credit: GHM

The property will feature three fine-dining restaurants, a café and a full-service spa and pool, with many of the buildings connected by an overhead art canopy focused on wind movement and natural light. The on-site restaurants will each offer unique experiences for hotel guests and others visiting Hegra. One of the restaurants inside the old railway station will feature an exhibition of carefully preserved artefacts, including a fully restored train, while another will sit within the Hegra Fort and a third will feature unobstructed views from a sunken water basin seating area.

geometric water basin with sunken seating area at The chedi Hegra

Image credit: GHM

“GHM is thrilled to introduce this luxurious heritage boutique hotel that will offer authentic, unrivalled lifestyle experience deep within the ancient Nabataean site of Hegra,” said Tommy Lai, Chief Executive Officer, GHM. “As the first hotel within Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, we are committed to preserve the site’s integrity while seamlessly integrating modern architecture and comforts. I am certain that guests will recognise and appreciate the value we place in minimising our environmental impact, through the sustainable efforts of the hotel, in addition to our dedication in conserving the legacy of Hegra – a true GHM hallmark of creating inspired spaces.”

GHM’s exclusive portfolio includes The Chedi AI Bait, Sharjah, UAE, The Chedi Muscat, Oman, The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland, The Chedi Hotel and Residences Luštica Bay, Montenegro, The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, Doha, Qatar and The Chedi El Gouna, Red Sea, Egypt. As part of the brand’s plans to continue its legacy globally, GHM currently has five projects in the pipeline which include The Chedi Wadi Safar and The Chedi Trojena in Saudi Arabia.

Main image credit: GHM