Southern Dunes by Foster + Partners
Location: Red Sea Coast, Saudi Arabia
Situated a short distance inland from the Red Sea coast, Southern Dunes is a new luxury resort that is set to become a new destination for global tourists. The project is a celebration of Saudi Arabia’s amazing desert landscape and pursues the highest environmental standards of sustainability in an effort to preserve, protect and enhance the region’s stunning natural biodiversity for generations to come. The larger masterplan for the special economic zone includes an international airport and several island developments, including Coral Bloom on Shura island – the hub island for the coastal development.
Located in a spectacular setting, where the dunes meet the mountains, the entrance to the resort is marked by a distinctive flower-shaped canopy, sheltering a lush oasis. Planted with local species of flora, it cools the space naturally and enhances its environmental qualities. The lightweight, rope-clad petals accommodate the welcoming area and many other amenities surrounded by panoramic views of the mountains and desert beyond. The luxurious hotel rooms are located towards the breath-taking valley and open up with spectacular views of the mountains.
The resort also features 40 mountain villas, carefully placed across the site, with lightweight roof forms that are inspired by undulating sand dunes and traditional tents. The villas respect the site’s topography, their fluid roof structures blend with the sand and the colour of the soil. The resort includes exclusive amenities such as the spa, pool area and speciality restaurants, which are all underpinned by a commitment to championing local crafts, cuisines and traditions.
The spa provides a wide array of traditional treatments, with serene views of a nearby valley and the mountains beyond. The pool area creates an oasis for guests, sheltering them from strong sunlight and providing spectacular views of the sand dunes. The resort’s speciality restaurants are situated at the site’s highest point, to facilitate sunset dining.
The structures have been carefully planned and sited to minimise environmental impact. The landscaping is also sensitively designed, to maintain and enhance the original character of the area.