Miraval Expands Internationally… To Saudi Arabia

Miraval Expands Internationally… To Saudi Arabia

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Miraval is Hyatt’s boutique luxury wellness brand. It currently has three locations in the United States, in Austin, the Berkshires, and Tucson. The brand is now expanding internationally, but not necessarily where you’d expect.

Plans for Miraval Red Sea, Saudi Arabia

Hyatt and the Red Sea Development Company have entered into a management agreement to open Miraval the Red Sea. The luxury wellness resort will be located on Saudi Arabia’s Shura Island, which is the central hub for the Red Sea Project. It will open as part of the first phase of the Red Sea development, though an exact opening timeline hasn’t yet been revealed.

Miraval the Red Sea will offer 180 guest rooms and suites, including 20 villas, spread across over three million square feet. The resort will:

  • Have a 40,000 square foot spa with 39 treatment rooms
  • Have a walking trail system, mangrove boardwalk, outdoor adventures, and several intentionally purposed rooms set up for art, creative expression, music, wellness lectures, and hands-on workshops
  • Have a focus on dining, with a central dining room, a marketplace, and various cooking classes and workshops

Below are the three renderings of the property that have been published so far.

Miraval The Red Sea arrival
Miraval The Red Sea villa
Miraval The Red Sea guest rooms

Saudi Arabia sure is pushing tourism

As I often say, it’s important to keep in mind that for the major hotel groups, it’s investors that are really the customers, and us guests are the product being sold to investors. We’ve seen an incredible number of new developments announced in Saudi Arabia lately, which reflects that Saudi Arabia is trying to heavily pivot to tourism in the long run.

Saudi Arabia plans to invest one trillion dollars in tourism over the next decade, making it the country that’s investing the most in tourism. The Red Sea Project is intended to become Saudi Arabia’s premier international leisure destination.

The Red Sea Project spans 10,800 square miles, and includes 120 miles of coastline, plus an archipelago of more than 90 untouched islands, volcanoes, deserts, mountains, and a wide variety of wildlife.

Of course the challenge here is that Saudi Arabia historically hasn’t even been open to (non-religious) tourists, and for that matter hasn’t been a destination on many peoples’ radars. Quite to the contrary, it’s a destination that many people have no desire to visit.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how Saudi Arabia is able to transform. Investing a trillion dollars in tourism is great, but what’s more important is creating a fun and tolerant environment. Crowne Prince Mohammed bin Salman has promised to return the country to “moderate Islam,” and while some progress has been made, the country has a lot of work to do before it’ll become a hot tourist destination, in my opinion.

Bottom line

Miraval is expanding internationally for the first time, with plans for a property in Saudi Arabia, as part of the Red Sea Development. As of now we don’t know when the property will open, and the renderings don’t show us all that much of what to expect. I imagine this isn’t what most would have expected Miraval’s first international property to be.

Saudi Arabia sure is throwing a lot of money at tourism, and I’m curious to see how this all plays out. There are endless chain hotels planned for this development, including a St. Regis with overwater villas.

What do you make of Miraval’s plans to open a property in Saudi Arabia?

Conversations (29)
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  1. Endre Guest

    “Our construction workers will be hosted in highest-quality accommodations” — shows footage of shipping container homes. Haha. Thanks, pass.

  2. Jerry Diamond

    Once you're actually on the ground in Saudi, it doesn't feel like a backward place at all. In fact, most Saudis seem, to me at least, to be he fairly cosmopolitan. However, the Miraval's target audience will likely be solo women from Europe, and it's going to be a while before KSA isn't a tough sell for them.

    1. Eve Guest

      Cosmopolitan in the sense if you are in the touristy/upper class area of Riyadh, everywhere else people are middle and fairly conservative! In fact towns and cities outside Riyadh are generally quite poorer and matches that of like Deira in Dubai or even more run down

    2. Max Guest

      For these ‘solo women from Europe’ you are referring to, it only matters if the Sugar-Daddy-Sheikh is paying enough to them for the sick things he is doing to them in this luxury hotel room.

      tagthesponsor com show you what happens when these girls travel to Middle East.

    3. Eve Guest

      @max that is a very disgusting website and i very much disagree with its existence.

      I understand the point of your comment but on a side note, I am of the notion that if somebody wants to get in the profession of escorting, they have every right to and should not be judged. At the end of the day, it is still one the most oldest profession and in fact before religion became a thing, it was widely accepted in society

    4. Max Guest

      It’s 100% haram! And what is happening in these middle eastern countries(same also in Miami, New York, London, Paris, Cannes, Saint Tropez) is not just intimacy for money, it’s straight up dehumanizing practices.

  3. Luke Guest

    I wouldn't risk getting arrested for matters such as Saudi authorities finding out about one of my past Twitter or Facebook posts they didn't like or testing positive on a drug test due to second hand exposure to weed before traveling there now that much of world has it legal.

    And if the red sea resort does indeed allow alcohol, who knows how bad behavior due to drunkenness will be dealt with by authorities, can...

    I wouldn't risk getting arrested for matters such as Saudi authorities finding out about one of my past Twitter or Facebook posts they didn't like or testing positive on a drug test due to second hand exposure to weed before traveling there now that much of world has it legal.

    And if the red sea resort does indeed allow alcohol, who knows how bad behavior due to drunkenness will be dealt with by authorities, can assume much harsher than same offense in western world!

  4. Mendy Guest

    Unless you’re gay, Saudi Arabia should definitely be on your bucket list!

    Very interesting country with lots and lots of sightseeing places of different kinds like old Jeddah, desert stuff, ancient stone building cooler then Petra, Red Sea beach and snorkeling and more.

    I was there and really enjoyed it. I am also Jewish and had no issues at all.

    It is also one of the safest countries in the middles east and...

    Unless you’re gay, Saudi Arabia should definitely be on your bucket list!

    Very interesting country with lots and lots of sightseeing places of different kinds like old Jeddah, desert stuff, ancient stone building cooler then Petra, Red Sea beach and snorkeling and more.

    I was there and really enjoyed it. I am also Jewish and had no issues at all.

    It is also one of the safest countries in the middles east and the world in general. No crimes etc. just stick to the rules like pork, pornography etc and you will have a great time.

    Their visa policy right before COVID was also eased a lot although I do think that having to pay for a visa on arrival is not smart if you want to get tourists to come.

    1. Eve Guest

      I don’t think you being a Jewish effects you in anyway going to Islamic countries. The only obstacle is having proof of travel to Israel or being an Israeli citizen

  5. globetrotter Guest

    @Megan: Khashoggi was dismembered by hand saw so that his body was stuffed in a suit case and transported out of Turkey via a private jet.
    It is the guardian of two holy Islamic sites so it will never compete with UAE as a tourist hub for westerners. The Saudis are the least favorite citizens among the wealthy Gulf states in the Arab world. But I hope to be able to visit Iran this...

    @Megan: Khashoggi was dismembered by hand saw so that his body was stuffed in a suit case and transported out of Turkey via a private jet.
    It is the guardian of two holy Islamic sites so it will never compete with UAE as a tourist hub for westerners. The Saudis are the least favorite citizens among the wealthy Gulf states in the Arab world. But I hope to be able to visit Iran this decade because it has a rich history of the Persian Empire. Especially the gorgeous Persian rugs that are hand weaved by young kids with small fingers.

  6. Tom B Guest

    Guess it will be like Canyon Ranch...... dry

  7. NoWorkAndAllTravel Guest

    Jeddah is one of my favorite cities; fascinating old city (though some of it was destroyed in a fire a few years ago), good diverse food scene, pleasant Red Sea corniche, surprising amount of sculptures from international artists, and easy to take day trips to the rugged ranges of Taif.

  8. I'd rather not forage the Wahhabis Guest

    Can I have a beer there? Can I go there with my sister, her wife and their kids? Can my sister and her wife drive around without a male companion? Can they wear a bikini on the beach? Can I go there and have my say on MBS' folly down in Yemen?

    .... I suspect not.

    Hard pass from me.

    1. Malc Member

      Can you have a beer here? Not yet, but there's widespread speculation that there will be tourist zones that allow alcohol.
      Of course, your sister can drive around without a male companion. Can she bring her wife? Not sure on that one at this stage, but the pace of liberalisation here is astonishing.
      Can they wear bikinis? They currently can do so on private resort beaches here, so almost certainly they will be able to in the Red Sea project areas.

    2. Eve Guest

      The pace is liberalisation is astonishing? Who are you kidding? It took decades for women to be able to drive, yet very few except expats do because society still suppress them. And the most “astonishing” part is, almost all those women who struggled for this simple freedom has been either chased away or jailed as extremist by the authorities. Really impressed by this liberalisation.

    3. Malc Member

      Yes, the pace is astonishing. Music was haram just a few short years ago and now there are mixed-gender dance parties. All the people I know who live in the kingdom – Saudi and expat – are amazed at the pace and scale of the changes.

  9. Big AL Guest

    cue the 'Saudi Arabians are the worst' music... Mostly from Americans.

    America should look in it's own backyard about senseless violence, invading's countries without remit and killing of innocent civilians amongst a myriad of other topics.

    The US owns the term 'Tragic Mistakes'
    People in Glass Houses.

    1. ArnoldB Guest

      Oh look, whataboutism about the US

      so surprising

  10. Megan Guest

    "moderate" from a guy who had a journalist beheaded. No thanks.

    1. Max Guest

      Journalist or a CIA-asset preparing the next color-revolution?

  11. David Diamond

    Guess they finally see the writing on the wall. With the world pivoting towards renewables and electric, and Russia (unintentionally) giving the world another big push to wean off oil, their golden goose is on its last leg.

  12. ArnoldB Guest

    Still a long way to go for them to ever become a potential tourism destination for me to consider.

  13. SamB Member

    Saudi Arabia is great, if you're not a journalist.

    1. Big AL Guest

      13 Confirmed cases of journalists killed in Iraq by U.S. Forces (March 2003-August 2005)

      https://cpj.org/reports/2006/01/js-killed-by-us-13sept05/

    2. David Diamond

      @Big AL

      Did the US Forces also lure the journalists into their base, then cut them up into pieces, melt their bodies and then deny the killing?

    3. Big AL Guest

      No the US usually just minces people up using their R9X ginsu missiles fired from drones then blames others when it goes wrong...

    4. Miguel Guest

      Or a woman, or gay, or a migrant worker, or...

  14. Sam Guest

    There was talk at one point of them allowing alcohol at these tourist hotels. Did they end up deciding to do that? Would make it a much more appealing place to visit.

    1. Malc Member

      It's not been announced yet, but it seems likely.

      Moreover, there's a lot of speculation that the new tourist airline will allow alcohol. Saudi Airlines will specialise in religious pilgrims: https://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/saudi-arabia-goes-for-a-dual-hub-airline-strategy-as-it-targets-330m-passengers-by-2030-1.87947326

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Miguel Guest

Or a woman, or gay, or a migrant worker, or...

1
Max Guest

It’s 100% haram! And what is happening in these middle eastern countries(same also in Miami, New York, London, Paris, Cannes, Saint Tropez) is not just intimacy for money, it’s straight up dehumanizing practices.

0
Malc Member

Yes, the pace is astonishing. Music was haram just a few short years ago and now there are mixed-gender dance parties. All the people I know who live in the kingdom – Saudi and expat – are amazed at the pace and scale of the changes.

0
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