Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve In Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea

Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve In Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea

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We know that Saudi Arabia is investing an unprecedented amount of money to boost its tourism industry. A big part of this is the Red Sea Project, which covers 28,000 square kilometers on the west coast of the country, and includes an archipelago of more than 90 natural islands. The goal is to build dozens of hotels here by 2030.

Many major luxury hotel groups have committed to opening properties here, and we’re slowly starting to see them open. Recently we saw the opening of the St. Regis Red Sea Resort. Now we’re seeing the opening of an even higher end Marriott property, which also has overwater villas.

Let me emphasize that I’m writing about this not because I think everyone should immediately plan a vacation in Saudi Arabia, but rather because I find this whole development to be sort of fascinating, and am curious how it evolves.

Basics of Saudi Arabia’s Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, has started accepting reservations for stays as of June 1, 2024 (thanks to Atlas for flagging this). The resort will be located on a private island in Saudi Arabia, and will feature 63 beachfront and overwater villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms. On top of that, the property will have 18 branded homes.

All accommodations here will have a private pool. Entry level villas are marketed as being 1,625 square feet (151 square meters), though I assume that includes both indoor and outdoor space.

Details about the resort’s amenities are limited as of now. We know there will be the Neyrah Spa, Conservation House, and Galaxea Diving Center. There will also be several dining venues, though I haven’t yet seen details about what those will include.

Since the Ritz-Carlton Reserve is on a private island, it’ll take a bit of effort to get there. The resort recommends arriving by yacht (which can be arranged through the property), or alternatively, a seaplane transfer can be arranged.

The best way to get to the area in general is to fly to Red Sea International Airport (RSI), which is currently served by Saudia nonstop from Jeddah (JED) with 2x weekly flights and Riyadh (RUH) with 3x weekly flights.

Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Rendering of Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort rates & points requirements

Rates at the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort are jaw-droppingly high. Rates currently start at ~$2,500 per night (below rates are in SAR, and it’s roughly a 4:1 exchange rate), and that’s if you’re visiting in the peak of summer, when it’s unpleasantly hot.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort cash rates

If you want to redeem points at this property, it’s not a bargain either. The absolute lowest nightly rate I see is ~180,000 points, while on many nights the resort is charging well over 200,000 points per night. Yow.

For what it’s worth, I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each. So I suppose you come out slightly ahead compared to paying cash, though these are still among the highest points rates you’ll find at any Marriott properties.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort points rates

Fortunately Ritz-Carlton Reserve participates in Marriott Bonvoy nowadays, as that wasn’t the case up until a couple of years ago.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this develops

I’m intrigued by Saudi Arabia’s attempt to develop its tourism industry. That’s not because I’m a cheerleader for Saudi Arabia, but rather because we’ve never seen a country invest so much money in tourism so quickly, all while admittedly having a bit of a reputation issue in the West.

It’s unbelievable how many hotels are slated to open in the Red Sea Project in the near future, from a Four Seasons, to a Rosewood, to an EDITION, to a Miraval, to a Grand Hyatt, to an InterContinental, to a Fairmont, and many more.

As of now we only have renderings of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and I can’t help but wonder if it’ll look anything like this in person, or if people will be disappointed. Furthermore, the logistics just don’t seem very ironed out yet, given you currently have a total of five weekly flights to this airport.

Below is a video with the progress of this development as of several months ago.

Bottom line

The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort is expected to open as of June 2024. The property consists exclusively of beachfront and overwater villas, with each accommodation having a private pool. The rates at this resort are astonishingly high, and start at around $2,500 per night.

The country is hoping to eventually make the Red Sea a huge tourist hotspot, but as of now that’s still a work in progress. I’m curious how this evolves…

What do you make of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Red Sea Resort?

Conversations (40)
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  1. Watson Diamond

    "The resort recommends arriving by yacht"

    I think that says everything you need to know about their target audience.

  2. iamhere Guest

    Completely agree if this property and others will be successful depends on their target audience. The big problem is how difficult it is to get there and that there is nothing around there. There is even less included in a Reserve property than a regular Ritz Carlton....

  3. Jennifer Guest

    Recently, flights from the Emirates have started as well. I'm equally curious and impressed by the numerous unique projects under way under the NEOM brand....

  4. Dn10 Guest

    Surprised there aren’t easier ways to get to these Red Sea hotels. Limited flights / airline options available.

  5. Atlas Guest

    “ all while admittedly having a bit of a reputation issue in the West.”

    A lot of people still can’t wrap their heads around the fact that there’s more to the world than just “the west”.

    These resorts will cater a different demographic altogether.

  6. bhcompy Gold

    Imagine voluntarily giving money to anything SA

    1. Lune Guest

      Do you drive a gas powered car? Take a flight anywhere, especially in business or first class? If so, then no imagination needed.

    2. Watson Diamond

      @Lune: There's a difference between indirectly giving them money through unavoidable supply chains and voluntarily spending money in the country.

    3. Lune Guest

      No there isn't. Cash is cash and no matter what the route, if it ends up in the saudi's pockets then it can be used for the same objectionable purposes.

      And besides what's the difference between direct and indirect here? This is a Ritz Carlton. So you're paying them, they pay local workers at the hotel, and their tax revenue goes to the monarchy's coffers. In contrast, Aramco is largely state owned. So if your...

      No there isn't. Cash is cash and no matter what the route, if it ends up in the saudi's pockets then it can be used for the same objectionable purposes.

      And besides what's the difference between direct and indirect here? This is a Ritz Carlton. So you're paying them, they pay local workers at the hotel, and their tax revenue goes to the monarchy's coffers. In contrast, Aramco is largely state owned. So if your refiner buys their crude from SA, that's a far more direct line of payments than a hotel.

      My point with this is that moral outrage is always easy when it's about an activity you don't participate in anyway. But when it's something you yourself need then somehow your brain will decide on a way to convince itself that your actions are fine.

      The truth is, SA derives far more income from oil than from hotels. If the OP really wants to be morally outraged he should be advocating for renewable energy (and maybe he does). That will reduce their global influence far more than boycotting their hotels.

  7. Patti Guest

    Been watching this. As an avid snorkeler with a diver daughter, been waiting for this pristine area to open up. Not $2500 a night but the prices will come down as more resorts open.

    Having done Sharm to Dahab, this should be prime area. Looked at the Eilat area but doesn't hold a candle to what's available in the South.

    Not a drinker so don't care about the liquor situation. Most will be going to sit in the sun, I'll be going to see what below the surface.

  8. Jerry Diamond

    Is this REALLY marketed at GCC nationals? Five weekly fights plus a yacht/seaplane is a lot of work. It's not really any harder to get from Riyadh to MLE or SEZ. DXB is a heck of a lot easier. It seems like it has been built 10 years too early. By the time infrastructure is really up to snuff on the Red Sea coast, this resort might already start to be a bit outdated.

  9. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Can a gay couple stay there and get a king-sized bed, or with the Saudis cut off their genitals?

    It sounds like a terrific place for a holiday!

    1. Atlas Guest

      Never happens, but keep believing everything you’re told.

    2. Portlanjuanero Member

      You could simply say that you feel uncomfortable visiting KSA as a gay man - you don't need to propagate such extremely prejudicial stereotypes

    3. TravelinWilly Diamond

      No discomfort at all. This part of the question remains: Can two men request a king-sized bed at this property?

    4. Watson Diamond

      @Portlanjuanero: Homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Any person with a set of morals is justified in their outrage. You don't get to tell people to calm down or be civil. If Saudi Arabia repeals their medieval laws we'll stop trashing them in every comments section.

    5. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      You don't get to tell people to calm down or be civil

      No, but we do get to remind you of recent history, whether you like it or not:

      Where several US states still have incarceration (or worse) for homosexual activity in their laws, which are dormant only due to Lawrence v. Texas.... and that Europeans have done more for exporting homophobic norms to cultures that previously didn't have them, than any...

      You don't get to tell people to calm down or be civil

      No, but we do get to remind you of recent history, whether you like it or not:

      Where several US states still have incarceration (or worse) for homosexual activity in their laws, which are dormant only due to Lawrence v. Texas.... and that Europeans have done more for exporting homophobic norms to cultures that previously didn't have them, than any other people(s).

      So don't know where you're from, and have nil reason to care-- but chances are, you need to look closer to home. Because if both of those societies could rapidly change their treatment/attitudes toward gays, despite what may be written into some archaic laws, then so can the Saudis.

      Guess we'll see.

    6. MurrayF Member

      More dangerous to be a black straight male in America I would think.

  10. ymx Guest

    Every time I read about a new overwater villa resort being built I can’t help but wonder how these will all fare with global sea level rise.

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      About as well as all the world's large coastal cities that aren't doing anything different, which is basically all of them.

      It's just a bridge that they all plan on crossing when and if they have to.

  11. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    As always with this topic, it's (ironically) a bit sobering to see how many people cannot fathom the idea of a vacation/good time sans alcohol...

    ...just as amusing as it is to see them deny that their objection "isn't actually that, but it's a big part of it!"

    LOL

    1. Ken Guest

      It's really sobering how many people can't spend a few hours on a plane or a few days on a vacation without Alcohol. But also funny how many people think that every wealthy person shares the same moral values as the westerners. The target audience will book these hotels

    2. JWags Guest

      "Westerners"...some of the biggest most alcohol focused people Ive met in my personal and professional life have been Asian, both South Asian and SE Asian

      While its not the solitary focus for me, I do find it silly that when its discussed amongst predominantly Muslim destinations, its intimated that only boisterous Americans and/or Europeans can't fathom not drinking.

    3. Julia Guest

      Forget the Asians, you should see how much some Muslims drink, especially Arabs, even in countries like Saudi Arabia.

      The whole reason the bridge between Saudi and Bahrain exists is so that people in Saudi can go party in Bahrain on weekends, since alcohol, bars, and nightclubs are all available in Bahrain. And it isn't just Westerners living in Saudi that cross the bridge...

      To be honest the issue isn't so much that people...

      Forget the Asians, you should see how much some Muslims drink, especially Arabs, even in countries like Saudi Arabia.

      The whole reason the bridge between Saudi and Bahrain exists is so that people in Saudi can go party in Bahrain on weekends, since alcohol, bars, and nightclubs are all available in Bahrain. And it isn't just Westerners living in Saudi that cross the bridge...

      To be honest the issue isn't so much that people can't survive without alcohol but that I think people like if the choice is available, even if they don't drink.

  12. Rob Guest

    The western centric comments on posts like this always make me smile.. even though I am one myself! Like fancy desert resorts in Dubai, I think the main target audience is wealthy GCC nationals who aren't bothered about alcohol, where they can take their family or bit on the side for some fun/family time and still have privacy and luxury, without having to deal with westerners and their booze. The price certainly reflects their budgets....

    The western centric comments on posts like this always make me smile.. even though I am one myself! Like fancy desert resorts in Dubai, I think the main target audience is wealthy GCC nationals who aren't bothered about alcohol, where they can take their family or bit on the side for some fun/family time and still have privacy and luxury, without having to deal with westerners and their booze. The price certainly reflects their budgets. Any other nationalities they get to visit on top of main audience is merely the cherry on the top for them

    1. Dan Guest

      Then why partner with a western hotel group?

    2. Rob Guest

      Spend any amount of extended time in the GCC and you'll appreciate that they love nothing more than luxury western brands

    3. John Guest

      Have you been to a luxury hotels in Oman? Anantara, Alila, Shangri La, Chedi... Its mostly European.

    4. Rob Guest

      Yup 10 years in the region... And they serve alcohol in Oman.. us westerners are just not the audience for this place right now. In 10 or even 5 years time (how fast things are changing there), who knows.... but for now they'll charge top dollar and get it from their target audience while the new wow factor is there

    5. ImmortalSynn Guest

      "Anantara, Alila, Shangri La, Chedi... Its mostly European."

      But each one of those you listed are brands originally founded (and most of them still based) in Asia.

    6. Rob Guest

      ... And yet still serve alcohol and target western audiences with lower prices/better points rates. Maybe this Saudi Red Sea place will get like that eventually like I said, but it shouldn't come as a surprise they are milking their wealthy regional market first

    7. Julia Guest

      "Like fancy desert resorts in Dubai, I think the main target audience is wealthy GCC nationals who aren't bothered about alcohol"

      Those resorts cater to quite a few Westerners and Asians as well who do enjoy alcohol there, even if it is under the table sometimes...

      If anything, you can't compare those places to this resort, better to compare it to beach resorts of the UAE and Oman, where alcohol is usually available.

  13. Dn10 Guest

    How does the water at these resorts compare to the Maldives?

  14. Nick Guest

    What is the fanciest drink they serve? Some mint tea…

    1. Pamella Guest

      I just got back from Saudi last week.
      The creativity with the mocktails and non alcoholic beers are impressive.
      Amazing destination. I visited Jeddah and Al Ula on a 4 day stopover coming from Mauritius

  15. Joey Diamond

    This is fascinating and am curious who they will market to. There are already well established Red Sea resorts that cater to westerners in Israel (Eilat) and Egypt (Sharm-el-Sheikh, Hurghada.)

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      You just answered your own question.

      And while KSA does present a bit of a reputation/moralistic issue for some, it's not like the same cannot now be said about visiting Israel (particularly the south) for others.

      So who knows-- might be the best time of all for a move like this.

  16. Avi Guest

    No thanks, Eilat and is good for me.

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.

TravelinWilly Diamond

Can a gay couple stay there and get a king-sized bed, or with the Saudis cut off their genitals? It sounds like a terrific place for a holiday!

2
Rob Guest

The western centric comments on posts like this always make me smile.. even though I am one myself! Like fancy desert resorts in Dubai, I think the main target audience is wealthy GCC nationals who aren't bothered about alcohol, where they can take their family or bit on the side for some fun/family time and still have privacy and luxury, without having to deal with westerners and their booze. The price certainly reflects their budgets. Any other nationalities they get to visit on top of main audience is merely the cherry on the top for them

2
TravelinWilly Diamond

No discomfort at all. This part of the question remains: Can two men request a king-sized bed at this property?

1
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