Thursday, September 21, 2023

Ritz-Carlton’s First Saudi Arabia Resort: Sustainability and ‘Barefoot Luxury’


Slated to open some time next year, Ritz-Carlton’s first Saudi Arabia location is focused on regenerative tourism around the Red Sea and sustainable luxury across its 63 waterfront villas.

“We are thrilled to bring our most luxurious brand, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and its exemplary experience to the Middle East,” Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, which owns Ritz-Carlton said in a statement.

“Perfectly situated on one of the most anticipated regenerative tourism projects in the world, the resort will blend seclusion and sophistication to provide a highly personalized luxury escape,” Briet said. 


Nujuma, the sixth Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is coming to a set of private islands—part of the Red Sea’s Blue Hole cluster of islands. It’s a location picked for its tranquility and beauty and will support the Red Sea Project–an ambitious regenerative tourism project preserving 28,000 square kilometers on the west coast of Saudi Arabia where less than one percent of the region will be developed.

The new Reserve is expected to offer guests a “new type of barefoot luxury,” according to the company, with the highest standards of sustainability throughout the property. According to Marriott, “the development features an archipelago of more than 90 untouched natural islands, as well as dormant volcanoes, sweeping desert dunes, mountains and wadis, and more than 1,600 cultural heritage sites.”

The destination will feature 63 one to four bedroom water and beach villas and amenities that include multiple pools, a spa, restaurants, and a conservation center focused on the region’s biodiversity. Nujuma will also include 18 Ritz-Carlton Reserve branded permanent residences.

“I am excited to welcome Ritz-Carlton Reserve into the fold of our luxury collection of brands for The Red Sea,” said John Pagano, CEO at The Red Sea Development Company, working to develop the new property.

Rosewood Red Sea | Courtesy

“Around the world, Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties are synonymous with providing unique luxury experiences and creating personalized meaningful escapes, underpinned by a commitment to sustainable practices. As we inch closer to opening our first resorts early next year, this world-class brand is sure to excite and entice future guests.”

Also coming to Saudi Arabia as part of the Red Sea Project is Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Rosewood Red Sea.

It will be located on the western coast of the country on Shura Island. The 149 rooms and suites will be immersed in the Rosewood’s “integrative well-being” concept that includes treatment rooms, yoga studio, and movement studios.

“Rosewood’s presence in the Red Sea destination will mark a transformational time for the brand as the project looks to set new standards in sustainable development and support Saudi Arabia emerge as a top global tourism destination,” Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group, said in a statement.

Sustainability at Ritz-Carlton

Ritz-Carlton says it has been actively working to reduce its environmental footprint, with measures including reducing its water and energy consumption, increasing access to local and organic dining options across its restaurants, sourcing eco-friendly products, as well as developing green hotels from the start. It’s also working to engage its employees and guests in conservation efforts across its properties.

“We are focused on integrating environmental sustainability throughout our business, including architecture and construction, hotel operations, and procurement,” the hotel chain says on its website. “A comprehensive set of initiatives and practices are in place, designed to reduce energy use, water consumption and waste, while database and monitoring systems help us to track consumption and monitor progress against goals.”

Ritz-Carlton has partnerships with the Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society and Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary managed golf courses.

four seasons hotel
Courtesy Four Seasons

The announcement comes as a recent survey found travelers want to make their trips more sustainable. A recent survey found 61 percent of travelers have become more interested in sustainable travel following the pandemic. “Over the six years we’ve been conducting this research, it’s been inspiring to see awareness of the importance of sustainable travel consistently grow, both with our customers and now with our partners, too,” Marianne Gybels, Director of Sustainability for, said in a statement.

Other luxury hotels have also embraced sustainability and nature-immersive destinations aimed at providing guests a more holistic experience. The latest Four Seasons development in Mexico brings a glamping approach to luxury in its tented property. And across Africa, safaris are also getting a luxury upgrade.

The Nujuma Ritz-Carlton Reserve is set to open next year. The other Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties are located in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. 


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