Client: Royal Commission for AL ULA

Scope: Design Competition

Budget: 200 Millions USD

Description: Luxury Desert Resort

Atelier Pod has been invited by the Royal Commission of Al Ula to participate to the prestigious international design competition for the Sharaan Desert Resort.

It begins and ends with Al-Ula at the heart of all that has happened over centuries as civilizations have collided and cooperated, as they have risen and fallen, as traders have come and gone to be replaced by new national and international travellers as guests in a changing Kingdom that is Vision 2030.

Without the trade routes and the fertile valley of Al Ula, the wonders of the Nabatean and other cultures found nearby would not exist. The Sheraan desert resort has the scaled down characteristics of a valley with its sides advancing and retreating in an intriguing fashion, whilst offering many glimpsed views of the desert with its amazing rocks beyond.

A contemporary citadel composed of 3 towers take up the deconstructed Nabatean facades and stem from a cliff on a village. The village is built around winding alleys where you can almost hear the life of al Ula’s old media. Farther away, as if thrown into the desert, Farm villas and tents surround the resort.

At the two ends of the main axis leading to the Rock Arch, the infinity pool cascading from the cliff opposes a mirage pool, which beach merges with infinity of the desert.

At the other end of an imagined, circuitous axis lies the spa hidden like a sleeping dragon in its own valley with its own oasis accessed through a modern labyrinth where Palms and fruit trees mingle with desert shrubs around a tranquil pool.

Everything, including the materials, tell a story of know-how and local experience. While the village and villas are built in rammed earth. All shading structures and roofs are a contemporary structure composed of unique individual modules in Arish palm leaf made by the local community.

Sheraan Desert Resort isn’t just a desert resort it’s the story of Al Ula that is told on every detail and every experience.