Saudi Arabia is developing a hotel complex in the middle of the desert.

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Foster + Partners have begun designing the Southern Dunes hotel complex in Saudi Arabia as part of the tourism development of the Red Sea Project on the west coast of the country.

Named Southern Dunes, the hotel designed by Foster + Partners will contain 40 villas sheltered by asymmetrical wooden roofs. Located about 100 kilometers northeast of the city of Umluj, a beachfront town on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, the hotel complex will be surrounded by a desert landscape.


The hotel project is part of a larger project that will consist of two hotels.

The hotel project is part of a larger project that will consist of two hotels built on the surface of 90 uninhabited islands in the Red Sea and which will be developed into a tourist resort.

Along with villas, the complex will have reception buildings, a spa, a large swimming pool and several restaurants. As part of the project, buildings will be built where more than 700 employees will be accommodated.


Foster + Partners designed the hotel to be built using materials appropriate to the hotel's desert location. "From our previous work in the desert, one of the most important things is to avoid using what we call high thermal mass materials.", said Gerard Evenden, head of the Foster + Partners studio.

The villas of the Southern Dunes Hotel will be arranged in two lines to take advantage of the view of the surrounding dunes.

Designed as part of the first phase of the Red Sea Project, the Southern Dunes Hotel will open in 2022. It is just a small part of a larger complex designed by Foster + Partners as part of tourism development, which its creators call "The most ambitious tourism development in the world".


The studio is also working on the design of a fully automated mega-city in Saudi Arabia called Neom, although the project's founder - British architect Norman Foster, has temporarily suspended the project in response to the 2019 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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