The World Travel & Tourism Council will this week convene in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, for the annual Global Summit.
The event is the most influential showcase on the calendar, and this year industry leaders gather with key government representatives to continue aligning efforts to support the recovery and move beyond to a safer, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.
As Saudi Arabia itself continues to develop its offering, Breaking Travel News is publishing a series of features on the destination in honour of the event.
Today we explore Diriyah Gate – a location set to become the leading historical, cultural and lifestyle destination in Saudi Arabia.
Chosen by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2030, as part of the 2030 Vision, 11 square kilometres of Diriyah will be transformed into one of the foremost historic tourism destinations in the world.
Diriyah is located within Riyadh province, just 15 minutes north-west of the city centre.
It is recognised as a symbolic centre of inspiration for the generations of leaders that have led the kingdom since the foundation of the first Saudi Arabian state in 1727.
As the renewed cultural and historic capital of the nation, Diriyah will be designed and built with Saudi traditions and heritage in mind.
The mixed-use traditional urban community will be created in an authentic Najdi architectural style, typical of Saudi villages of centuries past.
Sitting at the cultural heart of Diriyah lies the historic city of At-Turaif.
Built in 1766, At-Turaif is recognised as one of the foremost mud-brick cities.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, it is today set to become one of the must-see historic destinations in Saudi.
With cultural and lifestyle experiences at its heart, Diriyah will be enriched by entertainment, learning, shopping, dining, hospitality, residential and workplace offerings.
On completion, it will be home to a population of 100,000 residents, workers, students and visitors and will celebrate the rich cultural history of Saudi Arabia.
The development will feature an array of world-class cultural, entertainment, retail, hospitality, educational, office and residential areas, including 38 hotels, a diverse collection of museums, a bustling retail heart and over 100 places to dine.
The existing Bujairi Terrace will soon be home to Riyadh’s new premium dining hub, enjoying uninterrupted views of At-Turaif; and the 141-key Samhan Heritage Hotel.
Wadi Hanifah, a two square kilometre space accessible from the escarpment walk, will provide passive and active recreational spaces and boutique hospitality venues; places to unwind and spend the afternoon with family and friends in the beautiful wadi surroundings.
Armani Hotels & Resorts recently worked with Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) to unveil plans for an Armani Hotel to be built in the city.
With resemblance to Armani Hotels & Resorts’ current hotels in Dubai and Milan, the property will be managed by Emaar Hospitality Group.
Giorgio Armani said: “This is a pioneering project that was borne from rediscovering Saudi Arabia’s roots: a dialogue between history and the present that I find very fascinating.
“Armani Hotel Diriyah allows me to interpret my idea of lifestyle and hospitality in a particularly subtle and embracing way.
“After celebrating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Armani Hotels in Milan and Dubai, I am ready to take on this exciting new challenge.
“I am inspired by this initiative and delighted to be part of a project of such wide geographical and cultural scope.”
The third Armani property globally, Armani Hotel Diriyah represents a new interpretation of Armani hospitality, conversing with the unique architecture and landscape of the destination.
Armani Hotel Diriyah, developed by Diriyah in collaboration with Giorgio Armani and his in-house interior design team and the architects who are involved in the design of the development, is characterised by essential lines that enhance the precious materials utilised, and a subtle interplay of volumes, light and shadow — perfectly in line with the aesthetics and landscape of Saudi Arabia.
Overlooking Diriyah’s ultra-luxury hospitality and retail quarter, it will include 70 luxuriously designed rooms, two restaurants and a high-end spa, with suites having their own spa and a swimming pool, offering a variety of wellness, hospitality and relaxation experiences.
The hotel is connected to approximately 18 exclusive self-contained ultra-luxury Armani Branded Residences designed and furnished by Armani – with spacious interiors and outdoor pools, landscaped terraces and rooftops.
Jerry Inzerillo, chief executive of Diriyah Gate Development Authority commented: “It is an honour to partner with Armani Hotels on this prestigious project.
“Their elegant and forward-thinking approach to modern hospitality will bring a new dynamic to Diriyah’s hospitality offering and bring with it an exciting guest experience to the Kingdom.
“As we develop what will become one of the world’s great gathering places, rich in culture, history and authenticity, we are proud to partner with brands such as Armani who demonstrate such a timeless approach to hospitality.”
Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) was established in 2017 to preserve Diriyah’s history, celebrate its community and develop the historic UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif into one of the greatest gathering places at the heart of Saudi Arabian culture and heritage.
In line with design, development and preservation standards, DGDA will create an environment that enhances Diriyah’s historic, national and international relevance including the preservation of At-Turaif.
DGDA works alongside Diriyah’s executive bodies, as the primary regulator for the supervisory area and will exercise best practice in land management and building permit and license issuance and oversight.
Find out more on the official website.