Photo Credit: Photo credit: Enetimi Agbegha
Experience The Finest in Middle Eastern Luxury in AlUla, Saudi Arabia
As Saudi Arabia looks to position itself as a leading travel destination, the nation has been investing a great deal of money into developing accommodations and leisure venues that will attract tourists. Similar to its neighbors in the UAE and Qatar, it has spared no expense in creating luxe experiences. As part of these efforts, the ancient oasis city of AlUla has been revamped into a tranquil desert sanctuary for travelers who want to experience luxury surrounded by the arid beauty of the natural Arabian terrain.
Charlotte native Enetimi Agbegha is a globetrotting expat now based in Bali. She traveled to AlUla in April 2023, spending three nights in the city on her way to Turkey. One of the things she loved about AlUla is the sense of exclusivity she felt there.
“I mean, anyone can go there but not everyone has, and it’s just starting to become more known to the masses,” she told Travel Noire. “It has only been four years since Saudi Arabia opened up for commercial tourism. The otherworldly scenery out there makes you feel like you’re in a movie. The hotels there are phenomenal.”
Where to Stay
During her time in AlUla, Enetimi stayed at the Banyan Tree and Habitas. At each hotel, she enjoyed a private villa with panoramic views of the desert. Both accommodations had 24-hour room service, luxurious spa services and a buggy to take guests around the premises at any time.
“My villa at Banyan tree had its own pool, patio and fire pit, which was amazing!” she said. “What I liked about Habitas is that they also provided e-bikes for you to get around the compound.”
What to Do
There are many things to do and see in AlUla. Visitors can enjoy natural wonders such as the Elephant Rock geological formation or Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. Similar to Petra, it was once the capital of the Nabataean kingdom. Maraya is the largest mirrored building in the world and a must-visit for those looking to capture unique, Insta-worthy photos.
The Old Town features mazes of streets lined with mudbrick dwellings. You can explore AlUla’s history and shop the souks for handicrafts and souvenirs. The AlJadidah Arts District is where you can experience the local arts scene as well as trendy cafes and shops.
Enjoy the Soft Life
With so many luxe amenities offered at her hotels, Agbegha also made sure to relish in appreciating them all and taking time to recline and enjoy the soft life.
“Honestly, what I enjoyed most was my relaxation and spa time,” she said. “In most of my vacations, I get so wrapped up in activities. This time, I relaxed.”
Here, Agbegha shares her itinerary for three days in AlUla, Saudi Arabia. If you’re looking to experience the finest in Middle Eastern luxury with a relaxing getaway, feel free to let it be your inspiration!
- Arrival in AlUla
- Stop to explore the Old Town on the way to your hotel (Take advantage of your time before check-in.)
- Check into the hotel
- Take a much-needed nap after your long flight
- Dinner (I did room service, but there are multiple restaurants on the compound.)
- Get a massage
- Take a dip in your personal pool
- Chill by the fire (The hotel attendants will light the fire outside for you.)
- Explore Banyan Tree and go to the pool before check-out
- Check out of Banyan Tree
- Visit the Maraya Building
- Check into Habitas
- Tour the compound (The trampolines were my favorite.)
- Have dinner at Tama restaurant
- Go to the iconic Habitas pool (Have brunch and a cool beverage. Remember, there is no alcohol consumption allowed in Saudi Arabia.)
- Head back to your villa and actually enjoy it! (Take a shower in the outdoor shower, then sit on your patio and have a cup of tea while taking in the views of the desert.)
- After the sun goes down, visit the Elephant Rock Cafe and enjoy dining with the Elephant Rock as your backdrop.