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30 facts about the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, that we bet you didn’t know

  • Travel 101
  • By Lauren Godfrey
  • Published 09 April 2024
  • Revised 14 May 2024
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The first phase of the mammoth Red Sea Proect Saudi Arabia is nearing completion, with the first hotel open and many more ready to follow suit in 2024. Putting people and the planet first, this innovative tourism project is set to change the face of luxury travel… and put a previously under-visited destination firmly on the map. Spearheading regenerative tourism and leapfrogging other sustainability projects, discover everything you need to know on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea and why we’re tipping it as a destination to watch for the coming years.

Explore our exciting 30 facts about the Red Sea including whether it's a top spot to scuba dive in Saudi Arabia (spoiler alert: it's one of the best in the world) and which five-star luxury resort is set to open its doors first... Trust us, tourism in Saudi Arabi is hotting up and we can't wait to explore!

1. The ambitious Red Sea project is located on Saudi Arabia’s serene west coast.

2. Totally untouched by tourism, until now, the Red Sea is surrounded by the world’s fourth largest barrier reef that’s thriving with marine life.

3. There are multiple diving opportunities – for all abilities - to explore this relatively undiscovered reef, its marine species and shipwrecks.

Diving the reef in Red Sea

Diving the reef in Red Sea

4. Red Sea Global, the multi-project developer behind the ambitious regenerative tourism destination has pledged to preserve, protect and regenerate corals in the Red Sea and beyond.

5.  The first hotel opened its doors in November 2023, and by 2030 the area will be home to 50 hotels and up to 1,000 residential properties.
 

Six Senses Southern Dunes. The Red Sea: Wadi King Room

Six Senses Southern Dunes. The Red Sea: Wadi King Room
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6. The Red Sea International Airport opened in September 2023.

7. Although RSI airport has only been open for four months, it has already won multiple awards including World’s Leading New Airport 2023 at the World Travel Awards as well as two additional awards for its smart luggage system.

8. The smart luggage system tags your bag and sends it directly to your hotel via dedicated delivery vehicles, where it is signed off by staff and delivered directly to your room or suite. Meanwhile you proceed to a chauffeur and enjoy a luggage-free journey to your resort.
 

9. Getting to Saudi Arabia from the UK takes just 7 hours by plane.

10. Currently you cannot fly directly to Red Sea International Airport from the UK. However, you can fly to Jeddah or Riyadh and then board a 60 or 90 minute domestic flight to RSI.

11. Transfers to your resort are provided by seaplane, electric car or electric boat.

12. Red Sea offers a warm temperature year-round with an average of 32°C.
 

Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea

Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea

13. The new tourism project is an archipelago comprising more than 90 stunning islands.

14. Only a handful of these beautiful isles will be developed, helping to preserve the area’s natural beauty.

15. The area is also home to 50 dormant volcanoes, providing the ultimate scenic backdrop to your escape.

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

16. Sustainability is at the forefront of the development and there are several initiatives in place to protect the environment and our planet. These proposals include a pledge to send zero waste to landfill, preserving nine islands dedicated to being special conservation zones, and a strict ban on single use plastic.

17. The first hotel, Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea opened in November 2023. Located within Saudi Arabia’s still desert dunes, expect six diverse culinary options and choice of luxury accommodation including rooms, suites and 40 pool villas which range from one to four bedrooms.

18. Other luxury hotel brands that are set to open hotels in Red Sea are Jumeirah, Fairmont, Four Seasons, St. Regis, Raffles, Rosewood, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Grand Hyatt, SLS, Miravel, Intercontinental, Faena and Edition.
 

Grand Hyatt The Red Sea

Grand Hyatt The Red Sea

19. 20-minutes via seaplane from the mainland lies Ummahat Islands, on which two luxury hotels are being built; The St. Regis Red Sea Resort and Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

20. The St. Regis resort is also open, and is reminiscent of a Maldives property, boasting overwater and beach villas; a spa and yoga pavilion; outdoor pools; four restaurants and a kids’ club. Plus, the brand’s renowned butler service will be available for all guests.
 

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort :4 bedroom Presidential Dune Villa's sun deck

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort: 4 bedroom Presidential Dune Villa's sun deck

21. Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will boast a futuristic design. It’s set to have 82 villas, offering up to four bedrooms, spread across the beach and over the turquoise sea. It is currently scheduled to open early 2024.

Nujuma, a Ritz Carlton Reserve Beach Villa

Nujuma, a Ritz Carlton Reserve Beach Villa

22. Shura Island is the hub island of Red Sea, and the only isle that’s accessible via car from the mainland via a specially built bridge. 

23. The drive from RSI Airport to Shura Island takes 30 minutes.

24. Shura Island will be home to a dive centre, 40 boutiques, restaurants, an 18-hole championship golf course and more.

25. There’ll also be a range of luxury hotels from top brands including (but not limited to) Four Seasons, Rosewood, Faena, Jumeirah, Raffles, Fairmont and more.

Ariel view of Shura Island

Ariel view of Shura Island

26. Red Sea will also open two independent hotels, Sheybarah Island and Desert Rock Resort.

27. Sheybarah Island is located 45-minutes from the mainland and is surrounded by crystal clear waters. Nearby is a thriving 30-40m reef drop-off making this a fantastic spot for budding mermaids and divers. The innovative accommodation includes reflective overwater orbs and inland luxury villas. The resort is set to open late 2024.
 

Sheybarah Island Red Sea

Sheybarah Island Red Sea

28. Desert Rock is a unique resort that’s been built into the mountainside including some excavated rooms chiselled from the majestic rock itself. Comprising 50 villas and 10 hotel rooms, the state-of-the-art facilities, serene interiors and unparalleled views will soon have this resort top of the top hotel stays lists.

Desert Rock Hotel. Saudi Arabia

Desert Rock Hotel. Saudi Arabia

29. Saudi Arabia is currently a dry state so no alcohol can be consumed while on holiday in Red Sea.

30. Once fully operational, Red Sea will offer fantastic multi-centre opportunities within Saudi Arabia. You can twin your stay with a visit to AlUla, or enjoy your time in Red Sea at multiple resorts combining island with mainland or even a stay in the gorgeous desert or within the mountains.

Faena The Red Sea - Sunset Cove

Faena The Red Sea - Sunset Cove

Red Sea tourism is ever-evolving and Winged Boots has the inside scoop on the latest hotel openings and news. To stay up to date, join our mailing list where you’ll receive all the hottest travel news direct to your inbox. Click here to sign up.

Let us help plan your trip and you'll gain access to our expert team of personal travel managers who each hold a minimum of 15 years' experience within the luxury travel industry, as well as unlock a wealth of benefits such as complimentary concierge service, exclusive event invitations, dedicated special offers and more.

Did you enjoy our 30 facts about the Red Sea? Discover more of our fantastic fun fact series with a five-minute read on Atlantis, The Palm's top trivia.

Tagged: Middle East
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