NEOM Unveils Leyja: A New Tourism Destination in Northwest Saudi Arabia
NEOM has just unveiled “Leyja” as a new tourism destination in Northwest Saudi Arabia. Featuring three different hotels by world-renowned architects, the Leyja region is located in an ancient valley overhung by mountains 400 m tall. The project includes a staggering hotel by Chris van Duijn, a mirrored hotel by Shaun Killa, and a vertical rock hotel by Mario Cucinella. In an attempt to support sustainable tourism, the destination is part of the Saudi Vision 2030.
With a core focus on preserving nature, 95% of Leyja’s land is planned to be kept untouched, aiming to integrate eco-friendly construction techniques that blend with the landscape. The three carefully designed hotels will provide a total of 120 boutique rooms and suites, split equally with 40 keys each. Each hotel is designed for a different audience: one caters to adventurous guests and is designed to harmonize with the natural topography, the third serves as a gateway to explore the Leyja region, and the third property acts as a wellness retreat.
The first property, aiming to attract adventure, features a deconstructed design. Designed by Chris van Duijn/OMA, the ascending walls of the wadi act like a staircase, and the structure traces the topography using the terrain’s natural lines. The unique location of the design is flooded into the cliff top and valley sides, encouraging adventurers to experience the surrounding area.
The second venue by Shaun Killa serves as a sanctuary focused on well-being, aiming to support longevity. It features a reflective exterior that mirrors the surrounding landscape and valley walls. This design enables the wadi’s natural flow to intersect the property’s core, creating a distinctive visitor experience.
The third establishment by Mario Cucinella emerges from the rock, positioned centrally within the Wadi’s oasis. It is a captivating entry point for venturing into and exploring the valley, extending beyond. The staircase leading from the canyon to the property’s entrance provides an explorative path, granting unparalleled views of the valley’s scenery.
At large, the Leyja development will offer a range of experiences, including dining, wellness facilities, pools, guided wadi walks, hiking trails, mountain biking, and climbing. The three schemes are joined through one shared experience center, placed at nodes along the line connecting the developments. The development marks a pivotal point in NEOM’s expansion.
NEOM, boasting futuristic and sustainable interventions, is planned as a cross-border city development. Recently, the development announced “Siranna,” a new tourism destination in NEOM. This 65-key hotel offers a luxury escape, integrating with the coastal terrain. Last month, the mega project announced a new upscale coastal destination named Epicon. Epicon aims to redefine hospitality and architecture standards along the Gulf of Aqaba. Finally, at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, NEOM unveiled an exhibition presenting the concept and standards guiding the design of “The Line,” their proposed 170-km-long linear city.