Exclusive first look: NEOM’s Sindalah to showcase Saudi Arabia to the world

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
8 min read

The planners behind the luxury island Sindalah have given a preview of the first destination to open as part of Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega project NEOM.

The first guests are expected to step foot on the luxury island in the Red Sea in 2024, where they can expect to see a world-class yachting destination curated by a famed Italian designer, three mega luxury hotels, a golf course, an array of restaurants and an international luxury retail offering dubbed ‘The Village’ which will be home to 51 luxury retail outlets.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Sindalah Island (Supplied)
Sindalah Island (Supplied)

Antoni Vives, chief urban planning Officer at NEOM, told Al Arabiya English, that Sindalah – which spans more than 84 hectares and aims to attract 2,400 visitors a day by 2028 – will showcase to the world the potential of NEOM, one of the world’s most ambitious sustainable urban developments, planned by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is hoped that, eventually, at least one in ten of all tourists to NEOM will visit Sindalah, which will be accessible from mega project by ferry or seaplane.

The first guests are expected to step foot on the luxury island in the Red Sea next year – and can expect to see a world-class yachting destination curated by a famed Italian designer, three mega luxury hotels, a golf course, an array of restaurants and an international luxury retail offering dubbed ‘The Village’ which will be home to 51 luxury retail outlets. (NEOM)
The first guests are expected to step foot on the luxury island in the Red Sea next year – and can expect to see a world-class yachting destination curated by a famed Italian designer, three mega luxury hotels, a golf course, an array of restaurants and an international luxury retail offering dubbed ‘The Village’ which will be home to 51 luxury retail outlets. (NEOM)

“Sindalah will mark the first opportunity for the public to experience NEOM,” he said. “As the first physical showcase of NEOM, Sindalah will be a glamorous gateway to the Red Sea and a world-class super yachting destination, giving visitors a glimpse into the experiences to come across the region.”

“NEOM’s vision is to build a land of the future - an entirely new kind of destination. Sindalah is an important part of NEOM’s vision of building the land of the future.”

The Crown Prince unveiled plans for Sindalah in 2022, saying in a statement at the time: “This is another significant moment for NEOM and a major step in the Kingdom realizing its tourism ambitions under Vision 2030. It will be a destination where travelers can experience the true beauty of NEOM and Saudi Arabia, above and below the water, making Sindalah the future of luxury travel.”

Once open, the island will rival top global tourist destinations such as Monaco and Athens with its year-long luxury offerings and position itself as a yachting and culinary destination.

It is the first destination to open with Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega project NEOM, and the planners behind the luxury island Sindalah have given a preview of the mega development as it gears for its 2024 opening. (NEOM)
It is the first destination to open with Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega project NEOM, and the planners behind the luxury island Sindalah have given a preview of the mega development as it gears for its 2024 opening. (NEOM)

The new high-end tourist destination will be home to a vibrant, world-class marina and yacht club, positioning itself as a new addition to the international yachting season.

Located just 17 hours away by boat from most Mediterranean yachting destinations, Sindalah will be NEOM’s entry point to the Red Sea – providing easy access for European, Saudi and GCC boat owners.

“Sindalah will be the closest ultra-prime marina to Europe and the Mediterranean, offering a new seasonal option to the global yachting calendar,” Vives told Al Arabiya English. “As a new global yachting hub, the Sindalah Marina will offer 86 berths for yachts up to 75 meters and additional serviced offshore buoys for superyachts up to 180 meters, capable of hosting the world’s most spectacular vessels.”

Sindalah aims to be the closest ultra-prime marina to Europe and the Mediterranean, offering a new seasonal option to the global yachting calendar. (NEOM)
Sindalah aims to be the closest ultra-prime marina to Europe and the Mediterranean, offering a new seasonal option to the global yachting calendar. (NEOM)

And the luxury marina and its unique design came with a price tag.

“Its design, spearheaded by famed Italian superyacht designer Luca Dini Design & Architecture, is entirely unique, accessible and caters to the needs of the island’s guests,” said Vives.

But the island is far from just a yachting destination.

Sindala will feature three luxury hotels with over 400 ultra-premium rooms and 300 top-end suites. This includes three Marriott International properties – Saudi Arabia’s first Autograph Collection Hotel, as well as two Luxury Collection properties.

“NEOM is one of the most highly anticipated developments in the world and we look forward to working with its team to develop these three exciting properties,” Jerome Briet, chief development officer for Europe, Middle East & Africa at Marriott International, said earlier this year. “The Luxury Collection and Autograph Collection Hotels properties will express their own unique personality inspired by the exceptional natural landscapes of NEOM. We continue to see growth opportunities for our brand portfolio within the destination and Saudi Arabia overall.”

Dining and leisure

The new high-end tourist destination will be home to a vibrant, world-class marina and yacht club, positioning itself as a new addition to the international yachting season. (NEOM)
The new high-end tourist destination will be home to a vibrant, world-class marina and yacht club, positioning itself as a new addition to the international yachting season. (NEOM)

The island will become a new culinary destination with 38 food and beverage outlets, including nine high-end restaurants, nine premium casual restaurants, on-yacht dining and three rooftop pop-up lounges.

For leisure activities, island amenities include a 6,474-yard (5,920 meter) par 70 golf course and a spa and wellness center.

It will also boast 5-star beaches, Michelin starred dining options, sporting events, and – of course – scuba diving in the famed Red Sea. One of the main aims of NEOM is to conserve and showcase natural beauty. Sindalah will also offer activities, including kayaking, kite surfing and water skiing.

For those looking for leisure activities, island amenities include a 6,474-yard (5,920 meter) par 70 golf course. (NEOM)
For those looking for leisure activities, island amenities include a 6,474-yard (5,920 meter) par 70 golf course. (NEOM)

“An exciting new destination where design, technology and nature converge with a year-long calendar of unique, unforgettable experiences, Sindalah will reshape global luxury travel,” Vives told Al Arabiya English. “Our hopes are to attract a varied global audience and showcase the beauty of the Red Sea. NEOM is striving to be the world’s best, and Sindalah is our first opportunity to demonstrate this.”

He added, “When exploring the surrounding Red Sea, visitors can discover over 2,000 marine species, 600 of which are endemic to the region and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Sindalah will also host sophisticated cultural events, grand sporting spectacles and vibrant social celebrations as the island pulsates with vibrant glamor throughout the year.”

For those looking for leisure activities, island amenities include a 6,474-yard (5,920 meter) par 70 golf course. (NEOM)
For those looking for leisure activities, island amenities include a 6,474-yard (5,920 meter) par 70 golf course. (NEOM)

For retail offerings, Vives said Sindalah will also have an “eclectic international luxury retail offering located in the heart of the island called The Village.”

Vives described this The Village as an “architectural masterpiece, a sight for sore eyes.”

He said, “Sindalah is an offering of world’s best at their best. Each experience of Sindalah is meticulously crafted and curated by the world’s best companies in their area, working to deliver their best level of service.”

Architecture is intended to be a ‘wow’ factor on the island, which also aims to feature advanced technology, including solar responsive kinetic roofing, 3D cast crystal glass and rock pillars interactive to human touch.

Tourism revenue

Saudi Arabia is looking at accelerating tourism revenue as part of its ambitious Vision 2030 plans, an initiative aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy, from education reforms to high-profile projects such as NEOM and the Red Sea Project, a vast 28,000 square-kilometer tourism destination along the Kingdom’s west coast.

Vives said the opening of Sindalah holds eminent historical significance beyond the island and even NEOM.

“It marks the start of an era, a new age of Red Sea emerging as one of the top global tourism destinations for times to come,” he told Al Arabiya English. “Sindalah is the first in a series of truly breathtaking developments taking place across the Red Sea under the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

“Sindalah will also be a starting point for the world to discover NEOM, which will be a catalyst for economic development and diversification. NEOM will reimagine liveability, business and conservation and support job creation, industry development and sustainability goals in the Kingdom.”

According to Vives, Sindalah follows NEOM’s vision and purpose: adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change and unchecked development, promoting new ways of preventing environmental degradation and regenerating nature.

As well as a luxury destination, Sindalah will provide a wealth of jobs, with prospective employees encouraged to apply via NEOM’s recruitment website.

The development is anticipated to create 3,500 jobs for the tourism sector and hospitality and leisure services.

As Vives said: “As the world looks for new places to explore and new adventures to be had, Sindalah is perfectly positioned as the first destination showcase of NEOM’s vision to the world - a taste of what is to come.”

Read more:

Inside Saudi’s Red Sea Project: First look as mega tourism destination gears to open

Marriot to open three hotels at NEOM’s new luxury island Sindalah

Exclusive: NEOM’s luxury island Sindalah to rival top global tourist destinations