Presidential Suites nestled in the Alula mountain range

AlUla Wadi Al Ashar Resort Master Plan

AlUla Wadi Al Ashar Resort master plan

Al Ula, Saudi Arabia


AlUla, Saudi Arabia

Project Facts

Project Al Ula Wadi Ashar Resort
Client The Royal Commission of Al UIa
Size N/a
Services Client Representative, Master Planning, Architectural Design, Interior Design FF&E Selection and Specification, Lighting and Custom Joinery Design and Detailing, MEPD Engineering, Procurement and Construction Supervision.
Status Complete, 2018
Budget Undisclosed

Project Features

Presidential 5 Suites each with private Entrance and Entrance Hall, 3 Double Bedroom, Living Room/ Salon, Courtyard, Dining Area, external Decking and Pool. Each of the Presidential Suites also has a full separate Kitchen, Staff Quarters with separate Staff Entrance, Laundry Room, and Storerooms.
Deluxe 30 Suites with separate double Bedroom, Living Room, Bathroom and external Deck for seating.

The remote site for the AlUla Wadi Alashar Resort is defined by AlUla’s striking mountain range protruding from the desert terrain. The master plan of this site required considerations of full back of house operations of the resort, staff housing and placement of generators and water tanks for the interim period between starting the resort to receive guests and the connectivity of the below-ground services infrastructure to Municipal services once available close to the site. And despite being located with hot-arid temperate zone, the area does receive heavy rains with the threat of flooding, which would hinder the resort operations and guest comfort if the surface-water drainage wasn’t resolved properly.

For the VVIP guest, their safety, comfort, and privacy while being fully connected to the main resort were the driving factors for the placement and orientation of each of the Presidential Suites. Nestled between the jutting mountain range, these units capture the dramatic landscape from the main rooms of each unit, while their proximity to the over-scaled rock formation heightens the guest experience.

Spaced 500 metres apart, each is orientated to ensure privacy of the guests while offering uninterrupted views of the AlUla landscape. The large, glazed openings invite the dramatic mountain range inside while the overhanging high-tensile structures provide shade to the glazing and the external seating areas. Each unit is linked by a narrow service road for both guest service and maintenance, It  winds through the landscape is kept out of the sightline of the main living/ sleeping areas. Low level lighting of the road and pathways at night enhances the feeling of exclusivity in this vast setting for its guests under Al Ula’s sky full of stars.

Alula part master plan
Presidential Suites nestled in the Alula mountain range
Presidential Suites at the AlUla Wadi Al Ashar resort at night

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With over 40 years of experience in project and construction management across the region, Al-Kayyalli has worked in senior-management level roles with some of the biggest real-estate development companies across the Gulf region.

Specialised in working on complete project lifecycle, Al-Kayyalli’s has wide-reaching experience in all stages of project development and delivery ranging from initial preliminary and feasibility studies, financial and time planning, costing and procurement, value engineering, construction supervision and management to commissioning and testing before final handover.

Before joining Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, Al Kayyalli was the CEO of the Saudi Qitaf al Ardah Development Real Estate Co. (Al Nahda & Al Omar Group) where he re-structured the company to fully develop in-house turnkey developments through the establishment of an in-house project management and procurement office.

Prior to which, he was the Vice President Project Management and Engineering of Al-Oula International-Amar International Real Estate where Al Kayyalli successfully implemented major investment programs for the firm’s operations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as turnkey solutions tailored to the findings of market analysis studies.

Earlier, Al-Kayyali was the Director of Development & Project Management for Al-Nahdi Group (KSA) and KCMCC(Kuwait Commercial Market Company), and Director/ Construction Manager for a number of key contracting firms including Al-Jafr Trading and Contracting Co. (KSA), Ali & Fouad Al-Ghanim Co. (Kuwait), Al-Habtoor Engineering (UAE), Al-Muhairy Contracting Co. (UAE) and Al-Hani Construction & Trading Bureau (Kuwait).


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Rula Hannoun completed her undergraduate in anthropology at the University of Manchester in 1979 prior to completing her postgraduate MBA (Finance) at the Manchester School of Business in 1981.

Hannoun’s professional career began at the First National Bank of Chicago, Corporate Finance division before moving to Project Finance, Oil and Gas. As the Deputy Head of the Oil and Gas division for EMEA at 26, Hannoun became the youngest Vice President in the history of the bank.

After marrying and relocating to Dubai, Hannoun left the banking sector in 1985 to raise her family. She resumed her professional career in the mid-90s as Advisor to the Economic Department of Dubai, spearheading the establishment of Dubai Internet City – the second and one of the most successful free zones in Dubai.

With an inherent passion of architecture and design and a key eye for business, in 1999 Hannoun established the firm Tala Furniture, dedicated to providing quality furniture to the booming hospitality sector across the Gulf and North Africa. Nearly two decades later the company is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of complete hotel interior products, operates 3 factories in CEBU, China and Indonesia and boasts over 120 professional staff focused on project management, technical services, manufacturing, sourcing and quality control.

A member of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) and an active fundraiser, Hannoun has dedicated much of her personal life to raising awareness for children with special needs. She was instrumental in the establishment of Asseef School (Dubai Centre for Special Needs) in the late 80s, the first special needs school in Dubai to receive funding from the late HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and remains equally diligent in her quest today, to protect the rights of the children without a voice.


With near 30 years of experience in the design, management and delivery of complex architectural projects, Rashid Taqui’s portfolio spans multiple sectors in Australia, Greece, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK, and the UAE.

Taqui has a Master’s in International Architecture Studies from the University of Huddersfield (UK), and two theses to his credit: The UAE – Searching for a Lost Identity, and The National Museum in Al Ain, UAE.

Starting his career in 1996 as a fresh graduate at German firm Schuster Pechtold’s Dubai office, he won instant appreciation and international applause for conceptualising and designing the multi-award-winning Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa – the first eco-resort in the Middle East attributed to having changed the discourse of architecture in the UAE. His involvement in other ‘firsts’ for the region include the establishing a voice for the architects and designers by the launching Dubai’s premier and the regions’ leading architectural journal, Architecture Plus, shaping the annual architectural networking event, Cityscape and founding the international awards for architecture and design in the UAE.

Taqui’s broad-ranging experience covers urban planning projects, resorts and hotels, palatial residences, shopping malls, airports, schools, banks, offices and varied public and cultural facilities, and undertaken while holding senior positions in the UAE offices of German multi-disciplinary firm Kling Consult, civil engineering firm Italconsult SPA, and architectural firm Incorporated Consultants (Conin).

Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, established in 2008, is his personal brand that specialises in contextually authentic, eco-aware architecture. He ardently advocates integrity and sustainability while targeting high yields for stakeholders through innovative design, investment opportunities, and value engineering.

Taqui often speaks at public events and writes regularly for local publications. His interests include fitness, films, food, and travel.

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