Mauritania Eco Resort & Spa

Mauritania Eco Resort & Spa

Tuilit, Mauritania

Map of Mauritania

Tuilit, Mauritania

Project Facts

Project Mauritania Eco Resort and Spa 
Client ASML Group 
Built-Up-Area N/a 
Services Tourism Studies, Feasibility Studies, Master Planning, Architectural Concept and Preliminary Design, Landscape Preliminary Design, 3D Rendering 
Status Detail Design 
Budget US$120 million

Project Features

Guest Accommodation comprising 30 Guest Suites (combination of Standard and Executive).five Family Suites and two Presidential Suites.
Main Palace housing Guest Check-in, the Grand Hall, Male Majlis, Female Majlis, Retail Outlets, Cigar Bar, Pre-dinner Drinks Bar, three specialty Restaurants supported by three commercial kitchens, a Library, Meeting Rooms, and Admin Areas.
Multipurpose Venue/ Conference Centre with MICE facilities housing a large ballroom capacity of 350 banquet style seating, meeting rooms, a boardroom.
Day Spa with Men’s and Ladies’ separate Hammams and Massage facilities including eight single Treatment Rooms.
Recreational Facilities comprise four Swimming Pools including separate Ladies only pool and a Men’s only pool, a Pool bar, Pool Terraces, and Guest Beach.

The Mauritania Eco Resort and Spa will be located between the capital city of Nouakchott and some 300 kilometres from the Banc d’Arguin National Park in an area known as Tiouilit; 170 kilometres from the town of Nouadhibou, 400 kilometres from Chinguetti and 150 kilometres from Nouakchott International Airport.The site is a beachfront location characterised by its rocky outcrops facing the sea. Surrounded on three sides by sweeping sand dunes, the fourth side is hemmed by a one kilometre of pristine coastline.

The 800-kilometre coast line of Mauritania is devoid of any such cities or towns and consequently there is no real noteworthy architecture to preserve. This presented somewhat of a challenge for the designers and development team as there are no architectural references to draw from. Each of the Ksours has a distinct architectural heritage resulting from its rich history, so to use any one style at the resort would also be wrong as the coastal location of the development has no direct relevance to the history of these cities. Similarly, to simply emulate an architectural typology would result in a development that resembles what has already been persevered – another living museum.

Successful architecture is one that links to time and place. Hence, the task for the designers will be to create a development which, while being firmly rooted in Mauritania sensitively integrates modern-day technologies and techniques to offer world-class service and accommodation; and to ensure it too does not suffer the same fate as the architectural marvels of their time at Chinguetti, Oualata, Ouadane and Tichitt.


The Neo-Mauritanian Style

The cradle of the Almoravid movement, which spread Islam throughout the region and even controlled Spain for a short period, Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960. Covering an area of 1.04 million sq. metres (398,000 sq. miles) its population is count according to the UN in 2009 was only 3.3 million.

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania bridges the Arab Maghreb and the western sub-Sharan Africa; a largely-desert country, it presents a cultural contrast between an Arab population to the north and black Africans to the south. Threatened by desertification, the country has a rich architectural and cultural history which offers tourists unmatched experiences anywhere in Africa, the Middle East or Europe.

The architectural and interior design of the development consequently relies on the history of Mauritania, and tries to draw on its influences today as well as the past. Taking references and clues from the past, these are developed to bring them up to today’s standards through a process of ‘adopt and adapt’ – a style we refer to as the ‘Neo-Mauritanian’ style.

The ‘Neo-Mauritanian’ style was coined by Mr Rashid Taqui when faced with the challenge of defining the architectural style of the eco resort and edutainment complex that spoke of identity. Research showed that Mauritania had a rich cultural and architectural legacy, with four UNESCO- preserved cities today, each with its own unique architectural style. Scattered across the vast territory of Mauritania, it was considered inappropriate to merely copy one or all of the styles. So a study was undertaken by Mr Taqui to understand the principles of the spaces, their hierarchy inter-relationship and the historical influences that lead to such manifestations.

Outcomes of this research highlighted common threads among each and combined with the general history of Mauritania, commonality was found between architectural developments in parts of Spain, and the Maghreb region including the countries Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia historical architecture of the Maghreb region shows a more refined version of the elements being fashioned in Mauritania at the time. This was found to be attributed to the Al Moravid dynasty.

Spatial arrangements and massing of the buildings are derived from architecture of the desert found across the Sahara while the aesthetical treatment attempts to evolve the current architectural elements found across Mauritania in the direction they would have naturally evolved had the Almoravids carried out building works in Mauritania. It is intentionally different from the aesthetics of historic architecture of Morocco as this was the (an austere) style developed and implemented later by the Almohad dynasty that took control of the Maghreb from the Almoravids.

Sustainable Design

With the opportunity to set new benchmarks for sustainable development region-wide the Mauritania Eco Resort, Spa is designed to promote self-sufficiency (particularly related to energy, water and sewerage management), the entire infrastructure will be developed in a manner which sets new standards in ecologically sustainable development in the region.

Like its predecessors, a key aspect of the conservation/ mitigation measures is the protection of indigenous flora and fauna. The presence of wildlife including vulnerable and endangered species within the Banc d’Arguin means that the Mauritania Eco Resort and Spa development aims to incur no negative impacts upon the native fauna population.

And through extensive re-vegetation and rehabilitation program, including the net expansion of potential habitat, establishment of controlled vehicular movement corridors and the protection of site by a 2.9-metre high perimeter fence with 24-hour patrolled entry/exit point, the resort aims to achieve a net positive impact throughout the development.

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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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