Banyan Tree AlUla hosted its grand opening with an elite list of dignitaries, VIPs, and international celebrities in attendance. Guests embarked on a remarkable evening of celebrations, including a special private concert by music legend Mariah Carey.
The star-studded event was attended by celebrities and personalities, including Aseel Omran, Deema Bayyaa, Dorra Zarrouk, Lojain Omran, Mona Kattan, Stephanie Saliba and Jumana Mourad.
The invitees came together for an exclusive weekend to discover the destination and the luxury of Banyan Tree AlUla, where they were welcomed with unique experiences showcasing the resort's private villas and the stunning Ashar Valley.
Reflecting the iconic landscape of AlUla, Maraya Hall hosted guests for the exclusive live performance by Mariah Carey, after which they were transported to the heart of the valley, where John Northen, Executive Director – Head of Hotels and Resorts for the Royal Commission for AlUla, together with Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO for Accor and Ho Kwon Ping, Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Group, officially opened the resort. This historic moment was marked by an exhilarating performance by Sahwat, which entailed a choreographed music routine and majestic Arabian horses. The stunning rock formations of Ashar Valley were illuminated by mesmerising projections of curated animations, while Hala Ali AlHedithy, told the inspiring and compelling story of AlUla.
The evening concluded with a dinner menu designed by Banyan Tree AlUla's Executive Chef Ricardo Lujan, showcasing dishes from Banyan Tree's signature Thai restaurant Saffron with traditional Saudi twists, fusing both in harmony.
Putting a spin on Khao Soi curry, Chef Lujan created The King Crab Khao Soi Dumpling with a handmade, fresh rice paper roll filled with King Crab and authentic Khao Soi curry sauce. The Lamb Massaman Curry, one of Saffron's most iconic dishes, highlighted the bold influences of Thai cuisine and the rich ingredients native to AlUla.
Embodying Banyan Tree's pillars of sustainability, a dedication to using locally inspired elements, romance and intimacy in a private sanctuary, AlUla creates the perfect home for the global brand. The resort ensures guests feel a sense of place through features such as the timber doors and finishings, which hark back to the traditional Bedouin homes, locally made handicrafts and earthy decor.
The key principles of the all-villa resort are built around three concepts to allow guests to immerse in the resort and its magnificent surroundings in a multi-sensory experience.
'In-villa' gives guests made-to-measure dining, wellness, and entertainment experiences brought to life by the talented cast of Banyan Tree hosts. 'In-valley' takes the guests into nature through exclusive outdoor treatments, nomadic chef's tables, active adventures, and private events staged in spectacular settings. Finally, 'En-voyage' takes guests through privileged immersions crafted with local talents, continuously unlocking new facets of AlUla's rich heritage.
There's plenty for guests to do and discover, from massages in secluded caves and soothing sound baths under the stars to picnics in the sky aboard a floating hot air balloon. For a little extra adrenaline rush, visitors can try the thrilling vintage plane or helicopter adventures, flying over AlUla's sites - with the possibility to extend the journey as far as the Red Sea.
The Banyan Tree Spa is a sanctuary for the senses, a place for physical, mental, and spiritual renewal with a holistic approach based on traditional Asian healing therapies. The resort's practitioners seamlessly fuse local and Eastern rituals with time-honoured traditions dating back centuries. Guests can also unwind at the tranquil rock pool with views of the expansive valley on the horizon after a gym session or a signature spa treatment.
The perfect location for a special occasion, the AlUla region is a place to create unforgettable moments which last a lifetime. Romantic milestones, family reunions and private celebrations with friends turn into dazzling festivities with show-stopping backgrounds that magically materialise in stunning desert surroundings.
"We are immensely proud to open this landmark property in such an iconic location. We wanted to create an escape where guests could truly immerse themselves in the destination while enjoying the Banyan Tree hospitality. I thank our guests for coming from all over the world to be part of this momentous occasion," said General Manager Antony Treston.