Saudi Arabia

The Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah ... integrates date palms into the resort.

The Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah ... integrates date palms into the resort.

Desert retreat

01 May 2017

When it opens in 2020, the Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah will be the first of its kind in the Qassim province.

A 130-key desert resort style hotel – the first of its type in the Qassim province – is set to take shape in Unaizah, 350 km northwest of Riyadh.

The Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah will feature 90 hotel rooms (80 standard rooms and 10 junior suites), 30 chalets (20 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom) and 10 four-bedroom villas and is targeted for completion in 2020.

Unaizah Investment Company (UIC), the developer of the project, has recently appointed Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ), a leading UK architectural and design practice with offices in Dubai, as lead consultant for the hospitality project.         

The project will be designed to blend seamlessly into its natural environment creating a family hideaway surrounded by desert and palm trees, according to Brian Johnson, GAJ’s managing partner.

Commenting on the project, Riyan Almansour, CEO of UIC, says: “It is the clear objective of Unaizah Investment Company to deliver outstanding projects to the marketplace. 

Entrance to the wedding hall ... catering for 270 male and 350 female guests.

Entrance to the wedding hall ... catering for 270 male and 350 female guests.

“To create a memorable hospitality experience, talented architects and interior designers are vital to bring our vision to fruition. The experience, reference projects and design awards of Godwin Austen Johnson are stunning, which gives us complete confidence in their work.”

GAJ’s scope of work will involve concept design and architecture as well as interior design, specialist lighting and landscape design. It will also include kitchen and spa consultancy services. 

The Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah will have two main restaurants, a lobby café, a pool café and two rooftop terraces. A dedicated male and female spa and Hamman complete the dedicated hotel facilities whilst an additional wedding hall catering for approximately 270 male guests and 350 female guests enhances the development’s amenities.

“The proposed development, whilst drawing on the local context for inspiration and its design approach, is not envisaged as a heritage project and is not in any way an attempt to recreate the traditional architectural language of the Najd style,” Johnson tells Gulf Construction. “Rather, the aesthetic approach has been defined as a contemporary interpretation of the local architectural references and a respectful understanding of the planning principles and cultural sensitivities of the region. The Najd style provides a perfect reference for the architectural language of the resort.”

Being located in ‘The Green Heart of The Kingdom’ and within the date capital of Saudi Arabia, the masterplan takes cognisance of the date plantations and agricultural significance of the area by integrating them throughout the resort.

“In keeping with the overall language of the traditional Najd style with solid walls and small openings including timber shutters on external windows, which respond to the cultural sensitivities of the area as well, we have maintained the element of the solid wall in the architectural treatment of the smaller scale buildings,” says Johnson.

“To reinterpret this in a contemporary style however, we have pulled the traditional box apart to open the interiors to more light and views into the gardens, using the solid blade walls and timber screens for creating the necessary privacy to the individual units.”

Historically, Unaizah was an important stopping point for Muslim pilgrims coming from Iraq and Iran on their way to Makkah. Today, it is being developed as a key tourism destination for local families.

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