Development includes 50 resorts across 22 islands and six inland sites, all with environmental emphasis

By Mariam Nihal
February 11, 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday launched Coral Bloom, an ambitious project by Red Sea Development.

Designed by award-winning British architects Foster + Partners, the project embraces biodiversity while preserving its pristine natural environment, mangroves and wildlife.

Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, said the launch of Coral Bloom was a significant new step for Saudi Arabia towards the future.

The project will be developed by Red Sea Development and aims to achieve a 30 per cent net conservation benefit by 2040.

It also “promises to make that vision a reality” for the main centre, Shurayrah Island.

“We expect guests to be awed by what they see when they first arrive at The Red Sea Project, enjoying a truly immersive barefoot luxury experience,” said John Pagano, chief executive of Red Sea Development.

“Shurayrah Island is the gateway to the Red Sea Project so it’s important that it sets the standard in groundbreaking architecture and sustainable design, not just for our destination, but globally too.

“This is achieved by going beyond simply protecting the environment, to applying a regenerative approach.”

The Coral Bloom designs take inspiration from the incredible flora and fauna found uniquely in Saudi Arabia, Mr Pagano said.

The project features 11 hotels, lagoons and beaches along the dolphin-shaped island, all built in consideration with changing travel trends caused by Covid-19.

Seventy-five per cent of the project’s islands will stay untouched.

The ones being developed will preserve natural shores, marine and wildlife, and consider rising sea levels.

The resorts will be built using lightweight materials with a low thermal mass and energy for less impact on the environment.

Coral Bloom will be powered by renewable energy and the largest battery storage system in the world.

The developer is building the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day to bring efficient centralised cooling across the destination.

“Our vision for Shurayrah is inspired by the island’s natural state, with the hotels designed to give the impression that they washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes, almost like driftwood,” said Gerard Evenden, head of studio at Foster + Partners.

“The materials we use and the low impact they have ensures that the pristine environment is protected, while the additions we make to the island serve to enhance what is already there – hence the name, Coral Bloom.”

Red Sea Development aims to welcome guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and first four hotels officially open.

The Red Sea Project uses more than 28,000 square kilometres of pristine land and water along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands.

The project includes 50 resorts with 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,300 residential properties on 22 islands and six inland sites, which are due to be completed by 2030.

The destination will support sustainable infrastructure that uses renewable energy, focuses on water conservation and efficient use of resources while offering luxury experiences, marinas, golf courses and entertainment.