The following day I flew to the small town of AlUla – the gateway to what Saudi Arabia plans to be arguably their biggest drawcard – the largest open air living museum in the world. The plan calls for 2 million visitors a year by 2035.
The approach to AlUla is truly spectacular as one flies in over the desert. I was met by my driver who then took me to the tourist sector away from the town.
The government assumes that visitors will want to be out in the desert in the spectacular landscape. This seems to make a lot of sense as the desert is incredible. I was there to attend “Winter in Tantora” with a small select group of travel professionals – some of the first to be invited in by the Saudi Government. Winter in Tantora is a new and very upmarket spectacle involving top international artists and performers, fine dining restaurants pop-ups and amazing excursions.
Lunch was at the Annabel’s pop -up – managed and staffed by the world famous London club for the rich and famous! Located deep in the desert, the food was truly excellent, despite being somewhat out of synch with its surroundings.
Later, after settling in to our lovely desert encampment, we drove up to a high escarpment for an incredible view over the region, and then continued to another pop up for dinner, this time La Cantine du Faubourg – run by the top French restaurant in Dubai! This venue was even more spectacular than lunch – set in a deep canyon with amazing sound and light effects.
All in all , an amazing day!