Designboom_ Reinforcing Saudi Vision 2030’s drive for a stronger, more sustainable tourism industry, NEOM has just announced the development of Leyja, its latest ecotourism destination. With architectural direction led by prolific architects Mario Cucinella, Chris van Duijin, and Shaun Killa, Leyja will unfold from the Gulf of the Aqaba coast, winding inland to form a natural valley carved between 400 meter-high mountains. Aligned with NEOM’s overarching strategy, 95% of Leyja’s expansive landscape will be designated as a nature reserve, blending innovative ecological design with construction techniques that integrate with the environment.
Once developed, it will curate refined experiences, including fine dining by world-renowned chefs, wellness facilities, and rooftop infinity-style pools across its three hospitality properties. Guided wadi walks, hiking trails, mountain biking, and climbing will also immerse those seeking adventure amid the valley’s dramatic mountain landscape.
Leyja represents a strategic step in the kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its destinations and economy. A trio of hotels, conceptualized by world-leading architects, define the development’s hospitality offering in NEOM. Comprising a total of 120 boutique rooms and suites distributed evenly across the properties, each hotel is purposefully crafted to harmonize with its natural surroundings with sustainable methods.
Chris Van Duijn of OMA presents Adventure Hotel — a hub for tourists to engage in rock climbing and other high-octane activities — which unfolds as a vertical structure with a deconstructed design. Resembling a cliffside staircase, it ascends the wadi leaving minimal impact on the natural terrain. It is joined by Mario Cucinella Architects’ Oasis Hotel which emerges from the rocks with five facade fins, serving as a gateway to exploration with panoramic views of the valley. Mirroring the natural context, Killa Design proposes the Wellness Hotel, an immersive retreat with two opposing volumes adorned with high-tech, reflective facades.