Marriott Releases Lawrence of Arabia-Inspired Promo Campaign in Saudi

Nujuma Ritz Carlton Reserve promo

Skift Take

Nujuma opens next month as one of the most expensive hotels in Saudi Arabia.

Marriott International has dressed one of its top general managers as Lawrence of Arabia to promote its new resort along the Red Sea. Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is expected to be the most expensive hotel ever operated in Saudi Arabia – commanding rates of more than $3,400 a night when it opens on May 26.

In a new promotional video, multi-property general manager Tony Coveney is seen crossing the desert and collapsing on the beach with a “newfound identity as a sheikh” to the main theme of Lawrence of Arabia – a historic epic based on the life of Thomas Edward Lawrence, which was once banned across Arab countries.

The short video shows shots of the luxury resort, sweeps of the desert and the coastline of The Red Sea. The campaign describes the hotel as a “place of true Saudi wonder.”

Opening in a few weeks, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve property will have 63 villas set around a ring over the water as you might find in the Maldives. It will be operated by Marriott, and is its smallest brand but also its most luxurious.

Plans include a spa, swimming pools, various dining spots, a retail area, and leisure facilities like a conservation center. The property will host a diving center focused on underwater exploration, providing deep-sea diving trips and snorkeling around the island’s outer reef.

Coveney also runs the nearby St. Regis Resort at The Red Sea. Already operational, the St. Regis has since been visited and promoted by Christiano Ronaldo.

Part of The Red Sea

Nujuma is located within one of Saudi Arabia’s fast-developing projects called The Red Sea. The coastal tourism project will eventually house 50 hotels. The plan is to open 16 hotels by 2025, and another 34 before 2030, with most being operated by international brands.

Saudi Tourism and Lawrence of Arabia

While the 1962 film was originally critiqued across the Arab world, Saudi has come to embrace the story’s tourism potential. In 2020, Saudi restored the former home of British intelligence officer Lawrence, who lived in the old town of Yanbu at some point between 1915 and 1916.

At the time, Yanbu mayor Ahmed Al Mahtout told the newspaper The National: “The residence derives its value from its history and a lot of foreign tourists [would] like to stand in the home of the British intelligence officer.”

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