St. Regis Red Sea Resort Unveils Avant-garde Architecture and Sustainable Design Details

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomed guests to its pristine white sand shores earlier this year. The resort is the first private island to open in one of the Kingdom’s luxury regenerative tourism destinations on the west coast of the country, The Red Sea. 

Located on Ummahat Island in the Al Wajh Lagoon, a pristine private island off the coast of Saudi Arabia and accessed only by chartered boat or seaplane from the newly opened Red Sea International Airport, The St. Regis Red Sea Resort is surrounded by crystal-clear and vivid blue waters, white sandy beaches and thriving coral reefs. The resort features an expansive arrival pavilion, 90 overwater and beachfront villas offering one-to-four-bedroom accommodation and a private pool, a signature spa, high-tech gym, outdoor pools, water sports centre, and a children’s club with an outdoor adventure play area. Exceptional fine dining is experienced at five unique culinary concepts serving local produce. Every stay is enhanced by the renowned St. Regis Butler service and a curated selection of signature rituals.

“A gateway to the undiscovered wonders of this exciting destination, The St. Regis Red Sea Resort heralds a new level of island luxury through a design scheme that embodies a sense of place, sustainable elements, and the St. Regis brand’s legacy of avant-garde style,” said Tony Coveney, General Manager, The St. Regis Red Sea Resort.

Nature-Driven Design

Designed by architect Kengo Kuma and interior design firm Kristina Zanic Consultants, the resort’s design draws inspiration from natural elements with bold and intricate references to the island’s surrounding vibrant coral reefs and rich marine life, and the sweeping sand dunes found on the mainland.

The structures and interiors embody the scenic destination through a nature-driven design narrative inspired by the movement of the wind and the forms it creates in the sand and sea. Interior spaces and furnishings take on organic forms with soft curves and spiral shapes. Fabrics are natural and tactile, and the colour palette uses a neutral desert-inspired base imbued with blue, green, and coral tones found in the local marine life and biodiversity. The resort’s elegant interiors flow outwards to create a sense of barefoot luxury, inviting guests to relax and feel at one with the natural landscape.

Nestled on an undisturbed white sand beach with stunning vistas over the azure water, the Dune Villas reflect the shape of sweeping desert sand formations. Perched overwater and connected by elevated walkways, the Coral Villas, which offer direct access to the sea from each deck, take the form of shells featuring curved lines, spiral shapes, and a flowing movement. The open and spacious villas seamlessly blend the outdoors inwards. Each villa is well-positioned to capture the spectacular views from sunrise to sunset, and at dark, each private deck is a place for stargazing. Elegantly designed and thoughtfully curated, the secluded villas offer a private place to unwind in a distinct style synonymous with the St. Regis brand. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame picturesque sea views and flood the living spaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms with natural light.

Artworks featured throughout the villas are made entirely from natural materials including sculptural dyed fabric wall hangings and embroidered fabric artwork in natural wood frames. Every piece is hand-embellished, and the subtle patterns in the art reflect the musical wind narrative. Subtle accessories include custom glazed ceramic pieces that are reflective of the local sea life.

Bespoke Interiors Using Sustainable Materials

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort showcases its environmental harmony through the meticulous design of its dining venues and spa. Each space draws inspiration from the natural beauty of its surroundings.

Nesma, the resort’s all-day dining venue, captures the essence of the gentle island breeze and the tranquillity of beachside dining. A harmonious blend of indoor and outdoor spaces where natural materials such as wicker, cane, rope, and timber result in durable yet elegant furniture. Floor-to-ceiling rope screens add a sense of privacy while inviting the outside in, complemented by overhanging linen panels that soften the interior with a touch of organic texture. The space is animated with vibrant accents – blue rattan chairs and plum-coloured lounge seats are set against a backdrop of a mosaic stone floor that mimics the serene movement of rippling pools with leaf-patterned plaster finishes. A row of statement rattan floor lamps illuminate the beachside venue.

Gishki 45 presents a fusion of beach resort style and Asian aesthetic, marked by an origami-inspired ceiling that adds a dynamic element to the space. The restaurant’s design is anchored by wooden tables with angled legs, set atop a custom terrazzo marble floor that echoes the linear patterns of chopsticks. Accents of aqua, set against neutral beige and bamboo tones, draw inspiration from the nearby Blue Hole, with pendant lights featuring watery blue glass shades and tie-dye cushions reflecting the underwater theme. The bar counter and walls are adorned with a custom-made stacked glass finish, adding texture and vibrancy, while webbed cane screens offer privacy and natural texture to the dining experience.

Adjacent to Gishki 45, the St. Regis Bar immerses guests in an underwater experience through its use of deep marine blue tones, creams, and silvers. A striking hand-painted mural, depicting a shimmery abstract underwater scene dominates the space, complemented by lounge-style seating that mixes rattan with dark timber and vibrant blue upholstery. The organic patterns on soft rugs underfoot and an aqua stacked glass finish on the curved bar counter subtly maintain continuity with the adjacent dining venue, creating a mesmerising aquatic ambiance.

Tilina is a sophisticated ‘reeftop’ overwater restaurant for seafood enthusiasts, set against the breathtaking backdrop of panoramic ocean views. The design features exposed radial beams on the ceiling that mirror the flowing rhythm of the sea, while multi-coloured curved tiles on the walls evoke the vibrant hues and patterns of fish scales. A champagne-toned bar with a mother of pearl finish adds a touch of elegance, and tall black armchairs in webbed cane add to the formal sophistication, making Tilina a jewel in the resort’s culinary crown.

The Beach Club is a laid back setting for poolside fresh light bites and mocktails, with blue and white deck chairs and sun loungers reflecting the colours of the surrounding sea and sky. Communal dining tables crafted from live edge wood are perfect for social gatherings, while private cabanas with beaded wooden screens inspired by wind chimes offer more intimate spaces for relaxation in the seaside ambiance.

The St. Regis Spa, an expansive and tranquil sanctuary, continues the marine theme with a hammered bronze reception counter and tall macrame screens that welcome guests into a world of relaxation. The spa bar features tall glass chandeliers resembling jellyfish, and the wet zone boasts a feature ceiling of curved and hammered metal panels mimicking concentric pool ripples interplaying with the serene and indulgent atmosphere. Tile patterns inspired by seashells adorn the spa floors, and shimmery blue mother-of-pearl finishes illuminate the bathroom walls with tactile sculptural art pieces made of natural fibre and straw bringing the calming influence of nature indoors.

“This project has been an extraordinary journey, filled with inspiration from its breathtaking locale and an exceptional architectural vision,” said designer Kristina Zanic. “Our approach was to capture the essence of the place and showcase its natural beauty and unique features. With that in mind, we set out to create a serene atmosphere that invites guests to kick off their shoes, unwind, and connect with the beautiful surroundings.”

As part of the country’s regenerative development philosophy to adopt sustainability practices and innovation, all the interiors have been developed in accordance with LEED platinum certification guidelines. The certification creates healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving green buildings that improve environmental performance, from carbon footprint to indoor environmental quality.

Harnessing innovative technology to create a sustainable destination began at the early stages of the resort’s development. Powered by one hundred percent renewable energy generated by solar power, it is one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities situated on the mainland. Emphasis on waste reduction and recycling is at the heart of daily operations to deliver advanced water treatment and comprehensive waste management solutions, and a plastic-free environment.


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