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Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea Saudi Arabia [Pre-opening thread]

Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea Saudi Arabia [Pre-opening thread]

Old Oct 7, 2022, 9:43 am
  #1  
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Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea Saudi Arabia [Pre-opening thread]

The 76 accommodations comprise guest rooms with an open-plan bedroom and living area and outdoor terrace, along with clusters of villas ranging from one to four bedrooms that occupy strategic peaks to offer prime aspects over the pristine landscape.

The heart of the resort is the Oasis, inspired by a desert flower, blurring the lines between the natural finishes inside and the native plants and water features outside.

The spa features self-shaded water surfaces and deep cold pools creating a contrast to the hot climate. Highlights include a Holistic Anti-Aging Center, male and female grooming centers and indoor zones with wet facilities, sensory suite, outdoor treatment cabanas with a relaxation area, and a pool bar.

Opening in early 2023, Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea is one of two inland locations that together with coastal and marine initiatives form The Red Sea Project that spans 10,800 square miles (28,000 square kilometers) on Saudi Arabias west coast..

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Old Jul 24, 2023, 5:06 pm
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I've recently come across this property in a Robb Report article, and it looks gorgeous - and, assuming it opens later this year as suggested by the website, potentially perfect for a side excursion following a late-March work trip to Tel Aviv. I'm curious whether anyone has any insight into how welcoming Saudi's luxury hotel market is to LGBTQ+ travelers? I've read some nightmarish scenarios from FTers in other majority Muslim countries (e.g., a story from Egypt about a Nile cruise company telling a couple they had to switch to a double room because two men couldn't share a bed... yikes!). That said, Saudi's Tourism Authority Website says it "welcomes LGBT visitors." Who knows what that means.

[Wish I could tag this in the luxury travel/hotels forum...! 👀 mods?]
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Old Jul 29, 2023, 1:23 am
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Property certainly looks nice. Overall, to your query, this is a sensitive topic and there surely must be a forum on FT where this can be discussed without going OT and with proper inputs from experienced travelers to the country

While KSA is maybe looking to become more inclusive and all, I'd suggest you have a bit of a read up on this topic outside of FT and look at laws and such as well. There are still rules with severe penalties on the books in KSA that will make a big impact to LGBTQ travellers and maybe needing to have a room with two beds or even staying in different rooms isn't the worst of it by a long measure.

Whatever the tourism authority writes, I'd take with a big pinch of salt. A colleague of mine (Caucasian) recently travelled there on a Biz trip and brought his Asian (Singaporean) wife with him and he had to show a copy of their marriage certificate so they could stay in the same room, as their last names are different for starters. Maybe they were unlucky, but KSA is not UAE or so. YMMV.
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Last edited by demue; Jul 31, 2023 at 7:53 am
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Old Jul 31, 2023, 3:55 am
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Keep in mind alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia. So if having a champagne or gin & tonic as a sundowner is important to you, it won't be possible.
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Old Jul 31, 2023, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by nick_a
I've recently come across this property in a Robb Report article, and it looks gorgeous - and, assuming it opens later this year as suggested by the website, potentially perfect for a side excursion following a late-March work trip to Tel Aviv. I'm curious whether anyone has any insight into how welcoming Saudi's luxury hotel market is to LGBTQ+ travelers? I've read some nightmarish scenarios from FTers in other majority Muslim countries (e.g., a story from Egypt about a Nile cruise company telling a couple they had to switch to a double room because two men couldn't share a bed... yikes!). That said, Saudi's Tourism Authority Website says it "welcomes LGBT visitors." Who knows what that means.

[Wish I could tag this in the luxury travel/hotels forum...! 👀 mods?]
Originally Posted by demue
Property certainly looks nice. Overall, to your query, this is a sensitive topic and there surely must be a forum on FT where this can be discussed without going OT and with proper inputs from experienced travelers to the country

While KSA is maybe looking to become more inclusive and all, I'd suggest you have a bit of a read up on this topic outside of FT and look at laws and such as well. There are still rules with severe penalties on the books in KSA that will make a big impact to LGBTQ travellers and maybe needing to have a room with two beds or even staying in different rooms isn't the worst of it by a long measure.

Whatever the tourism authority writes, I'd take with a big pinch of salt. A colleague of mine (Caucasian) recently travelled there on a Biz trip and brought his Asian (Singaporean) wife with him and he had to show a copy of their marriage certificate so they could stay in the same room, as their last names are different for starters. Maybe they were unlucky, but KSA is not UAE or so. YMMV.
From what I have observed, there is a significant presence of gay individuals in Saudi Arabia. The general rule of thumb is not to be proud if that makes sense. I have checked into hotels with my male friends, and on several occasions, we were provided with king beds. If twin bed rooms are unavailable, I typically opt to sleep on the couch.

Regarding the requirement to show marriage certificates, this rule primarily applies to local citizens and residents. If they are checking in with someone of the opposite sex, they must present a marriage certificate or a family card. This rule doesn't apply to tourists visiting Saudi Arabia.
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Old Aug 1, 2023, 5:45 am
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oops! duplicated

Last edited by IAN-UK; Aug 1, 2023 at 6:06 am
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Old Aug 1, 2023, 5:46 am
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Originally Posted by Moh20
From what I have observed, there is a significant presence of gay individuals in Saudi Arabia. The general rule of thumb is not to be proud if that makes sense.
It makes a lot of sense. Key elements of Saudi mores involve family, social conformity, shunning of public flamboyance and respect of privacy. LGBT visitors willing to go along with all that should have no problems. Life in a hotel room is private and unquestioned. Gaining admission to to that privacy is straightforward for same-sex duos, romantically involved or not.
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