Bringing California to Saudi Arabia, Caravan AlUla comprises a fleet of Airstream trailers for desert glamping. There are food trucks too. Gemma Harris reports
Opened last year, eco-focused hospitality group Our Habitas (formerly just Habitas) has a Burning Man-inspired glamping concept called Caravan by Our Habitas, in the AlUla desert region of north-west Saudi Arabia.
Designed for “experience seekers with a pioneering spirit”, Caravan AlUla consists of 22 Airstream trailers. Mercifully, each is fully air conditioned and comes with a queen-sized or twin single bed configuration. Also included is an indoor lounge, kitchenette, separate shower, bathroom and scenic views of the surrounding canyons. To honour the ethos behind Caravan, which is to “create human connection through play and bringing out guests’ inner child,” the trailers are equipped with colouring books, disco lights, scalp massagers and a curated selection of books. To explore, guests can navigate around the site on off-road electric bikes.
Oliver Ripley, co-founder and CEO of Habitas, says: “We are excited to expand our brand in a new direction and to offer a new type of experience; we invite people to come on an adventure, to play in raw nature.” In the heat of the summer, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to be outside, though. “We’ve chosen AlUla – one of the oldest cities in the Arabian Peninsula – as our first outpost for this new, immersive concept for its history, culture and natural heritage. We hope that our Caravan concept will provide travellers with a unique way to discover new and untapped destinations around the world, in nature and activating unique and experiential accommodation.”
In the centre of the site is the gathering tent, a space where guests can play games, drink tea and connect. Drawing inspiration from the living areas of traditional Saudi homes, the communal areas include antiques and heritage crafts from the Kingdom. As the sun sets over the desert, guests can relax around the large outdoor firepit area and make use of the open-air cinema facilities. Additional on-site amenities include the library, games room and yoga deck. Throughout guests’ stay, there are regular performances and events featuring cultural shows and interactive art installations. The experience is family-friendly, with a desert-inspired jungle gym and teddy bear tent for children.
For adventurous guests, programming will also include activities such as canyon crossings, dessert treks, Arabian horse riding and desert survival skills.
Three food trucks on site provide flexible dining options with family-style eating areas with cushioned seating, from homemade ice cream to pizza and locally inspired juices and coffee. The overnight rates at Caravan by Our Habitas start from US$400 per night. Guests also have access to the services and amenities at the Habitas AlUla property, located a three-minute drive away.
This outpost includes the Thuraya Wellness spa facilities, with curated activities such as Bedoiun Sound Sensorama, the Desert Clay Circle ceremony and essence-making.