Enjoy The Beauty Of The Middle East In Saudi Arabia’s New Luxury Train – The Dream Of The Desert

Saudi Arabia is gearing up to unveil a luxurious addition to its expanding tourism sector, its first-ever deluxe train service, aptly named “Dream of the Desert.” This ambitious project is a collaboration between the state-owned railway company Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and the renowned Italian hospitality firm Arsenale Group to redefine the travel experience in the kingdom. With a projected investment of $81.5 million, Dream of the Desert promises to offer a blend of cultural exploration, extravagance, and sustainable tourism. As reservations open at the end of 2024, guests will soon be able to book their spot on this extraordinary milestone in the Middle East’s travel and tourism landscape.

The launch of Dream of the Desert aligns with Saudi Arabia’s ambitious tourism development plans to attract 70 million international tourists annually by 2030. Beginning in 2019, when the country opened its doors to international tourists, Saudi Arabia has garnered more than $800 billion worth of investments to modernise it into a premier tourist destination. In addition to the Dream of the Desert, the Kingdom has developed several other tourism-based projects like NEOM, Sindalah Island, and the Trojena ski resort. 

The upcoming luxury train service complements some of the country’s existing expansions, such as the Haramain High-Speed Railway launched in 2018. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister, Khalid al-Falih, announced that an additional 8,000 kilometres of rail will be built across the entire country, showcasing the country’s commitment to invigorating the tourism sector as well as diversifying the economy and reducing the reliance on oil revenue. This latest introduction of the Dream of the Desert lends itself to achieving these goals by accessing the luxury travel market and providing a unique and enticing option for travellers seeking a romantic and immersive experience reminiscent of the golden age of travel.

Joining the Saudi Arabian railway service in this exceptional endeavour is the Arsenale Group, an Italian luxury brand company with a rich portfolio of exclusive ventures. With a portfolio that includes the Soho House Roma, Hotel Santavenere Maratea, and the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train in Italy, the Arsenale Group has demonstrated its commitment to providing tailor-made hospitality. The company’s emphasis on efficiency, quality, and uniqueness in the luxury travel sector makes it the perfect collaborator for this expansion in Middle Eastern tourism. 

The Dream of the Desert luxury train is set to embark on a 1,300-kilometre journey from Riyadh, the capital city, towards the northwest border with Jordan. Passengers are given the option of a one or two-night trippassing through scenic deserts and UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites, including highlights such as the city of Ha’il, the Al-Qassim province, and the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve in Al Jouf, with the journey culminating at Al-Qurayat, near the Jordanian border. 

The train will traverse this scenic route through Saudi Arabia’s stunning desert landscapes at a leisurely pace, reaching speeds of up to 300 kph. Having collaborated with Orient Express of Accor Group, Trenitalia-Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato, and Fondazione FS Italiane, the Dream of the Desert is not only an efficient luxury travel service but also marks the first sustainable deluxe railway tourism project. 

The Dream of the Desert will be able to host up to 82 passengers within its 40 cars, featuring 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, an Honour Suite, and a fine dining restaurant and lounge bar. The interior design is inspired by traditional patterns and styles throughout Saudi Arabia, seamlessly blended with the opulent aesthetics of the 1960s “La Dolce Vita” period. Unsurprisingly, these lavish cars are still under construction and are expected to be completed in the summer of 2025, with operations estimated to commence by the end of the same year.

The Dream of the Desert represents a significant leap in Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of becoming a global tourism hub. As the country continues to advance in infrastructure development and tourism initiatives, the luxury train service stands out as a beacon of elegance, offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Equally, the collaboration between SAR and Arsenale Group introduces the Middle East to luxury train travel whilst showcasing the kingdom’s commitment to sustainable tourism and cultural exploration. With reservations opening at the end of 2024 and services set to commence the following summer, the world eagerly awaits the opening of this extraordinary journey through the heart of Saudi Arabia’s mesmerising landscapes in unparalleled style and comfort.