The Most Exciting Developments Coming to Saudi's Smart City, NEOM

Proving that the future is a lot closer than we think, NEOM will feature a linear city, a subterranean community and a futuristic theatre.

By Layan Adham Ismail


It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia has been on an ambitious mission to propel eager global travellers and uber-fortunate locals into the technologically advanced and sustainability-focused future as early as 2030.

And with “outside of the box” ideas like a ski resort in the middle of the desert, an upside-down skyscraper and a floating industrial city in the Red Sea, the odds seem to be in their favour.

The epitome of this outlandish innovation is perhaps the Kingdom’s smart city, NEOM, which will cost around half a trillion dollars to complete and will feature a roundup of equally lavish and creative developments that would put Blade Runner to shame.

So, without further ado, here are the most exciting NEOM developments you can look forward to visiting in the thrilling (and, if Saudi has anything to do with it, very near) future.

The Line - A Linear City

Rising 500 metres above sea level and spanning 170 kilometres of mountain ranges, desert valleys, and the Red Sea, NEOM's much-anticipated project, The Line, is envisioned as a mirrored cognitive city, which will operate entirely on renewable energy.

Comprising vertically layered homes, offices, public parks, and schools, The Line will be characterised by its absence of roads, cars, or emissions. Instead, it will rely on a high-speed rail for transportation.

Trojena - A Desert Ski Resort

Located in the northwest region of the country, specifically in the province of Tabuk, Trojena is being constructed as a sustainable tourism destination. It will be open to skiers for three months every year, with the remainder of the time reserved for tourists to enjoy water sports and mountain biking.

Featuring a blend of real and virtual architecture, the ski resort will be complemented by a spectacular man-made lake, providing visitors with breathtaking views of the Kingdom's varied landscapes.

Sindalah - A Private Island

Expected to make their debut on the luxury island in the Red Sea in 2024, the first guests can look forward to experiencing a top-tier yachting destination envisioned by a celebrated Italian designer. 

Additionally, they will find three immense luxury hotels, a golf course, a diverse selection of dining options, and an upscale international retail hub called 'The Village,' boasting 51 luxury outlets.

Aquellum - A Subterranean Community

Tucked away within the 450-metre-high mountain range along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, Aquellum is described as an 'ultra-luxury upside-down skyscraper’, representing an experiential and subterranean digitised community nestled within the mountains.

Featuring a remarkable courtyard extending from the water to the sky, this destination encompasses a comprehensive selection of facilities including hotel accommodations, apartments, retail spaces, leisure and entertainment zones, and innovative hubs. Aquellum seamlessly integrates advanced technology, avant-garde architecture, and forward-thinking concepts, offering guests a glimpse into futuristic living.

Zardun - A Sanctuary Resort

An exclusive ecotourism destination located in the Gulf of Aqaba, Zardun consists of three distinct boutique hotels, collectively offering a total of 100 rooms and suites to guests.

The Tower Hotel is designed for meditation, yoga, spa treatments, and relaxation by the pool, while the Nature Hotel caters to adventure enthusiasts with activities such as ziplining, biking, and rock climbing. Lastly, The Wedge Hotel offers a range of experiences including camel trekking, falconry, hiking and outdoor dining, ensuring a harmonious blend of adventure and luxury for visitors.

Utamo - A Futuristic Theatre

With the potential to establish itself as one of the world’s most exclusive event destinations, Utamo is an inventive and versatile event and performance venue, poised to welcome some of the most famed mega artists from across the globe. 

Boasting a flexible performance area, VIP lounges, and unique dining establishments, Utamo is envisioned as a pioneering hub where the realms of art, technology, and nature blend together to redefine the very essence of entertainment.

Oxagon - A Floating Industrial City

Emerging from the azure waters of the Red Sea along the Suez Canal, Oxagon envisions a city constructed from scratch, adhering to the highest standards of sustainability and technological advancement.

Operating as a floating industrial port, Oxagon is set to redefine the traditional notion of industrial progress by acting as the logistical focal point for NEOM.

Norlana - A Coastal Yachting Town

Designed to accommodate 3,000 residents across 711 properties – including mansions, apartments, and beach villas integrated into the surrounding mountains – Norlana is envisioned as an ultra-modern active lifestyle community.

Located on the coastline of the Gulf of Aqaba, Norlana will feature a 120-berth marina that will serve as an international hub for superyachts, an 18-hole golf course nestled among rugged mountains, along with an equestrian and polo centre.


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