History meets luxury

Saudi Arabia’s Boutique Group will open three ultra-luxury palace hotels in 2025, offering unique and authentic Saudi hospitality


Boutique Group, a hospitality company wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), will to open the first of these ultra-luxury properties -- The Red Palace in Riyadh -- in the second quarter of 2025, TTN has learned in an exclusive interview with CEO Mark De Cocinis.

The other two palaces - Al Hamra Palace in Jeddah’s corniche and the Aga Khan Award-winning Tuwaiq Palace – will start welcoming guests later in the year.

Boutique Group aims to develop, manage and operate historical and cultural palaces in the Kingdom and transform them into ultra-luxury boutique hotels.

“The team has interviewed the grandchildren, the families who lived in the palaces to remain authentic – it’s been such a personal and emotional journey for those who grew up in these homes, these palaces.” These special details are being incorporated in the very build of Boutique Group’s upcoming palaces and in the unique and varied experiences they aim to offer.

“We looked at what type of food they ate, how they entertained, some of the menus they used, and also the equipment they used to cook.

“It’s a level of detail that’s not seen before,” De Cocinis tells us.

The culinary history unearthed by Boutique Group, for instance, will be interlaced into the guest experience by offering visitors original recipes handed down generations. Right alongside authenticity, the focus will very much be ultra luxury.

“Our guest profile will be the top one to two per cent of leisure and business travellers: it could be royal families, entrepreneurs, stars and sports figures: people who can travel and stay anywhere in the world,” says De Cocinis. While being ultra exclusive and, no doubt, boasting a price tag to match, the palaces will also be welcoming to the local community by becoming the go-to space for get-togethers and weekend retreats, we learn.

The locations of the palaces chosen are quite strategic. The Red Palace, for example, is situated in the beating heart of old Riyadh and overlooks a beautiful wadi.

“We’ll have one-, two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas around the palace, overlooking the wadi; they all have beautiful views,” De Cocinis tells us.

Al Hamra Palace, located along Jeddah’s corniche, was built as a royal residence for King Faisal bin Abdulaziz, but became a royal hospitality palace upon his request. The 96-key Tuwaiq Palace will open in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter with its history of state receptions and festivals celebrating arts and culture.

Boutique Group is working with the top hospitality schools locally and in Europe to ensure service is right up to the mark. “It’s always about the people: how they extend themselves to the guests, that’s most important.

Sometime this year, Boutique Group will announce three other palaces in different locations of Saudi Arabia. “There is no magic number of how many palaces we will have,” he says. “We estimate 10 to 15 palaces in all. We’re going to be very selective about the palace, the stories, the history and the location too,” De Cocinis tells us.