Red Sea Destination allows women in bikinis

Reconfirmation this week that Saudi destination's resorts are modernising

Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Women staying at ultra-luxury resorts within Saudia Arabia’s yet-to-launch giga-project, Red Sea Destination, will be permitted to wear bikinis, as the Kingdom modernises rulings to lure international visitors.

Red Sea Destination’s senior travel trade director, Loredana Pettinati, confirmed this week that women would be allowed to wear bikinis at the destination at a press conference in Dubai. She said that no restrictions would be imposed on women, and there will be no specific gender rules in place either, Hotelier Middle East reported. Additionally, Pettinati said that a man and a woman booking a hotel at the Red Sea Destination will not be asked about their status as a couple – being married or not.

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While the latest update is making news in the Middle East, the topic of women wearing bikinis at the Red Sea properties was raised more than five years ago, when the now Prince Mohammed bin Salman was still an heir to the Kingdom. At that time, bin Salman had grand ambitions to modernise Saudi. Historically, under Saudi law, women are required to fully cover their heads and bodies, with bathing suits only permitted inside female-only swimming pools and gender-segregated gyms, The Cut reported in 2017.

However, at the Red Sea Development, Saudi women will be permitted to wear clothing that keeps with international standards, including bikinis.

The first three of 16 ultra-luxury hotels and resorts being developed at the Red Sea Project are launching in 2023. They include Six Senses Southern Dunes, St. Regis Red Sea Resort and Nujuma Ritz Carlton Reserve.

Other luxury hotels that are aligned with the Red Sea Development include EDITION, Miraval, Rosewood, Fairmont, Raffles, SLS, Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental and Jumeirah.

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