Ayla Oasis sets an example of creative development in Jordan
And that’s what they did. The feat took almost ten years, but by 2012 the earth had undergone an almost miraculous transformation. They are building saltwater lagoons spanning 750,000 square feet, beautifully designed around artificial islands in which they will then develop the accommodation infrastructure, 180 luxury and mid-range apartments for the property, a 300-room Hyatt Regency and a luxury boutique Cloud 7 hotel. “Lifestyle was the guiding principle; how can visitors make the most of the sea, the mountains, the sun and the services we offer to make their experience irreplaceable”, explains Dudin.
The project was ambitious, but the company had the confidence and the development experience. Indeed, it had already managed many major tourism projects in the region, such as the Intercontinental and Grand Hyatt hotels in Amman and the tourist complex in Petra. “For projects like this to work, you need to partner with reputable investors and the best professionals in each specific field, and that’s what we’ve done,” says Dudin.
The heart of the oasis is the Marina Village, which offers world-class dining, shopping, leisure and recreation experiences and acts as the creative and social hub of the Ayla Oasis community. Designed as a place to please the senses and nurture the body, it also connects visitors to traditional Jordanian culture and heritage by offering local delicacies, handicrafts and community experiences. “There’s nothing better than cycling to the marina for a cold drink and a bite to eat after a hard day’s work at the beach,” adds Dudin.
Crowning the oasis is its eco-friendly 27-hole professional golf course, among the company’s greatest hits, and today a world-renowned venue for golfers.
“We knew that the project needed significant tourism catalysts, so we thought: why not create a golf course?” explains Dudin. Designed by the legendary Greg Norman and covering 800,000 square meters of verdant fairways, it is the first of its kind in the country. The course is complemented by a golf club, a state-of-the-art venue with Bedouin-inspired architecture that completes the package into a truly unique golfing experience.
Yet what Dudin is most proud of is how Ayla Oasis has developed in harmony with its natural environment, not at the expense of it. “We are very environmentally conscious and have done everything we can to partner with those who care about the environment,” he explains. In fact, the company works closely with the Royal Marine Conservation Society, which protects the ecology and wildlife of the Red Sea, as Aqaba is home to great bird biodiversity and a renowned site for birdwatching.
Its work with the local community is equally important. Since its inception, Ayla Oasis has been training young Jordanians in tourism-related services, and with a predominantly Jordanian workforce, aims to have over 1,000 local employees by the end of 2022. “Commitment to communities local is one of our main pillars. Dudin says proudly. “They’ve been part of the process since day one and we’ll continue to grow alongside them because that’s how you create a truly healthy community.”