As part of Dubai World’s $25 billion debt restructuring, Istithmar’s assets are to be sold off over the next five to eight years.
Original plans to install the ship as a deluxe hotel on the Palm Jumeirah man-made island development were shelved when the financial crisis struck.
The more modest refurbishment will allow the ship’s original features to define the hotel’s style, said Mr. bin Sulayem.
“We want to preserve its heritage,” he said. “This is an iconic ship and it will be good for Dubai’s tourism.”
Mr. bin Sulayem, a close confidant of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said he remains happy with the “wise” decision to buy the cruise liner.
The company is in talks with three hospitality companies, including Jumeirah, the chain owned by Dubai’s ruler, to operate the floating hotel, which includes 17 bars and restaurants.
The industrial location would be “unrecognizable” once the entertainment and retail plans are realised, he said.
The government – not Istithmar – will underwrite the cruise terminal expansion, for which no cost was given.
“Dubai is a viable place, every financial institution is here – financing will be available,” he said.Page 2 of 3 | Prev Page | Next Page