Dubai underwater hotel plan shelved as investor withdraws

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Plans for an underwater hotel in Dubai have been thrown into doubt following a management shake-up by its principal investor.

Polish developer Deep Ocean Technology first unveiled plans for the Water Discus Hotel in 2012 after it won the backing of Dubai’s Drydocks World, a subsdiary of conglomerate Dubai World.

The hotel, which would comprise two saucer-shaped structures, one above the water and one underneath, was expected to cost around €40 million to build.

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But it has faced two significant setbacks. Last year Swiss firm Big Invest, a key financial backer who had signed a deal with Drydocks World to help finance the project, withdrew its support, according to press reports at the time.

Then, in March, Drydocks chairman Khamis Buamim, who had overseen the previous agreement with Deep Ocean Technology, resigned and was subsequently replaced by Abdulrahman Al Saleh, director-general of Dubai’s department of finance.

Deep Ocean Technology said this week that plans for the hotel had stalled since.

Project and research manager Krzysztof Koniuszaniec told Arabian Business: “Our company had held talks and negotiations on the implementation of the project in Dubai with the president of Dubai Drydocks World for a period of three years.

“At that time, we conducted a full research project co-funded by the European Union.

“The talks were suspended in Dubai due to changes in the board of Drydocks World, but we hope to return to talks in the near future.”

He said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, had given indications during his visit to Poland in June that plans for the underwater hotel should be resurrected.

“The design would make the hotel very popular among tourists,” Deep Ocean Technology’s co-founder Lech Rowinski told The National this week.

“However, we are still looking for an investor to build it.”

Koniuszaniec said the plans had all the relevant safety and environmental approvals: “We have the technical documentation for Water Discus, approved by the international marine classification society.

“Furthermore, we are in possession of the full safety analysis and research results in the field of strength, its impact on the environment and many other results that enable us to build Water Discus virtually any location in the world, of course, are preceded by an environmental analysis.”

He added that, in the meantime, the company was pressing ahead with plans to open the underwater hotel elsewhere in the world.

“It should be noted that we are also holding talks on the construction of a Water Discus in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Oman, Maldives, Australia, the Caribbean and Poland and we hope this year to announce plans to build the first Water Discus in one of these locations.”

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