The UAE executive spearheading efforts to develop a series of eye-catching ‘underwater hotels’ at locations around the world has revealed the project has attracted ‘huge’ interest, including an offer to develop several properties for the Chinese market.
Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Dubai industrial giant Drydocks World and Maritime World, says the collaboration between his firm and European company Deep Ocean Technology on new properties dubbed ‘water discus hotels’ is moving forward at pace.
“Our meetings never stop – communication is almost daily on certain things,” he revealed. Speaking to 7DAYS, Buamim said the new structures would be built in Dubai and moved to a diverse array of locations around the world.
“The international and regional interest in it is huge,” he said, confirming plans for a Maldives hotel are well advanced and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for another has been signed with the Caribbean island of Martinique. And he revealed: “We have had an interesting target from China – it blew our mind.”
The design of the water discus hotels provides for one disc to be suspended above the water and another to be located beneath the waves.
Buamim said that while he was sure the hotels would feature “lovely” interiors, his firm’s involvement was due to its experience in building more practical structures.
“You have to think about it as an oil platform, the concept itself,” he said. “How you build, how you jack up, how you anchor it, how you create it – it is the same. It is oil and gas industry technology. But it is very futuristic, that is what people need to know – we are talking about the next age of technology.”
And Buamim explained how he feels that moving into these new areas are crucial to the survival of his own company – with its historical strengths in the maritime repair industry.
“We will definitely build in Dubai – for many places, especially those areas that are close by. It then depends how you transport it,” he said. Buamim said that the firm could also share its know-how to allow the hotels to be built elsewhere. And he has high hopes for the project.
“Frankly speaking, I think tomorrow’s world will look at this as the only solution for building on water,” he predicted. And he said the reefs which typically formed around similarly designed oil rigs meant the new hotels would welcome a host of marine life. “It is totally environmentally friendly. You don’t have to reclaim land, you don’t have to disturb the environment.”
Asked if Dubai would be permanent home to an underwater hotel, he answered: “You never know.”-7 Days