DUBAI // The new owner of the island of Lebanon, in the World archipelago, has plans to develop and expand the resort.
The island, which includes beachfront chalets, a swimming pool and a restaurant, was sold in November last year to Abu Dhabi-based businessman Ravi Raman.
Mr Raman said the resort was already being run as a destination for private corporate events, as well as exclusive public parties on holidays like New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day.
“When we bought it, it was being run more as a restaurant, now we are changing the philosophy and taking a different approach. We are doing more upscale elite events.”
He said his team was working on planning a completely new direction for the resort and declined to rule out the possibility of a hotel on the island.
“There’s a huge potential there. We’re going to convert it into something different. It’s under planning, so we don’t know at the moment how it will be.
“There are several options which we are studying at the moment. we haven’t yet decided which way to go.
“It’s going to be improved a lot from what it is today.”
Mr Raman declined to say how much he paid previous owner Wakil Admed Azmi. News reports suggested the price was Dh35million, and a person connected with the island suggested that was roughly correct.
The son of the previous owner, Amir Admed, said the sale had been due to “family reasons” but declined to offer any further details.
The island is off the main Dubai grid, and up until now, in order to maintain daily opening hours, the previous management have had to ship in 10,000 gallons of diesel a month to fuel three generators on the island.
In addition, the resort has received 30,000 gallons of water per month for toilets, taps and air conditioning. A ship used to arrive twice a week to bring in supplies and take back sewage for disposal on the mainland. Each chartered journey, as of this time last year, cost around Dh9,500.
It was not immediately clear whether the island would continue to operate in that manner.
Mr Raman said he purchased the island, which is still keeping the old name of ‘Royal Island Beach Resort’, because it was the only island in the World development that was open to the public.
“It’s the only place where you can see all of Dubai’s landmarks in one place, from the Burj Khalifa to the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis. It’s a very iconic location, and that’s a key selling point.”