The government has revealed plans to develop the recently closed Nasandhura Palace Hotel on the waterfront of Malé as a 15-storey luxury hotel with apartments and a convention centre.
Speaking to Minivan News today, deputy tourism minister Ibrahim Lirar said Nasandhura will be re-developed as a five-star city hotel by Galaxy Enterprises – a company owned by President Abdulla Yameen’s brother-in-law Mohamed Manik.
“The company is going through all the design phases, which then has to be approved from the tourism ministry before they can start construction,” said Lirar.
Nasandhura Palace Hotel, located in front of the airport ferry terminal, first opened in 1981 and was managed by the government.
The site was previously handed to Shangri-la in May 2008 to develop a 15-storey hotel, before a crack in the coral reef outside the area doomed the project.
Shangri-la was provided land near Dharubaaruge to develop the hotel, but the project has since been stalled.
The hotel development project on the Nasandhuraa plot was awarded to Galaxy Enterprises five years ago.
The large plot of land also accommodates the state-owned Island Aviation Services’ head office, which has now been provided new premises to move its operations, said Lirar.
Island Aviation’s head of administration Ali Nashaath told Minivan News that the airline will be moving its headquarters to the vacant Raiveriyaa restaurant in the western end of Malé.
“We never had our own land to operate from for the past 15 or so years. So we are planning to develop the Raiveriyaa site as our permanent headquarters,” said Nashaath.
Haveeru reported that the cabinet’s economic council last month had requested Island Aviation to move out from Nasandhura, after transferring ownership of the plot of land from the housing ministry to the tourism ministry.
Asked about the bidding process in the hotel development project, Lirar said the tourism ministry followed all due procedures.
“The government will decide what happens to the land as it is government-owned. We will employ it in ways which would provide the maximum benefit to the government,” said Lirar.