Billionaire ruler of Dubai's Scottish estate expands with new lodges

Billionaire ruler of Dubai’s ‘hideaway’ Scottish estate expands with two new waterfront lodges and building work beginning on a third amid fears for his missing princess daughters

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum owns Inverinate in Wester Ross
  • Two new lodges and controversial third has been pegged out ready for building 
  • It will mean extending the plot of the estate to around a quarter of a mile

The billionaire ruler of Dubai’s ‘hideaway’ Scottish estate is expanding with two new waterfront lodges as building work begins on a third amid fears for his missing princess daughters.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who only visits the Inverinate retreat in Wester Ross a few weeks of the year, is extending the plot to around a quarter of a mile.

Two new lodges and a controversial third has been pegged out ready for building work to begin which will eventually accommodate his six wives, 23 children and large entourage of bodyguards and servants.

But the build comes after the United Nations recently said it will raise the detention of his daughter Princess Latifa with the United Arab Emirates.  

Princess Latifa also appealed to UK police to re-investigate the kidnap of her older sister Princess Shamsa who was snatched from a Cambridge street more than 20 years ago. 

Two new lodges and a controversial third has been pegged out ready for building work to begin at the billionaire’s ‘hideaway’ Scottish estate (one of the new lodges pictured)

The sheikh has had to cough up £30,000 to help locals get on the housing ladder as a result of a controversial planning permission for his fourth lodge at the Inverinate retreat.

He paid the cash towards affordable housing in the Highlands.

Highland Council refused the development in June because it would have been too close to a neighbouring bungalow which is home to 72-year-old Roddy Macleod and his daughter Tina.

It follows a long-running row over the six-bedroom scheme by the billionaire sheikh  which will add to the almost 60 plus bedrooms he already has permission for.

The shiekh’s Smech Properties Ltd lodged an appeal against refusal and Scottish Government reporter Gordon Reid allowed permission, with conditions. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (pictured), who only visits the Inverinate retreat in Wester Ross a few weeks of the year, is extending the plot to around a quarter of a mile

Mr Macleod said: ‘I am disappointed but it’s not unexpected – the big boys always seem to win.

‘They have pegged out the site and we are just waiting for this skyscaper to go up next to us.’

Mr Macleod previously said the sheikh was a rare visitor ‘and certainly not to see me’.

‘In my 30 odd years here, the family have only been up five times. Other guests come from time to time – such as his London and airline staff,’ he said.

Mr Macleod, whose home is 65ft from the proposed lodge said it would invade his privacy and spoil the enjoyment of his home, which he has lived in for 36 years. 

Locals also say the proposed access road for the lodge will cause problems.

The sheikh’s agents, Farningham Planning Ltd, said most of the land was purchased from The Church of Scotland in 2017 with the benefit of planning permission.


The build comes after the United Nations recently said it will look into the detention of daughter Princess Latifa (left) who had also appealed to UK police to re-investigate the kidnap of her older sister Princess Shamsa (right)

Alongside the original manor house, the sheikh has added a 16-bedroom hunting lodge with a swimming pool and gym, and several helipads.

Plans for the proposed Ptarmigan Lodge – which will act as accommodation for the sheikh’s guests – were originally submitted in March 2019.

Nobody wrote in support of the last application. In fact there are nearly twice as many objections than against the previous plan.

One neighbour even described it as ‘a land grab on the Trump scale’.

Architects reduced the size of the building and said it will have six bedrooms rather than nine.

However the scheme drew over 30 objections.

The sheikh’s architects previously said the family’s trips to Inverinate have been ‘limited by lack of accommodation’ – despite already having 30 bedrooms there – and another 28 approved in February 2019.

The sheikh, who founded the Godolphin racehorse stud, has made all his applications to Highland Council through his company Smech Properties Ltd.

With such a large entourage, Transport Scotland had also been concerned over the wear and tear to the local road caused by the sheikh’s future trips to his Highland hideaway.

It wanted the sheikh to detail how often he and his regal retinue are planning to head north and what the ‘cumulative traffic impact’ will be!

But the sheikh’s agents said: ‘It is anticipated that there will be no significant increase in car movements above the existing traffic flow following completion of the construction phase. 

‘As with the current lodges, the majority of visits to the property are by either coach or helicopter, supported by a fleet of six 4×4 cars for shooting parties/visits.

‘There is no recorded data available on frequency of visits or length of duration.’

The 71-year-old sheikh, who is believed to have a fortune in excess of £3.3billion, bought the 63,000-acre estate more than 20 years ago for a reported £2 million. 

It come after the United Nations recently said it will raise the detention of his daughter Princess Latifa with the United Arab Emirates.

She tried to flee Dubai in 2018 before she was captured by commandos on a boat in the Indian Ocean. 

She was flown back to the city and has accused her father of holding her hostage ever since. 

Her father said he was acting in her best interests with Dubai and the UAE previously claiming that Princess Latifa was safe in the care of family.

But, in secretly recorded videos shared with the BBC, she said she feared for her life.   

The footage prompted global calls for a UN investigation as the UK said the videos were ‘deeply troubling’.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it would soon question the UAE about Princess Latifa.  

She also appealed to UK police to re-investigate the kidnap of her older sister from a Cambridge street more than 20 years ago.

In a letter shared with the BBC, Latifa tells Cambridgeshire police this could help free Princess Shamsa, who was captured on the orders of their father.

Shamsa, who was just 18 then and is now 39, has not been seen in public since.

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