After dropping close to $320 million on his new Airbus A380 jet, Prince Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia is spending another $176 million on ultra-lavish modifications, including a $60 million gold leaf paintjob. An unnamed German company is customizing the interior of the plane to include:
- A lounge to seat a traveling entourage of 25 trusted aides;
- A marble-paneled dining room with seating for 14;
- A bar with curtains to mimic tents of the Arabian Desert;
- A fiber-optic mosaic that will depict a shifting desert scene;
- A movie theatre with plush leather seats the color of sand dunes;
- A series of bedrooms linked to stewardesses by intercom;
- A gym with Nautilus equipment and running machines; and
- A large silk bed designed to resemble a Bedouin tent that will be the centerpiece of the plane’s interior.
Reports speak of the decor as being “Lawrence of Arabia meets Star Wars.” Al-Waleed’s A380 will be completed in two years, and in the meantime he will cruise in his Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet.
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud is a cousin of the Saudi Arabian king and one of the richest individuals in the world, with a fortune estimated near $30 billion. His Kingdom Holding Company is one of the world’s largest and most diversified investment firms. Al-Waleed is one of a handful of individuals to own an A380, the world’s largest commercial airliner.