The other day we wrote about the Emir of Qatar's fight with the mayor of Paris over his plans to expand a historic mansion. Now another megarich Middle Eastern potentate is having similar problems - but in this case it looks as if he'll get his way. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the crown prince and ruler of Dubai, bought the Inverinate Estate, a 14-bedroom mansion on 63,000 acres in the Scottish Highlands near the Kyle of Lochalsh, 25 years ago for about $3 million. However, the Sheikh (above, at the Royal Ascot races), who was ranked at No. 5 on Forbes' list of the world's richest royals in 2008 with a fortune of $18 billion, recently decided the place is too small, the the Scotsman reports.
The Sheikh planned to build a new modern two-story lodge featuring a penthouse suite, dining room, kitchen and 16 bedrooms, all with en-suite baths and some with living-room areas. Made from a mix of natural stone, timber paneling and glass, it consists of three main blocks linked by glassed-in walkways. Though the present mansion was built in 1929 to replace an earlier 1880 building, critics initially opposed the Sheikh's plan for the incongruous addition, noting the building is a fine example of Scottish vernacular architecture of its period. After having been brought to a vote by the planning council however, the Sheikh will now be allowed to construct what one critic described as "something you would find in the Arabian desert."