50s to 90s

Kuwait Marriott Hotel (Ramada al Salaam Hotel)


The Kuwait Marriott Hotel used to be located in Shuwaikh where the KPC building is located right now. [Google Maps]

In 1972, Santa Paula was sold to “Oceanic Sun Line Special Shipping Company Inc” of Greece and she was renamed Stella Polaris. It was intended for her to become a cruise ship. Although she arrived in Piraeus on December 11, she remained laid up until 1976, when she was obtained by the Marriott Group, and four Kuwaiti companies. She was sent to Rijeka, Yugoslavia (today’s Croatia) where she was converted for the use as a luxury floating hotel in Kuwait City. She arrived in Kuwait in September 1978 having been renamed the “Kuwait Marriott Hotel.” On October 17 workers commenced to raise the harbour bed at her specially prepared berth as hull was to remain to be permanently grounded. This was completed and she officially opened as a hotel on February 1, 1980. In 1989 she was renamed the “Ramada al Salam Hotel” but soon disaster would hit this fine vessel!

However, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991 the ship was attacked and she was bombed and set ablaze totally destroying this once magnificent ship. Upon inspection she was considered a total loss. Many of her machinery spares, which somehow remained in perfect order were sold and were used for her sister ship, the ex Santa Rosa by Regency Cruises as she was being rebuilt as the SS Regent Rainbow. Today this fine totally rebuilt ship continues to sail on as the SS “The Emerald.” The “Ramada al Salaam Hotel,” ex Santa Paula was scrapped in 2002, however it is said that parts of the ship are still visible at her final resting place. [Source]


I wonder if it’s true that some of the ship parts are still visible. I never thought of going and checking it out.

Here are pictures of the hotel before it’s destruction:

Here are pictures of the hotel after it’s destruction:

Pictures collected from various sources online.

27 replies on “Kuwait Marriott Hotel (Ramada al Salaam Hotel)”

You are right, 80’s were Kuwaits golden age…that slowly fell apart. I remember this ship & hotel very well. My parents used to take me when i was a child to swim in the pool it was lot of fun.

The 70s were the gold age. The 80s was an age of decline, political instability and terrible events that led to the iraqi invasion.

this is Kuwait which every older keeps telling us about – people coming to spend vacations in Kuwait, not just working. It was this decade’s Dubai. hopefully it will be back.

My folks had their wedding celebration at this floating hotel in 1982..brings back memories from the photos from their wedding album and what Mark has shared!

I’ve been there several times in the 80s. Why the Iraqis destroyed it is savagery beyond belief. Why couldn’t they just use it? Why destroy something you can use to your benefit, even if you were stealing it. And in the end they had to pay for it anyway. Stupidity unparalleled.

actually the iraqi army used it as HQ .. and then one of the Kuwaiti resistance ( asrar alqabandi ) plant an exploding bomb inside the hotel which destroyed the ship and every one inside it .. tbh it was one of the greatest Kuwaiti resistance tasks .

This is news to me. As much as I would like to believe you, your story sounds far-fetched. A single bomb cannot destroy an entire steel structure like that. Besides, there are ample views of bullet and grenade shots from the outside. Do you have any evidence to back-up your claim?

There is a documentary about Kuwaiti resistance ( asrar alqabandi ) on youtube that was televised by kuwait channel or koot , I don;t remember, which but it was in arabic and i think there was english subtitles, but She actually helped in blowing up the Iraqi HQ but I don;t know if it this or a real building.

i remember going there with my family just one or two months before august 2nd 1990 .. i was young but actually i remember the fun time and the interior of the hotel specially the captain room .

We used to live in Bneid al Qar in 80s, we would drive to the Marriott for a stroll on the beach. I remember – as a kid – how exciting it is to see a large ship. I remember we went up the boat and took some pictures. Sad it went away. Thanks for the post.

I was opening the Burger King chain of restaurants in the late 90’s. I worked for Al Homaizi Companies. I stopped by the old hotel as the Indians were breaking her for scrap metal. I purchased a large, and very heavy, brass porthole. It is now a cocktail table in my house in the US. I remember Kuwait fondly……Eric

It was actually brought from a Greek shipping tycoon by my father who was a partner with Sabah al Ahmed at that time , and had a company called gulf international.
Than they brought in the Marriott brothers who managed it ,it was a five star hotel
During the gulf war it was taken by the Iraqi solders

I was one of the Marriott managers that were from the USA to open that hotel . I was first class all the way, the best of the best. It was a lot of hard work opening that resort and training the employees. It is so sad to look at her now with all the holes in her.

I was one of the team of men from Milford Haven , in Wales Gt Britain who went over to Kuwait to bring the ship in and set her down ready to be turned into a hotel . We stayed at the hotel Messila Beach until the ship came into the bay , we then joined the ship and she was towed in to her resting place which had already been dug out for the ship to sit level on the sea bed .Big diggers with wires connected to them towed her in after the tugs had let go , If I remember the name of the company running the job was Hedley Fraser salvage co ltd . It’s been a long time and it was only by chance I came across this article .

I was one of the team that brought the ship in and sat her in position , we were from Wales in Gt Britain and the company doing the job was Hedley Fraser salvage co . Before the ship came to port we were staying in the Messila beach hotel which was beautiful .

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