After the end of the cold war Russia had started disposing off several of their old aircraft carriers that used to sail the seas around the world to counter the American influence. China had purchased three such carriers around 1996 but only one of them was refitted to become China’s first real aircraft carrier. The second one was converted into a casino and became a major attraction for the increasing number of tourists visiting China. The third ex-Russian aircraft carrier called Kiev has been refitted as a novel luxury hotel and has become the centerpiece of an 80,000 square meter state-supported military theme park in Tianjin, China.
The decision and the process of conversion of the large ship has been in the news since the refitting started. But now the process is complete and the ship is now ready to offer 148 luxury rooms to the public. What was thought of initially as fanciful ambition has now become a reality. In fact a proper restaurant has already opened on the ship and has been operational since December. To highlight the origin of the ship the restaurant serves mostly Russian fare.
The conversion project had a large budget of $15 million. It has made the ship completely habitable and safe but it is difficult to visualize how the state, who has funded the project, can recover the cost commercially. It is an investment for propaganda purposes to highlight the might that communism can achieve. The interiors of the ship have been done very luxuriously and the novelty of the concept is sure to attract the tourists. If you are visiting that part of China then a stay on the ship could provide a fascinating diversion.