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Famed ocean liner docks as a luxury hotel in Dubai

Nadja Beschetnikova
April 18, 2018

The legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 comes back to life: on April 18, 2018, it will open its doors to the public in Dubai as a hotel. The ship is now docked permanently at Mina Rashid.

During this «soft» opening, the tourists will be able to inspect the modernized ship, peek inside five of 13 planned restaurants and bars, and explore its history in the adjacent QE2 Heritage Exhibition.

She made her farewell trip at the beginning of November 2008. Since then, there have been several plans to use it as a hotel and museum in Dubai or even in Asia, but all of them had been shattered because of the financial crisis.

Finally, PCFC Hotels, part of the Dubai government's Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation, took over the reins and reinvented the legendary vessel as the latest must-see tourism destination.

The 70,000-tonne ship was purchased for $100 million.

The cabins were thoughtfully restored into cozy rooms ranging from a standard size of 17 sq m to two royal suites of 76 sq m.
A standard room on the QE2 is available for $150 per night with breakfast. The Royal Suites, named after the Queen’s mother and grandmother, can be booked by invitation only for reportedly $15,000 per night. The luxurious suites feature a private veranda, conservatory and dining room.

The liner, which has a history spanning 5 decades, boasts 13 restaurants, an English pub, a ballroom and an exhibition area dedicated to the history of the ship. In the interactive museum, the guests can learn more about technology and lifestyle during the 60’s when QE was hailed as a pioneer in design and shipbuilding.

PCFC Hotels took good care of the legendary heritage. Features such as porthole windows, period furniture or original paintings were preserved. As far as possible, the cabins retained their original designs, but have been renovated and modernized.

The original cabin numbers have also been preserved so that QE2 fans can also book their favorite cabin in the hotel.

According to Hamza Mustafa, CEO of PCFC Hotels, the company dedicated more than 2.7 million man-hours into transforming this 13-deck ocean liner into the luxurious accommodation.

Surrounded by the high-end service, the guests can immerse in the atmosphere of the ship’s glorious past. Instead of trans-Atlantic travel, the ship offers time travel now.
«We have restored the QE2 to her former glory - we've meticulously brought her back to her original 1969 build. When you walk in you get a sense of nostalgia - this is what the ship was famous for and this is exactly what we're celebrating, glorifying her heyday,» said chief executive Hamza Mustafa.

A number of restaurants and bars from the ship’s sailing days have also been revived. The Chart Room, a historical lounge and bar, and The Golden Lion, a green-hued traditional British pub, are waiting for the new guests at the same places.

QE2 offers a unique experience not only for the retro fans. The Queen's Grill, the hotel’s signature restaurant, which was frequented by the Queen herself, will impress even the most pampered gourmets. The selection, consisting of the fine-dining British dishes, is a recreation of the original menu of 1969. 

The ship also will feature shops run by Dubai Duty-Free.

Built by Cunard, Queen Elizabeth was one of the most famous ships in the 20th century. The ship made its official maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York in 1969. It carried 2.5 million passengers and crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times.

The grand launch of the most highly anticipated hotel in Dubai will take place in October, with “600 to 800 rooms” ready, according to Mustafa.