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Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner to be given second life as a floating Dubai hotel

  • 19-Jul-12 12:35
  • Dubai
  • The Wall Street Journal

Istithmar has announced the plans to convert the majestic Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner, currently docking idly at Port Rashid, into a 300 room floating Dubai hotel. The state owned company has indicated that the ship's iconic original design will be maintained throughout the conversion process as they hope that the combination of the popularity of Dubai holidays as well as the popularity of the ship itself- which has become a landmark for Dubai will be a recipe for success.

Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner to be given second life as a floating Dubai hotel

Currently docking idly at Emirate’s Port Rashid, the majestic Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner will be given a second lease of life as a 300-room floating Dubai hotel, according to the chairman of state-owned Istithmar World Sultan bin Sulayem.

Bought at the height of Dubai’s economic boom in 2008 for an eye popping $100 million from a subsidiary of the renowned cruise company Carnival Corp., the fate of the Queen Elizabeth 2 was unknown in the wake of the 2009 economic crisis which saw the once high flying Dubai seek a $20 bn bailout from the United Arab Emirates.

The move from Istithmar aims to capitalise on the growing success of the Dubai holidays industry, which has been largely responsible for the nation’s economic recovery, and the iconic nature of the ship which has become a landmark in its own right. As a result the Mr. bin Sulayem has stated that the integrity of the ship would be maintained throughout the conversion process, stating “There were many grand ideas of renovating it in such a way that it was totally different from what it used to be, but we realized that a lot of people liked the ship as it was”.

 Queen Elizabeth 2 in Dubai
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

Sultan bin Sulayem noted that converting the vessel into what would be one of the most unique hotels in Dubai will contribute to the tourism industry as well as help Istithmar recoup the cost of keeping the vessel docked, “It costs money for Istithmar to keep it sitting, so what we're doing is reducing the cost for Istithmar and eventually Istithmar will make money out of it” noted Mr. bin Sulayem.

With the ship said to be in “immaculate condition” the conversion process will take place in as little as 18 months with three major hotel chains in Dubai, including the Jumeirah Group, already in talks with Istithmar to operate the newly formed hotel.

While little has been revealed about how much the project will cost or where the funding will come from, what is certain is that if and when it is complete, Istithmar is banking on it being one of the most popular hotels for travellers booking exotic Dubai holidays with an added touch of history.

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