The world famous Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) liner is set to reopen next week after a multi-million-dollar conversion into a hotel.
The ship had been thought forgotten after several plans to convert it failed to materialise following a $100m acquisition in 2007 by Dubai World unit Istithmar.
However, there were indications of a revival over the last six months after new signs appeared outside the ship, which now falls under the ownership of Dubai government entity Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
A new website also went live in February featuring the message ‘coming soon’ before maritime fans reported the ship had been moved in March to undergo conversion work at Dubai’s Drydocks World.
In recent weeks an official Instragram account has given glimpses of the hotel’s room design and detailed plans for 12 food and beverage venues inside, from casual and fine dining, to grand theatres and nightclubs.
An invite sent to the media on Wednesdays stated that the soft opening would take place at 9:30am on Wednesday, April 18 at Dubai’s Mina Rashid.
The QE2 first set sail in 1969 and steamed six million miles, carried 2.5 million passengers and was even sent to war.
The hotel is expected to be spread across 13 decks on the 293m ship with 224 rooms in total. Rates start from Dhs600 ($163) a night, according to the ship’s website.
The redesign includes a lobby museum with actual and replicated artefacts and reproduced spaces including the bridge, the casino, a first class cabin and the Queen’s Room.
Dining options will include a restored Chartroom bar, British fine-dining experience Queen’s Grill featuring a gin bar, and al fresco shisha terrace The Yacht Club. Meanwhile, headline food and beverage venue The Grand Lounge will host musicals, dancing, comedy acts and discos.
A spa and pool deck is planned to open later this year.