Dubai scales back plan for QE2 luxury hotel
Dubai, July 3, 2012
Dubai has scaled back plans to turn the Queen Elizabeth 2 ship into a luxury hotel at the tip of the emirate's famous palm-shaped island, saying she would be moored in an unglamorous part of town instead with many of her original fittings.
Unveiling a more modest version of a project that was scuppered by Dubai's 2008 debt crunch, the ship's operator - the investment arm of indebted conglomerate Dubai World - said the ship would still become a luxury hotel, but that just 300 of the original 1,000 rooms would now be developed.
'Unfortunately we had many ambitious plans but they didn't work,' said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar - the unit that bought the vessel for $100 million in 2007 - and the chairman of port operator DP World.
'What we are doing now we should have done when we got it,' he said. The common areas, like the restaurants and entertainment areas, would be largely left as they are, he added.
The QE2 ocean liner is currently moored in Port Rashid in Dubai - a gritty commercial port a long way from the tourist-friendly neighbourhood of Palm Jumeirah - and will stay where she is, said Sulayem.
'There have been many grand ideas. There were plans of renovating it in such a way that it becomes something totally different than what it used to be. But we realized soon that a lot of people like the ship as it was,' he said.
Launched by Britain's Queen Elizabeth more than 40 years ago, the ship was used as a venue for a star-studded New Year's eve bash last year, but has otherwise largely been left unused, with some media reports suggesting she had been abandoned.
Talks were ongoing with three hotel operators, including Dubai Holding-owned Jumeirah Group, to run the new hotel, said Sulayem.
Though more modest, he said the new plan would see Port Rashid transformed into a tourist hub - replete with a maritime museum - to host the new hotel.
The conversion work is due to be completed in 18 months. 'Wait 18 months, you will not recognise this place,' said Sulayem.-Reuters
More Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Stories
- Malaysia Airlines jet goes missing over China
- Etihad in move to clear flights backlog
- Tourism industry emerges from downturn
- Airbus orders more frequent A380 checks
- Dubai Mall stand offers air safety tips
- Elaf Group plans new hotel in Makkah
- UPDATE: Abu Dhabi airport starts operation
- Qatar Airways mulls options on 3 extra A380s
- RAK features 9 travel firms at ITB Berlin
- Etihad names Patrick Vieira guest ambassador
- Lufthansa to offer Premium Economy Class
- Ras Al Khaimah TDA appoints new CEO
- Abu Dhabi flights hit by 'technical failure'
- Egypt urges Germany to ease travel advisory
- Qatar Airways to get 3 A380s in June
- Paramount eyes expansion in region
- All EU citizens exempt from pre-entry UAE visas
- Sofitel to open in Downtown Dubai
- Women’s role in aviation focus for summit
- Turkish, Singapore Airlines expand codeshare
- Global air passenger traffic up 7.8pc in Jan
- Hilton to open 41-storey hotel in Pearl-Qatar
- Graffiti area at the Great Wall
- Dubai hotels welcome 11m guests
- Wyndham signs for 4th hotel in Turkey
- Mideast carriers top global air freight growth
- IFA Hotels unveils fresh brand identity
- Turkish Airlines launches Rotterdam flights
- RJ to operate Amman-Kuwait twice daily
- JCDecaux unveils digital screens at Dubai airport