17:53 04 July 2012
The owners of the Queen Elizabeth II have changed their minds about turning the said ship into a luxury hotel. The planned 1000-room hotel will instead have just 300 rooms and will be moored in Port Rashid, a far-from-glamorous part of Dubai and a considerable distance from Palm Jumeirah, the neighborhood that attracts the most tourists.
The operators of the ship said that most of the parts of the ship will be left untouched, and it will still be used as a hotel, but it will not have the original 1000 rooms as planned. The changes came following the Dubai 2008 debt crunch.
The chairman of Istithmar and of port operator DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, stated that they “had many ambitious plans but they didn’t work.” He also added, with obvious regret, that “what we are doing now, we should have done when we got it.” He was referring to the time when they first bought the vessel for $100 million in 2007.
He also justified the plans to leave much of the ship in its original state, saying, “We realized soon that a lot of people like the ship as it was.” The Queen Elizabeth II was indeed loved in its glory days. Over 40 years ago, it was launched by Queen Elizabeth herself and was since used as a venue for a star-filled New Year’s Eve bash just last year. Other than these grand events, however, media reports surmise that the ship has mostly been “abandoned.”
Instead of the lavish luxury hotel plans, the current plans are more modest, but operators say it will be part of the plan to transform Port Rashid into a tourist hub. It is also expected to hold a maritime museum.
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