The Accor Group, a hospitality corporation that operates over 400 hotels in India, the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, will be taking over the management of the iconic Queen Elizabeth 2. The vessel has been docked in Dubai since 2018, acting as a hotel. Accor plans to incorporate significant changes to the ship.
The world-famous Ocean-liner sailed for Cunard between 1969 to 2008. Accor plans to reduce the number of rooms onboard by 60%, keeping only 477 of the original 1300 rooms. First, the vessel will need significant renovations to bring it up to standard to join the company’s MGallery Hotel Collection.
New Management for QU2
Queen Elizabeth 2 has received a new lease on life as she is scheduled to undergo a complete renovation and redesign at the hands of hotel operator Accor. The QE2 left active service in 2008 and was sold to Dubai investment company Istithmar for $100 million.
Since then, several companies introduced plans to open the vessel up as a floating hotel, most plans ending before becoming concrete. In 2018, QE finally welcomed the first guests in over ten years, with Accor now introducing new plans to develop the iconic cruise ship further.
Mark Willis, CEO of Accor India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey: “This is a great opportunity for Accor to expand its footprint in the UAE with the introduction of a unique project which brings diversity to the portfolio while expanding the MGallery brand presence in the city.”
“Not only are we in charge of the only floating hotel in Dubai, but we are also contributing to the Dubai Urban Master plan 2049, with the aim to map out the path for sustainable urban development while increasing the city attractiveness as a global destination”.
The hospitality group works in unison with the current owner, the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) Investments LLC, a Dubai government organization. The partnership aims to open up for business this May 2022, at which point the ship will be renamed to MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2.
Accor is well known for its brands such as the Fairmont, Movenpick, Raffles, Sofitel, and Mercure hotels.
QE2 Becomes Luxury Hotel
Post-renovation, the QE2 will feature 447 luxury hotel rooms, nine food & beverage outlets, ten meeting rooms, a 5,620sqm area for outdoor events, six retail outlets, a swimming pool, and a gym.
“We are confident that once finalised, the MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will become a true must-visit attraction, sharing her own stories with her guests while offering a truly unforgettable experience on-board”, added Mark Willis.
Queen Elizabeth 2 is not the only former Cunard Ocean Liner currently operating as a hotel. The Queen Mary, which sailed for Cunard between 1936 and 1967, is permanently moored in Los Angeles as a hotel.
Iconic and World Renowned
Built in Clydebank, near Glasgow in Scotland, QE2 entered service in 1969. Although small by current standards, the vessel was one of the biggest ships in operation during the 60s and 70s.
Measuring 70,327 gross tons, she had space for 1,777 passengers and could reach a top speed of 34 knots, or 39 miles per hour.
In her day, the QE2 was one of the most well-known Ocean liners in the world. Although she was a traditional Ocean liner designed for service on the Atlantic, the vessel never sailed the classic Cunard route between England and New York.
She did sail more than 800 transatlantic voyages to keep the tradition alive and was one of the first cruise ships, operating 25 world cruises and many more journeys out of Southampton, England.
QE2 was Cunard’s flagship until Queen Mary 2 started operations in 2004; during her career, she carried more than 2.5 million passengers.