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New Dubai tourism plans for world famous QE2

Boat, Transportation, Vehicle
The Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) cruise ship is set to be a floating hotel in Dubai's Port Rashid

Hospitality giant Accor on Monday announced it has added the world-renowned cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), to its portfolio as it looks to boost its luxury offerings in the UAE. 

The cruise ship will undergo further upgrades and renovations prior to joining the MGallery Hotel Collection.

No date has yet been confirmed for when this work will be completed but a spokesperson told AGBI that the QE2 will become one of Accor’s flagship assets in the UAE.

“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,” said Mark Willis, CEO of Accor India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey.

“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 a sustainable urban development while increasing the city’s attractiveness as a global destination.” 

Once the renovation is completed, the new MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 in Port Rashid will feature 447 hotel rooms, nine food and beverage outlets, 10 meeting rooms, 5,620 sq m 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 Willis.

Accor currently operates 62 properties (18,562 keys) in the UAE with 20 (5,831 keys) properties in the pipeline.

The group said it is collaborating with the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation Investments (PCFCI), one of the organisations under the Dubai government.

PCFCI is a boutique private equity firm whose principal objective is investment in commercial enterprises and asset management. The company’s business model is focused on investing in, owning, developing and managing commercial real estate assets. 

“We are very excited to partner with Accor on this project. We trust the group’s expertise will elevate the QE2 to a new era of operations” said Saeed Al-Bannai, CEO of PCFC investment. 

“The Queen Elizabeth as we know her, has made history and we are confident that Accor will keep her legacy alive while her strong heritage and notoriety will remain a destination in itself, where guests and visitors alike can enjoy a unique experience.”

Person, Human, Tie
All smiles as the new agreement is signed

How the QE2 became a major Dubai tourism attraction

  • 20 September 1967 – QE2 launched as a cruise ship by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, at John Brown & Company’s shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. 
  • 2 May 1969 – QE2 makes maiden voyage to New York. The ship served as the flagship for the Southampton-based Cunard Line, the luxury transatlantic luxury service from the UK to the US, for 35 years. 
  • 18 May 1972 – SAS-led team sent to investigate bomb threat on the QE2 when it was mid-Atlantic from New York to Southampton. No bomb was found.   
  • 3 May 1982 – British government requisitions the QE2 for use in the Falklands War. The ship was used to carry 3,000 troops to war in the South Atlantic. 
  • 25 April 1987 – QE2 was converted from steam power to diesel electric, the biggest such conversion job in merchant shipping at the time. 
  • 1 May 2004 – QE2 completes final Atlantic crossing as Cunard flagship. She was succeeded by French-built sister ship Queen Mary 2. 
  • 18 June 2007 – Cunard announces it has sold the QE2 to Isthimar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly-owned company of the Government of Dubai, for £50m. 
  • 11 November 2008 – QE2 arrives in Dubai after a trip around the UK including a final trip to her birthplace the Clyde. 
  • 2 July 2012 – Dubai World unveils plans to convert the QE2 into a luxury hotel, moored at Dubai’s Mina Rashid. The proposals were scaled back from an earlier vision for a floating hotel moored at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah man-made island. 
  • 20 September 2017 – Fifty years after her launch as a cruise ship, the QE2 remains moored at Port Rashid with hotel plans stalled and no decision made on her future. 
  • 18 April 2018 – Queen Elizabeth 2 reopens as a floating hotel, following an extensive refurbishment, operated by PCFC Hotels, a division of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
  • 9 May 2022 – French hotel chain Accor announces it will add the QE2 to its portfolio under the MGallery brand, undertaking upgrades and renovations to the ship to transform it into a luxury floating hotel. Accor will work in collaboration with Dubai government-owned private equity firm Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) Investments, established in 2001.

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