By Shereen Shabnam
Before the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) ship started a new chapter in her storied history as a floating hotel, dining and entertainment destination in Dubai, I got a glimpse of the interior in all its glory during a tour with our then design team.
With the highly anticipated international interest, it was a delight to be one of the first on the ship when it docked in Dubai and then seeing it refurbished and reinvented as a legendary vessel that is a must-see tourism destination, in a city renowned for its world-class attractions.
The world-famous cruise liner, which has a history spanning over 5 decades, is docked permanently at Mina Rashid offering dining options, accommodation and entertainment attractions. Visitors can have a unique experience capturing all that was grand during its forty years of service.
During a visit on board, we admired the selection of beautifully restored rooms and suites and explore QE2’s rich history in the QE2 Heritage Exhibition. Here we can step back in time in a space that created so many wonderful memories of 40 years at sea.
The legendary ocean liner is docked close to where we live and we love it as a multi-faceted tourist destination continuing to make a mark as a 13-deck hotel that has been thoughtfully restored to her former glory and maintaining her most loved interior design features such as the period furniture, renowned paintings and famous memorabilia.
The original porthole windows still add a maritime feel to the attractive modernized guest rooms and a number of her original restaurants have retained the same names and décor as her former years. Whilst extensively preserving her authentic elements, the hotel has been equipped with all the latest technology.
The QE2 Exhibition is a must see as it is an interactive museum that showcases the QE2 during the 60’s when she was a pioneer in design, technology and lifestyle – words often used to describe the city she resides in today. Coming from a family obsessed with theatre, we enjoy the entertainment scene that QE2 is becoming known for amongst theatre enthusiasts.
The gem in the crown of the QE2 are the two Royal Suites named after the Queen’s mother and grandmother. These suites offer a private veranda, conservatory and dining room – in addition to a luxurious bedroom. Highly personalised amenities are included for Passengers who can book the suite by invitation only.
We recommend trying the hotel’s signature restaurant is The Queens Grill which offers a refined selection of British fine-dining dishes as well as a tasting menu that recreates a classic selection of dishes from 1969. Another must try is the high tea – if you find yourself looking for things to do on a lazy afternoon, the QE2 afternoon tea hits the spot each time.
The QE2 is home to a number of unique event and meeting room spaces, most notably The Queen’s Room which is an inimitable ballroom unlike any other in the city. It is the perfect place to take guests who love the history and all things maritime.
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