QE2 ocean liner to be luxury hotel in Asia under new owners
By Praveen Menon
DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai will spend another $90 million to refurbish the ocean liner QE2 before it steams out of the emirate in October to be moored in Asia as a 400-room luxury hotel, its new owners said on Sunday.
The QE2, launched more than 40 years ago by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, will be owned by a consortium of investors under a Dubai-based entity called QE2 Shipping, Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of the new company said at a press conference.
The identity of the individual investors was not revealed and neither was the final destination of the vessel. But the ship will be moored in Asia and will not return to Dubai.
"We are going to do what we think is right as this is our ship but we won't scrap it and we won't destroy it," Buamim said.
"This is a piece of history. We are going to deliver the project in a timely manner," he added.
Dubai World's investment arm Istithmar bought the vessel from Cunard for $100 million back in 2007, but the 2008 debt crunch which left the conglomerate heavily indebted resulted in the vessel being largely left unused.
Hit by the global economic slowdown the emirate scaled back on plans to turn the ocean liner into a luxury hotel at the tip of the emirate's famous palm-shaped island last year and said she would be moored in an unglamorous part of town instead.
However, in January Dubai announced its decision to move the ship to Asia where it would become a floating hotel. Continued...