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Pictures of how QE2 will look as floating hotel
9:18am Saturday 26th October 2013 in News
Seven designs, ranging from those focusing on the vessel’s illustrious past to pop art re-imaginings of its salubrious interior, have been submitted.
How the upper deck may look
International designers are set to battle it out for the chance to realise their visions of how the grand dame of the seas should look.
When she was launched in 1969, Queen Elizabeth 2 was the pride of the seas.
The flagship of the Cunard fleet, her regular route took her from her home in Southampton across the Atlantic Ocean to New York, offering 2.5 million passengers comfort and luxury surroundings for their journey.
New look dining room
She was retired from service in 2008, and left Southampton for the last time in November that year, having been acquired by Dubai’s state investment company, Istithmar World.
Plans to turn her into a tourist destination in the Middle Eastern city state bit the dust owing to the recession, and earlier this year the Oceanic Group consortium unveiled its own plans to turn the liner into a five-star hotel.
Plush new look for bedrooms
The vessel is due to set sail from Dubai for China any day now, after a deal was completed between owners QE2 Holdings and the COSCO Group, which will carry out the work to convert her into a hotel at its shipyard in Zhejiang Province.
The liner will offer 400 European-style rooms and suites, gourmet restaurants, more than 100,000sq ft of retail shipping, a QE2-themed museum, exhibition space, a grand ballroom and a host of other amenities after the £62m project is completed.
Suites get a makeover
The ship’s final destination after the work is yet to be decided, but the honour is likely to be shared between major cities in the Far East, as Oceanic Group said in a statement she “will take her place alongside the great heritage hotels of Asia... and become an iconic tourist attraction to complement Asia’s already famous waterfronts.”
Now seven international designers – three from the USA and one each from the UK, Finland, Singapore and Italy – have been invited to unveil their visions for the ship’s new look.
QE2 Holdings president Daniel Chui said: “The QE2 offers more than 500,000 sq ft of usable space, in a structure roughly equivalent to any five-star hotel.
“The ship’s redevelopment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any interior design professional to create what will become one of Asia’s major waterfront tourist attractions.
“The goal for the final design is to preserve the soul of the QE2 – many of the original furnishings and much of the decor will be incorporated – while creating a modern luxury hotel.”
A fireworks dsiplay marked th eday QE2 left Southampton
The winner of the competition will be announced on November 30.
Among the designers hoping to win the chance to overhaul QE2 is British firm Benoy. The firm says its designs will embrace her history and hark back to the ship’s golden age in the 1960s and 1970s.
Its proposals seek to retain the character of historically significant spaces on the vessel, such as the Midships Lobby and Queen’s Room, while “introducing a modern variation on textiles, lighting, fittings and technology”.
Benoy’s director of interior design, John Denton, said: “Our design team wanted guests to relive her heyday as the ultimate in oceangoing luxury, and we hope to see the QE2 transformed in a way that celebrates her original design and status when she first sailed in the ’60s.”
Among Benoy’s rivals in the competition is US firm Wilson Associates, which has offices in Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, as well as the Far East.
The firm’s British design director, Dylan Willis, said his proposals also harked back to the liner’s golden era.
He said: “We wanted to capture a feeling of the past, the present and the future, so that any guest of the new QE2 hotel could relish in the marvel and unique experience of the grand ocean liners.”
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