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QE2 arrives in Dubai but developer still seeking operator

The new owners Dubai World, the parent company of property developers Nakheel, said the company will not operate the hotel when the former luxury liner is transformed.

They are currently seeking a major hotel operator but have not revealed who they have been talking to. However, it is most likely to be a hotel operator that Nakheel has already done business with.

The transformation of the QE2 is a major development project. She sails into Dubai to a tremendous welcome from a flotilla of yachts, boats and dhows, led by a Royal Navy Frigate and will spend two to three years being renovated in a dry dock.

Work needed includes plumbing, electrical and the installation of double glazing and air conditioning for the 40-year old liner.

She will be based on the Palm Jumeirah, the artificial island built off the Dubai coast, and operated as a luxury seven star hotel. Connected by a bridge, she will form the centrepiece of a luxurious marina complex, with restaurants, private homes, other hotels and a theatre where full-scale West-end and Broadway productions will be staged.

The complex will also house a heritage museum displaying QE2 artefacts and maritime exhibits and the owners have pledged to maintain the ship's rich heritage.

'We are proud to be the custodian of such a magnificent British icon and will use our resources to maintain the integrity and spirit of QE2, as envisioned by her original design team led by Dennis Lennon, and usher in the next exciting chapter of her rich and dignified life,' said Manfred Ursprunger, chief executive of QE2 Enterprises.

'We want to take people back to the time when people travelled across the Atlantic,' Ursprunger added.

There will also be a 5,000 square metre indoor and outdoor wellness centre and spa.

Other features include five restaurants and three-star Michelin chef Michel Roux will be in charge of the menus.

The interior will be designed in keeping with how the QE2 looked in her glory days. So there will be an atmosphere of old world glamour.

The ship will form the centrepiece of the QE2 precinct, linked by approximately four gangways. The precinct incorporates a land area, complete with residential units and a yacht club. The hotel is due to open by 2012.

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