Dubai does glam tourism like few other cities. There’s a mall with a ski slope blanketed in faux snow, an 18-acre flower garden with 45 million blooms, and the world’s tallest performing fountain. This year, we add to the list the world’s most famous retired cruise liner, newly remade as a permanently moored hotel.
Still getting up to speed after a limited launch last month, the Queen Elizabeth 2 hotel will see an official grand opening in October, with 224 thoroughly remodeled and modernized rooms and suites, more than a dozen bars and restaurants, a shopping promenade, and a movie theater.
QE2 hotel booking is open now, with standard rooms coming in under the AED700 mark (about US$190), so despite its regal reputation, Dubai’s floating Parent Trap is no rival to the Burj al Arab Jumeirah. Only five dining venues are presently open, including the Golden Lion pub, the topside Yacht Club, and, when you’re in the mood for a good Beef Wellington, the posh Queens Grill, once frequented by the ship’s royal namesake. If you want the full QE2 effect, you’ll have to wait until October.