The iconic 'Queen Mary' is now a luxury floating hotel
Docked in Southern California’s Long Beach Harbor, the Queen Mary is much more than a place to spend the night — it’s a slice of nautical history.
Originally built as a luxury cruise liner, the Queen Mary took its maiden voyage in 1936 and catered to celebrities, dignitaries and royalty, including Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
But at the start of World War II in 1939, the ship was docked in New York City and converted to carry troops; at the time, it was the largest and fastest US troopship. When the war ended, the Queen Mary was restored to its original design (and function) and resumed transatlantic passenger service. The ship took its last cruise in 1967 and has remained docked in Long Beach as a hotel, tourist attraction and event space ever since.
A step onto the Queen Mary is a step back in time. Each of the 346 original staterooms and nine suites is unique in style, and all feature vintage touches like art deco built-ins and original artwork.
Throughout the floating hotel, restored details call back to the ship’s glory days. The portholes, art deco design and polished wood panelling are all original and artfully preserved to give guests a glimpse of the heyday of transatlantic cruising.
The hotel offers four dining concepts within its hallowed halls. With traditional fine dining and a view over Long Beach Harbor, Sir Winston’s Restaurant is worthy of the British Bulldog himself. Casual seafood dishes and a can’t-miss happy hour are staples at the Chelsea Chowder House & Bar, while the Promenade Cafe is open for breakfast and dinner.
Looking to toast the Queen Mary? Head to the Observation Bar and Art Deco Lounge, where the 1930s are alive. The bar-with-a-view also hosts live music every Saturday night.
There’s no shortage of entertainment for guests and visitors aboard the Queen Mary. The ship offers a series of tours daily, including opportunities to meet some of the liner’s most notorious residents, ghosts rumored to walk the halls and play tricks on unsuspecting tourists.
In addition to guided tours, guests can check out onboard exhibits. Currently, the Queen Mary has collections on display that pay homage to Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and the Titanic. The pièce de résistance? A LEGO model of the cruise ship.
The newest attraction launched by the Queen Mary is a 4D theatre. That’s right, four dimensions come to life in this 121-seat theater that combines 3D graphics with motion seats and sensory effects. Current screenings include “Planet Earth,” “The Queen Mary Story” and “SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue.”
From beer tastings to cultural festivals, the ship makes a unique venue for large-scale ticketed events; annual programming includes the ScotsFestival & International Highland Games and CHILL, a winter wonderland pop-up featuring snow, sledding and ice-skating.