After Britain designated QE2’s (Queen Elizabeth 2) position in the Gulf as a floating hotel, it was Dubai’s turn to reciprocate the good gesture. It rightly did so by building the world’s biggest yacht to be plugged up beside the Thames as a floating hotel. It is called Aquiva, and it will be moored amid London’s landscape of warehouses and building sites. The boat’s design is inspired by the sail-shaped Burj Dubai hotel and accommodates 300 guests. The pleasure hub is due to open in 2012 and will offer breathtaking views of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in addition to the distinctive spikes of the O2 Millennium Dome. The yacht will be permanently moored in time for the 2012 Olympics through the locks connecting the Thames to South Dock, although it won’t have engines unlike normal yacht and will rely on tugs to tow it into place.
The Aquiva will host a presidential suite, instead of the customary mega-yacht favorite, Captain’s bridge. The vessel will stand 75ft above the waterline and will have seven decks. Among the luxury dots are en suite Jacuzzi, a private barbecue with a chef, and a fleet of Venetian-style water taxis as a provision to visit popular sites in the vicinity. Apparently, the yacht was supposed to be a 6-star spectacle but had to settle for 5-stars owing to the economic meltdown. Dubai-based property developer Khalid Al-Ghurair is the main backer of the project, and he also has a chain of luxury yacht hotels around the Gulf on the cards. As for the next project, Wood Wharf, designed by Lord Rogers, will be the next to be in view and is set to double the size of the existing Canary Wharf roughly.