The Royal Yacht Britannia announced today that it has acquired the iconic heritage vessel MV Windsor Castle.
In a near £1 million investment, this classically designed ship is to be converted into a 25 bedroom luxury ‘boatique’ hotel. She will be berthed permanently, adjacent to Britannia in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith.
Launched in August 1963, she was the last ship built by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company, Glasgow, and was previously the Northern Lighthouse Board’s (NLB) tender Fingal. She was Leith registered but spent most of her NLB service working out of Oban for 30 years, followed by her last 6 years, based in Stromness, Orkney.
At 239 feet long, she is nearly two-thirds of the size of Britannia. The vessel was sold by the NLB in 2000 to Tamahine Shipping and has been maintained to the highest standards ever since, at her berth on the River Fal in Cornwall.
The ship is scheduled to arrive in Leith during the week of 25 August, 2014, and undergo an 18 month conversion, scheduled to open in Spring 2016. Developing a floating hotel represents natural organic growth for Britannia, having the requisite management skills in-house, and servicing demand from both day visitors and evening event guests for quality accommodation, adjacent to the Royal Yacht. Officially Scotland’s best visitor attraction, for each of the last nine years, and the UK’s No 1 attraction (TripAdvisor 2014), Britannia is already renowned for delivering the highest quality of customer experience; and this hotel will fit neatly within the overall brand.
Britannia’s Chief Executive Bob Downie said, ‘After many years of searching for the right ship, we are delighted that we have been able to acquire this iconic vessel and look forward to opening Scotland’s first boatique hotel. As a youngster growing up in Oban I have very fond memories of seeing the Fingal and I am delighted that the long-term future of another much loved classic vessel has been secured.