You may think you are at sea on the North Atlantic, but you are warm and safe in The Queen Mary Hotel in the shelter of Long Beach Harbor. Or has a time machine shifted you back to the 1930's, surrounding you with brass, wood and Art Deco styling? No time travel was required, but inside the Queen Mary Hotel you are experiencing what it would been like to cruise the high seas in the 30s, 40s and 50s aboard this beautiful historic ship.
The RMS Queen Mary sailed the seas from 1936 to 1967. While at sea she transported queens, kings, celebrities, and even thousands of troops during World War II. A good summary of her history can be found on the ship's website. Today she is permanently moored in Long Beach, California and contains a hotel, a variety of attractions, and several restaurants.
From a distance this ship is a sleek and beautiful sight, but up close you can see she was built to take the punishment of decades at sea, mostly crossing the unforgiving North Atlantic from London to New York. At its Long Beach location, elevators bring guests up to the gangway that connects to the hotel deck.
The lobby is open, decorated with beautiful artwork and Art Deco furniture and fixtures in alcoves like the one seen above. Check-in was fast and straight forward. Bell service is available. Your room may come with discounts for various ship tours and attractions. Access to the hotel portion of the ship is limited to guests.
The Queen Mary Hotel offers 346 original first-class rooms and nine suites on three decks. No two cabins are alike. Without the historic plaques and museum displays found in other areas of the ship, you can feel lost in time while on the hotel decks.
Staterooms are large, when compared to a modern cruise ship. The extensive use of wood and brass gives you no doubt that this room is pretty much like it was when first constructed in the 30s. This is cabin A 127. The bed was comfortable, and the room had plenty of drawers and limited hanging space.
The obvious modern amenities sit right next to old fixtures that have been around for decades. The rooms are in pretty good shape, but they do show a little wear around the edges. The wood finishes are kept in good repair.
The original builders put great effort into making these homes at sea appear like a fine European hotel room. Upscale cruisers of the time would have expected such detail in a a first-class cabin on one of world's finest cruise ships.
The bath is clean and basic. It is interesting to see all the water controls for the bath tub. Salt water was available when the ship was at sea, along with fresh water for bathing. This was during a time when certain health benefits were thought to be found in soaking in a salt water bath. The salt water is long gone, but The Queen Mary Hotel has worked hard to balance a historic experience with the modern expectations of today's travelers.
Like right out of an old movie, you can unlatch the heavy metal hooks and open the portals and let the breezes of Long Beach Harbor into your cabin. This is definitely very old school...
This is the view from stateroom A 127. From the starboard side of the ship you see The City Of Long Beach. This is the view to ask for. A rock seawall surrounds The Queen Mary and keeps your stay in the hotel a smooth one no matter how big the waves are!
Once you are checked in take some time and wander around the ship. They offer a variety of rooms and spaces that are good for business meetings, parties, and weddings. On one of the aft decks is this gazebo.
You have a variety of restaurant options on the ship, from casual to fine dining. Sir Winston's is an expensive check, but is one of the better restaurants in Long Beach. Suggest you order a desert souffle when you order your meal.
You can enjoy tea, anytime in the Queen Mary tea room.
Take a walk along the various decks at sunset. The City Of Long Beach skyline is beautiful, and a steady flow of small commercial and private boats bring the harbor alive after dark.
Be prepared at any moment to turn a corner and once again feel you have been taken back in time.
A small lounge is located just off of the hotel lobby. It was very quiet the night I visited, but they have replaced two of the steel bulkhead doors with glass plates, giving you a view of the city skyline.
When it is time for bed, you might want to open your porthole window and let a little sea breeze into your stateroom. Your dreams may take you back to scenes from the movie Titanic, but you can rest assured you will have a better ending at The Queen Mary Hotel.