Ship MV Windsor Castle to be floating Leith hotel

The MV Windsor Castle will be berthed next to the Britannia. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The MV Windsor Castle will be berthed next to the Britannia. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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The Royal Yacht Britannia has bought the iconic vessel MV Windsor Castle, which will be converted to a floating luxury hotel it was announced today.

In a near £1 million investment, the classically designed ship is to be converted into a 25 bedroom luxury “boatique” hotel.

The ship will be berthed permanently, next 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 working 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 a very high standard ever since, at her berth on the River Fal in Cornwall.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Leith near the end of August, where it will undergo an 18 month conversion, with a scheduled opening date in Spring 2016.

A floating hotel adjacent to the Royal Yacht will expand their business - the day visitors and evening event guests will have the option for accommodation right next door.

Officially Scotland’s best visitor attraction, for each of the last nine years, and the UK’s No.1 attraction according to a TripAdvisor survey, Britannia is already renowned for delivering the highest quality of customer experience; and it is hoped their floating hotel will fit neatly within the overall brand.

Britannia’s Chief Executive Bob Downie said yesterday: “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.”