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Sad: Delta Queen to become floating hotel

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 27 - 2009

Ambassadors International, owners of the historic Delta Queen, have chartered the vessel to Harry Phillips, owner of Chattanooga Water Taxi and Fat Cat Ferry in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to act as caretaker. Ambassadors said the paddlewheeler will operate as a boutique hotel, preserved in its current state and managed by Sydney Slome, owner of Chattanooga’s StoneFort Inn. Slome purchased the historic inn from Phillips two years ago.

Ambassadors said it continues to search for a buyer to operate Delta Queen as an overnight vessel while also pursuing a congressional exemption to enable the 82-year-old wooden vessel to resume service.

Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark and recently was nominated for inclusion on the National Trust for Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. Ambassadors stated that the agreement with Phillips states that the vessel will not be altered in any way. The company selected Phillips due to his knowledge of restoring and maintaining historical properties and his maritime experience.

“The Delta Queen is a national treasure and she will be cared for accordingly until her return to overnight cruise service,” Phillips said.

The boat offers 87 cabins for overnight stays. Slome plans to book Delta Queen’s entertainment venues and offer Dixieland jazz and shows ranging from cabarets to musical revues. Group tours are envisioned, to teach visitors about steam technology. Delta Queen is scheduled to depart New Orleans for Chattanooga in February. It will moor at Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park Landing.

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