The starboard promenade deck of the Queen Mary was one half of an amazing space dedicated primarily to first class passengers. The promenade encircled the great public rooms on that deck and according to Ron Winter, one of the ship's original engineers, was one of the defining architectural features of this great liner.
Over the years at sea the magnificent sweep of enclosed decks were encumbered with cafes and bars. In the Long Beach conversion the starboard side was originally envisioned by Diner's Club Queen Mary as a casual dining area that took full advantage of the fine views of downtown Long Beach but still retained the walk though, open feel of the enclosed decks that Cunard-White Star had originally planned.
The Diner's Club design, circa 1969.
This photo of the port side enclosed promenade taken on February 8, 2010 shows what an attractive place the enclosed promenades can be while still respecting the original design.
Unfortunately the Diner's Club vision was never realized. Instead Specialty Restaurants, Incorporated, the first lessee, rebuilt the area as two themed restaurants, namely Lord Nelson's, which was used as a hotel coffee house and Lady Hamilton's, which was used for finer dining.
By the early 1980's the early Wrather management corrected the theming approach and redecorated both restaurants in an art deco style renaming them the Promenade Cafe and the Chelsea Restaurant. The Promenade Cafe has continued to function as the hotel coffee shop while the Chelsea has served as a seafood restaurant, open primarily in the evenings.
The Promenade Cafe - circa 2004
The Chelsea Restaurant - circa 2005
Recently, (circa 2010), the ship's management decided to redecorate both restaurants in-place, that is to retain the restaurants as is, but to refresh and bring their decors up-to-date.
The design board as provided by J/Brice Design International.
Below are some quick snapshots of the preliminary results taken by the author. The Promenade Cafe reopened on Sunday, January 31, 2010. The new furnishings had not yet arrived but my early photos give an idea of the decorative scheme. Also the art has yet to be installed on the walls.
(left) Looking aft from the entrance. (right) Looking forward from inside.
The buffet area has been more permanently installed.
(left) The restaurant feels more open to the deck both from inside and outside. (right) The carpet pattern selected.
The following photos were taken in September of 2010. They show the result with the new chairs and historic photos in place.
- The rarely, if ever used, seafood and drink bar area in the forward portion has been rebuilt as the Bakery. Fresh pastries, coffee and other beverages are available for purchase here, freeing up the space that was recently used for this purpose that was originally the first (cabin) class children's playroom.
- The balustrade that Wrather built to enclose a lounge opposite this bar has been removed. The area is now simply part of the restaurant.
- The inboard wall treatments covering the windows to the Main Lounge, aka "The Queen's Salon" in Long Beach, remain and darken the interior of the Main Lounge.
- The men's bathroom remains untouched.
- The side service areas generally appear to be untouched, although some new equipment may have been installed.
For a more comprehensive review of the history of the enclosed promenade deck, including our recommendations for the future, please see this article on our web site at: http://www.sterling.rmplc.co.uk/visions/encpr.html
Bill Cwiklo, (last revised September 25, 2010.)