All aboard: 8 of the world's most amazing floating hotels
Be lulled to sleep by the sound of crashing waves, without staying in a cramped cruise ship cabin. If you're after the riviera lifestyle book into the brand new OFF Seine in Paris recently launched on the famous Seine river. Start daydreaming about spending the night in one of these 8 luxury floating hotels...
1. The Urban Hotel: OFF Seine, Paris
This floating hotel takes city breaks to another level. Forget conventional accommodation next to the Seine, why not stay on it! The OFF Seine was launched in June and designed by a floating architecture specialist. It provides stylish and modern living so you can immerse yourself in the up and coming urban banks of the Seine. Located near the Gare d'Austerlitz why not take a dip in the on board pool or enjoy tapas and cocktails in the exclusive bar! With rooms designed around the Paris sunset, something tells us you'll be able to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Where: Moored at the foot of the Austerlitz station
Rooms: From £140* a night for doubles
2. The Diving Hotel: Elite Diving Agency’s Liveaboard, Maldives
It’s a hotel built into a diving boat. Yes, very different from the usual Maldives bungalow on the beach, but the Liveaboard Dive & Spa is just as luxurious and exotic as the other accommodation the Maldives has to offer, plus you get an unparalleled view of the local marine life. When you’re not scuba diving, searching for whale sharks and swimming with mantas, step out of the ocean and get thoroughly pampered at the spa. When’s a good time to visit? All year round! But try to stay for at least a fortnight, because the programme changes in the second week and the floating hotel sails on to another diving location. Fancy staying below the waterline? Check out our pick of the world's most beautiful underwater hotels (Diving optional!)
Where: The boat jets off from the main island of Male
Rooms: From $2,420* per person for a cabin
3. The Adventure Hotel: River Kwai Jungle Rafts, Thailand
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok, is your gateway to the Erawan National Park in western Thailand, where you'll find these incredible jungle rafts. This 'floatel' is set on the River Kwai and is completely surrounded by jungle, a peaceful setting that seems a million miles away from the urban chaos of Bangkok - it's only a 4 hour drive away. Rooms include an outdoor deck with a lounge chair and hammock, and if you're feeling a bit stiff from your flight then you can book a Thai massage on the boat. If you’re after something a little more active, book a few sessions of bamboo rafting, canoeing and river jumping.
Where: River Kwai, Kanchanaburi, fly to Bangkok
Rooms: Doubles from £80
4. The Quirky Hotel: Amstel Botel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Botel is a three star, 200-room boat hotel in Amsterdam, moored on the waterfront. For exploring Amsterdam's network of canals and waterfront townhouses, Botel's location couldn't be better. But you don't have to stick to the water: rent a bike from the hotel reception, ride straight onto the free ferry across to Amsterdam Centraal and pedal your way round the sights, heading back to the floating bar for sunset. Alternately, take a short stroll: Botel’s stretch of the river, the historic NDSM Wharf, used to be a shipyard and was recently transformed into a trendy spot for festivals and events. If you’re willing to splash out, opt for an exclusive stay in one of the giant red letters on the upper deck - they’re luxury hotel rooms, each with their unique interior design.
Where: NDSM Pier 3 in Amsterdam Noord, across the river IJ from the city centre
Rooms: From £73
5. The Maritime Hotel: Hotel CPH Living, Copenhagen, Denmark
Take an old German barge, sail it from Germany, through Poland to Estonia, refurbish it with a dozen rooms and moor it by the river in Copenhagen - yep, the backstory of Hotel CPH Living is as extraordinary as the vessel itself. The rooms are beautiful, wrought of steel and wood and filled with light, and everywhere feels very much “on deck”. There are only 12 rooms (compare this with Botel’s 200) making this a very exclusive experience (with a price-point to match). Rooms come complete with flatscreen televisions, free WiFi and underfloor heating.
Where: Copenhagen airport is 7km away and the hotel is only a ten minute walk from Tivoli and the City Hall
Rooms: From £173
A three, four or seven-night Amazon river cruise on the Aria Amazon will take you down the river’s most impressive tributaries, through its hidden, black water lakes, and put you in the middle of thriving rainforests, rich with some of the world's most diverse wildlife. The ship’s design and architecture ensures a stylish trip; with panoramic windows, an observation deck and even a jacuzzi from which you can watch pink fresh water dolphins frolic in the water while sipping on your cocktail.
Where: The starting point for all cruises is Iquitos city on the Amazon which, although remote, has its own airport, Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta
Rooms: The Discovery three-night cruise starts from $3,480
7. The Honeymoon Hotel: Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
Back to the Maldives; the lagoons give plenty of space for many hotels to be built close to the ocean. The Six Senses resort, also known as 'Soneva Gili', really is the ultimate desert island retreat, a complex of luxury water villas, many standing alone in the ocean. Ok, so you’re not technically floating, but it sure feels like it! With Ayurvedic treatments as well as spa and massage facilities available, it’s not hard to see why this is a magical location for a honeymoon.
Where: Laamu Atoll, fly to Male, then transfer by local flight and take a butler-escorted speed boat
Rooms: Doubles from £806
8. The Village Hotel: Dragon Inn Floating Resort, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
Here you'll be sleeping under palm-thatched roofs and falling asleep to the sound of the sea lapping against the base of your bamboo hut, which is suspended above the water. While the rooms are inspired by traditional Bajau Water Village design, this is luxury accommodation with all the air-con and cable TV you could wish for. During the day, go diving or snorkelling and explore the rest of the island of Borneo, home to one of the world's rarest mammals, the orangutan. Alternatively, just sit on the boardwalk, dangling your feet in the warm water.
Where: Semporna, fly to Kota Kinabulu, then catch a domestic flight to Tawau Airport, an hour's taxi ride from the resort
Rooms: Starting from £20 a night for a standard double room at the rear of the resort
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*Prices correct at the time of publication (04 July 2016).