Drifting through the Mediterranean on a mega yacht is a luxury experience that nearly all travel-hungry wanderers wish for but don’t often get to experience—unless, of course, they happen to be friends with yachters like Roman Abramovich or Beyoncé and Jay Z. But there is a next best thing: a hotel floating on the water, either permanently affixed to a dock or entirely mobile and with all of the amenities of a five-star establishment. These “floatels” bring new meaning to the terms ocean view or seaside vacation and offer unbridled, up-close views of places like the Seine in Paris or Lake Pichola in Udaipur.
Author: Brooke Bobbwww.vogue.com
Recently opened, this 58-room hotel is the city’s first floating accommodation. The contemporary space sits just near the Austerlitz station and houses a spacious bar serving tapas and cocktails, as well as a plunge pool with a view down the river. And even if you aren’t staying at Off Paris, the hotel bar is open to the public from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and they plan to open an adjacent terrace on the riverbank at the end of this month, for those who prefer to stay on land.
Located on Regent’s Canal in London’s Hackney neighborhood, Bert’s Barges offers a truly unique hotel experience in one of the world’s biggest cities. With one well-appointed house boat available to reserve and more barge accommodations coming soon, the Scandinavian design–inspired space is more like a floating Airbnb than a proper hotel—breakfast is delivered to the door by a local café, and the boat is equipped with a kitchen, roof terrace, small fireplace, heated floors, and a cozy king-size bed. There are also small canoe boats and bikes available for exploring the area by water and on the streets.
Opened during spring last year, this floating hotel in the floating city of Venice is an incredibly luxurious offering among the other water-based accommodations in Europe. The Marriott is situated on its own private island, Isola delle Rose, close to the city center. There are 266 rooms, four restaurants (one of which has a Michelin star), and the largest spa in Venice. There is also a rooftop pool with spectacular views over the city, and guests arrive and depart the hotel via classic wooden Italian boats.
The eco-friendly FloatHouse sits within the Kwai Resort in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi jungle region. It is made up of 10 spacious floating villas that are equipped with a private pier and a balcony that juts out over the water. To get there, it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok to the town of Kanchanaburi, and then a 40-minute drive to the Saiyok district where the hotel’s pier is. The FloatHouse offers guided long-tail boat trips, river canoeing, and bamboo rafting.
Built in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan, the Taj Lake Palace is one of the most breathtaking floatels in the world. The five-star island hotel is located in an 18th-century marble palace, originally built in 1746 as the getaway property for India’s Maharana Jagat Singh II. The 66 rooms and 17 suites are outfitted with rich, extravagant decor, and guests can treat themselves to some relaxation on the hotel’s private spa boat that takes you around the lake during your treatment.