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10 floating hotels for an epic on-sea/river/lake experience

They are cool, they are eco-friendly and they are rare. From India to the Arctic Circle, the floating hotels that push the envelope.

Since the recent revelation of details about the under-construction Doha-based Eco-Floating Hotel, the flurry of interest in floating hotels seems to have peaked. The eco-friendly hotel, still some time away in the future, will generate electricity by rotating and also collect and reuse rainwater and food waste, 

The Eco-Floating Hotel will work in a fashion similar to a dynamo, utilizing the water current with wind turbines and tidal power as it rotates, converting the energy into electricity.

Hospitality purveyors, in their effort to make your stay unique, are increasingly pushing the envelope. Among the newest concept hotels are floating hotels. Water, which covers about three-quarters of the planet’s surface, already witnesses a variety of dwellings that humans have adapted to. The hospitality industry is also seeking to address ecological issues without compromising on the of the stay.   

Floating hotels are rare. Recent openings include Sweden’s Arctic Bath, a floating hotel and spa designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, which opened to guests in early 2020. Under construction is Dubai’s $164 million Sea Palace Floating Resort, currently being built by Emirati ship-building company Seagate Shipyard. 

Traveldine recommends the best floating hotels to book the next time you are in these destinations.

Arctic Bath, Sweden

Arctic Bath Floating Hotel

Situated on Lule River in the Swedish Lapland, Arctic Bath is inspired by Sweden’s Treehouse Hotel, an architecturally significant property built by the same developers. The hotel’s nest-like main building houses a spa with an outdoor cold bath — set to a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, besides hot baths, saunas and treatment rooms, as well as a restaurant focusing on local sustainable produce. There are 12 standalone cabins, six on the water and six on land. Each structure is built from local materials and has been designed to minimise its impact on the environment.

Off Paris Seine, France

Off Paris Seine, France

For those wishing to experience the ‘city of love’ differently, Off Paris Seine could be your answer. This floating hotel is moored by the left bank of the Seine and anchored between the Gare d’Austerlitz and Gare de Lyon train stations. OFF Paris Seine offers an extraordinary glimpse of life on the banks of the Seine, besides the parade of barges. Its stylish, streamlined rooms feature top-of-the-line facilities, while the decks, with their spectacular views, are a popular hangout any time of the day. Ultrachic, fun, bohemian are just some of the adjectives commonly used to describe the hotel.

4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia

4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia

4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a unique luxury eco-lodge located in the Cardamom Rainforest in Cambodia. The collection of floating and on-land tented villas provides guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is wrapped in beauty and splendour. The lodge claims to be the first in the world to place luxury tents on floating pontoons. Much of the furniture has been crafted from a durable water hyacinth plant that grows abundantly in the area and there are private sundecks attached to each of the floating tent structures. Experiences include kayaking, river expeditions and venturing into the rainforest.

Sunborn London Yacht Hotel, London

Sunborn London Yacht Hotel, London

Anchored at the Royal Victoria Dock in the very heart of London Docklands, Sunborn London seamlessly blends privacy and exclusivity of an ocean-going yacht with the quality and comfort of a top-end hotel. The 132 guest rooms and four suites are designed to provide light and spacious accommodation, with each room opening to river or dock views. Classic furnishings, stylish bathrooms and contemporary amenities create an indulgent retreat. The suites boast elegant interiors, polished timber sundecks and bespoke furnishings, besides featuring dedicated room and concierge service.

The FloatHouse River Kwai Resort, Thailand

Kwai Resort, Thailand

A boutique hideaway that can only be reached by boat, The FloatHouse River Kwai floats on a flowing river, surrounded by a thick green jungle. spacious floating villa is luxurious and private. The teakwood furniture is all custom-made and the roofing is thatched. Delightfully impressive designs merge with exotic decorations and natural materials to create a magical experience. The design is a seamless synergy between local artistic traditions and the natural environment.

King Pacific Lodge, Canada

King Pacific Lodge, Canada

Set deep within British Columbia, the fishing lodge-cum-hotel is infused with the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. While King Lodge Pacific caters mainly to anglers, it is also considered a byword for luxury that is redolent of the region, including spa options (hot tub, steam room, sauna). Accessible via a seaplane, the floating hotel is an ideal getaway for friends and families alike.

The Manta Resort, Tanzania

The Manta Resort, Tanzania

A twist on the floating concept, The Manta Resort‘s USP is its underwater suite. The whimsical floating structure has three levels. Within a turquoise blue bubble, guests can watch shoals of reef fish swim by for a truly heart-stopping, yet awakening, experience. The glass-encased underwater bedroom is a 360° view of much of the ocean and its fascinating creatures. The top-level has a deck for a splendid floating experience, once you are done with being under water and want to surface for a breath of fresh air.

Boatel Luxury, Australia

Boatel Luxury, Australia

A boat masquerading as a five-star hotel, or is it the other way around? Boatel Luxury is a prestigious vessel that cruises along one of Australia’s greatest national icons, the Murray River. Boatel is a floating oasis with everything you need for a luxury holiday: a sky lounge, lower swim platform, an alfresco BBQ and entertaining area, gourmet kitchen and more. Fully heated and air-conditioned, Boatel Luxury is a hotel where you can do as much or as little as you choose. It offers guests a chance to discover breath-taking natural beauty and fascinating local history in a region that is often referred to as the Mediterranean in the outback.

Taj Lake Palace, Rajasthan, India

Taj Lake Palace floating hotel in India

Bond fans will recognise the hotel from the 1983 film Octopussy. This 18th-century marble palace is set on an island in Udaipur’s Lake Pichola. Taj Lake Palace appears to be floating as its reflection shimmers on the lake’s glistening surface. This heritage hotel has 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites. Its location, on an island amid a lake, ensures that you begin your day, and end it with, pristine views of the lake as well as the palaces, exotic temples and resplendent gardens for which the city is famous.

Poovar Island Resort, Kerala, India

Poovar Island Resort, Kerala

Poovar Island Resort, with its 12 luxury and 4 deluxe cottages floating on the fabled Kerala backwaters, is a serene tropical paradise. Situated south of the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, the hotel is flanked by the Arabian Sea on the east and the majestic towering Ghats to the west, opening out to the ocean and a golden beach. The floating cottages are a window to the blue backwaters, creating an ideal remote getaway location for a quiet holiday in spectacular natural surroundings.

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