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The world's coolest boat hotels

Nadja Beschetnikova
April 13, 2018

Living on a boat sounds like an adventure.
In Western countries, houseboats tend to be either owned privately or rented out to holiday-goers, and on some canals in Europe, people dwell in houseboats all year round. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, Amsterdam, London, and Paris.

If you’re not ready to leave your old life behind and choose a houseboat as a primary residence, you can still satisfy your curiosity during your holidays.

In Stockholm, the full-rigged steel ship originally built in 1888 in England was transformed into a modern youth hostel with cozy cabins complete with porthole views across the water.
But there are few more glamorous ways to vacation on a boat. 

Since the 17th century, yachts have been a symbol of leisure and fortune as Dutch and English royalty first used them. Today, you don’t have to be royal to afford a boat tour. There’s plenty of possibilities to rent a yacht, equipped with the most luxurious amenities like Champagne bars, Jacuzzis, and queenlike sleeping cabins.
But if you’re overly attached to the premium 5-star hotel service or always dreamed of a private cruise, there’s an alternative way to experience the glamorous vacation on yacht.

Four Seasons Explorer
Four Seasons Explorer, a 128ft, three-deck catamaran, is, quite simply, a floating Four Seasons Resort with eleven guest cabins. Cruises depart from Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa or the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.

It sails in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere reserve and offers close encounters with the beautiful wildlife of the islands. It doesn't matter whether you are an active sports enthusiast or a slow base devotee. Four Seasons has mastered the delicate balance of providing an exciting adventure as well as an elegant and relaxing vacation.

Four Seasons offers three-, four- or seven-nights tours. If you’re looking for more adventure, yay can book an exclusive Manta Trust Expedition. During an all-inclusive seven-day trip, you’ll see Maldives’ most exciting residents: manta rays and whale sharks! Participants are encouraged to free-dive and snorkel with mantas alongside a team of specialist marine biologists, recording critical environmental information, taking manta ID photos, and joining in the ID process – including naming any newly sighted mantas. This must be a truly unique and exciting experience for the adventure-seeking families with kids. 

The boat, newly refurbished in 2017, boasts the huge open-plan dining room, a lounge and library. All rooms come with air-condition and refrigerated private bar. The sundeck features a massage area.

Bert’s Barges
You don’t actually have to travel to the exotic islands to enjoy living aboard. Embark Bert’s Barges, East London’s poshest floating hotel, to combine advantages of spending holidays in the world’s cosmopolitan centre, and charming privacy: basically, this hotel is a floating, one-bedroom flat. The barge sits on the quiet side of the Regent’s Canal, just a 10-minutes walk to Bethnal Green Tube.

The interiors are slick and designed in a calm Scandinavian style with light grey wooden walls and cozy textile. Best of all, there’s a roof terrace with two deckchairs and a parasol, and a wood-burning stove and underfloor heating for the winter.

Queen Mary
The RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line. Today it operates as a hotel and is one of the tourists’ favorite attractions in Long Beach. Once a world-class ocean liner offers a real glimpse into what transatlantic travel was like during the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

The Queen Mary is filled with history, during WW2 it began carrying military personnel and Winston Churchill, he even signed the D-Day declaration onboard. Original Art Deco-style accommodation is on three decks (all above sea level) featuring original artwork found on the ship during her heyday. The ship boasts 346 staterooms on 3 decks.