Vacations mean different things to different people. Some of us want adventurous vacations, like scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, skiing in Alaska, white water rafting in Arizona or going on an African Safari. Others just want to chill out and be lazy in their own private little slice of paradise away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Hotels offering that type of vacation can be found everywhere throughout the world.
Situated in prime exotic locations are some of the most beautiful and interesting floating hotels. These hotels can be permanently on the water, either docked, partly submerged or fully submerged. They can also be under the water or fully mobile. To unwind and quench your thirst for that tranquil, peaceful vacation you dream of, these ‘floating’ hotels fill the bill. You can be lulled to sleep by the sound and motion of the water or mesmerized by manta rays as they swim past. These ‘boatels’ and floating villa destinations are a reality and not just some far-fetched fantasy. Today we will look at twenty of these peaceful, floating, and in some cases submerged hotels that offer the meditation type vacation to rejuvenate and ground yourself.
20 4 Rivers Floating Lodge In Koh Kong In Cambodia
In the Cardamom Rainforest in Cambodia sits a unique and sustainable marine-minded sanctuary that brings ‘glamping’ to a whole new level. On the Tatai River within this rainforest sits a very upscale and secluded spot which houses floating tents set on pontoons for the ultimate in relaxation. You can only get to these tented villas by boat. Once there you can take in the natural beauty of the pristine river, lush rainforests and the majestic peaks of the Cardamom mountains. The circular tents offer modern day amenities like flat-screen TV’s, mini fridges and DVD players. They have wooden floors, wood furnishings, canopied ceilings and balconies with ample seating. Rates range from $134 - $289 per night.
19 River Kwai Jungle Rafts Resort In Kanchanaburi Thailand
With the way life moves so quickly today it’s sometimes a good thing to slow things down a bit. Well, there is no better place to do that than the River Kwai Jungle Rafts Resort in Thailand. It was established in 1976 and it is completely off-the-grid. The hotel’s ecology conservation concept means there is no electricity throughout the entire floatel. Kerosene lamps are used at night and it brings a romantic atmosphere to the place. All the floating rooms are housed in a moored bamboo lodge that sits along the River Kwai Noi. Weaved bamboo walls, private bathrooms, and a balcony with a hammock will let you enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Rooms start at $65. per night.
18 Salt & Sill, Klädesholmen In Sweden
Referred to by locals as Herring Island, Klädesholmen Island is part of the Bohuslan Archipelago of about 10,000 islands. The Salt & Sill hotel is Sweden’s first floating hotel that drifts along the Klädesholmen Island. Sitting on pontoons out in the water, are six, two-story buildings that house 23 Scandinavian minimalist style bedrooms. Some of the lower level rooms even have their own ladder leading directly into the water. After enjoying the hotel’s specialty dish of herring, which is “sill” in Swedish, you can fall asleep listening to the waves splashing against the sides. The rooms are modern and when you wake up you can enjoy the view of the outer islands of Tjörn. Prices range from $210 - $282 per night.
17 The UK’s Good Hotel In London
Transported in 2016 by a submersible barge over the North Sea Canal, on the River Thames is the 8 million kilos concrete structure called The Good Hotel. It resides in London’s Royal Victoria Docks. The hotel’s goal is to do “good” by giving the unemployed a traineeship position and hence came its name. The hotel has a rooftop terrace garden and offers four types of rooms that all feature a minimalistic design and smart layout that range in sizes. It’s airy and cozy at the same time and prices range from $70-$237 per night. It offers locally brewed beers and finger licking good food. World travelers to true Londoners stay there because It’s a true oasis in the city.
16 Serbia’s Salt & Water Catamarans
Salt & Water, a Serbia based design studio, makes our list by making catamarans that look like mini houseboats. Created for those who want a water-centric vacation, these luxury accommodations were designed to navigate inland waters like channels, lakes and rivers. Guests can detach each catamaran from the main central floating hotel it’s docked to. It operates like any other boat, except that solar panels attached to the roof give it a more eco-friendly touch. What it does is allows each guest to customize their vacation location. Rates run from $209 - $282 per night and each catamaran sleep from two to four people.
15 Taj Lake Palace In Udaipur, India
This five-star palace hotel floats like a huge mansion in the middle of a lake in Udaipur, India. In 1983 it was the backdrop for the James Bond movie “Octopussy”. It was built back in 1746 as a pleasure palace by Prince Maharana Jagat Singh II. Updated in the 1970’s to restore its former opulent glory, the hotel has 66 rooms and 17 suites which all have lake views. When a guest arrives they are greeted with champagne and escorted to their rooms under embroidered umbrellas. There they will find exotic paintings, white marble terraces and pillow-strewn sofas. Guest are offered local signature dishes and can enjoy the courtyard and spa. Rooms will set you back $410 - $1,018 per night.
14 Village Flottant De Pressac In Pressac In France
Located in Vienne in a natural area that is protected, 20 floating wooden cabins sit peacefully on a lake awaiting guests. Seriously, who of us has not dreamt of sleeping in a floating hut? To get to them you must take a boat from the bank, but when you get there, you're in for a treat. The cabins can accommodate up to 5 people and each has their own dry toilet, solar electricity and small water supply. After a peaceful sleep, breakfast is delivered every morning by pontoon right to your door. Swimming and fishing are major pastimes and the cabins are even heated in the winter. If you head over to dry land you can hike, bike and barbeque for other activities. Rooms run $146 - $201 per night.
13 OFF Paris Seine, France
On the River Seine between the left and right banks, moored near Austerlitz station, sits Paris’ first hotel on the water. OFF is the name of this choice destination boat hotel which offers very eclectic design features. The 54 room, 4 suite flotel also houses a very swanky full bar serving cocktails, wine and tapas, along with great food services like Sunday brunch and breakfast. There is even a plunge pool that is adorned with a giant inflatable gold swan. The rooms have luminescent basins and bathtubs. This Parisian trendsetting spot lures a steady stream of VIP’s and the area around OFF is lively and fun. The train stations on each side of the Seine make it easy for sightseeing. Price range: $136 - $319 per night.
12 Conrad Maldives On Rangali Island
Resting on stilts above the Indian Ocean sits one of the most beautiful exotic escapes one could ever wish for. The Premier Water Villa at the Conrad Maldives is one of the most luxurious accommodations imaginable. Each 152 sq m/1636 sq ft. villa sits peacefully over the water and features a furnished sundeck, a king size ‘floating’ bed and infinity pool. It’s air-conditioned and has its own mini-bar, 50-inch TV and lots of indulgent bath products to use while soaking in the sunken bathtub. When you're hungry you can head over to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant which is 16 feet under the water and offers indulgent foods like caviar and Maldivian lobster. Price range: $565 - $2,852 per night.
11 Guntû In The Seto Inland Sea, Japan
This sophisticated, sleek and serene luxury ‘floatel’ is 81 plus meters long and holds 38 passengers. With 46 crew-members at your beck and call, no passenger will ever feel neglected. Setouchi Cruise, Inc. owns it and promises, “the experience aboard will include small moments of quiet enjoyment as well as moments of dramatic exhilaration." What more could you ask for? As it travels along its scenic route, passengers can enjoy the authentic Japanese amenities and tranquil atmosphere the ship has to offer them. From the traditional pampering spas and tea ceremonies to the specialty seasonal cuisine, there is something for everyone. A bit pricey as you would expect and rates run about $2,700 per night.
10 Beach Villa Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa In Singapore
Imagine resting in your bed while leopard sharks, manta rays and other gentle giants of the sea calmly swim by you. The Beach Villa Ocean Suites in Singapore offer you just such an experience because it’s not so much a ‘flotel’ but a partly submerged hotel that offers you the experience of “living under the sea”. The 11 suites each have two-stories, the upper level has the living area, and the underwater level is where the bedroom and sunken jetted bathtub are. The bedroom floor to ceiling acrylic windows allows you to look right into the open ocean habitat. Pricing for this five-star luxury hotel ranges from $661 - $4,024 per night.
9 Manta Resort On Pemba Island, Zanzibar - Tanzania
Manta Resort is home to the most eye-popping and breathtaking underwater rooms located 250 meters off the shores of Pemba Island in Zanzibar. Genberg Underwater Hotels is the Swedish company that designed the watertight chambers that float peacefully in the federally protected waters of that part of the Indian Ocean. First, you have your rooftop deck, then below that, at sea level, you have your lounge area and bathroom. The coup de gras is the glass-walled bedroom that goes down 13 feet underwater. There in your underwater bedroom, you can see more than 100 marine species from corals to nudibranchs. The CEO of Manta says, "It's a very private experience, you are there on your own little island." Prices are around $720 per night.
8 Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge In Panama
Built over the Caribbean Sea, sitting in its warm waters, is Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge. This place is totally pure and gives the guest an intimate experience with nature. There are nine cabins made from natural building materials that sit on stilts over the water. They each have palm leaf roofs and private terraces to sit out on and enjoy the view of the crystal clear waters. The cabins are equipped with advanced renewable energy systems like solar panels for electricity and bio-digestors which cleanse the wastewater. Designed to protect the environment, Punta Caracol is the perfect blend of old craft tradition with new technologies. Price range: $300 - $528
7 Aqua Mekong In Vietnam
Made into a sophisticated five-star hotel in 2014, the Aqua Mekong Cruise ship journeys up and down the Mekong River in Vietnam. With the highest cruise ship standards coupled with modern navigation technologies, it’s nothing but smooth sailing along a spectacular river that’s populated with storks and pelicans. The ship has 20 eco-suites that are constructed out of local sustainable materials for a contemporary lush Asian style. Floor to ceiling windows provides unobstructed views for guests as they pass by the bamboo villages, monasteries, and pagodas of the emerald forest. There is also an observation deck with a pool, a fitness center, a dining room and lounge bar.
6 Zambezi Queen In Africa
Ever dream of waking up to the sight of elephants drinking water from a river? Well, that is the experience you can have if you book a room on the floating boutique hotel that’s known as the Zambezi Queen in Africa. This floatel offers guests a different kind of safari, a water-based river one which takes place along the banks of the Chobe River. The banks of the Chobe National Park is where guests can see buffalo, leopard, lion, antelope and abundant birdlife right from their private balcony. In 2008 the Zambezi Queen was restored to her full glory and redesigned with 14 air-conditioned eco-suites for unsurpassed luxury accommodations.
5 Solent Forts In The UK
These three amazing island hotels started out as mid-19th-century man-made sea fortresses. Their purpose was to fight off a French invasion that never took place. Then later, during World War II, they were used as military defenses until the 1960’s when they were abandoned. Today, these fortresses are used as private vacation islands. These forts sit off England’s south coast and are one of the UK’s most alternative and secluded hotel venues. Each fort comes equipped with spas, rooftop hot tubs, restaurants and bars. Not to mention the great historic value they represent. Rooms start at $1,206 (£1,0 00) per night, but that price is based on two people and their meals and boat transfers.
4 COMO Cocoa Island In The Maldives
Arcing out from Cocoa island sits 33 stilted overwater villas like no others. This luxury resort located in the Maldives offers its guests amazing views of the crystal blue Maldivian waters. Wooden walkways connect the villas over the shallow lagoon to form a kind of boardwalk pathway. You can slip right off into the sea from your room’s private terrace. The COMO Shambhala cuisine that is served packs a nutritional punch with organic ingredients that are rich in enzymes, sea minerals and vitamins. Nutrition, exercise and yoga play a big role in the wellness program they provide. The distinctive natural ecosystem of the coral reefs and sandbars make it a true luxury experience. Price range: $892 - $2,340 per night.
3 Bora Bora’s Four Seasons Resort
In Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu, overwater bungalows welcome you to this exquisite Tahitian paradise. The crystal clear waters there teem with more than 100 species of exotic marine life. The bungalows celebrate the island’s natural beauty with Polynesian decor and furnishings. There is a private plunge pool so you can hop straight from your bed to the deck then right into the lagoon. You can also canoe to a private beach by where staff will greet you with a romantic dinner for two and champagne so you can just sit back and watch the sunset. As you can imagine, this type of luxury stay does not come cheap and will set you back anywhere from $1,234 - $4,112 per night.
2 Coconuts Beach Club & Resort In Samoa
In the heart of the South Pacific is a magical place called the Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa in Samoa. This authentic and culturally rich Samoan resort boasts amazing views of the sunrise and sunset. At this intimate retreat, there are no high-rises, no phones or TV’s so all you can do is relax and enjoy the simple sun and sand vacation. The resort offers six Over-the-Water Fales that embrace Samoa’s indoor/outdoor living experience. Each private bungalow has its own sunken tub, waterfall shower, expansive deck, king size bed and high traditional Samoan ceilings. The comfy furniture and sun loungers make it impossible for a guest to not relax and enjoy their tropical surroundings. Price range: $221 - $590
1 Anantara Kihavah In The Maldives
The Maldives have hit our list here more than once and there is a reason for it. Known for having some of the most beautiful floating hotels, this particular one, the Anantara Kihavah is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous ones. The Anantara Kihavah has everything you could possibly want to chill out and unwind. There is an underwater restaurant so you can relax and eat, as all the sea life passes you by. There is an observatory so guests can stargaze with the help of an in-house astronomer. And best of all, you can nap in a hammock draped across the Indian Ocean after a busy day of doing nothing. Price range: $1,090 - $3,438 per night.