17 Floating Hotels That Are Simply Magical

Out: walking on water. In: sleeping on water.

17 Floating Hotels That Are Simply Magical

Out: walking on water. In: sleeping on water.

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For many of us, the perfect sun-drenched, beach vacation is often still rooted firmly on the ground. In fact, most of the world’s most iconic (and expensive) resorts, like the Curtain Bluff Resort in Antigua and Acqualina Resort & Spa in Florida, are optimally designed for land adventure—almost ignoring the vast stretch of sea just outside the boardwalk. Though, for travelers who are craving more sea and less sand, a floating hotel may be the answer to your landlocked blues.

From Africa to India, these floating palaces and comfortable bungalows offer us a truly intimate experience with mother nature—whether you’re dipping your toes in the freezing water of the Arctic or taking a dive off your own private room in the unexplored waters of the Tanzanian sea. With that said, these are the magical floating hotels that look to inspire a sense of childlike wonder at the expanse of sea that proves to be more beautiful and wild than we ever dreamed. And for more amazing hotels, check out these 20 Hotels So Outrageous You Won’t Believe They’re Real.

catamaran apartments

1
Catamaran Apartments; Novi Sad, Serbia

Where to fly: Nikola Tesla International Airport

Explore the most neglected (but breathtaking nonetheless) parts of the Serbian inland waters when you rent one of your very own Catamaran Apartments, which are equipped with a salon, a galley, a private bathroom, a hall with storage space, and a sleeping area right above the salon. Your morning swim is waiting just outside of your own private deck.

Pro tip: Make a day trip to Svetozar Miletic Square in Novi Sad for a more grounded appreciation of architecture.

And for more ways to discover your own hidden treasure underwater, check out these 33 Missing Treasures Experts Say Are Real.

Image via Facebook

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Panama Floating Hotels

2
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge; Bocas del Toro Island, República De Panamá

Where to fly: Tocumen International Airport, then Bocas del Toro “Isla Colón” International Airport

At Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, submerged in a private oasis in the Caribbean, you’ll have unobstructed views of the famous Panamá sunsets (featuring occasional appearances by friendly dolphins), along with authentic Caribbean cuisine and miles of unexplored rainforest.

Pro tip: Don’t miss your chance to play with the dolphins by booking a boat tour of their natural living area, just outside of your quaint bungalow.

Image via Facebook

Aqua Mekong Vietnam Floating Hotels

3
Aqua Mekong; Phnom Penh, Vietnam

Where to fly: Phnom Penh International Airport

This sophisticated five-star hotel on the water is the best way to tour Vietnam’s beautiful waterways and dense rainforests. During high-water season (from mid-August to November), the Aqua Mekong’s itinerary includes trekking up the river to Siem Reap and experiencing the Tonle Sap lake, an incredible freshwater lake. Make more of your experience by booking your stay during low-water season (December to mid-August) by visiting the stilted villages that line the coast via kayak.

Pro tip: Constructed between the 9th and 14th centuries, the sprawling collection of over 300 temples in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is worth reveling in (you know: putting down the smartphone).

And for more breathtaking water-based escapes, check out these 15 Waterfalls So Magical You Won’t Believe They’re in the U.S.

Image via Facebook

OFF Paris Siene Floating Hotels

4
OFF Paris Seine; Paris, France

Where to fly: Charles de Gaulle

To describe the OFF Paris Seine in France as aesthetically pleasing wouldn’t dare do the floating hotel equipped with a delectable restaurant and bar and restaurant, an interior path designed by Gérard Ronzatti, a plunge pool, and a marina—all with incredible views of the Seine in Paris—justice.

Pro tip: Before or after your stay (or even during), be sure to take a stroll along the Seine and stop along the way to visit the Notre-Dame de Paris and Hôtel de Ville.

Image via Facebook

The Float House River Kwai Resort Thailand Floating Hotels

5
The Float House River Kwai Resort; Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Where to fly: Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Float House River Kwai Resort in Thailand proves to be one of the most peaceful escapes, hidden along the River Kwai and tucked behind the giant canopies of surrounding thick, green jungle. Each floating villa comes with custom tailored-made teakwood furniture, thatched roofing, and an expansive front porch leading directly to the river.

Pro tip: Explore the nearby Lawa Cave located in Kanchanaburi’s Saiyok National Park, each chamber hosting a stunning display of stalactites and stalagmites formations.

And for more international adventure, check out these The 15 Sumptuous Airport Lounges You Wish Were Your Final Destination.

Image via Facebook

River Dream Boatel Floating Hotels

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Riverdream Boatel; Victoria, Australia

Where to fly: Victoria International Airport

Sit back, relax, and let the sleek, aerodynamic Riverdream Boatel take you places that you’ve never been before—namely, Australia’s famed Murray River. Along the way, enjoy the Sky Lounge, lower swim platform, alfresco BBQ, and entertaining area—before collapsing into your beautifully-designed suite.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for the perfect wedding or honeymoon destination you’ve found it on board of the Riverdream Boatel.

Image via Facebook

King Pacific Lodge Canada Floating Hotels

7
King Pacific Lodge; British Columbia, Canada

Where to fly: Vancouver International Airport

Gear up for some of the best fishing of your lifetime at King Pacific Lodge, resting against the Milbanke Sound in British Columbia. Each room is created with the spirit of the Pacific Northwest in mind—and you can take your pick between an ocean-front view or one that faces the temperate rainforest behind the lodge.

Pro tip: Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or not, the lodge promises an unforgettable hunt for salmon and other wildlife right outside your hotel room.

Image via Facebook

The Manta Resort Tanzania Floating Hotels

8
The Manta Resort; Pemba North, Tanzania

Where to fly: Dubai International Airport, then Julius Nyerere International Airport

At The Manta Resort in Tanzania, magic becomes more than just a feeling—it becomes a destination. For a truly transformative ocean experience, book the Underwater Room to catch a glimpse of the wildlife just outside your four walls. Your room even comes with a kayak, snorkel, and fins, giving you ample time to explore the surrounding waters.

Pro tip: Take a day out of your ocean worship to embark upon the Pemba Safari, with several different options allowing guests to experience various elements of Tanzanian culture and wildlife.

Image via Facebook

Guntu Japan Floating Hotels

9
Guntû; Tokyo, Japan

Where to fly: Haneda Airport

Guntû is a 19-room oasis floating on the Seto Inland Sea, with a majestic view from every corner of the hotel. While on board, guests can enjoy the finest cuisine, headed by Kenzo Sato from Tokyo’s Shigeyoshi restaurant.

Pro tip: Explore the blooming culture and history of the Setouchi region—just a short journey away.

Sunborn London Yacht Hotel Floating Hotels

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Sunborn London Yacht Hotel; London, United Kingdom

Where to fly: Heathrow Airport

Snag the best view of the London skyline with a stay on board the Sunborn London Yacht Hotel. During the day, take advantage of the Symphony Spa and the afternoon tea room, and when the sun begins to set, grab a seat at the rooftop bar for the exceptional colors over the water.

Pro tip: Learn more about European art by paying a visit to the nearby Gallery Museum, hosting some of the world’s most prolific painters of all time.

Image via Facebook

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Floating Hotels

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Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora; Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Where to fly: Bora Bora Airport

The idyllic Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora contains “overwater bungalows and underwater adventures.” Reserve your cabin submerged in the sea for endless afternoon swims—whether you’re viewing the sunset from your own private plunge pool, or getting lost in the lagoon.

Pro tip: This resort is the perfect romantic destination for you and yours, with private dinners accompanied by traditional island music.

Image via Facebook

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur, India Floating Hotels

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Oberoi Udaivilas; Udaipur, India

Where to fly: Maharana Pratap Airport

This hidden gem, located on the bank of Lake Pichola, is built on the 200-year-old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar—and you can feel the history of India carved into every inch of the resort. Along with endless views of the sea, the resort also includes a 20-acre wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar and spectacular gardens fringing the property.

Pro tip: Enjoy a private dinner in the lakeside pavilion for impeccable cuisine and the beauty of Indian wildlife surrounding your little oasis.

Image via Facebook

Aria Amazon Hotel Floating Hotels

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Aria Amazon; Iquitos, Peru

Where to fly: Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport

Take your aqua expedition to the next level with a venture on the Aria Amazon in Peru. Gliding along the Amazon, this riverboat is luxurious in every capacity—from the 5-star dining to the outdoor river-facing jacuzzi.

Pro tip: Though the trip takes you to various locations along the Amazon, the most popular (and mystical) can’t-be-missed location is a jaunt to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in Peru.

Image via Facebook

The Arctic Bath Resort Floating Hotels

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The Arctic Bath Hotel; Harads, Sweden

Where to fly: Luleå Airport

This spooky retreat is perfect for those travelers seeking a waterfront location different from the rest. For one, there are no tropical waters in sight—just simply an arctic plunge located in the center of the hotel. Along with the nontraditional swimming hole, the resort boasts multiple saunas, luxurious amenities, and one of the best views of the Nothern Lights in all of Sweden.

Pro tip: Though the hotel isn’t set to open until the end of 2018, the hype surrounding the hotel’s opening just reaffirms how this hotel is sure to change the game.

Image via Instagram

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives Floating Hotels

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Gili Lankanfushi Maldives; Male, Maldives

Where to fly: Ibrahim Nasir International Airport

If this photograph doesn’t inspire you to immediately quit your job and book a flight to the Maldives, then we’re not sure what will. As pictured above, every bungalow at the Gili Lankanfushi Maldives resort comes with your very own boardwalk leading straight into the ocean, a wrap-around porch for peak ocean views, and world-class living quarters.

Pro tip: Take a sunset dolphin cruise for intimate interactions with the friendly mammals.

Image via Facebook

Bert's Barges London Floating Hotels

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Bert’s Barges; London, United Kingdom

Where to fly: Heathrow Airport

This boutique barge hotel is impeccably designed with Scandinavian accents and creative views of the waterfront. Though the amenities are not plentiful (there’s no on-site spa, for instance), the barge is located in the hip neighborhood of Hackney, within walking distance of several great restaurants and cultural experiences.

Pro tip: For the best taste of Hackney, grab a table at Morito for an eclectic mix of inventive tapas dishes from Southern Spain to North Africa.

Image via Facebook

Taj Lake Palace India Floating Hotels

17
Taj Lake Palace; Udaipur, India

Where to fly: Maharana Pratap Airport

Competing directly with the Oberoi Udaivilas resort also located in Udaipur, this sprawling hotel retains an impressive amount of Indian opulence, as put on display by the architecture and cuisine offered as a backdrop to the impressive views of Lake Pichola.

Pro tip: Spend an afternoon pampering yourself at the Jiva Spa—complete with an Indian twist.

And for those of you lacking a passport, find magic in your own backyard with these 50 Destinations So Magical You Won’t Believe They’re in the U.S.

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