Forget overwater bungalows. Floating hotels, or “floatels,” are the latest innovative and Insta-worthy accommodations that should be on your radar.
Ocean House in Haida Gwaii, Canada
Located in a secluded inlet on the west coast of Haida Gwaii is Ocean House, a unique floating hotel that complements the natural beauty you’ll experience on the “Island of the People.” There are just 12 rooms at this remote wilderness lodge, and it’s only accessible via air. But don’t worry: Packages include airfare from Vancouver, helicopter transfers, daily meals, use of kayaks and paddleboards, and a spa treatment—as well as local transfers and access to an on-site cultural interpreter and resident artist.
Les Cabanes des Grands Cepages in Sorgues, France
Located close to the city of Avignon in France’s Provence region are these eco-friendly floating cabins. On-site activities include dining, fishing, bike rentals, a natural pool, and a spa. Enjoy the tranquility of floating on a still pond and the romance of the surrounding French vineyards.
River Kwai Jungle Rafts in Sai Yok, Thailand
Float your way to sleep in your private room attached to a bamboo raft (yes, you have a private bathroom, too). Rooms have an outdoor deck with hammock and use lamp light instead of electricity for a true off-the-grid experience. Located in Sai Yok National Park, the hotel helps with activity planning like hiking, mountain biking, and river canoeing.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge on Koh Andet Island, Cambodia
Imagine stepping out of your villa onto a private terrace that looks out to the Cardamom Mountains. Discover this and more at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, located between Bangkok and Phnom Penh. The floating hotel can arrange excursions to a nearby waterfall and mangrove. But if you’d rather not leave, you can relax in the on-site spa or take a lazy kayak ride down the surrounding river.
Gili Lankanfushi in Male, Maldives
Go one step beyond an overwater bungalow in the Maldives and instead splurge on a floating hotel villa located on a private island. Just 20 minutes by speedboat from the Male airport, Gili Lankanfushi is the definition of luxury. From glass-paneled floors to an Underground Chocolate Cave (you’ll have to find out what this is for yourself) you might as well go all out if you’re headed to the Maldives. Other noteworthy amenities include free Wi-Fi (if you’re not looking to unplug), direct access to the Indian Ocean, two restaurants, a spa, and organized activities like island day trips and scuba diving.
The Good Hotel in London, United Kingdom
This floating hotel is located just outside London (about two miles from Canary Wharf) on a platform in the Royal Victoria Dock. The Good Hotel does just that, promote good—not only does it serve locally sourced food and drinks, but the hotel reinvests its profits to train unemployed locals for jobs in the hospitality industry. The hotel itself has small but smartly designed rooms, as well as a popular rooftop terrace and lots of common spaces.
Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India
The Taj Lake Palace is likely one of the oldest floating hotels in the world. Built in 1746 as a pleasure palace, it was restored as a hotel in 1963. With spectacular views of the City Palace and the Machla Magra Hills, the hotel is nothing short of luxurious. Think butler service, a spa, astrology sessions, a shopping arcade, and a rooftop restaurant. Stroll through the gardens, take a heritage walk, or just simply enjoy the panoramic views.
ArkaBarka Floating Hostel in Belgrade, Serbia
For an affordable floating hotel option, check out a floating hostel right on the Danube in Serbia. With a central location in Belgrade, it’s just minutes from the Museum of Contemporary Art and Palace of Serbia. Amenities at the hostel include large windows, shared or private bathrooms, complimentary bikes, BBQ facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Boat tours can also be arranged.
Hotel OFF Paris Seine in Paris, France
If you’re looking for a different type of stay in Paris, then book a night or two at Hotel OFF Paris Seine. While it might not look like it with its modern decor, plunge pool, and on-site bar and restaurant, the hotel is actually a floating barge. Popular with younger travelers, the hotel offers a Sunday brunch and theme parties. The hotel is moored near the Austerlitz Metro station between the Left and Right Banks of the city.
Arctic Bath in Harads, Sweden
The buzzed-about Arctic Bath was seen on travel sites everywhere when it first announced plans to open in 2018, but no opening date is officially set. Located in true isolation on the Lule River in northern Sweden, the floating hotel will be open year-round, offering views of the northern lights in the winter and sunbathing in the summer at the outdoor pool.