The world's best floating accommodation
With the world becoming more congested, luxury hotels have had to think outside the box to provide wealthy customers with the privacy they desire. One innovative solution? Floating accommodation.
These ingeniously-designed and opulent buoys act as floating havens away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Some are even mobile and transform into roaming homes, transporting people to a different place every day. We’ve collated some of the world’s best floating accommodations, all accessible by private jet or helicopter charter.
Permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront, this former Northern Lighthouse supply ship has been transformed into a 23-cabin floating hotel in the foodie hotspot of Leith, offering a tranquil retreat in the city for those seeking something out of the ordinary.
While the ship’s exterior stays true to its working history, the interior feels like a luxury liner complete with plush carpets, wood panelling and stained glass. With a grand dining hall serving gourmet meals and decadent suites awaiting guests at the end of the day, Fingal is the perfect base for a Scottish weekend getaway.
The World, Residences at Sea
Branded the world’s most exclusive floating city, this 12-deck residential community-at-sea is a private yacht and luxury apartment complex in one. Comprising 165 lavish properties, the 644 feet-long “condo cruise liner” gives its international community the chance to travel the globe from the comfort of their own home.
Onboard, The World offers unparalleled levels of anticipatory service and bespoke comfort, with amenities including the first full-sized tennis court at sea, a huge spa and fitness centre, six fine-dining restaurants and a 12,000-bottle wine collection. Residents can enjoy adventurous travel itineraries, host parties with haute cuisine prepared by Michelin-star chefs and go diving in each of the seven seas.
Underwater Room at The Manta Resort, Tanzania
The Manta Resort is a serene all-inclusive resort on Pemba Island, a small piece of land off the Tanzanian coastline. While all of the villas and suites offer incredible vistas, service and amenities, the Underwater Room is the jewel in the hotel’s crown.
Anchored within an azure marine conservation area surrounded by coral, this ingenious floating structure has three levels. Above the water you’ll find a rooftop sundeck for sunbeds and stargazing, followed by a sea-level lounge and bathroom. Below the surface, the magical submariner bedroom encapsulates guests in a turquoise bubble with glorious views of the seabed as colourful fish drift past.
Taj Lake Palace, India
Located on its own island in the middle of Lake Pichola with beautiful 360-degree views, Taj Lake Palace was built in 1743 and has welcomed royalty, poets and writers over the centuries. More recently, Udaipur’s floating white marble palace has featured in the James Bond film Octopussy.
The former royal summer home is now a glamorous hotel that’s only accessible by boat, offering guests an exclusive sanctuary where they can escape the bustle of the city after a day of sightseeing. Champagne on arrival, a floating spa, round-the-clock butler service and rooms fit for royalty have earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most romantic hotels.
Zambezi Queen by Mantis, Africa
Cruising from Botswana to Namibia on the Chobe River, the Zambezi Queen is a floating boutique hotel complete with a plunge pool, spacious rooms and an upper deck with private open spaces. Offering unique wildlife safaris, this luxury riverboat is a lavish base from which to explore the stunning African scenery.
You can incorporate an array of activities into your floating safari, from fishing and birding to setting sail on a custom-designed photography boat to get the best pictures of animals drinking from the riverbanks. Or head ashore to explore a new culture, visiting a local Namibian village on the floodplains of the East Caprivi.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The Maldives is full of luxurious villas stilted over the Indian Ocean for those who want to stay by the sea, but at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island you can go one step further and sleep 16ft below sea level in the world’s first underwater hotel suite.
The Muraka is an opulent three-bedroom residence with its own private butler and infinity pool, where the show-stopping master bedroom is submerged within a transparent 180-degree dome with uninterrupted views below the waves. The hotel continues the underwater theme with glass-bottomed spa rooms and an undersea restaurant.
Kempinski Floating Palace, Dubai
Always looking for new ways to wow the world, the larger-than-life emirate of Dubai is set to welcome its first floating hotel in 2023. Anchored next to one of the region’s most exclusive beaches, the Kempinski Floating Palace will welcome guests by speedboat to one of the main building’s 156 rooms and suites or 12 villas floating separately nearby. There’s also a floating helipad and marina for those who want to make the ultimate entrance.
The highly anticipated new hotel will have plenty of lavish facilities to keep guests occupied, from gourmet restaurants to a luxury spa. Each of the houseboat-style villas will be able to cruise around independently while residents enjoy their private roof terrace and infinity pool.
Challenging The World for the title of the most exclusive address on the planet, Somnio will be the world’s largest yacht by length and volume when she sets sail within the next few years. The €500 million vessel will host an exclusive community of discerning travellers in 39 private residences as it circumnavigates the world.
Those lucky enough to be invited onboard can customise their new apartment with bespoke features such as a gym, kitchen, library and indoor-outdoor dining areas in addition to Somnio’s six-star communal facilities. Once finished, the stylish ship will grace some of the world’s most sought-after yachting destinations, from Portofino and Monaco to French Polynesia and even Antarctica.