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The world’s coolest boat hotels

Unless you’re a sailor, a fisherman, or a full-time cruise performer, spending the night on a boat is a refreshing break from the norm. The breeze is fresh, the views are pretty, and you get to experience a destination from a unique perspective.

So whether you like your boats quirky or luxurious, docked at a harbour or cruising downriver, we’ve put together a list of Booking.com’s best boat hotels from around the world. All aboard!

Amstel Botel – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Botel is surrounded by North Amsterdam's cool industrial landscape

The Botel is surrounded by North Amsterdam's cool industrial landscape

The Amstel Botel is hard to miss. Just across the River IJ from Central Station, it’s the white cruiser with a massive red sign that reads ‘BOTEL’ – so you’ll have no doubt you’re headed the right way. The NDSM wharf has an industrial vibe and cool restaurants, but there’s plenty to do on board, too (like play pool at the bar). A free 10-minute ferry ride gets you to and from the city centre.

Admiral Botel – Prague, Czech Republic

Eating in the Admiral's dining rooms is a feast for all the senses

Eating in the Admiral's dining rooms is a feast for all the senses

The classic décor of the Admiral Botel will have you feeling like an 18th-century ship captain. Think elegant wood furnishings, leather chairs and brass fixings. The staff even dress in sailing outfits, and Czech specialities are served in the sumptuous dining room in the glow of candlelight. A picturesque location on the River Vltava means you’re only 25 minutes’ walk from the city centre.

Xandari Riverscapes – Alleppey, India

The view is always changing from these relaxing houseboats

The view is always changing from these relaxing houseboats

There’s no better way to explore Kerala’s peaceful backwaters than by kettuvallam – a traditional houseboat made out of jack-wood and fish oil. The big, beautiful boats of Xandari Riverscapes float along Lake Vembanad’s palm-lined shores, offering an experience than can only be described as poetic. All meals are included – a real treat, since Booking.com guests raved about the food.

Vientos del Sur – Puerto Calero, Spain

The island of Lanzarote is known for its volcanic shores

The island of Lanzarote is known for its volcanic shores

This classic wooden yacht will have boat-lovers starry-eyed. Vientos del Sur was built in the 1970s, wrecked in a storm, and then lovingly restored – and you can hear the whole tale from your charming hosts, Jorge and Raquel. In the spacious hull you’ll find two bedrooms and a fully equipped galley kitchen. The ship’s moored just far enough from the harbour’s shops and restaurants to ensure that the only sound you’ll hear is the lapping of the sea.

Huong Hai Sealife Cruise – Ha Long, Vietnam

Hạ Long Bay is filled with dramatic limestone formations

Hạ Long Bay is filled with dramatic limestone formations

The elegant rooms of Huong Hai Sealife all come with a balcony and big windows, so you won’t miss an inch of Ha Long Bay’s emerald waters. This cruise is a favourite amongst groups, probably because of all the activities on board. There’s Tai Chi, squid fishing, kayaking, and spring roll-making sessions – not to mention hot-stone massages for those in need of some some serious relaxation.

Houseboat MS 3 Gebroeders – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This houseboat offers total peace and privacy right in the city centre

This houseboat offers total peace and privacy right in the city centre

This is the place to stay if you want to experience authentic Amsterdam houseboat life. Smack bang in the city centre, there’s nothing better than escaping the tourist throngs and sipping a drink on the deck. The super-friendly host Monique stocks the fridge with complimentary wine, beer, and snacks, and pairs every breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice.

Houseboat Hotels – Sheffield, UK

Sheffield's cosy houseboats are a memorable alternative to a typical hotel

Sheffield's cosy houseboats are a memorable alternative to a typical hotel

These warm and welcoming houseboats are moored at Sheffield’s Victoria Quays, just a 5-minute walk from the city centre. Each boat has a fully equipped kitchen and can sleep up to four people, so it’s a great option for families – and the kids will love watching the fish and ducks swimming in the canal. Extra touches like a music system, board games, and an outdoor area decorated with fairy lights make this place special.

Aphrodite Cruise – Ha Long, Vietnam

It's no coincidence that this cruise is named after the Goddess of Love

It's no coincidence that this cruise is named after the Goddess of Love

At Aphrodite Cruises, luxury is the name of the game. The gracious staff make you feel like a VIP from the moment you step on board, and the lavish meals have foodies swooning. Some of the rooms come with hot tubs and terraces, so you can soak by the sea in utter privacy – otherwise the panoramic views from the deck will have to do.