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The World's Coolest Boat Hotels (PHOTOS)

Posted: 10/09/2012 7:00 am

From small and scrappy vessels to big barges, boats of all stripes have inspired unique accommodations. Let's take a tour of some of the world's most sea- or lake-worthy accommodations and remember that sometimes visiting a beautiful place means staying just off shore.

-- Marisa LaScala, Condé Nast Traveler

This story originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler: World's Coolest Boat Hotels

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    <strong>Far Rockaway, New York</strong> Boatel is almost a misnomer here—it's really a fleet of boats, with 16 floating installations in all. Each one has been fixed up by a collection of artists in styles that range from retro-sleazy ("for that romantic accident you've been planning") to Star Trek-chic. They're docked in a marina still used by working fishermen, but one that also hosts art events, including a weekly floating cinema. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">12 Unexpected Room Service Dishes</a></strong> <em>Photo: Courtesy of Garrett Ziegler /</em>


    <strong>Liverpool, England</strong> And what a groovy sub it is. Once used in movies such as The Hunt for Red October, the narrowboat is now owned by businessman Alfie Bubbles, who refurbished it to look like the Beatles' psychedelic craft and docked it in their hometown of Liverpool. Inside is just as '60s-inspired: You can find some of the Beatles' gold records, as well as the mod scooter from the film Quadrophena. Not supplied: an octopus's garden. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">12 Unexpected Room Service Dishes</a></strong> Photo: Courtesy Johanna Payton


    <strong>Hoboken, New Jersey</strong> Originally built in 1907 to shuttle newcomers to and from Ellis Island, the Yankee Ferry is now a shabby-chic accommodation docked on the Hudson River. The transformation was made by artists Victoria and Richard Mackenzie-Childs, whose artwork can be found throughout the five-bedroom vessel. Reservations are booked through, and, once you've settled in, you can hop aboard another ferry—a NY Waterway ferry—for a seven-minute trip to midtown Manhattan. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">The Best New Hotels of 2012</a></strong> <em>Photo: Courtesy Victoria Mackenzie-Childs</em>


    <strong>Klädesholmen, Sweden</strong> Not exactly a boat, Salt & Sill is made up of six houses built on pontoons in the waters of the Skagerrak. (Some of the rooms have ladders, so you can dip your toes in the water.) Next door to the floating hotel is a catamaran that holds a floating sauna, but if that doesn't float your boat you can always head to Salt & Sill's rooftop sundeck. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">Best New Hotels Under $300</a></strong> <em>Photo: Courtesy of Salt & Sill</em>


    <strong>London, England</strong> Who says that boats have to float on the water? A Room for London's boat is docked on top of London's Queen Elizabeth hall at the Southbank Centre, looking out onto the London Eye, the Thames, Big Ben, and St. Paul's Cathedral. And though the boat—the design of which was inspired by the Roi des Belges from Heart of Darkness, complete with crow's nest—only has one bedroom, it's big enough to house an octagonal library with a huge selection of books. A Room for London was meant to be a temporary installation, but it sold out its initial offering of bookings. Demand was so high that Living Architecture, which created the room, is looking to see if it has a life beyond 2012, possibly in other destinations. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">The 8 Best Hotels of All Time</a></strong> <em>Photograph by Charles Hosea / Courtesy of Living Architecture</em>


    <strong>Los Angeles</strong> You'll find all the glamour of a 1930s transatlantic crossing without all of the hard-to-carry steamer trunks or pesky waves. The Queen Mary—bigger and grander than the Titanic—served as an Art Deco Cunard cruise ship until 1967 (with a brief stint transporting troops during World War II), but now stays docked in Long Beach. Many of the staterooms feature original artwork, but if you don't want to commit to an overnight visit, the boat is open to the public for guided, themed tours. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">11 Hard-to-Get-to Hotels</a></strong> <em>Photo: Courtesy of Queen Mary</em>


    <strong>Princess Royal Island, Canada</strong> A perennial winner of the Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice awards, King Pacific Lodge is more lodge than boat—even though it floats atop a 100-foot-long former U.S. Navy barge. You have to get there by a different kind of waterproof craft—a hydroplane—but once you do, you'll have unprecedented access to the Great Bear Rainforest, starting with the view from the wrap-around deck. <strong>Read More: <a href="" target="_hplink">12 Unexpected Room Service Dishes</a></strong> <em>Photo: Courtesy of King Pacific Lodge</em>


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