Superyachts are nice and all, but they're not the only way to spend a dreamy vacation on the water. For a more down-to-earth holiday — that's still luxurious and sophisticated — try one of these fab houseboats available for rent. And prepare to rethink everything you thought you knew about what a houseboat vacation looks like — again.
1. Bert’s Barges, London, U.K.
The "boutique barge boat" Bert’s Barges might be docked in London’s rags-to-riches Hackney neighborhood, but the interior is the epitome of chic. Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less from owner and interior design company Bert & May. Less of a hotel and more of a holiday rental, the barge has a living room, dining room area, fully functional kitchen, bedroom, large bathroom, and a walk-in Agape shower designed by Atelier Areti. Other awesome amenities? Underfloor heating and a swanky roof terrace for optimal tanning. If you decide to venture out, there's a vintage rowboat at your service.
2. Salt & Sill, Kladesholmen Island, Sweden
Leave it to the Scandinavians to whip up a baller houseboat like it's NBD. The Salt & Sill on Kladesholmen Island on the west coast of Sweden (close to Gothenburg) boasts modern Scandinavian decor at its finest. It's billed as the country’s first floating hotel. Each room has a private patio and a TV, although we can't think of anything more entertaining than a view of the Bohuslän Archipelago. In true Swedish fashion, there's a sauna boat docked adjacent along with a sea-side restaurant serving fresh seafood and regional specials like herring.
3. The Float House River Kwai: Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Technically The Float House River Kwai is a “float house” versus a full-on houseboat but we're calling it close enough. The boutique hideaway feels so remote that you'd never guess it's only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the craziness of Bangkok. Each of its 10 villas are completely private, and only accessible via a small boat. Design-wise, furnishings feature a blend of local artistic traditions and eco-friendly reflections of the natural environment. But we were sold at the view: vibrant blue water and thick greenery, perfectly off the grid.
4. Port X, Prague, Czech Republic
Port X might be the only houseboat on our list that won’t break the bank. For about $150 a night, you can stay at this minimalistic yet sleek houseboat in Prague. Its location couldn't be more fitting: Not only is Holešovice a trendy neighborhood, but it’s also a prime sightseeing spot for modern art and design. In a nutshell, the building is comprised of six C-shaped modules that fit together to form a smooth, finished whole. Glass panels that open onto a waterside deck are a nice touch. Interior decor is also done in fully modern style.
5. Dream Boatel, Australia
Described by some as the "most luxurious boat in Australia" Dream Boatel takes five-star luxury to a whole new level. Floating along the Murray River, the longest river in Australia, the Boatel feels modern and minimalist, yet completely comfortable. Designed by Adelaide-based architect Paul Pruszinski, every feature feels carefully considered, from sliding doors and steel handrails to Makore wood furniture. We love the sweeping staircase that leads to the roof deck.
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