Top Picks For You
START

25 Amazing Floating Attractions to See Around the World

These floating markets, bars, spas, hotel rooms and more make fascinating use of their watery surroundings.

As land becomes more of a diminishing resource, developers are looking to water for real estate, and architectural innovation means pretty much anything—bars, restaurants, spas, parks, entire hotels—can float. Plus, floating attractions are just cool, and anything that takes place on the water tends to be more fun. From an aquatic yoga studio in Mexico to a buoyant bridge in Seattle, these floating marvels are destinations unto themselves.

1 OF 25

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Opened November 2017 on Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the high-profile product of an intergovernmental agreement between the UAE and France. An archipelago unto itself, the museum-city is built on a dry dock made from 1.6 million cubic feet of sand. Visitors stroll along water channels inspired by ancient falaj irrigation systems as they contemplate ancient and contemporary works from around the world.

2 OF 25

BEYOUland

BEYOUland, a seasonal pop-up market in Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, is taking its 2018 concept up a notch, introducing 17 abra-inspired boats–turned–floating boutiques. Located in the Al Seef cultural district on the south bank of Dubai Creek, the shops put a modern spin on the region’s bazaars and souks, touting attire, souvenirs, food, and drinks.

3 OF 25

Arctic Bath

Set to open in late 2018 on the Lule River in northern Sweden, Arctic Bath is already making headlines thanks to its unique concept. Designed to look like an artful logjam, the open-air cold bath will float free in the summer and freeze in place in the winter. Expect water activities, spa treatments, saunas, a lounge, a restaurant, a shop, and six minimalist rooms with oversize windows meant to showcase the northern lights.

4 OF 25

De Limonadefabriek

At De Limonadefabriek restaurant, chef-owner Erik Hermans’ ever-evolving menu is as modern as the design—the building features a pitched zigzagging roof and glass galore. Even more curious—it’s perched on a pontoon on the Lek river near Rotterdam. Order a glass of the house-made lemonade; the eatery’s name translates to The Lemonade Factory.

5 OF 25

The Floating Green

The Coeur d’Alene Resort course’s 14th hole—the world’s only floating, moving golf green—presents a unique challenge to guests: Because of a system of submerged cables, the distance to play varies anywhere from 90 to 220 yards. If you make it on the green, a little ferry called the Putter shuttles you over to the 22,000-ton island in Lake Coeur d’Alene.

6 OF 25

OFF Paris Seine

WHERE: Paris, France

Since opening in 2016, OFF Paris Seine has ruled Instagram with its narrow dipping pool, trendy bar, and croissant-laden brunch. While it’s technically a barge—and the biggest watercraft presently moored on the Seine—the floating hotel looks more box than boat. Book one of 58 guest rooms and suites, and rove the City of Light via the adjacent Austerlitz rail station.

 

7 OF 25

Edgewater Floating Bures

Find Fiji’s only floating hotel rooms at Koro Sun Resort, where four thatched-roof bures (huts) are sheltered on the surface of the property’s lagoon. Designed for couples, the adults-only accommodations come with daily breakfast, Pure Fiji toiletries, and their own double kayak. Snorkel from your own deck; lucky guests may even spy a sea turtle.

8 OF 25

Laguna Garzon Lodge

Conservation is at the heart of Laguna Garzon Lodge’s 12 floating cabana rooms, designed to bring guests as close to nature as possible. Activities, from hiking to bird-watching, are equally eco-centric. Even better—the hotel’s location, on the shores of Uruguay’s Garzon Lake, puts it smack in the middle of Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO-listed site since 1976.

9 OF 25

Bota Bota spa-sur-l’eau

A former ferryboat permanently anchored on the St. Lawrence River, Bota Bota spa-sur-l’eau doesn’t have an engine room (it’s been converted into a locker room). What this luxury floating spa does have: 18 treatment rooms, a relaxation area, a restaurant, and even a garden overlooking the Old Port of Montreal. Most extolled is the water circuit, in which passengers plunge into hot and cold pools, then steep in a sauna and steam bath.

10 OF 25

V-Lounge

WHERE: Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Manama, Bahrain

Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay—occupying a private island in the Arabian nation of Bahrain—is the desirable address of V-Lounge, where patrons recreate on a floating jetty furnished with cozy tables and sofas. For even more novelty, individual parties can rent private captained cruisers for a tour of the bay, complete with cocktails and small plates.

11 OF 25

XFloat Cabin Suites

Fourteen of X2 River Kwai Resort’s 22 cabin suites float, and all feature sunbeds and serene river views. After action-packed days exploring waterfalls, ruins, and safari parks, the sleek amenities are a welcome respite. Don’t miss a tour to Thailand’s famous bridge over the River Kwai, which featured in the 1957 academy award–winning film, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

12 OF 25

SR 520 Floating Bridge

While floating bridges are found in Canada, Guyana, and Norway, Washington State holds the distinction of being the floating bridge capital of the world. The trophy for “Earth’s longest floating bridge” goes to Seattle’s SR 520 Floating Bridge, opened in 2016. Seventy-seven concrete pontoons and 58 anchors support the 7,708.5-foot roadway across Lake Washington. Weekend warriors can even get in on the action—a shared bike path extends the length of the bridge and links to other local trails.

13 OF 25

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Dug between 1866 and 1868 by order of Thailand’s King Rama IV, 20-mile Damnoen Saduak is the longest and straightest canal in Thailand. Vendor boats fill the waterway daily, hawking fresh produce, traditional sweets, Thai spices, fried snacks, and various souvenirs, from conical hats to paper parasols. Hire a guide for the 60-mile day trip from Bangkok.

14 OF 25

Cruisin’ Tikis

Ever wanted to putter around the Florida Keys on a mobile Tiki bar? With Cruisin’ Tikis Key West, book one of seven tours that range from 90 to 150 minutes. Passengers can watch the sunset, snorkel at a sandbar, spy Florida wildlife, or bar-hop at speeds of just 4 to 6 mph. Word to the wise—despite the name, it’s BYOB.

15 OF 25

Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort

Water takes center stage at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, built along—and on—British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Strait in the Great Bear Rainforest. Guests stay in intertidal and creekside cabins, and activities span from kayaking and paddle boarding to sunset cruises and bear watching from a boat. Several resort elements float, including walkways and a bakery, but the pièce de résistance is a buoyant dock kitted out with Adirondack chairs, snug blankets, a fire pit and flowing wine.

16 OF 25

Aquapark

Orlando’s first inflatable Aquapark landed in March 2018 at the Orlando Watersports Complex, one of the largest cable wakeboard parks in the country. Visitors can book 50-minute sessions or spend the whole day playing on the park’s floating jungle gym, which comprises a climbing tower, a balance beam, slides, monkey bars, and trampolines.

17 OF 25

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Just 17 miles south of Mexico City lies Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Heritage site of manmade canals and islands that date to the 16th century. To farm, the Aztec people built chinampas, or floating gardens, out of wooden rafts piled with soil. A few exist to this day, though now they grow flowers instead of crops. Journey Mexico’s “Mexico City Private Tour” includes five days of cultural immersion, including an excursion through Xochimilco on a colorful trajinera boat.

18 OF 25

Jumbo Kingdom

One of the largest floating restaurants in the world, Jumbo Kingdom in Hong Kong is the grande dame of Aberdeen Harbour’s floating banquet halls. Serving seafood, Cantonese cuisine, and dim sum, the destination is actually two permanently moored barges that also house entertainment venues, shops, a cooking school, a Chinese teahouse, wine gardens and more. If you go, you’re in good company: Past visitors have included the likes of Tom Cruise and Queen Elizabeth II.

19 OF 25

Floating Pocket Park

Fancy a picnic in the park? London received its first Floating Pocket Park in spring 2017, and it’s a pleasant little spot for some fresh air. Floating on the Grand Union Canal at Merchant Square, the 2,400-square-foot green space features open lawns, shaded seating, boardwalks, and pretty landscaping. There’s even free Wi-Fi and a small pontoon set aside for nesting birds.

20 OF 25

Uros Islands

On Intrepid Travel’s nine-day “Classic Peru” tour, sightseers travel by slow motorboat to witness the unusual Uros Islands, made entirely with totora reeds harvested from Lake Titicaca. Originally constructed to provide isolation from opposing tribes, today the islands are a tourist attraction, and the Uros people’s fanciful reed houses, furniture, and boats beg to be photographed—just be ready to pay for pictures.

21 OF 25

TawHai Floating Bar

The largest floating bar in Asia is a magnet for travel bloggers who snap selfies on its daybeds, hammocks, and oversized floor pillows. TawHai (which translates to “relaxed”) is marooned 300 feet off the shore of Lakawon Island Resorts & Spa, and the party boat is by far the hotel’s biggest attraction. Revelers enjoy cocktails, DJs, and a slide and rope swing into the turquoise waters of the Philippines.

22 OF 25

Floating Yoga

Bye-bye, SUP yoga. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, UNICO 20°87° Hotel Rivera Maya’s La UNICA pool transforms into an aquatic yoga studio, where students chaturanga on tethered, floating FITMATs—smaller, shorter, more stable fitness mats crafted specifically for pools. After the workout, continue floating on an inflatable unicorn in the 20°87° pool, one of the most stylish swimming scenes in the Mexican Caribbean.

23 OF 25

Cloud 9

WHERE: Denarau, Fiji

Like a little private island in the middle of the South Pacific, Cloud 9 is the only floating bar and wood-fired pizzeria in Fiji. The bilevel platform is equipped with sun decks, day beds, and a slick sound system, but the real fun is out on the water. Swim, parasail, snorkel over Ro Ro Reef or take an adrenaline-fueled jet ski tour to the legendary Cloudbreak surf spot, where waves can climb as high as 20 feet.

24 OF 25

Floating Sun Deck Aruba

Floating cabanas arrived on Aruba’s high-rise Palm Beach in 2017. Tucked between Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club and Holiday Inn Resort Aruba, Floating Sun Deck Aruba’s on-water terraces for two are handmade on the island using tropical hardwood. Rentals come with two Indonesian lounge chairs, boat transfers, soda, and water; wine or champagne packages are also available.

25 OF 25

Aquatic, The Floating Resort

WHERE: Kochi, India

Touting itself as a “floatel,” Aquatic is the first completely floating resort in Asia. Situated on the southwestern Kerala coast of India, 29 of the resort’s 30 acres are underwater, so architects innovated an environmentally sensitive pontoon design that incorporated the restaurant, the spa, the infinity pool, and five of the 10 rooms. Guests get to know the traditional way of life in the local village of Kumbalangi, including coconut harvesting, orchid gardening, and fishing.

Comments are Closed.
0 Comments