Hotel Boats On The Thames


If you're looking for a unique and luxurious way to explore the River Thames or any other London waterway, then hotel boats are the perfect option. These boats offer a combination of comfort, style, and convenience, making them an ideal choice for those who want to experience the beauty of a river or canal in a unique way. They are a unique design experience too if you're an interiors fan, and can be gold for you instagrammers!

A night on the river or canal offers comfort and convenience, as well as scenic views that will make your trip memorable. Hotel boats can include guided tours so that you can learn all about London's history while enjoying its beauty from your boutique hotel! These are a step beyond simply a good hotel. These are rooms with the added opportunity to see popular attractions and panoramic views.

In this article, we'll explore what hotel boats are, where you can find them, what they offer, and why they're such a popular choice among travellers. From a floating super yacht hotel to historical boats that are a characterful part of their local community. Your stay on a boatel could be amongst the most unique hotel london stays you can find.

What are Hotel Boats?

Hotel boats are essentially floating hotels that take you on a leisurely tour of the River Thames or are in fixed moorings, while providing all the amenities and comforts of a traditional hotel. Buffet breakfast with a swan sailing past your window anyone?

These boats are specifically designed for travellers who want to experience the beauty of the Thames while enjoying the luxurious facilities offered. From the royal docks to hampton Court palace, this is also a great way to take a trip back in time whilst enjoying ultimate modern luxury and excellent amenities.

They offer a range of accommodations, from single cabins to luxurious suites, and are equipped with modern facilities such as en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, smartly designed rooms and free wifi. Hotel boats also have a dining room, bar, and lounge area, where guests can relax and enjoy the scenic views of the river whilst being looked after by helpful staff. From the moment you board to the time you check out, we can almost guarantee you'll have a fabulous time.

These can be a great choice for families, as well as the ultimate romantic trip. Check in with your beloved and check out your room with a view, or breakfast on the rooftop terrace before taking a trip around your local landmarks. End a busy day with cocktails and an à la carte dinner onboard.

This can equally be a great choice for a memorable way to celebrate your daughter's birthday in style. Enjoy a chic stay whilst in the heart of this exciting city. You can enjoy both nature and urban fun.
The Difference between a Canal Boat and a Yacht

Canal boats and yachts are both types of boats, but they are designed for very different purposes and have distinct differences in their construction and features. One of the key differences between canal boats and yachts is their size

Canal boats are generally smaller and more compact, designed to navigate narrow canals and locks. Yachts, on the other hand, are larger and more spacious, with more room for passengers and amenities, like the sunborn london yacht hotel. At Boutique Barges, our boats are canal boats, designed to be as luxurious and comfortable as the larger boat options but with bags more character.

You can find both types of boats in London, but you'll generally only find canal boats on canals, but yachts can be found on the River Thames in some of the main London docks like the Royal Victoria Dock or St Katherine Dock.

What Does the Term 'Floatel' Mean?

The term 'floatel' is a portmanteau of the words 'float' and 'hotel', and refers to a type of accommodation that is located typically on a body of water such as a river or ocean. Floatels are becoming increasingly popular in cities with waterfronts, where they offer a unique and memorable way to experience the city.

Floatels can vary in size and style, from small, intimate houseboats to large, luxury hotel ships. Some floatels are permanently moored in one location, while others may move around to different ports or anchorages. Many floatels offer amenities such as restaurants, bars, and spas, as well as comfortable guest rooms with views of the water and the city skyline.

Floatels can also be an environmentally friendly option, as they do not require any land-based infrastructure or utilities. They can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, and can be designed to minimise their impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

Overall, floatels offer a unique and memorable way to experience a city or destination, allowing you to walk in to your local area whilst still being in peaceful and calm spot with the perfect river view. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, a floatel can provide a one-of-a-kind experience that you won't soon forget.

Our Boutique Barges boats are lured in Little Venice which is quiet and calm, but literally just around the corner is the high-rise hubbub of Paddington where you can find innovative architecture, great bars and restaurants.

Understanding the River Thames

The River Thames is a major landmark in London, with a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The river has played a significant role in the development of the city, serving as a source of transportation, commerce, and inspiration for centuries.

Thames History

The Thames was first used by the Romans, who established a settlement called Londinium on its banks in AD 43. The river provided an easy means of transportation for goods and people, and soon became a hub of commerce and industry. Over time, the city grew around the river, with many famous landmarks such as the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament located along its banks.

During the Middle Ages, the Thames was one of the busiest ports in the world. Ships from all over the world would dock at the Port of London, bringing goods such as spices, silks, and precious metals to the city. The Thames was also a centre of trade for the wool industry, which was one of England's most important exports.

Thames Today

Today, the Thames is a popular tourist attraction, with many visitors taking boat tours to see the city's famous landmarks from the water. The river is also used for recreational activities such as rowing and sailing. The Thames has played an important role in the history of London, and continues to be a vital part of the city's identity and culture as the city grows and changes along its banks. You can see world-renown historical destinations like the Tower of London, but also enjoy innovative architecture like canary wharf.

Where to Find Hotel Boats that tour on the Thames

There are several companies that offer hotel boat tours on the Thames, including Magna Carta, Spirit of Chartwell, and the Edwardian. These boats offer a range of tours, from day trips to multi-day excursions, and can accommodate different group sizes and budgets.

The tours usually depart from various points along the Thames, including London, Windsor, and Oxford. They offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the river and see some of the most iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. What a way to see unparalleled and uninterrupted city views and world-class historical landmarks.

East London could be Ideal

Generally in London, the luxurious hotel options are located centrally or west, but the best boatel choices are actually mainly moored in East London where the traditional docklands area resides, where the Thames shaped the historical commerce of this great capital city.

On this side of London you'll find historical destinations like Custom house, and royal victoria dock but we think the highlights of this local area are the newer architectural additions like Queen elizabeth olympic park, alongside westfield stratford city. Take a ride on emirates air line which is the most direct route over the Thames in this area, with a view overlooking this exciting part of the Thames. It's also a great choice if you're travelling in and out from london city airport.

London City Airport is a Great Choice

London City Airport is a small but mighty airport located in the heart of London. It offers a convenient and efficient alternative to the larger, busier airports in the city, such as Heathrow and Gatwick. With its shorter runways and unique location, London City Airport is perfect for those looking to travel to and from the city centre quickly and easily.
The airport serves over 4 million passengers each year, and offers direct routes with destinations ranging from major European cities to popular holiday destinations. It is also a hub for business travel, with many major corporations located in the city.

One of the key benefits of London City Airport is its location. It is situated just 6 miles (10 km) east of central London, making it easily accessible by public transportation or taxi. In fact, the airport is only a 15-minute ride on the Docklands Light Railway from the financial district of Canary Wharf, which happens to be where some of the best hotel boats, like sunborn hotel london, are located.

Despite its smaller size, London City Airport offers all the amenities and services that travellers need. There are a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as lounges for those looking to relax before their flight. The airport also offers free wifi, charging stations, and other amenities to make your travel experience as comfortable as possible.

London City Airport is a great option for those looking for a hassle-free travel experience. Its convenient location, efficient operations, and wide range of destinations make it an excellent choice for both business and leisure travellers; with direct routes to a multitude of key London locations. In the airport there's also a ticket service for tours to and of London's landmarks.

If you're using this airport, ensure you book a window seat as the views over the river thames and east london are totally incredible.

What Do Hotel Boats Offer?

Hotel boats offer a range of amenities and services that make them a popular choice among travellers. Some of the key features of hotel boats include:

  • Luxurious accommodations: Hotel boats offer a range of accommodations, from single cabins to luxurious suites, all equipped with modern facilities such as en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, and free wi fi. Often you can arrange express check in and simple check out, on site luggage storage.Fine dining: Hotel boats have a dining room where guests can enjoy delicious meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some boats also have a bar and lounge area where guests can relax and enjoy a drink while taking in the scenic views of the river.
  • Guided tours: Hotel boats offer guided tours of the river, providing guests with an opportunity to see some of the most iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. The tours are led by experienced guides who provide interesting commentary on the history and culture of the area. Speak with the helpful staff at the tour desk who know the local area in-depth.
  • Onboard activities: Hotel boats offer a range of onboard activities, from cooking classes to wine tastings, making them a great choice for those who want to experience something different.

Some Standout Hotel Boats in and around Central London

Royal Princess

The Royal Princess is a 42-foot luxury houseboat that accommodates up to 12 guests. It has an open plan dining room, bar and lounge area with leather sofas and a wood burning stove. There are three bedrooms: one master suite with king-size bed; one double bedroom with twin beds; and one twin cabin with bunk beds (which can be converted into two singles). All rooms have a private bathroom with showers or baths. Your room may be compact, but they are all beautifully appointed. Laundry service is available but quite expensive. Do read your booking information to confirm your check in time as this does vary.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria is a traditional riverboat that accommodates up to 8 people. The vessel is equipped with 4 en-suite cabins, which include 2 additional double beds. There are sofa bed additional sleeping options in some rooms too. Each room has a tea maker, free toiletries and extremely comfy beds. The helpful staff can advise you about the local area, with london hotspots like billingsgate market within a minute's walk. Boasting free wifi access in all areas of the boat. Do check if breakfast is included when you book, as it isn't standard.

King George V

The King George V is a luxury riverboat that can accommodate up to six people, located near central london. The cabins are en-suite, with private bathrooms and showers. You'll also have access to onboard entertainment including Wi-Fi access and movies on demand. Your room can have extra beds added upon request. There's a river view for all bedrooms, as well as your own coffee machine, fluffy down pillows, and a private bathroom for each room. The buffet breakfast includes continental and cooked items, and the lounge bar serves excellent cocktails. Check in includes a guidebook to the local area of london. We recommend a trip to westfield stratford city for shops that rival central london.

Sunborn London Yacht Hotel

This is the exclusive and extravagant option. Enjoy four star luxe, located on Royal Victoria Dock in East London, overlooking Docklands, iconic Canary Wharf and Excel London- all within short distance of London city airport too. Change your view point from river level to sky-high by visiting emirates royal docks skyline cable car which is very close to this floating hotel too. Royal victoria dock is a wonderful location that blend the traditional and the cutting edge of London. Step off in to the local area from your hotel to enjoy some of London's architectural and cultural highlights, or stay on board to experience the rooftop terrace and every smartly designed rooms feature. The river view from the breakfast room is wonderful!

Boutique Barges

Our two boats are hired out to you in their entirety, so you have a private houseboat all to yourself. We are moored in Little Venice in West London, right next to Paddington, which offers calm beauty as well as great bars and restaurants right on your doorstep. You can easily explore Portobello market and Notting Hill on foot from our location, or head towards central London on foot or public transport very easily, so you can soak up all of London’s highlights with ease.
If you’d prefer to enjoy relaxing on your boat, then we have an extensive roof deck with deck chairs and a fire pit on Big Boat. Read more about Big boat here, and Find our about Velvet Morning here.

Why Choose the Floatel Experience?

There are several reasons why hotel boats are a popular choice among travellers on the Thames. These include:

  • Unique experience: Hotel boats offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the river, providing guests with an experience that is different from traditional tours.
  • Comfort and convenience: Hotel boats offer all the amenities and comforts of a traditional hotel, making them a convenient and comfortable way to travel.
  • Scenic views: Hotel boats provide guests with stunning views of the river and its surroundings, offering a different perspective on some of the most iconic landmarks in the area, sometimes from an exclusive sun deck!
    Guided tours: Hotel boats offer guided tours of the river, providing guests with interesting commentary on the history and culture of the area.
  • Great design: not only will your room have the standard amenities like free wifi access, but you will also see other facilities like modern decor, luxurious materials and fluffy down pillows that elevate this experience. We are always impressed by how interior designers create such luxurious spaces that feel spacious even though, by the nature of the structure, are generally smaller spaces. The en suite or private bathrooms are the most impressive, we think, due to the clever, space saving ideas employed, whilst still creating a spa-like vibe.


Hotel boats on the Thames offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the river and its surroundings. They provide guests with all the amenities and comforts of a traditional hotel, while offering stunning views of the river and its surroundings. Do you like the sound of a lounge bar on a roof terrace with panoramic views of London? Who couldn't enjoy an à la carte menu from the on site restaurant whilst the waves lap?

Hotel boats are a popular choice among travellers who want to experience something different, and they offer a range of tours and activities to suit different group sizes and budgets. If you're looking for a unique and luxurious way to explore the Thames, then hotel boats are definitely worth considering. The river thames passes some of the worlds most well known and unique destinations and attractions, so your boatel could be extremely close to some stunning locations.

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