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Mingalabar! All this week we'll be focusing on one of the fastest changing hotel scenes on the globe: Burma, or Myanmar. (For Burma or Myanmar, see here - as fence-sitters, we'll be using the two interchangeably throughout the week.) We’ve already covered your hotel basics, and looked at Yangon’s most expensive hotel and its most historic. Today, let’s check in at its weirdest property.
You thought you had seen themed hotels. You thought you’d seen retro hotels. You even thought you’d seen boat hotels. Promise, you’ve seen none of these things until you see the Luxury Vintage Yacht Hotel in Yangon. It is the delicious trifecta of all the things above.
We discovered the LVYH by chance, looking for a same-day room on Agoda. Most of the four and five star hotels ranged from $200-500 that night. But there was one that was significantly cheaper: the Luxury Vintage Yacht Hotel was offering a room with balcony for $112.
Boat hotels are something that always intrigue us but rarely satisfy us, and we assumed this would be small, a bit grimy or past its prime. But the reviews were good and the price was unbeatable for its category, so we booked. And that’s how we arrived at the weirdest, most genius hotel we’ve ever stayed in.
The Luxury Vintage Yacht Hotel opened this summer, the first of a few planned for Botahtaung Jetty, on the Yangon River, just round the corner from the spectacular Botahtaung Pagoda. It’s a modern ship that came from Northern Europe, but it’s been styled as a total immersion 1920s experience. “Would you like to be a King… Sir…!” (sic) says the website. “Time Travel Yacht Will take you back to year 1920 in 30 seconds & Be a King…”
We’ll show you the public areas and talk about the full experience in another post, but for now, look at the photos of our room: 302, a standard room with balcony overlooking the river.
This is no poky cruise ship room – the bathroom is small, if perfectly comfortable, but the bedroom is relatively large. The beds are insanely comfortable memory foam, adjustable ones – you know, like the Tempurpedic hospital beds, that can form Z shapes, or raise your head or your legs, without you moving. Each has a remote control on the bedside table.
One of the oldest registered ferryboats in the US is starting a new chapter in its 105-year history on the water. Having ferried countless New Yorkers in the early 1900s over to places like Boston, Maine, Governor's Island, and Ellis Island, the boat has now settled into its new role as an artsy, refurbished five-bedroom boutique hotel on the Hudson.
The NY Daily News reports that the ship's new owners, Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs, have added 16 bunks, an on-deck chicken coop, a dining room table, an Apple computer, and plenty of colorful art. Because sleeping on a regular old chicken-less boat with only the portholes to look at can just get so boring.
The boat was constructed in 1907 in a Philadelphia shipyard, and subsequently was requisitioned by the US Navy during WWI. But though it's had a relatively action-packed history, it certainly has never looked as lively (or as party-ready) as it does now.
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And this one's a goodie. Described by the Daily Mail as an "eccentric businessman," UK-based Alfie Bubbles has purchased an old narrowboat and transformed it into a psychedelic, fully-functional 3-bedroom hotel that's inspired by, and remains faithful to, the Beatles' original yellow submarine.
First there was the brothel-boatel in the Rockaways, then came the Ellis Island ferryboat B&B, and now there's an entire decommissioned Soviet aircraft carrier being retrofitted to become a "luxury" hotel on some beach in China. The boatel trend has officially gone too far, too fast.
The Kiev, an old Russian aircraft carrier, was sold to a Chinese company back in 1996 and now they've finally gotten around to doing something with it. Billing it as "China's first aircraft carrier luxury hotel"though we're pretty sure it's the world's firstTiajin Aircraft Carrier Hotel preys upon the Chinese people's new fascination with aircraft carriers, seeing as how the Chinese military only just put their very first active one through sea trials.
Imagine this, only in Rotterdam
Much as we love the idea of staying on a boat on one of Amsterdam’s canals, we’ve never quite dared take the risk, because most of them sound a bit like floating hostels.
If you're sick of staying in French hotels that are bolted to the ground (we like to call them, simply, buildings), then it's time to get into a stylish French boat hotel. The Times UK this week raved about a night on the Napoleon, a luxury hotel boat in France. A 129 foot long converted barge, it sleeps 12 people, and comes with all the luxuries you'd want like heated towel rails in the ensuite bathrooms, a sundeck whirlpool bath and even fresh flowers for each "room".
The reviewer was also rather smitten with the "handsome young crew" who served up champagne and fancy snacks as guests checked in. Private excursions or day sightseeing tours can also be included. If you don't mind your hotel room chugging along at about 5 miles per hour, this might be the holiday for you. Trips are usually on the Rhone through Provence. But luxury hotel boats come at a price--almost $5500 per person for a five day trip, based on two people sharing a double room.
· Boat du Rhone [Times UK]