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When making your way through the affordable luxury of Vietnam's capital, don't miss out on the opportunity to scoot out to Halong Bay, or the "Bay of Descending Dragons." It's about a three-hour car ride to the east of Hanoi, heralded for its remarkable scenery of 2,000 islands that rise up from its waters.
There are literally hundreds of boats willing to take tourists out for a sail, some for the day and others overnight. While many are known for scamming tourists with high rates and low returns, we had a great experience upon the Emeraude, known for its tasty cuisine, friendly staff, and cozy confines.
Rooms aboard the Emeraude were recently renovated and feature hardwood floors, surprisingly spacious and tiled bathrooms, air conditioning, and beds that would put you to sleep even without the gentle rocking of the boat. There are three suites available if you're traveling with a family, but regardless of which you end up in, the major highlight, of course, is the killer views you get from anywhere onboard while you cruise the beautiful bay.
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Thought a yotel was an ingenious but slightly seven-years-ago capsule hotel that’s past its best at Gatwick and drawing in the wrong type of crowd with bottomless drinks in New York? Think again.
According to the Daily Mail, that faithful recorder of all trends, “yotel” now means yacht hotel”. Sunborn, of course, already has a
yotel sorry can’t do it floating hotel in London, but the Mail has taken a look inside the other one in that hotbed of Barbary apes and boozy Brits: Gibraltar.
Docked in the Ocean Village Marina, Sunborn Gibraltar has 189 rooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows and most with balconies or terraces. Just like a real cruise shop, there’s a restaurant, bars, spa, gym, shop, pool and casino; and also a “liberal sprinkling of bling,” according to the Mail. Just how we like our cruise ships! We particularly dig the ‘funky planetarium’ look being rocked by the bar. A “superyacht king” room will set you back £199 tonight, but note that the hotel is still in soft opening.
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January isn’t even out and we have another new London hotel to add to our to-watch list. And what an addition it is: a 120-metre super yacht called the Sunborn London, to be moored at the Royal Victoria Docks, with 138 rooms and suites over five floors of floating luxury.
Opening is scheduled for March, mere weeks away. Given its east London location next to the ExCel exhibition center, close to Canary Wharf and City airport, Sunborn will be mostly focused on the corporate market, but it wouldn’t surprise us if leisure guests will give it a try, if only for the novelty factor.
Let’s say it outright--last year and the beginning of 2013 saw a struggle for good cruise news, making many leery of sailing in light of the Carnival Triumph debacle, another ship being stranded at sea, and the announcement of a new Titanic II ship scheduled for 2016 (this has us utterly dumbfounded).
But, the industry has rebounded in spades and it's probably safer (and cheaper) now to cruise than ever, according to a study at Deal News. That’s because companies have become super stringent with rules and regs after incidents, leaving little room for error. They've also dropped their rates to entice passengers. So if you've been thinking about making a switch from the standard hotel vacation to a cruising one, here are some Cruise Clues to help you pick the right ship. And if you decide you like hotels better than cruises, well, we'll be ready to welcome you back with open arms.
Keep reading for HotelChatter's Cruise Clues!
Sweden's Salt & Sill sits -- or should we say floats -- on the western coast of the country and is more of an inn than a hotel, sporting only 23 rooms with 46 beds.
It was built upon pontoons and sailed to its current location in 2008 (shown above), where it is tied (very tightly!) to the dock in a calm inlet on the rocky island of Tjorn, about an hour’s drive from Gothenburg. It was the first floating hotel built in Sweden, and while other locations within the country have begun to experiment with prototypes of the concept, it is the only one of its kind that is fully functional.
The islands off the coast of Sweden are relatively unknown to North American travelers, which is exactly what makes them such a great place to visit. You won’t find any high-rise hotels, and the rocky coastline squashes any worry of overdevelopment. Visiting them feels like you’ve stumbled upon an old fishing village where time refuses to catch up.
Salt & Sill embodies the area with its simplicity and emphasis on the sea, both in terms of its personality and cuisine. In the restaurant, you’ll find the Swedish staples – herring and smoked salmon, for example – and your days are filled with kayaking, boating, and walks by the sea. Summer is by no means long in Sweden, but the coastline is as beautiful as any when the sun does decide to come out.
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.
But one project that does seem to be moving along is the QE2's conversion into a luxury hotel. And it sounds like the end result is going to be different than they'd originally said. Well, no surprises there!
Last week we mentioned how hotel room rates for the London 2012 Summer Olympics would skyrocket, as room rates during Olympics are wont to do (see Vancouver and Beijing.) Now here's another familiar Olympics lodging story, um floating around--a floating hotel.
Much like with Vancouver, there is talk of floating hotels along the Thames to help with the hotel demand. The Daily Mail takes a break from their Posh and Becks coverage to report:
London 2012 Olympic chiefs are considering the possibility of a creating a chain of floating hotels in order to accommodate visitors to the capital for next summer's games.
With most hotels expected to be fully booked for the three-week period, discussions are believed to have taken place over offering visitors rooms in at least three cruise liners that will be docked on the River Thames.
The docks will be a mere three miles from the Olympic Park in Stratford allowing easy access for visitors to the main site in East London.
Only yesterday were we telling you about a new flophouse-turned-boutique-hotel set to open on the Bowery in Manhattan. Today, we direct your attention to an even cheaper alternative located in Far Rockaway, Queens. Somewhere between an artsy pop-up restaurant and a no-frills budget motel lies the Boggsville Boatel, an interactive art project by Constance Hockaday (above).
Now, we've covered hotel art installations here before, but clearly, this one's a little different. In the case of the Boatel, the floating hotel itself becomes the art.
Vancouver has already sold-out its hotels rooms for the 2010 Winter Olympics next February but there is a way to create some extra inventory without having to build a new hotel---use a cruise ship! From the Seattle PI:
A company is bringing in a Norwegian Cruise Line luxury ship for February's Winter Games to help accommodate visitors. Dennis Laliberte, Newwest Special Projects LP president, said the Norwegian Star can fit almost 9,000 people.
Much like a regular hotel, the cruise ship has different room sizes ranging from simple staterooms to bigger suites. But it's also got 13 restaurants, eight lounges, a spa, a fitness center and "sensational nightly entertainment." There will also be live satellite coverage of the Olympic Games so you don't even have to step off the ship to go to the events. Yeah, but you should. You really should.
Packages for the floating hotel start at $350 a night.
Call us blasé, but we’re getting a bit bored of all the dirt cheap offers coming through at the moment. $99 in New York. £1 in London. Over it! What we really want is a free room – and our wishes are being granted.
First there was Elite Hotels' offer of a free night in one of their stately homes if you bought a bottle of Cristal. Nice offer, but at £278.50, still not that affordable.
But now it’s been joined by some rather less-heinously priced establishments.
AmandaK lets us know about the latest Floating Hotel on the scene.
This sounds just like something those functional-but-hip (think Ikea) Swedes would: start up a floating hotel just because there was no more land left on the island. It’s really happened at Klädesholmen on Sweden’s west coast where the Salt & Sill Hotel opened this month.
A Guardian reviewer who’s already spent the night at the salt & Sill was impressed with the sleek design, but we’re a bit worried about the wobbliness; he mentioned feeling drunk while going to the bathroom but it was a feeling caused by the undercurrent rocking the hotel boat.
The other thing that is a bit of a turn-off is the thought of herring for breakfast. The nearby restaurant that inspired this hotel has made a name for itself with herring dishes but serving them up as our first meal is not something we’re keen on. But they say “normal” breakfast is available too.
The Salt & Sill has an opening special running through 'til the end of February, with doubles for 1,490 Swedish krona (US$190). It’s not right on the beaten track but it’s something a bit different. And if you know any big herring lovers then it is definitely the right spot.