Boat hotels: The Big Six

From a Yellow Submarine in Liverpool to the Queen Mary in Long Beach

Sunborn, Gibraltar

Why charter a luxury superyacht when you can spend a night on one for a fraction of the fee? That's the thinking behind Sunborn's new fleet of luxury boat hotels. The first launched this year in Gibraltar's Ocean Village Marina, a second opens in London's Royal Victoria Docks on Monday and a third is currently in the early planning stages in Barcelona. Aboard the seven-storey, 465ft Gibraltar boat, passengers can expect sweeping marble staircases, chandeliers and 189 rooms with windows that look on to the Rock of Gibraltar, a towering limestone monolith at the end of the Iberian peninsula. A top-deck infinity pool, rooftop Sky Restaurant and Aqua Bar round off the cruise-style facilities.

Sunborn, Ocean Village Marina, Gibraltar (00 350 2001 6100; Doubles from £350, including breakfast.

CPH Living, Denmark

Nudging the Oresund strait, Copenhagen makes an ideal spot for this waterborne hotel. Flaunting stylish interiors, the 12-room CPH Living stands on a scenic canal that stretches through the middle of Indre By – Copenhagen's historic "Inner City". Michelin-starred restaurant Noma is a walk away and the Tivoli Gardens await across the water. Inside, original artwork hangs on the walls, filament lights dangle and a sundeck offers stunning views of the city, set against a soundtrack of passing seagulls.

CPH Living, Copenhagen, Denmark (00 45 6160 8546; Doubles from €140, including breakfast.

Queen Mary, US

One of Britain's most celebrated ships can now be found off the coast of California. First developed in the 1930s as a flagship ocean liner for Cunard, the RMS 'Queen Mary' went on to ferry Allied soliders during the Second World War, before becoming a transatlantic passenger ship and dominating the waves until the dawn of the jet age in the late 1950s. Her final voyage arrived at the city of Long Beach on December 9, 1967, where she has since been converted into a floating hotel.

Queen Mary, Long Beach, California, US (001 877 342 0742 ; Doubles from $128 (£80), room only.

Boatel, Netherlands

In the 19th century, the NDSM shipyard acted as a hub for Amsterdam's maritime activities. But after closing in the 1970s, the docks are today part of a regeneration project that's seen MTV move its European headquarters here, cool restaurants spring up such as Noorderlicht Café and a flea market emerge in the form of IJ-hallen. To stay amid all this creative energy, base yourself at the Boatel, which offers inexpensive and unfussy digs on the River IJ, a 10-minute ferry ride from the centre of the Dutch capital.

Boatel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (00 31 20 626 42 47; Doubles from €84, including breakfast.

Yellow Submarine, UK

On Liverpool's Albert Dock, three themed boats await overnight passengers. The first, The Joker, is designed in tribute to the crazed "Batman" character; the second, The Titantic, is kitted out to resemble the first-class lounge of the original ill-fated vessel; and finally, there's the Yellow Submarine. As you would expect in the city that fathered the Fab Four, it pays homage to the 1966 "Revolver" song, with a canary-yellow exterior, covered with cut-outs of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Yellow Submarine, Liverpool, L3 4AS (07885 295413; Nightly from £199, Sleeps eight.

Le Boatel, France

Vincent Van Gogh sought refuge in the the southern French city of Arles from 1888 to 1889 – and it's not hard to see why. The dock that bears his name today, Quai au Pont Van Gogh, reaches out into a peaceful, tree-shaded canal, offering the tranquillity that the troubled artist longed for, but ultimately could not find. Floating by the water's edge, Le Boatel is a former Belgian barge that offers modern visitors seven cabin-style rooms, a spa and a refined French restaurant that specialises in regional cuisine.

Le Boatel, Arles, France (00 33 6 08 60 53 24; Doubles from €80, including breakfast.

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