London - Why live on land when you can live in complete luxury on the water? Claire Wills looks at 10 of the best boat hotels in Europe.
The Gainsborough Wharf Boatels, Hackney, London
Docked on a canal in cool East London, these two charming house boats feature wood-burning stoves, stylish furnishings and waterside decks for soaking up the sunshine.
Columbia Road with its beautiful flower market is a short stroll away, as well as the shops and cafes of Broadway Market. Breakfast, lunch or some fizz can be delivered to your door on request. From £150 (about R3 000); sleeps four.
Larkspur Bathampton, Somerset
Head off on a family adventure on this clean and spacious houseboat, moored near Bath on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Inside there's a well-equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and a lounge with an old-fashioned wood-burner in the corner.
Children will love feeding passing birds through the special duck hatch, and daytime activities could include visiting the Roman Baths. From £143; sleeps six.
Houseboat Suite Westertoren Amsterdam, Netherlands
Enjoy views of Anne Frank's House and the beautiful Westerkerk church right from your living room on this houseboat, which is located in the heart of the Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal).
It has large windows, an open kitchenette and dining area, as well as free Wi-Fi, a Bluetooth-enabled music player and a flat screen TV in the double bedroom. The tram stop is close by, or head out on foot to walk or cycle your way round the city. From £134; sleeps four.
Modern Boat Berlin Berlin, Germany
Floating on Berlin's tranquil Lake Rummelsburg, this quirky houseboat has vast windows overlooking the water. Inside, the open kitchen is complete with a dishwasher, fridge/freezer and coffee maker, while the large living area with a retractable double bed and a couch is a great place to hang out and admire the view.
You'll feel a world away from the bustle of the city centre, yet you're only 15 minutes away by public transport. Travel between March and October to make use of the two 'Bella Ciao' bikes. From £176; sleeps four (two adults and two children).
HT Houseboats Mielno, Poland
Get back to nature on board one of these ingenious, luxury floating homes on north Poland's beautiful Lake Jamno. The wood-and-glass structures vary in size and style - some are static, some are boats that you can sail - and are decked out in Scandinavian-chic style.
There is plenty to please water sports enthusiasts on the calm shores of the lake, or you can venture to nearby Mielno, famed for its golden sandy beach. From £27; sleeps up to eight.
Reddingsboot Harlingen Boat Harlingen, Netherlands
Enjoy a night on a former lifeboat - with added luxury. The Lilla Marras served as lifeboat until 1979, performing 105 rescue operations and saving 45 lives. Now she has been lovingly transformed into a comfortable home from home, complete with a water lily-shaped bed and wooden two-person bath.
Your breakfast is delivered first thing in the morning and you can also hire your own captain to show you just how agile this classic lifesaver still is during a two-hour trip. Or simply wander through the quaint little port of Harlingen with its museums, lighthouse and good restaurants. From £167; sleeps two.
Houseboat Hotels Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Moored in Sheffield's Victoria Quays, a short walk from the city centre, these houseboats are cosy and stylishly decked out in light oak. Each boat has a dining table that converts to another double bed and there's a kitchenette plus tea, milk and biscuits on board. The boats are static so you can relax and explore Sheffield at your own pace or take a peaceful walk along the towpaths. Special occasion packages including champagne, chocolates and flowers are also available. rom £79; sleeps four.
Salt & Sill Tjorn, Sweden
Dive into the sea at Sweden's first floating hotel, located on Klädesholmen Island, a 45-minute drive from Gothenburg. The bright, modern rooms are located on floating platforms and overlook the water. Open the curtains to admire the view, or fling the doors open to hear the lap of the sea against the deck.
Facilities include a barbecue and sauna, and there's also a sea-side restaurant serving traditional, regional specialities, such as sill (pickled herring). From £143; sleeps two.
The Harbour Houseboat Bembridge, Isle of Wight
There are sensational sea views in spades at this luxury houseboat on the Isle of Wight Solent. Tucked away in scenic Bembridge Harbour, the Thames lighter has been beautifully updated with four spacious bedrooms, polished interiors and shabby-chic furniture. The open-plan living area has doors opening straight out onto the sea-view deck and steel porthole windows, and comfy, colourful sofas. In Bembridge Harbour, build sandcastles, arrange a sailing day or lace up your walking boots and head off on a coastal hike. From £198; sleeps six, plus three children.
Devolu River Seine, Paris
The sun streams in through large French windows as you cruise down the Seine on the decadent Devolu, in the heart of Paris. The four-bedroomed boat has a bright and airy living area that leads onto a sun terrace with a table, chairs and outside lighting. Inside are comfy sofas, an open-plan kitchen with breakfast bar, plush carpets and a dining table with seating for eight.
The sleeping quarters are on the lower level and include an enormous master with en suite hammam-style tiled bathroom. Moored away from the tourist boats, you can relax and appreciate the beauty of the French capital. From £252; sleeps eight.
* Claire Wills is international editor at Coolstays.com, an online travel brand for finding extraordinary properties including treehouses, windmills, cool cottages, B&Bs and hotels in the UK and abroad.