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The term Floatel, combines the word Float and Hotel and describes a hotel that is floating or above water that is usually permanent, contrary to a cruise ship or boat. Sometimes also spelt Flotel, the term refers to luxury or boutique hotels on rivers, lakes, harbours and oceans. They can be located in the middle of the wilderness on a lake or on mega-metropolitan rivers.

Most Floatels are full-service and include a bar or restaurant, though flotels in mega-cities may not. The modern Floatel can be credited to the need of providing temporary housing to oil rig workers and natural disaster responders, however there are examples of flotels that were built over a century ago on harbours and above rivers in England. Recently built flotels, often have their own closed off swimming area for guests, or even have glass floors to view the wildlife below.

Hoteliers across the world have developed these hotels to attract guests who like authentic and unique travel experiences. They have also built these hotels to maximize space or utilize the minimal space the hotel has access to or owns. For example, thanks to the overcrowded city, expensive real estate and building restrictions of Paris, the Paris government has allowed a few Floatels to operate on the Seine River.

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  • Hotel

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