8 of the best on the water experiences at luxury hotels

The Belmond, South of France

If you can't visit a hotel with a luxury yacht, discover alternative on-the-water experiences without sacrificing on luxury by checking into the resorts that have a variety of boats to keep guests entertained.

1. Belmond Afloat

While the Belmond La Samanna Resort in St Maarten offers sublime sailing in the Caribbean on board a 15.8 metre Sunseeker, a 10.9 metre Fairline and a 9.7 metre World Cat catamaran, its South of France offering is ideal for those after a more European on the water escape.

The Belmond Afloat experience sees guests board one of seven luxury river barges, four of which have heated swimming pools on deck. Depending on your choice of vessel, you can explore the stunning French countryside at a leisurely pace.

The Belmond Pivoine, new to the fleet this year, is 39 metres and can sleep up to eight guests. She'll transport you from Meaux to Châlons-en-Champagne, famous for its picture-perfect vineyards, traditional villages, historical sites and some of the best wine tasting experiences.

Picture courtesy of Scott Dunn

Pulitzer Amsterdam, Holland

If you're on a city break and you feel like making a few waves, Pulitzer Amsterdam offers the best of both land and water. Located at the heart of the capital's canal district, guests of the hotel can explore the waterways on board its canal boat named The Tourist.

The boat itself is a beautifully crafted slice of Dutch history — built in 1909, she features polished teak and brass alongside marble, soft leather and beveled glass, offering a traditionally Dutch environment in which to tour the city. Notably, Winston Churchill boarded The Tourist on a visit to Holland in 1946.

The hotel offers private tours with champagne and dining options who wish to luxuriate on the water. Alternatively, guests can return to the effortlessly chic Pulitzer's Bar for a cocktail with a canal view, or else retire to The Copper Rooms to enjoy the hotel's private dining offerings — after all, Amsterdam is home to some of the best restaurants in Europe, so the local cuisine is not to be missed.

Picture courtesy of Pulitzer Amsterdam

Blue Palace, Crete

Discover the Mirabello Gulf in Crete onboard the Blue Palace Resort’s traditional caique. Depart from the hotel’s jetty on board the traditional fishing boat and make the short crossing to the island of Spinalonga — a leper colony from 1903 to 1957 which provided the inspiration behind Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island. The deserted island was also occupied by the Romans, Venetians and the Ottoman Turks and has a large fortress.

If you want to make a day of it, the resort can prepare a picnic so you can also visit the surrounding secluded coves and beaches. Alternatively, if you want to make the most of the romantic setting, enjoy a sunset cruise with a bottle of Champagne and a selection of freshly prepared canapés.

Once you are back on dry land the Blue Palace won’t disappoint with a selection of secluded villas, which have previously attracted celebrities such as Rhianna and Lady Gaga, and no fewer than five restaurants. If you are looking for a party atmosphere don’t miss the hotel’s full moon parties with Spinalonga providing the perfect party back drop.

The Gritti Palace, Venice

The Gritti Palace in Venice is now offering exclusive tours around the Venetian Lagoon aboard a private Riva speedboat. The purpose-built Il Doge is an incredible way for guests of the hotel to see one of the most iconic cities in the world, with a variety of different itineraries on offer — perfect for winding down after Venice Film Festival.

On board the speedboat up to six visitors will enjoy a bottle of Champagne Ruinart and delicacies from The Gritti Palace. Once you have finished exploring the city you can head for a cocktail at the hotel's iconic Riva Lounge Terrace — which has been created using the same materials as used on Rivas.

Whether you're visiting on your own private yacht or you're looking to charter a superyacht in Venice, The Riva Experience offers the perfect combination of rich venetian history with the city's world-famous opulence, ideal for anyone looking to discover this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat.

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Mexico

Enjoy a taste of life on board in Mexico at the Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood resort, which offers guests the chance to explore Los Cabos on board its 18 metre yacht.

Delivered last year, the Rio GT56 can offer bespoke tours to take in sites such as the world-famous Land’s End Arch and sea lion colony. Active guests can try their hand at paddle boarding while delicious meals will be prepared on board by the hotel’s team.

The yacht can host up to eight guests and is available for half day or full day tours. If you are looking for a more romantic experience then the hotel is now also offering sunset tours. Take in the stunning coastline while enjoying a bottle of Dom Pérignon and finish the evening with a two-minute fire display as the yacht docks at the resort.

“Las Ventanas al Paraiso is known for offering its guests once-in-a-lifetime experiences that reflect the wonders of the Baja region and are completely personalised to guests’ tastes,” said Frederic Vidal, managing director of Las Ventanas al Parais.

“The Las Ventanas Yacht will provide just that, as our guests can now enjoy the resort’s trademark personalised service and attention to detail on the high seas with customised itineraries that allow them to explore our stunning region.”

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

The latest addition to the Maldivian island resort of Soneva Fushi is luxury yacht Soneva in Aqua.

Described as a “boat villa”, the 19.25 metre yacht has two cabins and can accommodate four adults and two children. The main cabin has a striking glass bottom spa and shower facilities while the second features a king-sized bed and en-suite facilities. Soneva in Aqua also has great deck spaces including a raised sun and dining deck, lower level bar and dining area and a bow jacuzzi.

The experience is designed to provide guests with the “benefits of this iconic resort’s services and amenities with the freedom and exclusivity associated with a private boat charter”. Soneva Fushi runs a "no news, no shoes" policy encouraging guests to place their shoes and gadgets in a bag upon arrival.

Soneva in Aqua comes with four crew members designed to meet guests' every need from a bespoke itinerary to a personalised menu. The crew have even been trained in astronomy to help guests enjoy the night skies. On board spa and wellness treatments are also available including sunset massages and Thai Chi and yoga.

Soneva in Aqua is available from $5,080 per night in high season. A full board supplement is available from $1,000 per night.

D-Resort Göcek, Turkey

D-Resort Göcek offers 16 metre motor yacht Sundowner which is perfect for getting a taste of a luxury yacht charter in Turkey by visiting secluded bays and beaches as well as taking in charming local villages.

The yacht is a bespoke creation by Alia Yachts for the hotel group and has a cruising speed of 25 knots with a maximum speed of 38 knots. She has a black carbon reinforced composite exterior with a cream interior and bespoke wooden fittings.

After a day on the yacht you can enjoy a sun downer in the recently opened Q-lounge which offers stunning views across the bay and is also fast becoming one of the best places to party in the Mediterranean.

Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall

Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall, UK, offers guest the change to experience eight-metre classic yacht Pinuccia. She was built in 1939 to race for Italy at an international competition. From Easter to the end of September, she is available for a cruise around Falmouth bay. A whole day's sailing will be accompanied by a picnic and pink prosecco.

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