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Hotelboats in the News!

2018 Hotelboat Holidays are going fast!

Hotelboat holiday guests often enjoy their cruises so much they book their next year's cruise while they are still on board! So many 2018 cruises are already well booked, some boats with very few or no vacancies left!

If you would like to go hotelboating in 2018 and choose from a wide range of dates and routes check visit the company websites and book as soon as possible!

Thames Lock Keepers get top BMIB Award

The Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating (BMIB) has awarded their prestigious Lock Keeper of the Year award for 2016 to two members of the Environment Agency (EA) River Thames lock keeping team based at Abingdon Lock, resident lock and weir keeper Richard Hawkins and volunteer assistant lock keeper Frank Jordan. The award was presented on Tuesday 8 August 2017 as luxury, 5 star Hotel Boat Kailani passed through the lock with guests on board. Recipients are nominated and voted for by all BMIB Hotel Boat operators so that they can recognise the support they receive from the people working ‘on the ground’ as they take holidaymakers around Britain’s inland waterways.

Gordon and Dorenda Horry, owners and hosts aboard Kailani, presented the award as the hotel boat arrived to descend Abingdon Lock (right). Thanking them for their cheerful welcome, Dorenda explained, “All the hotel boat crews that nominated Richard and Frank described how they are always friendly, polite and extremely helpful, however busy the lock is with boats and visitors. Richard is always very informative about river conditions, local events and overnight moorings nearby. He takes time to talk with our guests and even direct deliveries to the hotel boat but is always mindful of visitors’ safety, even when off-duty. His quick thinking has helped save lives, when on a spring evening last year a stag party over-turned their small rowing boat near to the lock."

Nick Mead, new Chair of the Hotel Boat section of BMIB, described why the award is made: “As professional boaters we like to recognise the professionalism of navigation authority staff, especially when they give exceptional service to boaters. What makes Britain’s rivers and canals unique is their living heritage of boating, distinguished from being a giant linear park by the boats navigating amazing structures such as the magnificent locks of the River Thames. “Hotel Boats are some of the most widely travelled craft on the inland waterways, cruising up to 1500 miles each summer season, and between them visiting almost the entire network of canals and rivers. The award is open not only to lock keepers, but to all bank side waterway staff who are judged by BMIB Hotel Boat members to have given outstanding assistance to waterways users. Every nominee for this award should feel justly proud of this recognition. We are grateful for their fantastic support with maintaining our schedules as hotel boat holidaymakers enjoy the relaxed pace of Britain’s waterways and spectacular experiences of aqueducts, tunnels and flights of locks.”

Check the maths and cruise to the Seven Wonders of England!

English Holiday Cruises now offer a voyage that’s just a little bit different on their 4-star hotel boat, Edward Elgar. It’s three times seven: visit Seven Wonders on a 7-day cruise along the River Severn. This new cruise covers the entire length of the Severn Navigation, sailing from Gloucester all the way to Stourport then back down river to Sharpness on the Gloucester-Sharpness canal. The countryside along the way is glorious and there are tours or visits to Worcester Cathedral, the Severn Valley Railway, Upton, Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester Docks, the barge graveyard at Purton and the Wetlands Centre in Slimbridge. 

As with many hotel boats this cruise holiday includes a complete package of hospitality with 3 traditional meals every day, catering for special diets, beers/wines at lunch and dinner, tea/coffee all day, guided tours, live entertainment, free WiFi and more besides.

For a free brochure visit their website or call 01452-410411.

Lots of Hotelboat choice and new ideas

The Hotel Boat industry has diversified considerably in recent years. Once dominated by traditional narrowboat pairs there are now luxury wide-beam, hostel, camping and vegetarian retreat boats. Hanna Rees-Jones of Bywater Cruises and chair of the Hotel Boat Operators group says ‘It's great to see different people putting their own stamp on this unique enterprise and making the most of the growing interest in our waterways.’

If you are considering starting a hotelboat business, or already running one, why not come along to our Hotelboat Operators Spring meeting to meet and network with others in the business? There is no need to be a member, and no pressure to join. Just email Hanna for details.

New addition to the Bywater crew!

John and Hanna Rees-Jones, operators of Bywater Hotelboats, recently had a new addition to their 'crew'. Bethany Sankey-Jones was born in the early hours of the 21st November. Hanna says 'She is settling in nicely and we expect her to be wielding a windlass in no time! Big brother Alex is prepped and ready for training to begin ;) As you would expect we will be taking the next month or so to get to know each other so admin activities for Bywater will be minimal, but if you need to contact us for any reason do drop us an email or phone call as we will still be open for queries or enquiries.'

Hotelboat owners return after 35 years!

Tranquil Rose is a well-known wide-beam Hotel Boat which is now owned by James Scowen and operates on the southern waterway network. She was however originally built on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Burton-on-Trent for original owners David & June Tebbett in 1973. Based at Burton, they ran her on the East Midlands and North East rivers and canals until selling the business in 1981.

They hadn’t seen her since then until, in July this year, they booked a holiday aboard with James: Giving them the opportunity to cruise the on the Kennet & Avon Canal from Bristol to Pewsey. David Tebbett said “It was wonderful to see Tranquil Rose again, this time as passengers, and to be waited on for the first time”.  
Thanks to Harry Arnold and Waterway Images for this report.

Hotel Boat on the tidal River Thames!

Hotel Boat Kailani is now the only Hotel Boat authorised by PLA to cruise the Tidal Thames from Limehouse through central London to Teddington. We have had to do some alterations to the boat to get approval from the Port of London Authority but passed in May and had our first transit with guests aboard, an experience for our guests they said they would never forget.

We left Limehouse and headed up stream toward Tower Bridge, what a sight! The waves splashed against the side of the boat, it got a little rough in places but was well worth the buffeting around, and Kailani handled it well. Through Tower Bridge – what an experience! The majestic towers beckoned, everyone gasped as we passed under the bridge. “It looks big from here” said Gordon. The river seemed to calm a little once past the Tower. We then passed HMS Belfast, what a real treat. Then on to London Bridge. In the distance we could see The Shard, St Pauls Cathedral and many other great London sights. Millennium Bridge was packed with onlookers in the afternoon sunshine and we wonder how many photographs of us were taken. 

The London Eye could be seen for quite a while, then Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. More gasps at the clock chimed half past two. We only whispered as we passed MI6 Headquarters. We didn’t want anyone to hear! Battersea Power Station looks different due to the building construction works, then we saw Craven Cottage, home to Fulham FC.

The further upstream we went the quieter it became. The course of the boat race between Mortlake and Putney seemed longer from our perspective and of course no crowds, so much quieter. We reached the final stretch from Brentford to Teddington, part of the river we have travelled many times. Our LKE (Local Knowledge Expert) Craig left us at Teddington and said he would look forward to seeing us next time. For the next few evenings, guests and crew could not stop talking about the experience and delights seen. Too many sights to mention, so much construction work going on throughout the Capital, and we are just looking forward to doing it again. Will the journey get boring? Never!! Visit our Website