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Hotelboats in the News!

New owners settle in on The Billet Hotel Boat

Jerry & Jackie Henderson took over The Billet Hotel Boat in late 2018 from the original owners Peter and Lesley Smith. The concept adopted by Peter and Lesley has been continued by Jerry and Jackie, namely that the entire cruise is fully inclusive (all wines, beers, minerals & spirits) and a professional yet friendly atmosphere is encouraged throughout the cruise. 

Jerry and Jackie completely changed their lives as they gave up their jobs working for American-based companies when they saw an opportunity to combine their 2 passions – boating and cooking. They describe themselves as keen amateur cooks! Jerry and Jackie will help to point out many of the places of interest along the canals and rivers as well as some of the beautiful flora and fauna that can be encountered en route. High amongst these is the birdlife including Kingfishers, Red Kites, Herons, Swans and many more. 

Jackie says “The change from Corporate America to being self-employed and having to learn the ropes from scratch was a lot harder than anticipated but the payback we have enjoyed is being able to share the magnificent canals, rivers and some of the finest scenery that the English countryside has to offer with our guests. Last year the highlight for Jerry and I was the fabulous guests that we had on board. We were so lucky and very thankful to every one of them for making our first season such a treat for us.” 

Jerry and Jackie are now preparing for and looking forward to their second season as hosts aboard The Billet Hotel Boat. They look forward to welcoming you on board this year and being your hosts for that special cruise. Click to visit The Billet Hotelboat website.

2020 Hotelboat Cruises are going quickly!

Hotelboat cruises book up very quickly, many of last year's clients will have already snaffled their ideal 2020 holidays! But there are still vacancies so don't delay booking your cruise!

To see which cruises are available look at our 2020 Cruising Schedules pages. Then pick your choice 2020 cruise directly on the hotelboat company websites.

Hotelboat pioneer taking the Bywater tiller again

Stephen Rees Jones, who has been hotelboating for 50 years and set up Bywater Holidays many years ago, has been back helping out the current owners.

Steve has been helping Bywater's Rosie Cannon and Brian Skelton work their boats along the canals on several cruises this year, and keeping guests safe and happy with his expertise and his warm and cheerful personality. 

He set up the Bywater Company, which his daughter, Hanna, took as the name for the hotelboating company which Rosie and Brian bought from her and her partner 3 years ago. A photo of Steve bow hauling his boat is featured in the famous Precious Cargo book by Robert Smithett about the history of hotelboating, and that's him on the left above. 

Lady Teal gets Gold Award in her 10th season!

Lady Teal is Five Star Gold rated and we cannot believe we are about to start our tenth season. Somewhat over 9 years ago we were designing Lady Teal, coming up with the name and the concept and looking to leave our jobs. 

Over that time we have sailed from the west coast to the east many many times and passed through the Bingley Five rise too many times to recall.

But we continue to enjoy it and love welcoming guests back year after year. We have guests returning to us from all over the world and we love sharing the fabulous norther canal system with them Thank you everyone for making the last nine years such fun. - Nick and Gina

Kailani is first hotelboat to get Visit England Gold Award

Now in its 29th year Visit England Awards For Excellence is firmly established as representing the highest accolade in English Tourism. The winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are announced by Visit England each April.

Visit England stated "We are proud to announce that Kailani is the first Hotel Boat to receive one of the Visit England awards. The Gold Accolade was awarded to Kailani "Due to the quality of fittings, exceptional standard of housekeeping and feedback reviews on hospitality". "Hotel Boat Kailani continues to achieve the highest standards".

"The Gold Award compliments the five star rating awarded by Visit England since 2014 and recognises Gordon and Dorenda's dedication to guests on board Kailani. The Kailani brand remains at the forefront of Hotel Boats in UK. "

Click to visit Hotelboat Kailani's website.

New Faces at Bywater Hotelboats

Bywater Hotelboats Ltd have changed hands! The 2017 season saw John and Hanna, who set up the business, working closely with new owners Rosie Cannon and Brian Skelton, to pass on their knowledge of what makes the Bywater cruises extra-special. Armed with all that know how, Rosie, Brian and crew are setting off around the waterways of England and Wales. 

Rosie says "It’s been a steep learning curve and a far cry from their previous careers in teaching and IT, but it is well worth the hard work for the opportunity to share our wonderful canals with our guests. We all took the obligatory dip into the canal last year and hope to have a drier, but just as enjoyable and successful 2018. Don’t forget to say “Hi” if you see us pass by."

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.

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