Top 10 Floating Inns

Sleep like a sailor―at least for a night or two.

Top 10 Floating Inns

David Keller

1. InnChanter, Hotsprings Cove, British Columbia
British Columbia boasts several floating inns. Coastal Living readers learned in March 2004 about the rustic luxury of Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa's 16-room Floating Resort at Quait Bay (888/333-5405 or wildretreat.com). Nearby, also off Vancouver Island, rests the surprisingly elegant InnChanter, an 86-foot, 1920s-vintage wooden workboat lovingly converted into a six-room bed-and-breakfast inn. In the salon, polished paneling reflects the glow of a fire in the fireplace. Guest rooms are small but comfortable; 250/670-1149 or innchanter.com.

2. Key West Sailing Adventure, Key West, Florida
This experience comes closest to actually owning a sailing yacht―either a 44-foot Morgan or a 37-foot O'Day. Overnight guests can control their own itineraries by adding crewed sailing trips. The location in the heart of Key West means plenty of land-based entertainment choices as well; 305/295-2631 or keywestsailingadventure.com.

3. Southern Comfort, Charleston, South Carolina
A classic 61-foot Hatteras motor yacht, Southern Comfort dates from 1985, the last year Hatteras made interiors entirely of wood. Owners Ellie and Chris McIntire daringly play off the warm luster of the teak and mahogany with boldly patterned fabrics and bright colors. Amenities include air-conditioning, private baths for each of four staterooms, and an espresso machine. Southern comfort, indeed; 704/650-2620 or hometown.aol.com/motoryachtsoco.

4. Sea Suites, Saugatuck, Michigan
Every boat owner wants the same thing: a bigger boat. Sally Coder and Pete Morrison have progressed from a 24-foot pontoon vessel to a 38-foot cruiser to the Sea Suites, a 105-foot, custom houseboat that docks at this artsy town on Lake Michigan. Four large staterooms feature private baths, air-conditioning, TVs, even ceiling fans. The open top deck invites lounging in the hot tub; 269/426-0381 or www.seasuites.com.

5. Dockside Boat and Bed, Long Beach, California
Dockside guests get to sample the vagabond life aboard an oceangoing motor yacht. The half-dozen vessels available (when not at sea) reflect the distinctive tastes and travels of their owners. It's fun to learn about the boats' wanderings from the books and other clues left aboard; 562/436-3111 or boatandbed.com. Nearby looms the Queen Mary, the 1930s ocean liner that also offers overnight accommodations. But we suggest taking in the ship's faded glory via a tour or a visit to the still-chic Observation Bar; 562/435-3511 or queenmary.com.

 6. Newport Belle Bed & Breakfast, South Beach, Oregon
The Belle, a functional sternwheel riverboat, was built in 1993 specifically as a bed-and-breakfast. So it provides more space than most boats and lots of windows for gazing at the lovely Yaquina Bay Bridge and the marina―plus real bathrooms with showers. Polished woodwork, comfortable seating, and a nostalgic woodstove combine to make the second-deck Salon a wonderful refuge; 800/348-1922 or newportbelle.com.

7. Rachel B. Jackson, Bar Harbor, Maine
Daily public sails during the summer season show off the natural beauty of Frenchman's Bay as well as the boat itself, an exquisitely detailed re-creation of an 1890s coastal schooner. The boat-and-breakfast package starts with the regular sunset cruise. Then after discharging the rest of the passengers, the crew sails overnight guests to a secluded anchorage for a private getaway beneath the stars. Aromas of just-brewed coffee and fresh-baked bread constitute the morning's wakeup call; downeastsail.com.

8. SeaClusion, St. Augustine, Florida
Wide and heavy, SeaClusion won't set any speed records. On the other hand, her stability and ample room below decks make this 38-foot motor yacht, moored at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, a wonderful place to stay overnight. Teak paneling, air conditioning, and two bathrooms with unlimited water (via dock hookups) add to the comfort. The marina lies at the heart of St. Augustine's historic district, a block south of the elegant Bridge of Lions. Guests walk two blocks to the Casa de Solana Bed & Breakfast Inn for a hot breakfast buffet. They also share such other inn amenities as evening drinks, snacks, and desserts; 888/796-0980 or bed-boat-st-augustine.com.

9. Schooner Woodwind, Annapolis, Maryland
In sailing-mad Annapolis, it just seems natural to stay aboard a sailboat. The 74-foot Woodwind, a two-masted schooner, has offered boat-and-breakfast lodging since it was built in 1993. Unfortunately, guests can spend the night only on Saturdays, and only May through September. On the bright side, the package includes a two-hour sunset sail and a Continental breakfast served on deck; 410/263-8619 or schoonerwoodwind.com.

10. Papillon, Palacios, Texas
"It's an older boat with a lot of charm. We've sailed her thousands and thousands of miles," says Kathy Nichols fondly. So she and husband, Nick, decided to share their pride and joy by letting others enjoy some private time aboard Papillon, their 1977 Heritage sailboat. Guests at The Main Inn, Kathy and Nick's bed-and-breakfast, can opt to stay overnight on the 37-foot craft moored in the nearby harbor. The comings and goings of other pleasure boats and the sizable Palacios shrimping fleet provide continuous entertainment; 888/972-3408 or matagordalodging.com/MainInn.

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