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Check in, float on

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No more paying extra for a room with a view: Floating hotels promise to be a new way to experience the world, and the scenery’s topnotch from every window.

Conceived by a Russian architectural firm, the Ark Hotel is slated to be a floating biosphere designed to generate heat and energy with natural light and wind turbines. A cross between an island and a cruise ship in a port, the Ark could potentially be permanent off-shore lodging in locations that can’t support hotels on land. Guests will awaken to ocean views, surrounded by lush greenery decorating the room; the plants will help clean the air, as well as provide fodder for the chefs preparing feasts using the on-board vegetation.

While travelers wait for the Ark Hotel to take shape, another buoyant concept involves a floating hotel that actually changes shape. The MORPHotel’s vertebrae design stabilizes the craft by shape-shifting to its watery environment; the hotel’s ability to flex helps it to navigate high seas and squeeze into ports today’s massive cruise ships can’t reach. Plus, guests are less likely to feel seasick-inducing swells.

Resembling a space-age craft, the one-level hotel spreads out on the surface of the sea, and each room is a detachable unit, allowing guests to literally take their suite for a sail. Gianluca Santosuosso, the Australian-based architect behind the MORPHotel, says, “The structure will constantly travel the world, and each major city will have a port for it.” When not sailing their rooms on the seven seas, guests can lounge at the pool, hit the gym or taste local fare, cooked onsite using food from the latest port. –Tara Lynne Groth

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