How can luxury possibly work on a hotel barge?

|Hotel Barge Roi Soleil Canal du Midi

(Or even fit under this bridge?)

Take an ex-commercial Dutch or Fressinet barge, or build a brand new one.
You’ll need to fit spacious cabins, with twin or double beds, hanging and storage space, a writing desk and chairs.

Each will have an ensuite bathroom, with electrically operated toilets, a walk-in shower or a bath, a heated towel rail and opening windows. In contemporary style like this –

Hotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

Hotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

Or traditional style –


Fleur de Lys Burgundy

Fleur de Lys Burgundy

Next, create a saloon that’s light and airy, cool and shady, or snug and warm for chillier nights. Depending on the style of your barge, it may have panoramic views over the countryside and light streaming in from above as well.

Hotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

Hotel barge Finesse Burgundy

|Hotel Barge Roi Soleil Canal du Midi

Your five star barge will have central heating and air-conditioning, individually controlled in every cabin, and even a real fireplace for extra cosiness.

Your fitments will be of the highest finish and kept spotless; all furnishings of the best quality for appearance and comfort.

And then, a bar perhaps and a beautifully dressed dining table for sumptuous suppers; and another, less formal dining table on deck, for taking breakfast, a light lunch or dining al fresco.

Hotel Barge Esperance Canal du MidiHotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

And whilst we’re on deck, let’s have some comfy seating and loungers, with parasol-shaded views over the countryside, and perhaps even a pool or spa tub.

Hotel Barge Renaissance Canal du MidiHotel Barge Esperance Canal du Midi

Of course, you’ll need a galley and a great chef to provide delicious meals, and perhaps even French cookery demonstrations –

Hotel Barge Enchante Canal du midiHotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

Hotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

If your barge is large enough, even a 3 decker, you might have a lift, a gym, a small study, a library…

You’ll cruise for half the day, relaxed, unhurried whilst the crew attends to the cabins, the business of locking, the fresh-produce shopping and the preparation of meals.

For the remaining hours, you’ve planned well-prepared optional tours for your guests in your private luxury, air-conditioned vehicle, returning for delicious sun-downers aboard before supper.

La Nouvelle Etoile Alsace

And more than all of these wonderful ingredients, your 5 star barge cruise vacation will deliver good old-fashioned customer service; friendly but not over-familiar, attentive but not intrusive, organised but not military-style, flexible but not complacent.

Fleur de Lys Burgundy

It’s all about attention to detail.