The world’s most spectacular floating hotels

CNN  — 

Ever wanted to sleep amongst manta rays inside the world’s largest aquarium? How about unwinding in a floating sauna in a Swedish archipelago of 10,000 islands?

As hotels compete to create ever more awe-inspiring and Instagram-worthy spaces, some architects are turning their engineering focus to building on water.

Situated in prime locations around the world, these nine floating hotels are either permanently docked on water, wholly mobile or partly submerged below sea level and make a most interesting place to stay:

1. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

Taj Lake Palace: As loved by Roger Moore-era James Bond.

Floating like a huge spectral white mansion in the middle of an Indian lake, it’s easy to see why this palace was chosen as a backdrop for the 1983 James Bond film “Octopussy.”

Its history is as seductive as the sights it offers. Prince Maharana Jagat Singh II built the hotel in 1746 as a pleasure palace, legend has it, for hosting his dalliances with beautiful young women. It was restored to its opulent former glory in the 1970s.

Guests are greeted with champagne as they arrive via private jetty, while attendants wait with embroidered umbrellas to escort them indoors. There are 66 rooms and 17 suites, all with views of the lake.

Inside, there are plush pillow-strewn sofas, along with exotic paintings, carved white marble terraces, a stunning courtyard and spa. Its chefs blend the ancient cooking techniques of royal cuisines with signature local dishes.

All that extravagance not enough? The hotel can arrange special sightseeing tours around Udaipur city in one of its effortlessly cool vintage cars, including a 1948 Jaguar.

Taj Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, 5 Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India; +91 (0) 294 242 8800

2. Manta Resort, Tanzania

Built on the little-known Pemba Island off Tanzania and Zanzibar’s mainland, Manta Resort boasts many eye-popping details but none more breathtaking than its Underwater Room.

Designed by Swedish company Genberg Underwater Hotels, the room was seven years in the making and is a fol