13 of the World’s Best Riverside Hotels

Fri, 13 September 2019

It’s been scientifically proven that being by water can put us in a mildly meditative state. With this in mind, we’ve traced some of the world’s greatest rivers across cities, deserts and mountains and found some stand-out hotels where you can stay close by. Swim beside remote retreats, fish for your dinner or simply admire sparkling views from the banksides.

Waterfront retreats making a splash

The Hoxton Williamsburg Hudson River, New York, US

The first stateside outpost of the Hoxton, this offbeat design hotel is set in the former Rosenwach water tower factory. It fuses an industrial vibe – raw concrete, brass details, plush velvets – with a community-focused ethos; locally made ceramics populate the shelves, books are curated by Williamsburg residents and bespoke bed linens are designed by Brooklyn studio Dusen Dusen. Rub shoulders with a creative crowd in the rooftop bar which has stellar views across the Hudson River to Manhattan – and great cocktails to boot.

Sea Containers London River Thames, London, UK

Mere minutes by foot from the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market and the Southbank Centre, this riverside hotel (formerly Mondrian London) puts guests right on the capital’s historic artery – make sure to book a Thames-facing room. Thanks to designer Tom Dixon, the hotel’s brutalist bones vibe with all the glamour and drama of the golden age of transatlantic travel – a copper hull serves as the reception desk. Hunker down with a good film at the in-house Curzon cinema before sipping on craft cocktails at Lyaness – try the “snap crackle bellini” – or soaking up cityscape panoramas from rooftop bar 12th Knot.

  • +44 20 3747 1000
  • Go to Website
  • 20 Upper Ground
    South Bank
    SE1 9PD

The Fife Arms Clunie River, Edinburgh, UK

Hailed as one of Scotland’s hottest hotels, this former coaching inn in the Cairngorms is a quirky pastiche of wry Victoriana, local legend and eclectic art – think: a life-size waxwork of Queen Victoria and a Steinway piano that plays itself. This is, after all, the project of art world power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth, and the collection here features around 14,000 pieces. After settling into your individually designed guest room, make your way to the restaurant which pays homage to the river which runs past the hotel – the cubistoid-style Clunie River Mural serves as a backdrop to decadent Highland feasts.

  • +44 1339 720200
  • Go to Website
  • Mar Road
    AB35 5YN

Aman Venice Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

Probably best known as the venue used for George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding, this 16th-century palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal is the kind of fairy-tale place where old-master frescoes, a private jetty and peaceful manicured gardens come as standard. Despite the gilded rococo detailing and dripping Murano chandeliers of this grandiose mansion, there’s a certain laid-back elegance to Aman Venice. Step out and you’re a stone’s throw from the Rialto Bridge, and on prime territory for getting lost among the winding canals.

  • +39 041 270 7333
  • Go to Website
  • Palazzo Papadopoli
    Calle Tiepolo 1364
    Sestiere San Polo
    Venezia 30125

Sir Adam IJ River, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Overlooking the IJ River, Sir Adam occupies the first eight floors of the A’DAM Tower, a buzzy 70s skyscraper home to a revolving restaurant, observation deck, rooftop swing (try it) and Madam, Amsterdam’s highest nightclub. Music is at the heart of the hotel (guitar manufacturer Gibson is a neighbour), with a library dedicated to great tunes and record players in the 108 design-forward rooms. Stay here and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the city’s creative movers and shakers. Work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym or borrow a hotel bike to explore the surrounding Noord district before grabbing a burger from The Butcher Social Club and finishing the evening in The Hub with drinks and arcade machines.

  • +31 20 215 9510
  • Go to Website
  • Overhoeksplein 7
    1031 KS

Gaïa Riverlodge Privasson River, Cayo District, Belize

It’s small wonder that this eco-minimalist lodge is named after Mother Earth. Set amid the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Gaïa is soundtracked by the Five Sisters waterfalls. Its cabanas are a symphony of native Belizean hardwoods, Mexican tiles and local textiles – book the Waterfall View Suite for total riverside immersion. Take a dip in a spring-water pool or the Privasson River, beside which hammocks sway in the shade of thatch-roofed palapas. Borrow a mountain bike, take excursions to Mayan sites or reap botanical beauty benefits in the Jungle Spa. Come evening, nab a table overlooking the jungle canopy at Gaïa Restaurant, where South American dishes incorporate organic produce grown on site.

  • +11 501 834 4005
  • Go to Website
  • Gaïa Riverlodge
    Mountain Pine Ridge
    PO Box 173
    San Ignacio

Dunton River Camp Dolores River, Colorado, US

Open from June to mid-October, this cattle ranch-turned-river camp is set across an evergreen forest, sprawling meadowland and a private stretch of the Dolores River. While days here are best spent exploring the San Juan Mountains or trout fishing, this is no Scouts’ getaway. Eight tents are kitted out with stoves, bathtubs and king-sized beds. Wash off the Wild West in the spa tent and riverside sauna or stretch out in the yoga tent before heading to the cosy 19th-century farmhouse for hearty, homegrown fare. Post-dinner, gravitate to the outdoor fire pit to trade stories with fellow pioneers over s’mores and bourbon.

  • +1 877 288 9922
  • Go to Website
  • Dunton River Camp
    50014 Co Road 38
    CO 81323

Bullo River Station Bullo River, East Kimberley, Australia

Bullo River Station is far from your typical hotel. Set across 500,000 acres of the Northern Territory, it’s a working cattle station and sustainable homestead that invites guests to experience the pioneering spirit of the outback – albeit with a touch of luxury. Expect pristine bushland carved with gorges and threaded by the Victoria and Bullo rivers. After days spent mustering cattle, horse riding and wildlife spotting, you’ll deserve a dip in Marlee’s swimming hole (the property’s only crocodile-free bathing spot), and an alfresco barbecue featuring farm-fresh beef, barramundi from the river and a bounty of local produce.

  • +61 8 9168 7375
  • Go to Website
  • 9870 Victoria Highway

An Lâm Retreats Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

On the banks of the Saigon River – a 15-minute speedboat ride from downtown Saigon – this hotel is an antidote to Vietnam’s most frenetic city. Beautifully designed suites and villas (opt for one with a private plunge pool or river-facing deck) bask in tropical gardens studded with frangipani trees and Khmer sculptures. Dine on Vietnamese-French fusion fare on the riverfront terrace of the Tram Dining Room as boats amble past – making sure to douse yourself in mosquito repellent first.

  • +84 274 3785 555
  • Go to Website
  • 21/4 Trung Street
    Vĩnh Phú
    Thuận An
    Bình Dương
    Ho Chi Minh City

Belmond Las Casitas Colca River, Yanque, Peru

Burrowed in one of the world’s deepest canyons, Belmond Las Casitas spills over 11 hectares by the Colca River. Bedecked in natural materials, the 20 casitas each enjoy indoor-outdoor showers and heated plunge pools on the veranda, ideal for soaking up the breathtaking surrounds. Relax with Andean-inspired treatments in the Samay Spa or enjoy the bounty of the hotel’s farm and vegetable garden in Curiña restaurant – guests are even invited to catch their own fish from the trout pond. Hike to pre-Inca colcas (granaries) hewn into cliffs above the river, explore on horseback, watch magnificent birds soar on rising thermals at Condor Cross or take an excursion to the town of Chivay, known for its regional market.

  • +51 943 892 845
  • Go to Website
  • Parque Curiña s/n
    Desvío carretera Yanque a

Correntoso Lake & River Hotel Correntoso River, Argentina

Bordering both the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake and the mouth of the Correntoso River in Argentina’s spectacular Lake District, this turn-of-the-century Patagonian retreat is a must for those in search of nature, adventure and some R&R. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, ideal for admiring snow-capped Andean mountains reflected in glassy waters. After days spent skiing, kayaking, mountain biking and the like, rejuvenate at the Herbal Hammam before dining waterside on asado (Argentine barbecue) and pisco sours at Puerto Correntoso restaurant.

  • +54 11 4803-0030
  • Go to Website
  • Ruta de los 7 lagos y Río Correntoso
    Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi
    Villa La Angostura

Sand River Masai Mara Sand River, Narok County, Kenya

On the banks of its eponymous river, close to the Tanzanian border, this private tented camp manages to immerse guests in the wild landscape while paying homage to the glamorous 20s. Game-spotting is the order of the day here; the Masai Mara National Reserve is known for its big cats including leopards, cheetahs and lions. Plan your visit in between July and August in line with the annual wildebeest migration – the camp sits on the route so guests can often watch animals crossing the Sand River from the comfort of their tent’s verandah.

  • +255 27 250 0630
  • Go to Website
  • Masai Mara National Reserve
    Masai Mara

COMO Uma Punakha Mo Chu River, Bhutan

Cradled in a snake-like bend of the Mo Chu River which courses through the Punakha valley, this intimate lodge serves as a gateway to the kingdom of Bhutan. Take in vistas across rice fields and orchards from the airy rooms and villas before embarking on a scenic heli-adventure or joining expert guides for an immersive cultural experience – the hotel offers a range of “Himalayan Explorer” packages. Holistic Ayurvedic therapies stand out at the COMO Shambhala spa while Bukhari restaurant serves traditional Bhutanese dishes with contemporary pizzazz.

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