Bert’s Barges: a water bed (and breakfast) with a difference

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Dust off the cobwebs courtesy of a new kind of hotel – or ‘boatel’ – from Bert’s Barges, situated in a thriving part of the capital

With its sleek, matt black exterior and flattened rooftop terrace, Bert’s Barges’ first vessel – the 15-metre-long Lyris – is fast-gaining the attention of east London’s design-conscious entrepreneur community.

Moored on the Regent’s Canal between vibrant Hackney and the sprawling serenity of Victoria Park, the made-to-order steel-framed barge is the first in a series of ‘boutique boatels’ Bert’s Barges has planned for Britain’s urban waterways. York and Bristol are in the pipeline, with Little Venice to the west of the capital also in the offing.

It is the brainchild of Lee and Amelia Thornley. The couple own specialist tile reclamation business Bert & May and have also won plaudits for transforming a rundown farmhouse into the atmospheric Casa La Siesta, near Vejer de la Frontera in Andalucía.

Their eye for design is no less formidable here, capitalising on the Lyris’s three-metre width with a light and airy – but fully insulated – vintage Scandinavian interior, including hardwood floor and fully fitted marble-topped kitchen. Topping it off are a wood-burning stove, large double bedroom and walk-in bathroom with power shower.

It’s an innovative way to enjoy a break in a location that has become increasingly desirable, with an abundance of independent restaurants, bars and shops within strolling distance.

Saturday mornings at Broadway Market, for instance, have become a must-visit destination for food lovers, while a lazy brunch beside the lake at the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park is not to be missed.

The emerging restaurant scene of Bethnal Green – including Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde’s Mission – is winning plaudits, while gin and vodka lovers will be as enamoured by the menu at East London Liquor Company as they’ll be by the radiant copper stills. And with your home-away-from-home safely moored (and not going anywhere) you could even take a bottle back with you.

Find out more about Bert’s Barges

Book your stay at Bert’s Barges here.

Follow @BertandMay

About author

Richard Dunnett

Richard Dunnett

Richard Dunnett is an associate editor who writes about entrepreneurs, SMEs, FTSE 100 corporations, technology, manufacturing, media and sustainability.

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