Floating House for Rent Sails Down London’s Thames

Oliver Libaw
·Managing Editor

Vacation house available. Two bedrooms, working bathroom, and a grass-covered garden with a doghouse and an apple tree.

Great views, but watch that first step.

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Airbnb launched a floating public relations stunt on the Thames River in London on Monday, and even though it’s a marketing ploy it’s still irresistibly charming.

“It’s Primrose Hill meets Pixar’s ‘Up,’” said James McClure, of Airbnb, referring to the exclusive and expensive London neighborhood and the much-loved animated movie.

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The project is a fully functional two-story house and hard floating down the famous waterway. It will bob through London for the next four days, hosting community events. Locals can also enter an Airbnb contest to win an overnight stay in the house.

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Airbnb launched the houseboat to celebrate the passage of the London’s Deregulation Act, which allows homeowners to rent out their places for up to 90 days a year.

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Not many of those London Airbnb rentals will be able to compare with the blue houseboat, however. The structure is filled with bright, modern (and retro-modern) touches, which will keep the space cheery even if it rains. (And it will rain. It’s London.)

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The Airbnb listing notes it comes with “essentials,” including shampoo, but forthrightly states that there’s no a/c or cable TV. The address is given as “Number 1, The Thames,” but good luck getting your mail delivered there.  

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“We basically wanted to build something like a real fairytale. Magic in the city. We wanted to create an experience inside a house that was totally unimaginable,” said Steve Tidball, who created the project with his brother, Nick.

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