In October, Sweden got its first floating hotel, a 46-room, boutique affair called Salt & Sill. The eco-minded proprietors chose the watery location, off a small fishing island near Gothenburg, simply because they didn't want to impact the land. But in low-lying coastal regions plagued by rising sea levels, a floating hotel is also a flat-out saavy business move.
Nearby countries such as the Netherlands are already trying to prevent being flooded out by global warming. (And Scandinavia's coast is one of the best protected in the world.) But not every country has been so prescient—and waterfront locations are still prime, even if the coastlines themselves are apt to change. What better way to protect a choice setting than a floating building? In fact Dutch architects are now exporting the idea as far away as Dubai, where land-reclaimation projects that create beach-front real estate are running into a shortage of raw materials. In Sweden, Salt & Sill might be a first, but you can expect the model to crop up elsewhere soon.