Boston Developer Wants to Bring Floating Hotel to the City

A floating hotel could one day dock in Boston’s Seaport district. 

As part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the area, one developer has proposed bringing a cruise ship to port to become a permanent hotel on the water. 

"Flotel is a perfectly accurate description of it," said Brent Johnstone of the Boston Dockside Group. 

Along with a business partner, Johnstone plans to present the idea to the city as one option for the unused dock space behind the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, formally known as Dry Dock #4. For decades, the space has sat vacant and in disrepair. This year, the city has made it a priority for redevelopment. 

"We saw it as an untapped opportunity," Johnstone said, "We just want to make it an exciting place to go, an exciting place for people to get access to all parts of the waterfront." 

Under their proposal, a cruise ship with 300-500 hotel rooms would sit alongside the dock. On board, the public would find restaurants, bars, retail and entertainment. The rooftop deck would also include a swimming pool.

"We are happy that people are interested in this site," said Richard McGuinness of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. 

However, McGuinness expects the hotel will be one of many ideas presented to the city. Currently, they are waiting for the state to approve a master place for the location, after which they can begin the process of finding a developer and a plan. 

"We haven’t asked these questions for years. What is the potential for port growth in Massachusetts, the port of Boston? And what opportunities does this land provide for port growth?" asked McGuinness. 

In terms of growth, Johnstone believes his project would help the city by offering another option for accommodations, which can sometimes be limited. The plan also includes a green space for public use and access. 

"This is something unique in the water that allows you to use much more space for the public," said Johnstone. "It provides a little more vibrancy to the area." 

The city hopes to begin seeking proposals within the next few months.

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