If you're after off-grid luxury, this new houseboat may float your boat
A new floating home combines the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) penchant for the finer things in life with Dutch maritime engineering expertise. The Waterlovt is aimed at providing its owners with all the bells and whistles of a luxury apartment, the serenity and freedom of a waterborne lifestyle and the autonomy of off-grid living.
The Waterlovt follows in the footsteps of the Floating Seahorse and its premium Signature Edition, a fleet of which are planned for the Heart of Europe development at The World in Dubai. Like them, the Waterlovt offers a high-end floating residence for high-end individuals, but they are to be marketed 150 km (93 mi) south in Abu Dhabi.
The idea for the Waterlovt was conceived just over a year ago by Dutch entrepreneur Berend Lens van Rijn while he was was in the costly process of finding an apartment to rent. "That was when I started thinking about luxury living on the water and also when I decided to introduce this idea in Abu Dhabi," explains Lens van Rijn.
Lens van Rijn describes the Waterlovt as "taking the concept of a houseboat to a whole new level" and says it is designed to change how people can live on the water. There's no engine on board, so it needs to be towed into position, but it's unlikely these are the sort of digs you're going to want to be moving around a great deal. As well as providing plush living quarters, the Waterlovt is built with circular principles in mind, using modular components and natural materials that can be easily recycled, and can be kitted out to operate entirely self sufficiently.
The craft is based on a barge structure and can be tailored to the requirements and desires of the customer. To begin, there there are four variants. The Waterlovt 90 measures 22 x 8.9 m (72 x 29 ft) and has an internal area of 90 sq m (969 sq ft), accommodating two bedrooms. The Waterlovt 120 also houses two bedrooms, but is a little larger at 26.8 x 8.9 m (88 x 29 ft) and with 120 sq m (1,292 sq ft) of internal space.
The Waterlovt 180 uses the smaller base of 22 x 8.9 m (72 x 29 ft), but has 180 sq m (1,938 sq ft) of internal space and can accommodate two to four bedrooms. Finally, the Waterlovt 240 measures 26.8 x 8.9 m (88 x 29 ft) and has 240 sq m (2,583 sq ft) of internal space that accommodates four bedrooms.
Different solar power systems can be installed, depending on what is required. These include a system that allows the Waterlovt to be off-grid during the day only, or a system with battery packs and a stand-by whisper generator that allows for fully self-sufficient 24-hour operation. All the units are supplied with a connection that allows them to be hooked up to a mainland power supply.
The off-grid credentials of the Waterlovt can be furthered with a desalination system that processes seawater using double-membrane reverse osmosis and ultraviolet sterilization to make it safe to drink. The system can produce 30 l (6.6 gal) of drinkable water an hour and has a storage capacity of 300 l (66 gal). In addition, a sewage treatment unit can be installed to make wastewater safe to discharge into open water, and a digester can be installed to generate power using organic waste.
There are a variety of features that are aimed at helping to keep the Waterlovt temperate, including smart glass that darkens in sunlight, air conditioning that is adapted for the area in which the Waterlovt will be located and designed to work optimally in combination with solar power and battery packs, and a floor with ventilation and heat ducts that provide cooling and heating capabilities.
Lighting controls and a power supply monitor are also installed, with additional home automation features able to be added as required. Entertainment systems including home cinema, satellite TV and audio systems with streaming music services can be customized and fitted as the customer requires.
The Waterlovts are said to be manufactured to the highest industry safety standards for houseboats in the Netherlands. Safety features include automatic leak detection that is linked to the pumps and detection alarms for smoke and carbon monoxide.
The first order for 20 houseboats is currently being negotiated. Prices vary depending on location and, in true big ticket fashion, are "available on request."