AND HANNA REES-JONES BYWATER HOTELBOAT CRUISES - LUXURY CANAL HOLIDAYS
It could be said that Hanna has canal water running through her veins. Her parents owned and ran hotelboat pair Tsarina & Tsarevna for a number of years, up until she was born. She has no small pangs of guilt to know that it was her arrival which prompted them to move off the boats. As a toddler she could be found ‘helping’ her father run the horsedrawn trip boat Iona, on The Shropshire Union and as a teenager enjoyed regular family holidays afloat and a few stints as crew aboard hotelboat pair Snipe & Tauras.
It was whilst studying for their degrees at Oxford Brookes University that Hanna & John met, a mutual desire to live afloat quickly became apparent, as their eyes met across the pages of a boats for sale magazine, but was postponed when the opportunity to run a city centre wine bar in Oxford presented itself. In 2006, having spent a few weeks helping with the preparations for Bywater’s Horse Drawn boat, Sian, the idea of hotelboating took hold. With the help of ex-hotelboat operator and good friend, Dave Dare, Bywater Hotelboat Cruises was born. Dave’s boat Rose served as motor for 3 seasons and was joined by newly commissioned butty, Karnataka for 2008 and eventually replaced by new motor, Kerala for 2010.
In 2011 they were joined by their youngest member of crew, Alex, who's arrival prompted a few changes to the on board crew line up. Hanna is now based at their home in Banbury and can be found at the end of the telephone line or email, while the galley is capably taken care of by crew girl and cook Debbie who has been with the boats since 2012. John continues to skipper and Hanna and Alex can often be seen waving enthusiastically as the boats arrive at an end destination or at various points along the way. They both continue to be passionate about the way they boat, although Hanna is much more of a backseat driver these days, pair boating requires traditional skills which are rarely seen on today’s canals. They and their crew love sharing this unique way of life with guests and endeavour to carry out all aspects of the cruises to the best of their abilities. Whether finishing off a four course feast with homemade peppermint creams, bow hauling the butty through grooves worn in cast iron bridges by centuries of boaters doing the same or providing that nightly hot water bottle for those with cold feet, they enjoy looking after the small things that make the difference to your holiday.