on 10 Apr 2023
From boutique charter schooners in Indonesia to luxurious megayachts plying the world's top cruising spots, these are the most indulgent hotel yachts from around the globe.
We all have our favourite hotel brands, and many invest heavily in maintaining loyalty within an increasingly competitive industry. Now, an exciting series of hotel-branded yachts join an existing global flotilla of vessels through which hotel and resort brands extend the extravagances of the luxury hospitality experience, taking the finer things for which they are known to new – often remote – destinations to retain that all-important allegiance. Here are some of our favourite hotel yachts, barges, and megayachts.
One of the most exciting new announcements is Aman Resorts & Hotels’ Project Sama, a 182-metre (600-foot) luxury yacht set to launch in 2025. Designed in partnership with Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design, the vessel will have 50 suites, each with a private balcony, and a range of culinary options, including international dining outlets, a club and a lounge. Aman fans will also discover a signature spa, complete with a Japanese garden, and two helipads, while the expansive Beach Club will offer passengers direct access to the water at the stern of the yacht.
However, Project Sama isn’t Aman’s first foray onto the water. The hotel group also has the Amandira, a traditional phinisi-styled motor yacht with five spacious cabins. The twin-masted Amandira was custom designed and then handcrafted from local hardwoods by Konjo artisans in Indonesia and offers guests a unique way to link two of the hotel group’s properties in the country: Amankila on Bali’s east coast, and Amanwana, a tented camp on Moyo Island off the coast of Sumbawa. The vessel is available for charter and plies the waters of Raja Ampat, Komodo and Sumba throughout the year.
The creation of one of the world’s leading hospitality companies, Belmond, which counts among its properties Copacabana Palace, and Splendido Mare, the recently launched Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, takes guests on a cinematic and highly personalised journey of France’s Champagne region. Featuring three glamorous cabins with marble ensuite facilities, an indoor salon with a champagne bar, and an extensive outdoor deck, guests can enjoy the finer things in life as the boat glides along the region’s canals, unveiling exquisite views from a unique vantage point.
Designed by Christophe Poyet and Emil Humbert of Humbert & Poyet, Coquelicot’s interiors capture the essence of the region, with local fabrics in earthy tones and raw materials honouring Champagne’s agricultural heritage, while fluted walls, decadent interiors and pieces of art pay homage to the land’s glorious present. The barge’s social hub is the top deck, with its twin lounges, open kitchen and shaded dining area, where, in collaboration with champagne house Maison Ruinart, guests are treated to a private tasting lunch by Coquelicot’s head chef and Maison Ruinart’s chef-in-residence Valérie Radou, representing the first time the Maison’s chef has cooked a private ‘four hands’ lunch outside the winery.
The Ritz-Carlton brand was the first to take hotel yachts to new levels with the launch of its first vessel in The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection in 2022, Evrima. Envisioned to seamlessly blend the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton resorts with the casual freedom of a yachting vacation, Evrima, the first of three commissioned custom-built yachts, is already plying the waters of Europe, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, stopping at intimate and signature ports of call, including traditional yachting destinations like Mykonos, Saint-Tropez, and St. Barts on itineraries of seven to 10 nights.
Evrima measures 190 metres and can accommodate up to 298 passengers with one of the highest staff-to-space ratios at sea. The yacht’s 149 suites include several innovative two-story loft suites, while all rooms feature a private terrace, floor-to-ceiling windows, and luxurious amenities like king beds, double vanity bathrooms, and high thread count linens. Guests also have access to a curated menu of ESPA and 111SKIN spa treatments; watersports from the yacht’s marina; an infinity pool, and a fitness studio, while dining options include locally-inspired creations in The Evrima Room, creative interpretations of Southeast Asian cuisine at Talaat Nam; and S.E.A., a speciality restaurant designed by chef Sven Elverfeld of three Michelin-starred Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg.
The newest hotel-branded yacht announcement, the Four Seasons Yacht has been designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden for its 2025 launch. At 207 metres long, the luxury ‘yacht liner’ will feature 14 decks and 95 suites, including a stunning four-level penthouse. Each guest space will boast floor-to-ceiling windows providing unobstructed natural light and access to expansive terraces. Inspired by the Christina O, the legendary yacht owned by Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, and Four Seasons’ Surf Club, Miami Beach, the Four Seasons Yacht is currently being built by shipbuilders Fincantieri and will boast truly timeless sophistication with a curvaceous and elegant architecture.
Inspired by Christina O’s generous and beautifully furnished aft pool deck, the new Four Seasons Yacht will feature a 20-metre-long pool with a surrounding deck located at the very aft of the vessel, creating a space that’s perfect for both privacy and socialising and which will double as a stage for catwalks, live music, and events. The Christina O was best recognised for her large and iconic funnel and while the Four Seasons Yacht’s funnel has been designed and equipped to minimise emissions, the space has been used to create the sublime Funnel Suite, with 892sqm of combined indoor and outdoor space distributed over four levels. The suite is also accessible, directly and privately, from a tender platform at water level.
Another spectacular design feature onboard is the port-to-starboard transversal marina. Not only is this dual marina a unique engineering masterpiece, but its terraced design also enables guests to enjoy the sea first-hand, with immediate access to water activities, and to “sea limousine” transfers to shore. It can also be transformed into an exclusive dining experience.
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
Cruising the mighty Nile, The Oberoi Philae is a 22-cabin river vessel operated by Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Elegant and contemporary, the river cruiser boasts expansive sun decks, perfect for early morning vistas of Egypt’s riverscape, plus a main and poolside restaurant, cigar lounge, and an intimate spa. The ship offers four and six-day itineraries on the river between Aswan and Luxor, with rooms and suites boasting king-size beds, floor-to-ceiling windows and, in the case of terrace suites, outdoor Jacuzzis.
Intrepid cruisers can explore Thailand’s former capital with Anantara’s two-century-old and beautifully-restored teak rice barges. Anantara’s Loy Pela Voyages offers Bangkok visitors the chance to ply the waters of the Chao Phraya River north to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya on two-night, three-day itineraries aboard the two-cabin private charter vessel Anantara Dream or the four-cabin cruiser Anantara Song. Each features spacious upper deck areas with al fresco dining, air-conditioned staterooms, and a full crew to ensure plenty of pampering on the journey back in time.
Anantara Layan Phuket Resort in Thailand also has a luxury yacht, The Major Affair. The yacht is a 90-foot Sunseeker with four luxurious cabins with which guests can explore the region’s hidden beaches and islands and dive into crystal waters or drop anchor in a quiet cove for a barbecue on the beach. At 28 metres, this Sunseeker 90 was designed to maximise outdoor space; the flybridge includes a bar and guests can sunbathe, enjoy a massage or dine in one of two dining areas on the large deck. The Major Affair is available for private bespoke charters with trips beginning at 9.30 am and returning home around 4.30 pm.
Another newly announced arrival to the hotel yacht scene, Orient Express, part of the Accor hospitality group, will launch the 220-metre Orient Express Silenseas in 2026. Set to be the world’s largest sailing ship, Orient Express Silenseas is being developed by shipbuilders Chantiers de l’Atlantique and will offer unparalleled service and refined spaces reminiscent of the golden age of ocean cruising.
With interiors by architect Maxime d’Angeac and exterior lines by Nantes-based Stirling Design International, the 22,300-ton UMS Orient Express Silenseas – the first of two ships planned – will feature 54 suites measuring on average 70sqm, including a monumental 1,415 sqm Presidential Suite with a 530sqm private terrace. Cruisers will also discover two swimming pools, two restaurants, and a speakeasy bar.
Three ‘SolidSail’ rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500sqm each will be hoisted on a balestron rig, with three tilting masts reaching more than 100 metres high, ensuring up to 100 per cent of the propulsion in suitable weather conditions. The sails will be paired with state-of-the-art engines running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) with plans to use green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.
Renowned for its luxurious and contemporary hotels and resorts, Alila also operates the Alila Purnama, a beautifully constructed twin-masted Indonesian phinisi schooner designed in the style used by Indonesia’s traditional Bugis traders. The 45.72-metre (150-foot) Alila Purnama, launched in 2002, is a meeting of worlds. There’s a 14-strong crew of dive guides, chefs, stewards and deckhands that cater to guests staying in five spacious and beautifully-appointed guest rooms, including a penthouse at the stern with a soak tub and its own balcony. The yacht also features a full dive set-up, which comes in handy in the likes of Komodo, Raja Ampat and Flores, where the Purnama sails, and a galley that serves fine dining extravaganzas with plenty of touches of Indonesia.
From the gleaming teak decks to the 400 thread-count linens and from the mother-of-pearl tiled showers to the colourful welcome cocktails served on return from each day’s adventure, the Alila Purnama, which offers week-long seasonal cruises throughout eastern Indonesia, personifies remote luxury to perfection.
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