From the French Riviera to the Virgin Islands, Luxury Defined explores several of the finest yachting destinations around the globe
This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s lifestyle blog, Luxury Defined.
Few modes of travel can rival the experience of cruising in a luxury yacht. Whether privately owned or chartered for a special occasion or vacation, these pleasure vessels give voyagers a sense of freedom and expansiveness that only travelling by sea can provide. The best luxury yachts are efficiently designed to maximize space and incorporate such desirable amenities as swimming pools, personal watercraft, satellite-enabled communication, private chefs, outdoor decks, cinemas, and even helicopter landing pads. But embarking on a richly accoutered private yacht is just the beginning of the adventure when the destination is one of the world’s best yachting locales.
Synonymous with chic shopping and high-class nightlife, the principality of Monaco is also known for the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix each spring and the Monaco Yacht Show each fall. During such high-profile events, Monaco’s port swells with impressive superyachts whose passengers enjoy incredible views of all the action. A walk through inviting, winding streets leads to intimate cafes, wine bars, boutiques, and other hidden gems frequented by locals.
Château Soligny is a Belle Époque jewel built circa 1872. Set within a landscaped park, the property has a dramatic hillside location in the Californie area of Cannes, with panoramic views spanning from the Lérins Islands to Cap d’Antibes and the Bay of Cannes, a destination for the world’s most glamorous superyachts.
Surely one of the most glamorous seaside destinations in Europe, the French Riviera offers it all, from the cosmopolitan glitz of Monte Carlo to the unspoiled beauty of Port-Cros. Ample sunshine drives visitors to Nice’s white sand beaches, and special events such as the Cannes Film Festival attract a who’s who of the international celebrity circuit. West along the coastline past Saint-Tropez, the island of Porquerolles provides a peaceful escape from the bustle of the mainland.
Surrounded by multiple seas dotted with thousands of islands, Greece has been a mariner’s paradise for millennia. From the natural beauty of its uninhabited isles to the beaches and cosmopolitan nightlife that have made Mykonos a global destination, there’s plenty to explore in this corner of southern Europe. One can sail to Crete, the largest island in Greece, for an archaeological exploration and enjoy a spectacular sunset from the upper deck while cruising to Santorini.
The capital of the US Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas, has a naturally deep harbor, making it the ideal port of call before exploring the neighboring islands of St. John, St. Croix, and the British Virgin Islands.
The naturally deep harbour, steady winds, and calm waters of St. Thomas make the island an ideal port of call while cruising the Caribbean on a luxury yacht. Upon arrival in Charlotte Amalie Harbor, the beauty of the island’s hilly topography becomes immediately apparent. On land, extravagant shopping and fine dining make for a memorable stay. The idyllic neighbouring islands of St. John and St. Croix are a haven for diving, snorkelling, kitesurfing, and other aquatic activities as well.
This classic Palm Beach mansion is in the exclusive Phipps Estates enclave, minutes from the historic Palm Beach Yacht Club. The lavish main residence, which is complemented by a separate two-bedroom guest house, four-car garage, pool and spa, is surrounded by lush gardens to ensure complete privacy.
Sailing has always been an intrinsic part of Palm Beach and its seaside heritage. Established in 1890, the Palm Beach Yacht Club and Marina is the city’s oldest business. Cruising in Palm Beach can mean a leisurely and scenic sail down the Intracoastal Waterway between the city and its natural barrier islands, or a more adventurous trip out on the open waters of the Atlantic. Because of its prime location in South Florida, Palm Beach is just a day’s sail from the islands of the Bahamas.
An impressive estate offering privacy, tranquillity, and enviable outdoor living, La Garibaldina is an idyllic contemporary retreat, superbly hidden in the highly desirable location of the Costa Smeralda, close to the marinas and beaches, and the village of San Pantaleo.
Sardinia’s Emerald Coast is a veritable playground for the international jet set, and its stunning scenery and luxury marinas draw yachters from all over. The marine grottoes of Cala Gonone and the intriguing rock formations of Capo Testa, shaped by centuries of sea winds, are favourite attractions. While the quaint towns of Carloforte and Castelsardo provide a rich palette of local color, the exclusive Yacht Club Costa Smeralda offers dining, a clubhouse, and spa services.
Bermuda’s Great Sound is a draw for weekend boaters and professional sailors alike. The island has hosted world-class sailing competitions throughout the years, including last year’s America’s Cup. The islands calm turquoise waters and protected coves are also ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Between March and November each year, the harbours in St. George’s and Hamilton parishes fill with racing yachts arriving to compete in regattas organized by Bermuda’s many sailing clubs. Last year, Bermuda’s turquoise waters hosted the world’s best sailing teams in legendary America’s Cup. Nearly any time of the year, yachts visit St. George’s, carrying leisure travellers who wish to soak up the sun and local culture, cruise through the island’s Great Sound, or perhaps search for one of the historic shipwrecks that dot the reefs around Bermuda’s perimeter.
Plaisance is a historic waterfront manor on famed Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, one of the world’s most celebrated nautical communities and former host city of the Americas Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. The estate’s prized setting, comprising formal gardens and 650 feet of private beachfront, provides breathtaking views extending all the way to Block Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
This historic city on Narragansett Bay was founded in the 1700s and soon became an important port. During the 19th century, Newport was a fashionable summer enclave for some of America’s wealthiest families. The Breakers, a seaside mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in the late 1890s, still stands today. Seafarers can take in views of Rhode Island’s rugged, rocky coastline, the Claiborne Pell suspension bridge, and Newport Harbor Lighthouse from the bay and then dock at the exclusive Forty 1° North marina for a full suite of luxury services.
In a bucolic setting with sweeping views of Polpis Harbor and Nantucket’s famed skyline, this waterfront estate is nestled on two contiguous lots totaling 12 private acres with direct water access via the Medouie Creek Association dock. The main house is complemented by several dwellings, a pool, spa, tennis court, walking trails, and carefully cultivated gardens.
Some 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the small island of Nantucket is a picture-postcard New England colony of windswept beaches, grassy bluffs, protected inlets, and quaint shingle cottages. From the late 18th until the early 19th century, this remote outpost in the Atlantic Ocean made its name, and its fortune (it was one of the most prosperous communities in North America), as the center of the whaling industry—famously portrayed in Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. Today, the whaleships have been replaced by superyachts, which fill Nantucket Harbor and the Boat Basin from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The island is also a draw for seasoned sailors, due to its challenging waters and celebrated annual regattas, including Figawi Race Weekend and Nantucket Race Week.