Docking Your Yacht in Style
4 under-the-radar spots to park your boat
For a yacht, a port of call can be so much more than simply a place to park. These seaside stops are often destinations in their own right, with high-end harbors, exclusive shops, vibrant nightlife, and fine dining to match the grandeur of the vessel itself.
While you’re sailing the open seas, chart your course to one of the following four lesser-known—yet no less luxurious—locales around the world where the experience on land can be as thrilling as it is at sea.
Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
Situated along the coast of Abu Dhabi on Yas Island some 25 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai, Yas Marina was recently awarded 5 Gold Anchor status by by the U.K.-based The Yacht Harbour Association.
“Hosting many of the largest yachts in the world, plus exclusive nightclubs and a winning atmosphere, the marina makes people come back year after year,” said Sophie Knight, marketing manager for Yas Marina.
The leading attraction of Yas Marina is the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and numerous other motorsport events and experiences. “For a sports enthusiast, or someone who appreciates majestic track vehicles as much as those on the water, it’s a coliseum of unmissable entertainment and drama,” she said.
Restaurants range from the formal-dining spot Cipriani to casual sports bars like Stars ‘N’ Bars. The marina also has a state-of-the-art fitness facility, extreme water sports like wakeboarding, wake surfing, and kitesurfing, as well as a sailing academy and seaplane adventures.
Thrill seekers and car enthusiasts alike can take a turn or two on Ferrari World’s more than 20 rides and attractions in the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park.
If water adventure is more your speed, Yas Waterworld boasts 43 rides and attractions such as a 780-foot-long hydromagnetic-powered, six-person tornado water slide, and Bubble’s Barrel, the world’s largest surfable sheet wave with waves clocking in at almost 10-feet high. Located on the western shores of the Island is Yas Links Abu Dhabi, an award-winning golf course.
And shopping comes second nature here by way of the Yas Mall, the U.A.E.’s second largest shopping center.
Amenities: Marine facilities here include 24-hour berthing assistance, onsite management, 24-hour onsite security, freshwater and shore power facilities (for boats up to 490 feet), waste disposal, black and grey water pump-out facilities, a nearby fuel station, and even visitor berthing for yachts up to 490 feet.
Logistics: The 227-berth marina can accommodate yachts from 16 to 490 feet, with annual packages ranging from US$5,400 to US$162,000 depending on the size of the vessel.
Port Takola Yacht Marina and Boatyard in Krabi, Thailand
Located 30 nautical miles east of Phuket in the archipelago of Krabi and Phang Nga Bay on the southwest coast of Thailand, this 110-acre boutique marina is tucked into secluded Isara Garden, a historical estate. “Port Takola is developed within this garden, which makes for a serene combination of a tropical garden and a marina,” said Matthew Na Nagara, marketing manager at Port Takola.
“It is also convenient to berth here, since it’s right in the center of Krabi, just 10 minutes from the town of Ao Nang, 40 minutes from Krabi International Airport, and across the river from Krabi Town,” Mr. Na Nagara said.
The idyllic tropical setting showcases white sandy beaches and pays homage to the environment with its low-density buildings and uninterrupted vistas of the Andaman Sea.
Krabi is a verdant oasis with much of its land devoted to national forest reserves. Emerald pools, hot springs, and national parks comprise the lush Island.
The Andaman Sea, which forms part of Haad Noppharat Thara and Phi Phi Archipelago National Marine Park, lies to the east; a protected mangrove forest is located to the west. On the north side of the property is the Jilad River, where there’s a museum and the main tourist ferry pier. South of the marina is a 75-million-year-old gastropod fossil beach and Ao Nang, Krabi’s more commercial area with its wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Laid-back living is innate here along 90 miles of nearly untouched coastline with crystal waters and white sand beaches. The Emerald Pool in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, reached though a lowland forest trail with unique biodiversity, is a must-see.
Just to the northeast of Krabi Town is Krabi Tiger Cave, a temple hidden in natural limestone caves housing Footprint of the Buddha. To get to there, prepare to climb 1,237 steps up the limestone tower—though trust, it’s worth it.
Amenities: The marina offers year-round shelter, modern concrete pontoons, utilities and fuel supply, boat lifting for vessels up to 38 tons, and technical repairs. Other features include 24-hour security, refueling service, fresh water, electricity supply, waste disposal, and a soon-to-be-completed clubhouse with a lounge and café. Future plans include a shopping village.
Logistics: The marina basin provides pontoon berths for 260 yachts in the 33-to-131-foot range. A large number of smaller yachts may also be stored ashore in a dedicated boatyard, which has repair and maintenance services. The marina also offers residences, a resort hotel, nature trails, and a museum. Daily berthing prices range from US$36-US$225 depending on the size of the yacht.
Grand Harbour Marina, Valletta, Malta
Housed within a UNESCO-world heritage site in the Mediterranean, Grand Harbour Marina lies 60 miles from Sicily and is a few days sail from both the Riviera and the Greek Islands. A popular port throughout history for its strategic position, “the Marina rests at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, where East meets West, making it an ideal home port for yachts in transit,” says Laura Harrison, communications and marketing manager for Camper & Nicholsons Marinas Ltd. “Its central location gives unique access to the best cruising grounds in the Mediterranean,” Ms. Harrison said. “The Harbour itself has been described as Malta’s greatest geographic asset and is the backdrop of Malta’s History.”
It’s also situated amid 500-year-old architecture and is just 15 minutes from Malta International Airport.
On the quayside of the marina is an eclectic selection of restaurants cooking up cuisines ranging from traditional Maltese food to international eats. There are a number of upscale bars as well as Casino di Venezia.
Other attractions around the marina include the Royal Malta Golf Club, one of the world’s oldest golf courses, and various water sports like scuba diving, water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and sailing. There’s the Mediterraneo Marine Park on the north coast where you can swim with dolphins. Malta is also known for its world-class rock climbing along the rugged coastline.
Steeped in old-world charm, Malta is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world with over 300 monuments reflecting its rich and diverse heritage. But, it manages to maintain a contemporary and cosmopolitan vibe—especially in Valletta. A quick 15-minute ferry ride (or lift aboard one of the marina’s iconic luzzu boats), “the streets are full of life with live music and street performers giving a wonderful atmosphere whether you are walking the cobbled streets appreciating the architecture or sitting at one of the many restaurants the city has to offer,” Ms. Harrison said.
Amenities: Standard amenities include 24-hour security patrols, freshwater, single and three-phase electricity, free marina-wide wireless broadband, fuel bunkering, grey and black water discharge, refuse disposal, concierge service, provisioning delivery services, luxury washrooms, a launderette and laundry service, water taxis, secure car parking as well as car and limousine rentals. The marina works with a range of suppliers and agents for most marine manufacturers, providing parts and services. The nearby shipyard includes a 525-foot-long graving dock, a 460-foot travel lift, and a covered hard-standing dock designed to service, maintain, refit, and repair large ships.
Logistics: Set within one of the largest deep water natural harbors in the world, the marina is an ideal location for superyachts up to 460 feet. It has a capacity of 250 berths and rates vary from US$209 to US$135,790, according to yacht size and length of stay, whether daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually. There are also a limited number of berths available for purchase.
D-Marin Portonovi, Montenegro
Nestled in southwestern Montenegro at the entrance to Boka Bay, or the Bay of Kotor, a river canyon rimmed by mountains in the Adriatic Sea, this yet-to-be-opened superyacht marina boasts its own luxury resort. “Equipped with the most advanced technology and features, the marina will include high-end services and be a customs entry point,” said Ana Velickovic, digital marketing manager for Portonovi Resort, of which the marina is a part.
“The deep-water marina offers yachts of all sizes easy access to the Adriatic and the Montenegrin Coast, and is roughly a day’s journey to the islands off the Dalmatian Coast,” Ms. Velickovic said.
The southernmost fjord in Europe, Boka Bay is a gateway to the roughly 186 miles of Montenegro’s picturesque coastline. It’s conveniently located just 40 minutes from two airports—Tivat and Dubrovnik.
Built on land that was reclaimed from the sea by the Montenegrin Navy over 100 years ago, Portonovi sits on one of the world’s most beautiful inlets, Boka Bay, which connects to the coastline of Montenegro and its 117 beaches. Neighboring Portonovi is Herceg Novi, a fortress built in 1382, which bears ancient citadels and ramparts. Today it’s known for its cultural events, including the Mimosa Festival, carnival, and the Montenegro Film Festival. Cafes and lively restaurants line the waterfront, proving a charming place to stroll and dine.
Montenegro is famed for its natural stone jetties, charming baroque towns, and old-world heritage. It features two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the walled town of Kotor, as well as the palaces of Perast; the old town of Budva; Tara Canyon; five national parks; 18 lakes including Lake Skadar, the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula known for its flora and fauna and over 270 bird species; wildlife reserves; and ski resorts such as Žabljak and Kolašin amid its 150 peaks. And not to mention, an impressive 250 days of sunshine a year.
Both land and sea activities abound here. Water wise, there are sailing regattas, kite-surfing along the southern Velika Plaža beaches, wakeboarding, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, and big game fishing. The mountains are prime territory for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, and snowshoeing in the wintertime. During the summer months, the landscape calls for fly-fishing, climbing, biking, rafting, and cave exploration.
Amenities: With plans to open in 2019, the 60-acre marina and resort will be home to 275 luxury homes, ranging from villas to penthouse apartments. Highlights include a member’s-only yacht club, Europe's first One & Only Hotel, and a Chenot Health Wellness Spa. Portonovi Marina’s services include water and power supply, toilet and shower facilities, laundry facilities, and a gas station. Local cuisine as well as international restaurants and entertainment venues at Portonovi will be located in Fisherman’s Wharf, which will also comprise designer boutiques, galleries, bars, and nightlife venues.
Logistics: The marina is designed to serve boats up to 390 feet with a berthing capacity of 238. Pricing will be determined upon completion.