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Luxury Yacht Charters vs High-End Hotels

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How does a private yacht charter vacation compare to a vacation at a high end hotel or resort?

Contributed by: Jo Morgan

OceanScape Yachts recently wrote an article comparing the cost of luxury cruise ship vacations to the cost of luxury yacht charters.  The result?  Many people got a huge shock that for the money they were already spending on impersonal cruise ship vacations they could have chartered their very own superyacht with their very own crew!

Which of course made us realize we needed to do the same kind of cost comparison between luxury yacht charters and high-end hotels. And the results are just as shocking!  Many high-income earners spend a tremendous amount on luxury hotels all around the world, but often fail to realize that private yacht charters often work out financially comparable (and in many cases more economical) than these top-end vacation properties. Plus there are quite a few added benefits to a yachting vacation that leave luxury hotels in the dust—but we’ll get to them later.  For now, let’s just do the math.

The average cost of luxury hotels

In order to get a good base for our calculations, we looked at the top 100 hotels and resorts from the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015.  We discovered that the average spend for a couple spending a week in one of the luxury hotels on the Conde Nast list is $9,353 per week. These figures were often for rooms with the best available rate and were ‘room only’, meaning of course that the total cost of the holiday would be a lot, lot more—particularly when vacationing in peak season.  Some of these hotels at the top end came in at a cost of $181,000 a week!

But let’s take the average of $9,353 to start. That sum alone won’t get you a luxury yacht charter if you’re travelling as a couple, but where things get very interesting is when you’re travelling as a group- perhaps an extended family, or a group of friends. It could even be for business, either with clients or as a team-building event for your executives. When you combine your spending power with other couples, or take into account how many rooms you’d have to adjoin on a hotel floor in order to enjoy your holiday (or conference) together, then that’s when you begin to realise that a luxury yacht charter often makes good economic sense.

If you’re booking 4 rooms in an average-cost luxury hotel for the group, you’re spending nearly $40,000 for the week on accommodation.

Interestingly, more than 20% of the rooms listed came in at an average of $12,000 a week, which would get you a sum of $48,000 if you pooled your resources with just three other couples.

How much does a superyacht charter cost?

Just like top end hotels, private yachts vary immensely when it comes to their weekly rates. Superyachts (that is any leisure yacht over 24 metres or 80 feet) normally start at about $30,000 USD a week in the smaller range, and can skyrocket to over a million a week for the immense yachts with submarines and cinemas.

A private yacht has a license to sleep up to 12 guests, but at the smaller end accommodation for 8 guests is more common, so let’s start with that number to keep the comparisons realistic.

Take your four couples sums from the hotels. If you’re spending the average on room cost you’ll have just shy of $40,000 to put towards your yachting holiday. If, like one in 5 luxury travellers, you’re spending $12,000 a week, you’ll have $48,000 to spend on accommodation.

What kind of luxury yacht will I get for $40,000-50,000?

You’ll get a fantastic luxury yacht in the 80-100 foot range for that kind of money. As mentioned, it will probably have cabins for eight people, although the rare few will sleep up to 10 or 12.

A $40,000 base rate will secure you a beautiful private yacht for the week which offers four or more luxurious cabins, a palatial saloon and dining area, and stunning dining and relaxation areas on deck. A yacht in this size range will normally offer two decks, and carry a range of watertoys and AV equipment. And of course, you’ll have a team of crew dedicated to you for the entire vacation- including the captain and the all important stewardess and private chef.

As you go into the $50,000 and above price range your options increase tremendously, as do the yacht facilities. You can expect to charter a larger, more luxurious yacht in the 100-130 foot range- particularly on the older models. This size yacht often has three decks rather than two, opening up the volume of the yacht tremendously. Yachts in this price range often offer a Jacuzzi, a main deck master suite, larger deck spaces and an additional upper salon. You’ll also have a bigger crew, and potentially an extra cabin or two to bring the number of guests up (and costs down).

Are there extra costs involved?

Yes. On a private yacht- just like a hotel- you’ll have costs on top of your accommodation spend. In a hotel, that’s food and beverage, tips and entertaining– perhaps even party venue hire for a special event. On a yacht, the extras you’ll need to pay for are food and beverage, fuel, berthing fees and tips on top of your base rate. The general rule is that you should expect to pay 50% on top of your base charter rate for food, fuel, tips and berthing. At OceanScape Yachts we have an optional all-inclusive model to keep costs transparent.

Why yacht charters leave hotels in the dust

We’re not arguing that luxury hotels aren’t great- here at OceanScape Yachts we’re quite the fan of them ourselves! However, while luxury hotels can be fabulous, there are so many ways that luxury yachts are just-well, better.

On a luxury yacht, you have the whole thing to yourself. Luxurious hotels are still hotels. You share them with other guests, lie by the pool with strangers, and you can’t control the noise coming from the room next door. On a yacht there’s plenty of space for you and your family to spread out, and you don’t have to put up with bumping into strangers in the hall! Privacy is one of the most wonderful aspects of chartering a private yacht.

On a luxury yacht, you have your own private staff. While high-end hotel staff are exceedingly helpful and very well trained- the truth is that you’re just one of hundreds of VIP guests vying for their attention at any time. On a yacht however, the entire crew exist for that week just to serve you and your group. There are no other VIP’s but you.

On a luxury yacht, you have your own private chef.  Hotel restaurants are all well and good, but private chefs are something else again. On a private yacht, the chef is informed about your food preferences and any allergies before you arrive, and the yacht is carefully stocked with all your favourite things. Each meal is served at a beautifully decorated table on deck and there are no bothersome waits for restaurant tables or unexplained delays. Each day you can even chat with your chef about what you’d like to eat.

Luxury yachts are cleaner. Sorry, hotels, but they are. A luxury yacht has a year-round crew that keeps every corner of the yacht in a state of pristine and hygienic cleanliness. On a yacht, the interior crew will pop in to your cabin several times a day to keep it looking spotless, clean the bathroom and return laundry. When there are no guests on board during the low season, the yacht gets thoroughly detailed with an army of polishes and cotton buds for days and weeks on end- in a way that the high-occupancy hotels never do. Also, because the crew-to-guest ratio is so much higher on yachts than in hotels and the volumes of guests throughout the year much lower, a private yacht will almost always be much cleaner than a luxury hotel.

Luxury yachts move to the destination. When you holiday in a hotel, you have to waste time in traffic getting to different parts of the island. If the place of interest is a long way away, you might even have to pack and move hotels. On a yacht, you just lie back while the captain fires up the engine and you move to the next coastal destination. It might even be a beach that can’t be accessed any way other than boat-such as the famous Shipwreck Beach in Greece, or a snorkelling spot far away from the hordes of tourists.

Every day, the view is different. On a yacht, you can wake for breakfast anchored off a tranquil cove, then after a swim or some watersports you might get underway to a secluded rainforest beach to enjoy a light seafood lunch and a scuba dive on a nearby reef.  You could then get underway again to a glamorous nearby marina, where you might want to step ashore for an afternoon of shopping or a spa treatment, and then dine at a fancy restaurant overlooking the coast. Of course, if you don’t want to spend any of your day cruising, you could ask the captain to move the boat overnight while you’re sleeping so you can wake up each morning with a stunning new view. In a hotel, you only have the one room view, not a constantly changing one.

On a luxury yacht, you can entertain on board for no extra cost. Often groups stay in hotels for special events- a wedding, a family reunion, or a corporate event. If you’re staying in a hotel then you’ll have to pay a tidy sum for venue hire. On a yacht, you’ve got a very glamorous event venue- the yacht itself! You can invite friends on board for cocktail parties and dinner events-although restrictions apply to guest numbers if you’re planning to leave the dock and cruise offshore.

Overall, private yacht charter offers you an experience more exciting, more luxurious, and more private than you’ll find in top hotels. With a constantly changing view and a dedicated crew, yachts are the floating private island that moves to the destination.

When you realize that yachts are as affordable in many cases as luxury hotels, you must ask yourself:

Why get stuck on shore this summer when you can get some friends and family together for a luxury adventure at sea?