It is being billed as the “world’s largest floating private members’ club”. A 220-metre-long superyacht where the cost of a room for the night starts at about £2,000, offering wealthy clients the chance to tour the globe calling in at glamour events from the Monaco Grand Prix to the Rio carnival.
Five billionaire friends have paid €10m (£8.5m) each towards the cost of building the luxury yacht, in return for a suite. Most of the €250m bill will be borne by wealthy concierge firm Quintessentially, which will operate the ship as a seaborne private club for its elite members.
A computer-generated impression of the yacht: ‘We will dock and people will want to get on.’ Photograph: PR Image
As well as hosting parties the yacht – which planned to launch in 2013 but struggled to attract enough funding – will operate as a hotel, with a restaurant run with the Mayfair institution The Wolseley.
Aaron Simpson, Quintessentially’s co-founder and chairman, said he hit upon the idea of building the firm’s own yacht after finding it difficult to cater to wealthy clients when they all descend on the same high-profile events at the same time.
“It will travel the globe to where the wealthy want to go and be seen,” Simpson said. “We know the events where there is huge demand and not enough supply.
“It will be the world’s largest floating private membership club,” he said. “Where the traditional cruise model is to go somewhere, dock and get off; we will dock and people will want to get on.”
Quintessentially has secured debt financing from Norway and Italy, where the yacht will be built and fitted out. The yacht, which will be 40m longer than the world’s biggest private vessel Azzam, owned by United Arab Emirates ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is due to make its maiden voyage in 2019-2020.
Simpson envisages the yacht, to be named Quintessentially One, hosting exclusive parties with famous performers putting in a star turn. He points out that Quintessentially has long-standing ties with artists such as Elton John, who it has booked to sing at its ultra-wealthy clients previous birthdays.
The five billionaires, who Simpson said would remain anonymous “until a bottle of champagne hits the hull”, will each own a suite, including some which span three floors. Some suites will cover 100 sq m.
Quintessentially members can stay in onboard hotel rooms starting at about £2,000 a night. Although Simpson conceded such a bill was “a lot” he said, “Try finding a room for that [during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend].” Elite membership costs £15,000-a-year.
There is one problem, however. At 220m long Quintessentially One will be so big it won’t fit into Monaco’s harbour, or many others on its global itinerary, and will have to weigh anchor out at sea with guests ferried to land in launches. Ports of call listed for its first few voyages include the Bahamas, Ibiza and Miami.
It is not the first yacht to provide a floating home for billionaires. In 2002, the wealthy were able to buy homes on The World, the largest residential yacht on Earth at 196.5m long, which claims residents can “travel the globe without ever leaving home”.
The World, on which 142 families reside in 165 apartments, is constantly on the move and circumnavigates the globe every two-to-three years. A 200-strong crew cater to residents, some of whom spend most of the year on board while others join for specific expeditions. The boat has recently returned from a trip to Antarctica, where it broke the record for the most southerly navigation, reaching a point within the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea.