Fleet of superyachts flock to Kata Rocks
Phuket’s Kata Rocks welcomed some of the world’s most luxurious sailing vessels at its inaugural Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous, which took place from December 10th to the 12th, 2016, at the opulent resort overlooking Kata Beach. Coming on the heels of the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta (December 3-10) it represented a bumper month for boating enthusiasts.
The invitation-only gala event was promoted as a social networking weekend for the high-end super-yacht circuit, and certainly delivered with three days of posh parties, nightly performances, and the participation of 15 of the world’s most luxurious super-yachts.
Most of the enormous boats are mainstays on the Mediterranean-Caribbean cruise circuit, and rarely have the opportunity to reach out to potential customers in Asia, said Olivier Badri, who handles sales and charter for Titan Fleet. Badri was on board Lauren L, an ultra-luxurious 90-meter vessel featuring 20 stunning staterooms. The super-yacht rents for US$700,000 per week, and Badri praised Kata Rocks for providing the opportunity to network with other boaters and boat lovers, not only in Thailand but the entire region of Asia that is now etched upon all yachting maps. “Everybody is looking to Asia, and China,” he said.
Besides the modern super-yachts, the event also featured several charming old-school craft, like Dunia Baru, a picturesque 51-metre wooden sailing ship that was custom-built in Indonesia, where it is based and offers exclusive excursions around the many islands. Another traditional sailing craft at the event was Dallinghoo Schooner, which operates throughout Southeast Asia, but increasingly provides charter service into Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago, a largely unexplored region that is hot on boating maps nowadays.
Besides marveling at the boats and mingling with crew, guests also received some on-board experience, during outings in the lovely cove facing Kata Beach, and around the island to shindigs at supporting resorts, like the stylish Surin Beach Resort, commanding a serene cove on Phuket’s northwestern shore.
There were also exhibitions of various aquatic activities popular with guests on the boats throughout the weekend, and special events supported or hosted by participating partners which included Getting Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards, Burgess, Seal Superyachts, Benetti Yachts, Northrop & Johnson, Edmiston, Princess Yachts Southeast Asia, Simpson Marine, Yacht Solutions, Hemisphere Crew Solutions Monaco, 77 Design, Zeelander Yachts, PMYA Asia Yachting, Bristol Charter, Phuket Xperience, Burma Sport Fishing, and The Surin Phuket.
Kata Rocks is no newcomer in the super-yacht scene, as the plush resort has participated in previous Phuket events, and parent company, Infinite Luxury, claims executives with extensive experience in management and crew services for the top cruising vessels. The Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous was conceived not only as a means of aligning the resort with the elite super-yacht market, but to also host a gathering at the highest level of quality and service, said Richard Pope, CEO for Kata Rocks, and Infinite Luxury.
“The boats and operators want to come here, to have exposure to clientele in Thailand, and Asia, and everyone is looking at the China market,” he said. “These boats typically operate from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. This is the natural next place.”
The linkage with the super-yacht scene seems natural, considering the high-end clientele and very look of the chic all-white resort, which is perched upon rocky terrain on the southern end of Phuket, with Mediterranean-accented views over idyllic offshore islands. The design of the 34-villa resort suggests an aquatic connect with clean white lines, and sail-like canopies shading private pools and expansive outdoor terraces.
Pope, a developer in the United Kingdom, bought the property in 2007, but it took six years to build the resort due to challenges of access and terrain. Villas seem carved into the cliffs, and buggies navigate steep paths and utilize tunnels to reach facilities. Most of the spacious villas have multiple bedrooms and large, private pools with sea views.
Kata Rocks was recently chosen as one of the 25 best hotels in South East Asia by the prestigious Conde Nast Travelers 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. Pope promised that Infinite Luxury will be rolling out other properties and services in the future, including spas and branded products, like the Kata Rocks Gin distilled in Chiang Mai that was showcased to great reception at the Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous.
By Ron Gluckman