Luxury hotels and superyachts: when cruises become ultra-luxury
Far from the traditional family cruises, the luxury industry is now choosing to invest in the world's most beautiful seas. Between superyachts, intimate sailing ships and polar cruises, what are these 5-star floating hotels and why is the industry betting on this new segment? An overview of a new market that is attracting all kinds of interest and redefining the notion of hospitality.
A new era for the luxury hotel industry
Always looking for immersive experiences and territories to conquer, the luxury hotel industry now seems to be focusing on the premium cruise segment. Indeed, 5-star floating hotels are the new challenge for the industry. If palaces and other ultra-luxury resorts wish to personalize their services in order to stand out and conquer the most demanding clients, it is a question of defining new standards of life on the water.
This is illustrated by the delivery of the first of the three ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, owned by the American hotel group Marriott International, which has also chosen to focus on this new niche. On the program for these exceptional cruises? A certain idea of the relaxed luxury for which The Ritz-Carlton is famous: 100m2 suites with private terrace, wine cellar, spa, private Jacuzzi... all in a refined atmosphere with a contemporary design.
The signature service includes a personal concierge available at all hours and the six restaurants on board all offer refined, gourmet menus. Every detail counts: from the design of the ship to the onboard activities program, The Ritz-Carlton yacht embodies the group's ideal in its entirety. A diffusion of values more than sought after in the luxury industry and which allows to seduce and retain a clientele in search of new experiences and a unique service.
Another notable project in this premium yachting sector is the Swiss hotel chain Aman Resorts, which is building a 183-meter luxury ship to be completed by 2025. Specializing in exceptional resorts where everything is luxury, calm and pleasure, Aman Resorts is now creating the Sama project (which means "tranquility" in Sanskrit) where all the original spirit of the Aman residences will be transposed. With a Japanese garden, a high-end spa, a heliport and a beach club, these boats will reflect a harmonious balance between oriental heritage and a new concept of sea travel. These are principles dear to the hotel chain, which is unveiling its full potential and affirming its desire to position itself in this promising segment.
The notion of experience at the heart of travel
We are therefore witnessing a geographical diversification and a consequent evolution for the luxury hotel industry, which wishes to create true sanctuaries and new concepts of hospitality. As Thibaut de La Rivière, Director of Sup de Luxe, points out: "While it is sometimes difficult to seduce clients accustomed to the best services and ultra-luxury experiences, these floating palaces represent powerful vectors of value and vast opportunities in terms of activities and services offered. An innovative way to make people dream and assert their positioning."
With an annual growth rate of 10%, luxury yachting and cruises are also a competitive field where everyone is trying to make their mark. In this race for exceptional travel, some want to explore other territories. Far from excess and gigantism, the French shipping company Ponant (owned by the Pinault family) offers stays on emblematic sailing ships between polar trips and unprecedented stopovers around the world. Here, the boats are smaller (maximum 30 passengers), the spirit is very intimate and the escape is at its peak.
Extreme destinations and excursions far from the beaten track, but always with 5-star service. Indeed, in addition to the staff at your disposal and the special attention, the ships are equipped to offer top-of-the-range comfort and new experiences. We find, in particular, under the waterline, large portholes allowing to admire the immensity of the underwater fauna and flora or hydrophones integrated in the keel to listen to the symphony of the deep sea... Immersive and out of time, luxury seems to have found a certain cruising rhythm.