Thanks to breakthrough technologies and materials, the owners who commission them, and the designers who conjure them, superyacht interiors offer the last word in luxury. As with the latest fashion in the décor of private residences, yacht interiors today showcase some of the most cutting-edge designs. From clever use of space and multifunctional furnishings, to attention to detail at every turn, designers are finding new ways to create some of the most spectacular settings to be found on the high seas.


A functional yet aesthetically pleasing design is the ultimate combination for a successfully designed interior, but both are subject to an individual’s tastes and requirements, and what might be an operational space for one owner may be lost space for another, and what might be aesthetically pleasing to some will not be to others. That said, there are trends that have become universal, one of which is an owner’s requirement to maximize the use of space on board, be it a 148-foot sailing yacht or a 213-foot motor yacht.

Peder Eidsgaard, founder and creative director at Eidsgaard Design, has found that owners in general now want multiuse spaces, views from every room, and interiors that connect seamlessly with the al fresco decks. “They want to bring the outside in and experience the sea and the climate rather than observe it from behind closed doors and air-conditioning. Current design trends include floor-to-ceiling windows and huge glass doors that can be opened to create a fluid indoor outdoor space, as well as balconies and terraces onto cabins that allow fresh air to come in,” says Eidsgaard.

Historically yacht interiors were separated by internal bulkheads, or walls, in order to create numerous smaller areas for privacy. Now those partitions tend to be removed, allowing for one flowing space and letting more natural light flood the interior social spaces. Technology, and indeed the sheer size of yachts, has enabled this to be possible. For example, glass doors can now be made to curve 180 degrees to enclose al fresco dining spaces, which can then be cooled or heated as the climate demands.

Flexibility is now also of more importance in the design layout on board the most successful charter and family yachts. Attracting varied groups from families and couples to larger parties means that the owner is maximizing the yacht’s potential for both charter and his own use, and also for its future sale potential as the market is widened. Eidsgaard explains how multifunctional use of space and furnishings can be achieved in different areas of the yacht. “The dining saloon, for example, can be sealed off from the main saloon for privacy when required; dining tables can be used as gaming tables; and gymnasiums can double as nanny/ security cabins.” While many yachts are designed with the charter guests in mind, several owners still want their yacht to reflect their personality. A vital element in interior design is exclusivity; it must relate to the client on their terms and according to their taste and way of living, but hopefully without alienating any guests and still being comfortable to live in. For example, the contemporary interior on the 184-foot Panthalassa, designed by Foster & Partners, is minimalist throughout with an artistic edge. Fabrics, however, are soft and inviting to ensure that it is comfortable. The Art Deco feel of the 197-foot Darlings Danama is right on trend and allows for statement pieces such as the tactile, wave-effect shaved carpet in the main saloon and softly lit bar. Rather than a place to simply hold cocktail parties, the interior is cozy and stylish at the same time.

Another trend is to add exterior spaces where they would not normally have been found. Fold-down balconies, swim platforms, and even beach clubs have become increasingly popular since CRN and Studio Zuccon brought us the concept. When the yacht is at anchor, the private balcony on the master suite, for example, can be lowered for breakfast, or the beach club can be used as an extra sunning area and also provides easy access to the water toys stored in the adjacent garage. Megayachts with helipads also allow for a large space that can be used as a dance floor or a large area for ball games (with a surrounding net to keep the action on board). Wine cellars can be used as an intimate interior space or viewing windows to the underwater marine life. Even the crow’s nest can be set up as a viewing platform for guests, as seen on the 229-foot Sherakhan or the 258-foot Hampshire II, as well as a launch pad for a zip line to the sea.


Many owners are becoming more inventive and a new mood of casual insouciance has started to emerge. More adventurous and personal in their approach, they are looking for finishes that reflect the nature of the materials used. They want to feel the open grain rather than covering it in high gloss varnish or lacquer. While in the past, mahogany, oak, and burl were all popular materials, often combined with busy wall fabrics, and bathrooms tended to be marble with gold taps, the trend is turning towards a more contemporary and clean design where simplicity is key. Marbles and woods are still popular but are now used in a more modern and tactile form designed to relax rather than impress.

When it comes to a floating vessel the materials used are of upmost importance. Unlike in a residence on dry land, high fuel costs and stability issues on yachts can mean that while a marble floor and oak paneling might look good, the designer and builder need to play around with materials to achieve the same look via a lightweight alternative. This is especially true on sailing yachts and high-performance motor yachts, though less important on displacement yachts.

Advances in lighting technology have also introduced new opportunities for designers. From LEDs woven into fabrics, to mood lighting, multicolored LEDs, and backlit wood and stone features, there are many new developments. Lighting has become an integral part of the interior and exterior design. This can particularly be seen with feature lighting like chandeliers, some of which, given their size and complexity, would not look out of place in an Italian palazzo. Yet advances in technology for fixing and mounting these fabulous creations, combined with the advances in yacht stability and control mean that, even in the undulating environment aboard a yacht, a crystal chandelier can still be used and appreciated.


The guest experience has been further enhanced with the advent of touch-screen technology. From iPad control units to purpose-built Crestron touch screens, owners and their guests can now control their entire environment with the simple touch of a button. Whether guests want to call a stewardess to order a drink, watch a DVD in their cabin, close the curtains, or set the room temperature, the touch screen allows for guest activities without any human interaction.

Technological advances in soundproofing have also come a long way. As one might expect on a moving vessel, noise and vibration cannot be entirely eliminated but the shipyards are constantly researching new methods to reduce their impact on the guest. Darlings Danama, for example, has a noise-canceling system in the master cabin that uses microphones to generate noise with opposing frequency, thus neutralizing “active sound” in a limited space.

All of the above are not just fashionable trends that will go out of style, but positive design improvements that make for more spectacular superyacht designs with each passing year. As innovative designs are realized and technical challenges overcome, design boundaries are pushed and will continue to be pushed further as more owners give designers a free hand. Of course, there are always pressures of budget and location, and these directly bear on what is ultimately achievable in the interior design of the yacht. But this is where good designers come into their own, delivering an interior that will stand the test of time.


Elite Traveler Superyachts asked three charter brokers about their favorite cruising grounds for the forthcoming winter season.



For me, the allure of the Caribbean is as strong as ever. I have sailed the length and breadth of these islands and I am impressed at how the Caribbean has accommodated superyachts without changing the essence of the islands.

St. Barths is a favorite for its boho French spirit. The pilgrimage of large yachts to Gustavia harbor for Christmas and New Year’s, and the ensuing parties have become something of a phenomenon. Yacht owners jostle for the prime spot; this really is the place to be seen. But on either side of the holidays the island’s barefoot, laid-back vibe returns and for me, this is the time to go.

On St. Lucia, the twin Pitons rise dramatically from the sea like something out of Jurassic Park. The summit of St. Lucia’s active volcano La Soufrière is a three-hour trek from the beach. The awesome view from the peak, almost 4,049 feet, is well worth the hike. And the nearby island of Mustique is equally captivating. This is a private island resort, which is open to visiting yachtsmen. I recommend anchoring off Macaroni Beach and heading ashore for a cocktail at the Firefly followed by dinner at Basil’s Bar. Sundowners, reggae, the odd turtle lolling past—for me, Mustique is the ultimate winter getaway. Don’t miss I The new YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda attracts superyachts with its superior facilities and a fantastic new clubhouse.

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