Pier pressure: where the super-rich dock their toys

12 Jul 2019 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Julia Saltzman

From helicopter tours and golf clubs to premium real estate, the latest superyacht marinas are catering to more than just boats. Designed to lure owners and entertain crew, modern harbours are competing to become destinations in

Abell Point Marina, Whitsundays

Uniquely located at the gateway to the 74 spectacular Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Abell Point Marina provides the perfect port for yachts looking to explore this slice of Australian paradise. From helicopter flights over Heart Reef to scuba diving in coral gardens to snorkelling with giant Napoleon Maori-wrasse fish, the Whitsundays provide access to some of the best aquatic experiences. Abell Point is the first marina in Australia to achieve a score of 100 per cent on both the International Clean Marina audit and the Fish Friendly Marina assessment. It is a shining beacon of best practice within the marine environment, having undergone some significant renovations. Ocean Club, a state-of-the-art floating crew lounge now includes a spa and business centre, while the newly opened Garden Bar Bistro provides a vibrant addition to the marina village. There are year-round berthing options for vessels up to 80m in length, regularly hosting the likes of 73m superyacht Dragonfly. The marina’s recent acquisition of neighbouring Coral Sea Resort also marks the first move in a merger of Coral Sea and Abell Point, with the the two becoming known as the Coral Sea Marina Resort from July 2019.


Crystalbrook, Cairns

The entrance to the Great Barrier Reef from the north, and home to the deep ocean water outcrops of ribbon-like reef structures, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is Queensland’s northernmost marina. A base from which to charter superyachts Spirit and Sahana, it plays host to some of Port Douglas’ most popular bars and restaurants, shops and a full-service slipway. It is also privy to a brand new $20m, 1,120 tonne mobile boat hoist – the largest in the world – putting the Cairns region on par with the likes of Singapore in terms of superyacht maintenance services.


Dubai Harbour, Dubai

Due to open in October 2020, Dubai Harbour is set to be the biggest and most advanced waterfront development in the region. Located at the intersection of Bluewaters and Palm Jumeirah, the exclusive 1,100 berth marina will comprise three bays and will have the capacity to host yachts up to 160m in length. As to be expected, there will be a plethora of amenities, including a cruise ship terminal, a shopping mall, a yacht club, a world-class crew club and three helipads. The destination will expand Dubai’s yacht capacity by 50 per cent.


Port Ferdinand, Barbados

Located in the yachting hub of Barbados, Port Ferdinand combines ultra-spacious villas with a world-class marina, wrapped up in Bajan finery. Often referred to as the ‘Platinum Coast’, the west coast of the island is renowned for its calm and clear waters and it’s this, coupled with its proud inhabitants, hospitable nature and unrivalled scenery, that attract the yachting fraternity from far and wide. While the marina itself is restricted to dockage for smaller vessels, large superyacht moorings are available in the bay just off the Nikki Beach Club – the first luxury beach club on the island, which opened its doors in 2018. Yacht berths are paired with the marina’s on-site yacht concierge service, which provides a wide range of incredible activities organised on request, such as swimming with turtles, snorkel trips, scuba diving experiences, candlelit dinners, private catamaran cruises and fishing charters.


Port Denarau Marina, Fiji

Located in the heart of the South Pacific and made up of some 333 tropical islands scattered across more than 140,000 square nautical miles of ocean, Fiji is a hotspot for adventure. Visitors are never far from beautiful reefs, lush rainforests or white sandy beaches, and Port Denarau Marina serves as the hub that ties it all together. Containing 52 fully-serviced berths and 16 swing moorings, including 20 berths capable of taking superyachts up to 85m in length, the marina is home to a choice selection of charter yachts – including Silentworld, Masteka 2, Settlement and Akiko, all ready to take guests on an itinerary of a lifetime. Just 20 minutes’ drive from Nadi International airport, the marina village boasts several high-end hotels and an 18-hole golf course. It also plays host to an inflatable water park, mini golf, bungee, a racquet club, and nine residential precincts. In the past three years, considerable modifications have been made to the marina, including the addition of a brand new Bellingham Marine floating dock for visiting craft.


Luštica Bay, Montenegro

Located just a stone’s throw from the UNESCO world heritage site Bay of Kotor, the new boutique resort of Luštica Bay combines the gentle traditions of Montenegrin coastal living with state-of-the-art contemporary facilities. Protecting waters that are among the cleanest in Europe, the marina is a pinnacle of sustainable design. In the marina village, designer shops and restaurants line the promenade, while sailors have access to 24-hour yacht assistance and maintenance services. Once complete, the marina will accommodate up to 176 berths. The Chedi, the first of the marina’s hotels, opened last year. Sea views take centre stage throughout, with each of the 111 rooms benefitting from a private terrace. Boasting two restaurants, a private beach and an outdoor heated infinity pool – ideal for a morning dip – The Chedi is home to a range of designer outlets.


Marina di Valletta, Malta

The newly launched port Marina di Valletta is the latest addition to the historic island of Malta. Located on the edge of the Baroque fortress city of Valletta, it provides the perfect base from which to explore myriad treasured coves and crystal-clear bays. Accommodating up to 27m yachts within its 250 berths, it also offers transit berthing for yachts of up to 50m and provides direct access to Valletta’s cobbled streets – the first grid system of its kind – with elegantly converted palazzo hotels such as Domus Zamittello.