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Review: SmartYacht Dubai

Leading luxury travel and food writer Mary Pratt, founder of The Caviar Spoon, hops aboard the Prestige 500 yacht and finds out more about SmartYacht Dubai whilst cruising around the Palm.

What We’re Talking About: SmartYacht Dubai

Affordable yacht co-ownership? In Dubai? Hmm.

I admit, at first I was dubious! It sounded too good to be true but then I decided to find out more from SmartYacht to see how it all works.

Chirag Shah, SmartYacht’s Middle East Managing Director, walked me through the hows and whys of yacht co-ownership and…I get it now. Don’t be too quick to judge based on price (like I did). When I first saw that the starter package is priced at 133,000 AED, I definitely suffered from sticker shock! But then I considered how it’s tax-free here and it wouldn’t be out of the question to split it with another couple. Or perhaps you’re a corporate honcho who is constantly entertaining. The initial investment is a drop in the ocean when you consider how your drop-out rate would decrease significantly if people knew they’d be aboard a luxury yacht instead of stuck inside yet another boring hotel room!

(You can see the other package options here and pick the one that best meets your needs. If you’re not sure if it’s for you, they also have a 1-day trial available.)

The Review

Now, I myself am not a boat owner (I wish!). BUT, most of the people I know who have had boats in the past confess that they never used them as frequently as they would have liked. It’s rather like having a holiday home. You only stay in it for a small portion of the year but you’re still stuck with paying the year-round costs of running and cleaning the place. That’s the beauty of fractional yacht ownership—you get the luxury of having a yacht but without the full costs that come with owning one full-time.

SmartYacht yacht
The Prestige 500

It’s literally as easy as hop-on, hop-off. The crew will prep the boat prior to your arrival, clean up afterwards, and take care of any deck work and hospitality so at the end of the day, you’re not only saving money but you’re also saving time (and we all know how precious that is these days). Whether you want to take the yacht out for a lazy evening of champagne and sunsets or on a thrilling weekend jaunt, this is a fantastic option for Dubaians who want to enjoy all the benefits of having a yacht without all of the accompanying costs and hassles.

When I spoke with Chirag, I asked him why he went from dealing with share-basis exclusive cars to luxury yachts when he moved to Dubai. He was very matter-of-fact in his answer. In Dubai, it’s rather normal for the average Joe Blow to drive to work in a Ferrari, Porsche, or some beast of a 4WD. In another place, like London for example, you might drive a nippy little Fiat 500 but only to the station where you’d then head into the city via train or tube. Rocking up to your workplace in a flashy car isn’t the norm elsewhere…but it’s completely acceptable in Dubai. (I always say you’ve been Dubai-ed when you don’t bat an eyelid at seeing five Ferraris one after the other!)

SmartYacht Prestige 500 master cabin
The spacious bedroom in the Prestige 500

He and SmartYacht work off the stance that most people in Dubai love water, which I have to agree with. I really do think that living in Dubai turns us into water babies. Maybe it’s the constant blue skies, the warm (and sometimes unbearably hot!) weather that begs for the feeling of a breeze through your hair, those stunning sunsets over the Dubai skyline, or just being surrounded by water, from the magnificent Marina to the Palm. Or a combination of all of the above. But whatever it is, Dubaians love the water and few would say ‘no’ to being on a yacht!

Think about it, the list of things you can do is endless! Day trips roaming around to all of the wonderful nooks and crannies of the UAE, sailing brunches (skip the standard hotel brunch and get out on the water!), to, oh, let’s say a #TanAndTatt outing! (What’s that, you ask? Tanning and Taittinger champers, of course!) Really, you could have so much fun with a boat.

In fact, the other week we hosted our first ever #CaviarConnect night on SmartYacht’s Prestige 500, one of the most luxurious yachts on the market today. Along with SmartYacht, we partnered up with Globaleye (an international wealth management group) and Cuvee3 to create the most fabulous Gin & Tonic Tasting Night whilst cruising around the Palm. It went absolutely swimmingly (and luckily, no one actually went swimming despite all of the gin and tonics!).

SmartYacht Prestige 500 seating
Generous seating aboard the Prestige 500

There were ten of us inside the yacht doing the tasting, in addition to a few crew members, plus 50 or so glasses, and we never once felt cramped. It is perfectly spacious and my mind is reeling with ideas for future events!

Our ever-fabulous sommelier Eleonora from Cuvee3 educated us not only on gin, but on the various tonics available to accompany the spirit! First, let me say that I had no idea there were so many tonics in so many flavours. I know now, however, and it’s certainly helpful knowledge to have when you’re frequenting a high-end establishment where you can request your favourite gin and tonic water. (For those of you who dine at Zuma, they’re well-versed in this so test them the next time you’re there.)

Tim Searle and Chirag Shah
Globaleye CEO Tim Searle with SmartYacht Middle East’s Managing Director Chirag Shah

To keep those gin & tonics from hitting us too quickly, Globaleye took care of our stomachs by ensuring that a gorgeous selection of food was available for us to nibble on throughout the evening. Between the gorgeous weather, the chill setting, and fab company, we had great fun perched aboard a glorious yacht whilst taking in a gin masterclass. And the folks at SmartYacht just made it so easy to pull this event together—everything yacht-related was taken care of so that we didn’t have to sweat the small stuff. (Special shout-out to Eva for being a superstar!)

Honestly, it was such a perfect way to finish off a crazy week and we couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural #CaviarConnect night!

Pra Says

So, would anyone like to go in on co-owning a yacht with Pra?? 😉


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