- 56.2m | Oceanco | 1993 (2016)
Khalid Affara knew what he was doing when it came to the complex undertaking that was the year-long refit of The Wellesley. British property mogul and Managing Director of Arab Investments which owns Mayfair’s 11 Berkeley Street, the Mall of Berlin and Coffee Republic, Affara learned from valuable experience gained during the refit of his brand’s first 32 metre yacht. Purchasing the larger Oceanco yacht a couple of years later in 2015, Affara wasted no time in overseeing the entire refit process. With a complete reimagining of her interior design and significant extension of usable guest areas on board, her new owner had one goal in mind: to create the perfect, boutique charter yacht.
Pursuit of Perfection
Travelling to Sunrise Yachts’ facility in Turkey for days at a time in the pursuit of perfection, no detail of the refit was too small for Affara’s attention. From the smart layouts of the en suite bathrooms in each luxurious guest cabin to the extension of the yacht’s LOA by an impressive 6.4 metres, The Wellesley’s owner took a hands-on approach to her creation to guarantee the very best.
Mr Affara’s dedication to the extensive refit of the yacht was not just to ensure the efficient building of the perfect charter yacht, however. Since Affara began chartering yachts over five years ago, yacht charters on board The Wellesley have been part of a broader business strategy for The Wellesley brand. As such, this project was business, not (entirely) pleasure. The Wellesley yacht needed to not only be a superior charter yacht but a seamless continuation of the brand’s high-end, roaring 20s-inspired central-London hotel.
An Ode to the Roaring 20s
Situated in the affluent neighbourhood of Knightsbridge, The Wellesley is one of the British capital’s best boutique luxury hotels. The building was originally constructed in the early 1900s as an old London Underground station and, in the 1920s, extended upwards. With a palpable adoration for cigars, decadent cocktails and the world’s best cognacs, when Affara bought the building to develop the hotel, he knew that this was the era the boutique hotel was to embody.
Guests to The Wellesley find themselves immersed in a luxurious setting from a forgotten age. The hotel is a gorgeous ode to the Roaring 20s and the pleasures of fine excess. Hermès toiletries line the marble bathrooms, while a shining fleet of chauffered Rolls Royce cars awaits out front to transport guests around London in style. Throw in an art-deco style restaurant, chic cocktail bar with prohibition era drinks, all topped off with a magnificent cigar bar complete with one of the largest humidors in Europe, and you are officially welcomed to the world of The Wellesley.
Boutique Luxury From Land to Sea
Catering to clients who demand the very best in luxury travel and accommodation, the connection between the hotel and yachting aspects of The Wellesley brand makes a lot of sense. The Wellesley yacht often welcomes guests of the hotel, offering a unique opportunity to access an extended experience of their favourite luxury stay. This seamless connection has been attained through meticulous attention to detail in the yacht’s design, but The Wellesley is not just a replica of the hotel.
With several years of charter experience under his belt, Affara recognised the importance of building a yacht that has been designed with charter guests in mind every step of the way. While indeed emanating the same 1920s style and sophistication as the London hotel, The Wellesley yacht absolutely holds her own as a unique yacht charter experience.
Inside The Wellesley
The well-known yacht designer Donald Starkey originally designed the Wellesley's interior. True to the design theme of her on-shore counterpart, The Wellesley yacht is a delicious exploration of 1920s styling. From the linen in the guest cabins to the Arabescato Corchia marble and Hermès amenities in the bathrooms, the continuation of The Wellesley brand is perfect.
Accommodating up to 12 guests, The Wellesley’s six en suite cabins include a large Owner’s Suite with panoramic ocean vistas; a Master Suite; two doubles and two convertible cabins, one with additional sofa bed.
The Wellesley mirrors the hotel with some unique features, including a bespoke humidor. The yacht offers a selection of the world’s finest cigars, including Montecristos, Cohibas and limited edition Bolivars. A unique feature on a luxury charter yacht, guests can enjoy their choice of exclusive cigars in the club lounge or on the connecting outdoor smoking deck.
Under her owner’s watchful eye, it’s evident that The Wellesley is a yacht that has been designed not for personal pleasure, but specifically around the perfect charter. Her substantial extension of 6-metres has been put to good use, with more than 40 square metres of outdoor space spread over three decks. The main deck aft is particularly large, and designed with entertaining in mind. The area includes ample dining space for fine-dining under the stars - always a highlight of any stay on board.
For soaking up the sun, the sundeck is the central space on the boat. An eight-person spill pool flanked by comfortable sun loungers and a massive crash pad ensure guests can enjoy the best of the yacht life. Across the main and lower decks, sun pads, Dedon sofas and Indian Ocean loungers provide plenty of further relaxation space.
For those looking to get out on the water, The Wellesley comes fully equipped with a wealth of tenders and toys. A 10-metre chase boat and 4.5-metre sea tender allow guests to explore hidden spots along the coastline as well as get to and from shore - safe, dry and in style. A treasure chest of water toys for all ages is hidden in the Beach Club, with two Seabobs, two wave runners, one standup jet ski, inflatable tubes for towing behind the tender, SUP boards, fishing gear and a range of snorkelling gear.
In terms of her technical features, The Wellesley is built with a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, has a volume of 646GT, a draft of 3.1-metres (10’2”) and a beam of 9.1-metres (21’10”). She is powered by twin MTU diesel engines, which deliver a maximum speed of 16 knots, and an impressive range of 4,500 nm at 13 knots.
Luxury Charter Yacht Success
The result after a long year at the Sunrise Yachts facilities in Turkey exceeds expectations. Affara and his team’s work paid off, and in addition to enjoying a busy charter schedule from her very first season in the Mediterranean, she was awarded the prestigious title of Best Yacht at the Show at the MYBA Charter Show 2016.
The Wellesley’s fantastic service, design and amenities have charmed guests on countless unique charter experiences and continues to excel in the charter market. Leading exciting charter itineraries in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Cuba in the winter, and the West & Eastern Mediterranean in the summer, The Wellesley is a bespoke charter yacht to watch out for.