Lürssen’s Areti: a tour de force
As we’re boarding at the swim platform and not via the usual main deck passerelle or the starboard tender dock, we expect our first impressions of Areti to be a little different and how right we are. The owner, who’s a keen cyclist – and by that we mean a former pro racer and member of the USSR Olympic national cycling team and current Honourable President of the Russian Cycling Federation – has created a lower deck designed especially for the recuperation of his own racing team. So, after a brisk spin (even the climb out of Monaco via La Turbie is 22kms long with some 13 per cent inclines) the riders can return here, park their distinctive red Canyon road bikes in the dedicated bike garage and enjoy the facilities.
This is a spa like no other on the water; or on land for that matter. The entire aft section is a wet area, which is not immediately obvious as there are no visible drains. What we can see is a handcrafted rose mosaic from famous Serbian artist Andjelka Radojevi. This sets the calming tone for the area, with its relaxing, earthy tones. There is, of course, a hot tub, steam room and sauna, but this is the first time we’ve seen a full depth plunge pool and ‘experience showers’. The highlight of the spa, these take the humble ‘rain shower’ to the next level. The showers have multi-temperature, light, acoustic and aroma settings that can simulate a Niagara waterfall or even a Caribbean storm. The all-important treatment room is where the riders come to ease their gristle-like muscles, making the most of the special massage chamber with heated marble massage table and hydrotherapy Vichy shower. There’s a salon here too, with professional hairdressing basins. To top it off, there’s a full Russian banya experience, complete with traditional birch and eucalyptus branches, timber knives and felt hats. There’s a bar, which is wet in both terms, but expect the barman to serve you fresh fruit juice, or protein shakes. It’s all a bit overwhelming and totally unexpected, and as we walk past the ice machine (for the drop baths) into the lower deck accommodation, we’re already in awe of the sheer quality of this build.
From the spa we head forward into the lower deck guest accommodation, or as it happens, the team cabins. The décor is now what we had been expecting, considering we’d just walked past a garage of ultra high tech carbon fibre racing bikes. The owner and Winch Design have gone for a traditional layout and filled it with a combination of straight grain and figured Makore timber, hand-embroidered silks on the soft furnishings and brushed, antiqued brass ironmongery. It’s a classic look, which feels relaxing to be immersed in – much like having a floating reading room. It’s laid back, inviting and unpretentious – again, ideal for the down time after a race. Interestingly, as we head up the staircase to the main deck, we learn that not all the wood is as it seems. Areti, with accommodation for 22-people, has been built to the PYC (Passenger Yacht Code). This safety-focused regulation is ideal for superyachts as it is not as strict as the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) requirements, which is aimed at ships and not luxury vessels. Even so, the PYC does have its rules, one of which is that veneers must be of a certain thickness to stop the spread of fire, or in Areti’s case a lot of the wood is actually painted on – not that you’d notice, as it’s so well done.
After the cool tile and marble of the spa deck, the main salon, with its sumptuous sofas, wood detailing and soft carpeting is warm and inviting, with cycle-inspired artwork the only hints as to the owner’s passion. To port is a walnut Steinway piano, which despite its traditional ‘grand’ looks, is actually a digital masterpiece that can play itself. Controlled by iPad, the Spirio can play hundreds of recordings from Mozart, Liszt and Tchaikovsky to Coldplay and Adèle.
A colossal dining table makes the most of Areti’s 15-metre beam, seating up to 16 guests on hand-turned silk dining chairs with hand-embroidered decorative back-panels.
Forward is the main lobby with its staircase and elevator (reaches every level apart from the sun deck), and a heated marble floor with a nautical compass inlay, formed from the dark Emprador, light Emprador and Botticino marbles that feature throughout the entire yacht.
Two guest suites can be found forward of the lobby, each decorated neutrally, except for an accent colour of either emerald, dandelion, camino, blue, crimson, indigo, lilac or coral, portrayed in the scatter cushions, hand-sewn curtains and other soft furnishings.
In true Areti fashion, the owner’s deck also features two VIP cabins forward, which are intended for the owner’s family. His and hers dressing rooms with en suites can be found at the entrance to the master suite, with unique details, such as a watch display in his and a handbag and shoe racks in hers. The master bedroom with its 180-degree panoramic windows is open, light and inviting, the glazed arch bordered by made-to-measure curved furniture.
A heli-landing area takes up a large amount of foredeck space, but even so, Winch Design managed to fit in a private owner’s deck with a Jacuzzi for four, a spacious sunbed, breakfast table and small seating area.
Heading aft we arrive at the sky lounge, with its giant sofas, armchairs and a giant flat screen TV, disguised behind a sailing scape exclusively commissioned from artist Alexander Creswell. A granite-topped bar with custom-made stools keeps guests hydrated, while for more formal drinks, the owner, his family and guests can head through the near full beam glass doors out onto the upper aft deck, where a custom teak table can comfortably sit 16 guests.
“After the cool tile and marble of the spa deck, the main salon, with its sumptuous sofas, fine wood detailing and soft carpeting is warm and inviting.”
You’d think that guest’s heart rates would drop after leaving the lower deck spa, but a well-stocked gym on the bridge deck sees to that. Here, punishments such as elliptical cross trainers, wellness balls, free weights and a treadmill keep users in tiptop condition. For a more gentle way of keeping muscles taught, there is bespoke yoga equipment to hand. We’ve spotted the sunpads and custom-made, 12-person Jacuzzi aft – much more our style, as is the sundeck up top. Here, you are out of the way of prying eyes and camera lenses, with nothing but the sky above and the huge sunpad beneath you.
Whereas most superyachts feel like they’ve been designed by the owner solely for his own tastes and uses, Areti comes across as the complete opposite. After exploring her from spa to sundeck, she comes across as a friendly, inviting and relaxing – as if the owner designed her with the needs of his family, friends and racing team ahead of his own requirements. Areti feels like home and she always has a warm welcome for anyone who’s invited on board.