x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Emirates Palace Marina opens for business - for up to Dh550,000 a berth

The new marina, which can accommodate up to 167 vessels, is 20 to 30 per cent more expensive than the Yas Marina.

ABU DHABI // If you're planning to tie your boat up at the newly opened Emirates Palace Marina, be prepared to dig a little deep.

The marina, which opened this month and can accommodate up to 167 vessels, will offer a full range of hotel services for users.

But the smallest berth, called the commander, will cost more than Dh50,000 a year.

The marina is the capital's most expensive, with prices rising to almost Dh550,000 - 20 to 30 per cent more expensive than the Yas Marina.

An optional exclusive beach membership at the Emirates Palace hotel can be included at a yearly rate of Dh30,000.

In addition to typical marina services, yacht owners can enjoy Emirates Palace hotel amenities, including tours and safaris, spa services and access to the hotel's gym and pool.

The Emirates Palace Marina can hold sailing and motor yachts up to 80 metres in length.

The marina is managed by ART Marine, a marine hospitality management company that operates four marinas in the Gulf.

Bruno Meier, general manager of the marina division of ART Marine, said the marina was "unique, one of a kind. Guests can receive the same services and luxuries as guests of the hotel.

"I think people like the location, the address and the fantastic services. If you mix the three, it makes a great combination," he said.

Although boats have been able to dock at the new marina for weeks, the full range of services will be rolled out gradually. Mr Meier said the facilities should be fully operational within two months, and users are receiving a discount in the meantime.

About 40 staff will work at the marina welcoming visitors and providing services, including refuelling and shuttling users between the docks and the car park.

But the real draw is the location, Mr Meier said. "You leave the marina and, bam, you're on the open sea," he said. "It'll be easy to discover the beauties of the area."

The marina will operate year-round.

The opening of the marina comes at a time of rapid growth in the marine leisure industries. A report by the global management firm Booz & Company last year estimated that demand for marina berths would double in the Middle East and North Africa by 2015 to about 82,000 berths, with the GCC and Egypt expected to account for most of the demand.