Ultratravel Summer 2014

Page 34

The glamorous gulet

MARE NOSTRUM Turquoise Coast Luxury and value don’t often come in the same package, but they do aboard this 144ft gulet, which offers yacht charters on the south-west coast of Turkey (where rates are a fraction of those in the Greek Islands, on the Italian Riviera or on the Côte d’Azur). When she was launched in 2008, Mare Nostrum set a new standard of luxury in the Eastern Mediterranean and forced many to reconsider their view of gulets. Unlike the modern carbon-fibre yachts which ply this coast, with their sleek, streamlined hulls and practical interiors, this classic wooden boat was built for comfort, with the sort of accommodation normally found on ocean cruisers: six large staterooms, and enormous sunbathing and outdoor dining spaces, all equipped to extremely high standards and featuring imported Italian fixtures and exotic woods. Mare Nostrum’s cabins, too, were designed to be like mini hotel rooms. Five of the staterooms have king-size or queensize beds, one has twins and all have private en-suite bathrooms, as well as elegant mahogany wall panels, cabinetry and bed frames, and light soft furnishings that add a touch of contemporary style. Staffed with an English-speaking, internationally-trained crew, and a chef who can cook lamb a dozen ways, the yacht offers guests a chance to enjoy a traditional Turkish experience – but in privacy, and with the sorts of little luxuries that one might find in a five-star beach resort (WiFi, surroundsound, and toys ranging from wakeboards and paddle-skis to espresso makers). A group of up to 12 guests can do pretty much whatever they wish – from sailing along the coast and stopping to swim in private bays to taking guided tours into the bazaar of Marmaris and the amphitheatre at Knidos (020 8144 5834; exclusivegulets.co.uk; from £41,000 per week).