Serrenia is a yet to be built Norman Foster marina wonderland with palaces for sale and every amenity - but would you want to keep a yacht there?
One of the reasons for the almost unhygienic overcrowding in chic Mediterranean riviera ports like, Cannes, St Tropez and Monte Carlo is the inability of marina operators to tempt yacht owners away from celebrity hot spots. Anyone not ‘on station’ in the right place at the right time in high summer risks dropping off the A list. And worse, the harbour master’s list.
But some marinas are out to change things. Take Serrenia on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. More than US$1.5 billion are being spent filling a hole in the desert with a 256 hectares resort centred round a 350-berth marina capable of taking 80 metre yachts.
This mini-city in the sand, with extraordinary architecture by Norman Foster, is currently available only as a computer image but building began today and agents including Cluttons and Savills are selling the array of dazzling properties including five palaces – yes, palaces – each of which is going for between US$20 and US$30 million. Then there are individual homes and apartments, which Foster has styled in the image of a sand dune, long, low and curved.
There’s a seven star hotel, pictured, which seems to resemble a gigantic flying sea slug – I’m sure there’s a more subtle marine connotation. There are five world class chefs on hand to cook for you in your private home, a 24-hour helicopter service linking you to the airport, branches of the world’s top shops, a spa to die for, the obligatory golf course and – well you name it, it’s on hand.
But what of the sailing and where does one go from Serrenia’s marina? The fact is there’s not a lot of choice. Some dive resorts, but not for superyachts and there’s Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula which is still a fair distance. It blows like heck from the north and the wind surfing and kite boarding will be great, but is it the sort of place for the world’s top yachts to congregate to get that A list buzz going? Perhaps that’s not the intention. According to Jeff Houlgrave of Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, who are masterminding the marina, it’s going to be a place to get away from it all. As the resort’s name suggests, a place of serenity. Ah, now you’re talking! Check out www.serrenia.com and the very spooky music?