Benetti – Diamonds Are Forever
Repeat superyacht owner and speed enthusiast John Staluppi returned to his theme of James Bond, this time with diamond style fervour, for his latest, A 61-metre Benetti sure to become a classic
American businessman John Staluppi has carved out a special place for himself in the world of superyachts. A self-confessed muscle car fanatic, he turned a passion for power into a series of superyachts that bore the name of Bond films. The World is Not Enough was probably the most famous example, boasting speeds over 60 knots and a length over 140 feet. The yacht was launched in 2004 and it remains the world’s fastest superyacht. For his latest creation, Staluppi has opted for more luxury and less speed. The 61-metre Benetti, Diamonds Are Forever, carries on with Bond naming tradition, but this time with the opulence that might have been reserved for the arch-villain, not the hero. The launch party in Italy even featured a mock Bond fight scene, complete with acrobatics and an Aston Martin, all with the yacht in the backdrop. But as with all of Staluppi’s yacht projects, there is plenty to say about his latest. Start with the exterior lines, which have deviated from the Benetti standard. While keeping a classic look, one that is sure to keep its value, the yard sought to create a newer look. Using more dynamic and slim lines, with a sheer that covers nearly two –thirds of the length of the yacht, Diamonds Are Forever retains some of the sense of motion that a speed demon like Staluppi would demand. Those lines are just the beginning though. Underneath all that steel and aluminium, lie a pair of extendable fin stabilisers, which can increase in size when at anchor or decrease when the yacht is underway. This means less drag in the water and greater fuel efficiency, but also a completely stable yacht when people are partying indoors. And party they will, for Diamonds Are Forever comes with an interior that is sure to please even the most jaded connoisseur of luxury. For the look and layout of the yacht, the owner turned once again to American designer Evan K Marshall, who has developed an ambiance that does justice to the name of this superyacht. Using a mix of myrtle burl woods with lighter and darker strains, plus lighting effects, fine stonework, mirrors and crystal, Marshall has managed to blend extravagance and elegance. Chandeliers in the main saloon and the dining area are all by the Czech firm Sans Souci, while Guido Menchini and Sons produced the intricate stonework that’s found throughout the interior. On the lower deck, furniture is accented with marquetry inlays and on the main and upper decks, the inlays are in hand-applied gold leaf. The sky lounge and the master stateroom also feature mother-of-pearl inlays. Marieux, a Dutch firm specialising in customised high-quality glass projects, was enlisted to bring to life much of Marshall’s vision. These included a number of the loose furniture pieces, including the main saloon sofas, lounge chairs, the coffee tables and the sky lounge tables. In particular, the main dining table was a joint project between Marshall and Mariuex.
The Grand Tour
Starting the main foyer on the main deck, guests enter into a spectacular world that provides enough variation to remain interesting, yet manages to run with the themes well enough. Twin wall art pieces reflecting the Bond standard of the mysterious woman flank a glass-enshrouded elevator that connects all decks. The theme of dark and light are established in the foyer, with marble flooring and chocolate brown woods set against each other. Heading aft, guests and owner encounter a giant area in the combined main saloon and dining space. A separation between the two is created with a specialised serving area, yet eyelines are maintained to all the windows from nearly everywhere in the main space. The dining area features the centrepiece, one-of-a-kind dining table whose curves and elegant look demands that you enjoy at least a few meals while on your charter. In the saloon, one relaxes with sumptuous sofas while taking in the surrounds thanks to the large windows. Arranged around another glass table that features specialty sculptures, this is a place for formal gatherings.
But the real treat for a lucky charter partner will be the VIP stateroom forward on the main deck. Almost uniquely among superyachts, Diamonds Are Forever features two master cabins, both of which would be perfectly suitable for a discerning owner. The VIP stateroom forward features an aft-facing bed and circular windows all around. It is a full-beam chamber, yielding impressive views when waking up to another fantastic charter day. Even more impressive about the VIP suite is the fact that’s its split-level – guests enter through central doorways and then descend a few steps into the bed chamber, like a sunken-living room. As this suite has been dropped half a level, the windows are half-height, while the ensuite bath continues the marble and burl motif, accentuated by pieces of art commissioned for the yacht. Just aft of the main deck VIP suite are two features increasingly in demand on charter yachts – an exercise area and a sauna/spa, with beauty salon for evening entertaining. The spa/beauty salon room almost resembles a set from The Untouchables, with its fine furnishings and barber’s chair. Heading down on the main stairwell or elevator, one finds the four guests cabins – three with king-sized beds and one with twins. This arrangement will doubtless prove popular with charter parties seeking to bring aboard a group of friends or family. But it’s when you head up that you’re likely to find the areas where most guests will be lingering when on-board. It’s on the upper deck that you’ll find the skylounge, a beautiful and graceful place to chill out with a few well-chosen drinks. The wet bar will keep conversations properly lubricated, while a grand piano belts out the tunes. For those with a taste for risk, there is a specially-designed card table, with marble top, on the port side. This also doubles as a low bar designed to appeal to your inner lounge lizard. Perhaps the coolest part of the upper deck/skylounge is the informal dining area aft of the lounge portion of the deck. Though “inside” the yacht, with the touch of a button, circular glass doors open up, creating an outdoor feel as it adjoins the aft outdoor seating. The 12-seat table is large enough to handle the entire complement of guests as they recline and talk up the day. According to Evan K Marshall, the skylounge also “showcases the Staluppis’ love of original art deco Erte sculptures, with four located on mirrored diases and surrounded by etched-mirror panels created by Mariuex.” The sculptures have been placed in in the four corners of the lounge, inspired by the famed Quattro Fontane (the Four Fountains) in Rome. Finally, forward on the upper deck there is the full-beam owner’s suite, which takes full advantage of its forward position to offer near 180-degree views of the sea through its large windows. The raised king-sized bed is surrounded by fine woods and stone, with inlays and art everywhere. The master bathroom is stunning, with marble and onyx throughout and accented with cut glass. For the owner in particular, there is also the private office/study that offers instant communication with the business world thanks to state-of-the-art satellite communications. For the sun seekers in the party, there is the huge sun deck one floor up. A huge Jacuzzi keeps the party going, while a full wet bar and lounge seating with informal dining make for the perfect spot to relax after a day on the water. Two large screen TVs keep the entertainment rolling, and thanks to the fact that the forward part of the Sun deck houses the bridge, there is ample shading for those who want it. The aft end of the Sun deck has space for a touch-and-go helipad, allowing for guests to arrive or depart in style. Finally, a full 12 metres above the sea, there is the Top Deck, where guests can lounge in the sun and enjoy privacy plus views.
Diamond service standards
Keeping guests aboard Diamonds Are Forever in their cups is a very large crew complement of 15. The cavernous galley will surely have enough on hand to make even the most finicky of eaters feel satisfied. The chef, Dieter Curth, has prepared meals for yacht charter guests since 1994, and his culinary studies have taken him to Munich, Rosas Spain and even the California Sushi Academy in Los Angeles. But there’s more to being onboard a superyacht than simply sitting around eating and drinking in luxury all day (though that may be more than enough for some!). Diamonds Are Forever has a large set of water toys to keep the young and young-at-heart busy while at anchor in some fantastic location. Among the crew are a sports therapist and an unlimited Padi dive instructor.
The main tender is a 24-foot Novurania with inboard drive and hydrojet propulsion for plenty of hair-raising speed. This is complemented by two wave runners and two three-seat wave runners, paddleboards, waterskis, wakeboards, plus snorkelling and fishing gear. The entertainment system includes full internet and satellite TV, so guests never lose touch with their favourite sports teams while enjoying some farflung paradise. To keep guests relaxed, Diamonds Are Forever also features a high-powered stabiliser system to keep the yacht level and smooth running. Using extendable fins paired with other stabilising mechanisms, Diamonds Are Forever can be equally still and stable while at anchor or while underway at her cruising speed of 12 knots. Guests can relax in calm with little to disturb either their sleep or that all important Jacuzzi session.
In all, John Staluppi’s first love may have been speed, but his latest yacht reflects his desire for the best of life. And while the speed may be less in this yacht than previous outings, the results are just as magnificent.
To charter: www.oceanindependence.com
Technical Specifications – Diamonds Are Forever
LOA: 60 m
Beam (max): 10.4 m
Draught: 3 m
Gross Tonnage: 1100 T
Fuel: 120,000 l
Fresh water: 20,000 l
Main Engines: Caterpillar – 3512B 1380 kW @ 1600 rpm
Max Speed (half load): 16 kts
Cruising Speed: 15 kts
Range at 12 knots: 4,800 nm
Generators: 2 x 200 kW Northern Light
1 X 125 kW Nerthern Light (Emergency & port)
Stabilizers: 2 fins QUANTUM XT
Exterior Styling & Concept: Benetti
Interior Design: Evan K. Marshall
Guest accommodation: 12
Crew: 15 (+1)
Classification: Lloyd’s Register of Shipping + 100 A1 SSC Yacht Mono G6 [+] LMC - LY2 - ICLL