Since buying his first boat in 1972, business mogul and Royal Phuket Marina owner Gulu Lalvani has traded in and traded up every two to four years.
He has owned virtually every brand of boat produced in Europe, the USA, or Taiwan. With five yachts and four full-time captains in his personal fleet, it’s safe to assume Lalvani knows boats.
For his latest yacht he wanted something different, not only a boat to make his fashionista wife happy with swank styling, but also a yacht with something distinct about it, a touch that would set her apart from all the others.
He wanted to get excited about a boat once again. He spent months visiting shipyards, meeting with designers, traveling to boat shows, whatever he had to do to assure himself he had seen all the options.
“Nobody had come up with a new hull design in 10-12 years. Everything else was different, but the hulls were all the same, nothing more than cosmetic modifications. Boring,” he says.
Then he discovered Monte Carlo Yachts. “It was beautiful, and very well built, but that’s not what excited me. That happened when we got underway and I walked around the boat, up to the bow and discovered an immense entertainment area that seats 10-12 people.
“And the ride, the ride was incredible. I felt like I was on a superyacht,” is what he recalls.
He found that Monte Carlo Yachts had designed this vessel from the keel up, and the fantastic ride came from an innovative hull design.
The very large flybridge, with its opening carbon fibre tee top, not found on other production yachts, was a big draw too.
Lalvani decided on the MCY 70, as he feels that 70ft is the perfect size for day cruising and to spend weekends aboard with family or friends.
He says he didn’t care much that the boat won the Cannes Boat Show Trophy for Best Design Trophy in 2012. What was important to him was for the yacht to be a winner in his eyes.
Working with his broker, Adam Blackmore, from Simpson Marine Phuket, helped make the purchasing process very smooth for Lalvani.
He had known Mike Simpson for 30 years and was very pleased working with Adam when he sold one of his yachts through Simpson Marine.
Adam arranged for a visit to the shipyard, and even flew from Phuket to attend, in Monfalcone, Italy, for sea trials and to allow Lalvani and his wife to meet with designers at the factory.
Adam kept a close eye on the deal from start to finish to make sure that everything was taken care of for his client. There are so many options to choose from on the MCY 70 that his wife met with the designers twice to finalise all the decisions on colours and materials for the Armani Casa and Rubeli interior.
She was able to choose much more than just colours. All Monte Carlo Yachts can have the carpets, countertops, and wall coverings customized with the highest class materials and finishes. She had options of wood, leather, glass, Amani Bronze marble and Persian Limestone with numerous finishes for them all.
When the couple was done making decisions the options added up to nearly 50 per cent of the total price, a high degree of customisation indeed.
They still considered the cost reasonable as they had nearly built a custom yacht at little more than production boat prices.
Mr Lalvani compared the Monte Carlo Yachts brand to Rolls-Royce, “With the Silver Phantom it took a while to catch on because it was different. But now it is the most popular Rolls Royce ever. Monte Carlo Yachts has that potential, too.
“Because the design is new and unique not everyone wants to try it right away. Monte Carlo Yachts are new to Asia and new to Thailand, and I know they will go from strength to strength and become very popular.”
Mr Lalvani will keep his new yacht at his home in Royal Phuket Marina where his villa on the water has James Bond-style boat garages under the house. He says, “With that convenience it is just too easy to get out on this beautiful water. I often go out three or four times a week.
“Like many others have over the years, I’ve kept my yachts in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, but my new MCY 70 lives with me at Royal Phuket Marina. Phuket has become a yachting destination for Asia like the south of France has for Europe.”
And who wouldn’t keep their best yacht in the best cruising grounds?