Review of the highly acclaimed Lürssen superyacht SOLANDGE which, since her launch in 2013, has become one of the world’s most impressive luxury charter yachts.
Born from a desire to create something truly special, the 85m/279’ superyacht SOLANDGE represents an Owner’s vision realised in spectacular form, evoking an endless stream of superlatives from all that see her.
Built under the name of ‘Project Nikki’, the highly anticipated superyacht SOLANDGE was delivered to her Owner’s in October 2013 as one of the world’s largest yachts. Lürssen were an obvious choice for her Owner’s, having previously owned a 63m/207’7 built by the shipyard that they had bought and refitted, giving them solid experience of both the industry and the charter market. After signing a contract in 2007 for a slot that would not become available until 2010, they were given the luxury of time to grow, refine and perfect their ideas to what would make an exceptional vessel. SOLANDGE would be a superyacht that offered pleasure and efficiency in equal measure, something that could encompass the lifestyle of yachting while being engineered for self-sufficiency during extended voyages on the high seas.
SOLANDGE would be a superyacht that offered pleasure and efficiency in equal measure, something that could encompass the lifestyle of yachting while being engineered for self-sufficiency during extended voyages on the high seas.
To do this, a team of the industry’s best known names would be assembled, to include project manager Richard Masters, exterior designer Espen Oeino and interior designer Aileen Rodriguez. Masters was a permanent on-site fixture throughout the process and the Owner’s already established crew were brought into the build team to give input from their individual expertise. Renowned for exceptional organisation and meticulous attention to detail that only comes with experience, Lürssen were also able to adopt specific design specifications from other yachts to add to SOLANDGE’s design to ensure success overall. The folding and lowering stern stairs, an adaptation of those developed for use on motor yacht QUATTROELLE are a good example of this.
SOLANDGE is nearly 20 meters longer and one meter wider than her predecessor so her basic design model was based on a modern 80m hull and engineering platform similar to that of PHEONIX 2, ACE and QUATTROELLE. Her epic proportions however have been expertly arranged by Oeino into a collection of comfortable, multi-functional living areas for guests to relax and spend time together along with a vast selection of facilities that include bars, buffets, dining areas, a pool and two hot tubs. These expansive spaces are encased by fluid lines and soft, voluminous shapes combined with dynamic edges to create something modern and energetic while the white line that cuts through her dark blue hull emphasizes the feeling strength.
On completion, Lürssen described SOLANDGE as ultimately ‘having what it takes to become an iconic yacht on the charter market’. It is clear that great lengths were gone to throughout her build to create a vessel that could compete with the best yachts on the market. This attention to detail is beautifully exhibited in her interior styling, where materials such as 49 different marble and granite surfaces and 33 alternative woods have been brought together in a fusion of quality and exclusivity.
Having already established a relationship with the Owner’s when working on the refit of their previous yacht as well as on the family residences, Aileen Rodriguez was able to produce a style and use of spaces based on a proven understanding of what the client needed.
SOLANDGE’s interior is full to the brim with unique and intricate design features and upon entering her main deck foyer, guests are greeted by her most central and spectacular element. The beautiful dark wood and onyx inlay flooring gives way to a magnificent sculpture, known on board as the ‘Tree of Life’, that runs the full 16m height from the tank deck up to the bridge deck. The lighted sculpture contains more than 1,200 points of light which act as tropical rain drops bringing coloured glass flowers to bloom. This is encircled by a floating staircase which is in turn encompassed by an antique Venetian mirror and edge-lit, hand-carved art glass in addition to an all-access elevator clad in custom leather panels in a variation of colours and textures.
Moving aft of the foyer you are given direct access into the 172 square metre main salon featuring two striking floor-to-ceiling panels of LED backlit amethyst quartz. Unlike many yachts in this size range, the salon offers one large living area to include a centrally placed dining table. This stunning piece of furniture, intricately constructed with burl inlays and adorned with semi-precious stones, Mother of Pearl and gold leaf sits majestically underneath three amethyst and rose quartz chandeliers which together ensure the area is no less formal than that of a dedicated room.
Forward of the dining table is a comfortable seating area surrounding a stylish fireplace and discreetly placed large television screen. Further aft, there is an additional seating and conversational opposite a stunning curved bar formed of art glass and panels of purple fabric that match the amethyst stone top patched with crystal glass. Rodriguez has successfully communicated decorative, luxurious details into a stylish and modern framework in the interior styling, describing it as ‘classical touches with a contemporary backdrop, making it a transitional interior’. The fabrics and furniture upholstery blends perfectly with the precious materials, with varying tones of purple and gold creating an opulent yet not overpowering ambience.
With its ample proportions and gentle feeling of understated opulence, the VIP stateroom could easily be mistaken for the master suite. Large windows and high ceilings create a sense of space while the intricate woodwork, soft lighting and colour palette of green and gold hues ensure an atmosphere of warmth.
Aft of the main foyer are SOLANDGE’s five guest staterooms and guest office, a location that was specifically requested by her Owner prior to the design. The cabins were designed to offer flexible accommodation and the huge VIP stateroom can be transformed into two separate cabins when required.
Occupying half of the upper deck is the yacht’s spectacular dedicated Owner’s area, comprising an apartment with a private office, his and hers dressing rooms and bathrooms, all encased by 180 degree windows that offer views out over the outdoor seating and private spa pool. Here, Rodriguez has created a completely personalised space featuring carefully hand-picked pieces of furniture with Murano works picked directly from the artists’ workshop in Venice. 14 hand-carved, back-lit glazed columns line the walls between the windows, each presenting a series of botanical scenes. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the his and hers bathrooms have been designed with just as much attention as the stateroom, incorporating exquisite rose quartz counter tops and exotic stone, wood, glass, gold leaf and mother of pearl ceiling inserts.
In the sumptuous upper deck lounge, the Owner’s and the designer’s love for colour and creativity has been showcased using a warm, earthy palette against luxe metallic accents. A myriad of textures, tones and bronze details in the bookcases and picture frames have been used, all set below a spectacular three-tonne crystal glass and bronze dome.
Leading out from the upper deck lounge games table are floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open out onto SOLANDGE’s expansive and versatile aft deck. The functionality of her outdoor spaces was an integral part of Espen Oeino’s directive, commenting that: ‘The large exterior living spaces reflect the current trend for outdoor decks that mirror all the interior functions for guest living. Arranging spaces to lounge, eat, drink and play becomes a major factor. The outdoor furniture on SOLANDGE is complex and incorporates edge lighting features that allow entertainment to be spontaneous.’
Here there is a large, comfortable seating area which can be protected from the elements by glass panels that line the aft deck while triangular awnings fixed on carbon-fibre poles provide shade from the sun. The aft deck also houses one of the pools on board, all of which are mosaic-clad infinity tubs mounted above deck level, this one being a 6m jet flow surrounded by comfortable sun beds, seating areas and a bar.
Aft of the bridge deck, guests can indulge in a spa facility akin to that of a high-end luxury spa, offering a steam room, large sauna, massage room and beauty salon connecting to the gym and outdoor swimming pool. A colour-shifting glass-bubble provides ambience and privacy for the massage suite – all creating a full-equipped resort complex standard.
A stairway from the upper decks leads to her fantastic sundeck. By day, this area is ideal for relaxation in the sun on the sunpads or the U-shaped seating placed under draped tent material.
There is a stunning centrally placed horseshoe shaped bar with a gold mosaic finish, while tucked away to starboard is a romantic bed-sized platform piled high with cushions, the perfect spot to stargaze on a clear evening.
For more casual daytime activities, SOLADNGE’s huge aft swim platform offers a relaxed beach club atmosphere where guests can enjoy the cool breeze and connection to the water. There is a full shower and sauna here as well as a pantry for crew to conveniently prepare drinks and snacks. It also provides easy access to the yacht’s artillery of toys and tenders that include a NAIAD Inflatable Rib Centre Console Tender (10.5 metres) and one Centurion Enzo Wake Boarding Tender (7.32 metres), both of which can also be launched sideways through the shell doors.
After the sun goes down, this entire deck can be transformed into a fully-fledged entertainment hub. Glass Perspex covers the Jacuzzi to create a dance floor and twinkling lights illuminate the deck around the specially built DJ booth with large screen for music videos or game viewing. Treated water for both the pool on the bridge and the Jacuzzi on the top deck is stored in separate holding tanks with individual temperatures so that the pool and the Jacuzzi are ready for use at short notice.
Crew comfort while cruising was very important to the Owner during the design process. The 11, which include a pair of sisters and a father and son team charter crew on board joined SOLANDGE together with their Captain Ainsworth from the family’s previous yacht. She is the first Lürssen with crew passage access from both levels of the engine room to increase efficiency and eliminate traffic jams and crew pathways throughout are wide and well-appointed to accommodate handfuls of supplies and loads of laundry. There is also a separate crew lift which makes it possible to transfer goods, people and even wine from the yachts 500 bottle cellar in the tank deck.
Every aspect of the design and finish of SOLANDGE has evidently been given the time and respect that a superyacht of this calibre requires. Each area has a purpose and every detail has a meaning which not only ensures something special for the Owner but also an experience like no other for those lucky enough to charter her.
Lürssen described SOLANDGE as ultimately ‘having what it takes to become an iconic yacht on the charter market’.