231-Foot Benetti Seanna: Smart and Sexy

The 213-foot Benetti Seanna is carefully designed to seem effortlessly appealing.

March 11, 2013
I couldn’t resist the elliptical. Standing there in my button-down, collared shirt without even a pretense of athleticism, I just had to climb onto the thing for the sheer pleasure of the experience. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
It was the end of my tour through the 213-foot Benetti Seanna, and I was down in the boat’s belly, on the starboard side of the lazarette in the gymnasium. I had no idea the amount of time that the owners had spent working with design firm Redman Whiteley Dixon on the placement of this workout room, which in various versions of the general arrangement plans had been as far away as the sun deck. All I knew is that the final product was practically as inviting as a cinema, with the elliptical, treadmill and other equipment facing a drop-down teak platform over the sea. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
I stepped onto the machine and spun the pedals a few rounds, looking out at the view, absolutely mesmerized. The floor-to-ceiling opening in the side of the yacht provided a show that was way better than any 3-D Hollywood film. I was so focused on what I was seeing that it took me a few moments to notice the perfectly placed air-conditioning vents, which were keeping me cool without blowing directly on me. Fresh Caribbean air circulated around too, almost as if I were working out on a beach. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
“You’re right there at water level, you have a great view, and you can go for a dip. It just makes sense,” designer Tony Dixon told me later from his office in the United Kingdom. “These owners really knew what they wanted.” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
That’s because Seanna‘s owners have spent a great deal of time aboard superyachts figuring out what works, what’s a waste of space, and which great new ideas are worth a serious try. Their previous yacht was Amnesia, a well-received 180-foot Benetti that is now known as Altitude. The owners bought her on the brokerage market and liked her well enough, but Seanna has been their project from the start, and she’s custom through and through. Seanna was built specifically to appeal to charter clients and is infused with the owners’ knowledge about the types of spaces that actually get used. The thoughtful layout, smart amenities and stunning decor made Seanna one of the brightest stars at the hundred-boat Antigua Charter Yacht Show this past December, where she made her public debut and finally became available for bookings after a year of tempting the world with little more than photographs. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Although she launched in 2011, Seanna spent her first year afloat being used by her owners and one exceptionally lucky charter client. He was the first to book her last winter in the Caribbean, and he liked her so much that he tied her up for another four (count ’em!) charters in the Mediterranean this past summer, when her lowest base rate topped a half-million dollars per week. Between that and the owners taking her to the Olympic Games in London, Seanna has been a charter yacht much watched and in demand, but difficult to book until now. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
“This is a very, very well-conceived yacht that is already proving to attract clients with the most exacting expectations,” says marketing director Alev Karagulle of Burgess Yachts, which markets Seanna for charter. “So far, the yacht has been relatively under the charter radar. If I was still a charter broker, the yacht would be at the very top of my list.” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
While many spaces aboard Seanna left industry experts aglow, the one most talked about was her double massage room, which is forward on the main deck’s starboard side. It has a true spa feel with massive windows and a closeable panel that can allow for two separate massages or one double massage at a time. The idea for this feature emerged from the owners’ experience of having a single-bed massage room aboard Amnesia, Dixon told me. “They used to set up a massage table in their cabin so they could both get massages at once,” he says. “So that was important, getting that dual space.” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Also on the main deck, where most superyachts have a huge formal dining area amidships, Seanna has a library to port and a dining table to starboard. The table, most of the time, is sized like a game table with four chairs. It can extend to serve all 12 guests for dinner, but the owners rarely dined inside aboard their previous yacht and thought the space was better served by adding the library — a rich, warm room whose finishing touches include a working gas fireplace. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
“The library is not what you’re expecting,” Dixon says. “It’s a small enough room that you can sit on the sofa reading a book on your own and be very comfortable. I think it’s a refreshing difference from the other boats that have big, party-style rooms everywhere. Sometimes, even on a big boat, you want a quiet space.” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Another space aboard Seanna that received the designer’s special attention is the entryway’s grand staircase, which Dixon says is among his favorite features. Originally, the Benetti design plans called for the staircase to be narrower; functional, but not as impressive as the owners wanted for the yacht’s formal, starboard-side foyer. The design team worked with Benetti to expand the staircase width, not only adding grandeur to the dark wenge and polished-nickel design, but also making the marble-tread steps easier for guests to traverse, as if the staircase were in a sizable home. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
During my tour, the indoor spaces that made my eyes pop wide open were the main-deck salon, which is really more of a cinema room, and the bridge-deck sky lounge, which feels like four spaces in one. There’s a stunning glass bar that can be lighted for parties, a table for playing cards and games, and two separate lounge areas adjacent to a wall of glass that slides open to connect the outdoor dining area to the indoor space. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Bosun Michael Board showed me his favorite sky-lounge feature: the Apple AirPlay entertainment system. Docking stations for iPhone or iPad are available aboard Seanna, but are already obsolete. When your favorite Apple gizmo comes within receiving distance of the yacht’s server, an icon pops up on your screen, allowing you to play your own music on the yacht’s speakers, control the volume and more. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
One level up from Seanna‘s sky lounge is the sun deck, which is also noteworthy for its smart design. At first, when I entered the space, I felt a bit out of sorts. I’m used to a long, flat teak deck with variously sized sun pads, a bar and a hot tub. Seanna has those things, but arranged differently because the owners wanted a deck that could be enjoyed at all times of day, as opposed to just the few hours each day that most sun decks are used. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Seanna‘s sun deck is really three connected areas at different levels, a few steps up or down from one another. Forward is a hot tub, a bar and a dining table with seating for 12 guests in a space that is partly lowered from the rest of the deck, sunken in a way that allows privacy from prying eyes aboard neighboring superyachts in port. Aft on the sun deck is a sunning area with a half-dozen chaise lounges and removable umbrellas. Amidships is the sun deck’s real talking point — what the crew calls the veranda — a teak-enclosed space that is air-conditioned as well as open to the elements and that is sized to be comfortable for the owners’ 6-foot-6-inch son. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
“The owners wanted one area that was big enough to seat and entertain everybody,” Dixon says. “They wanted to feel like they were in a penthouse apartment with lots of people, but not all crushed into each other. That space has a homey feel. There’s shelving on the walls. We had an advantage in working with Sue Young, an interior decorator from Seattle who works on the owners’ houses. She introduced a lot of softness and warmth through art, artifacts, all these bits and pieces that make the boat look like a home and feel very relaxed.” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
With all of these areas for guests to enjoy, precious little time is likely to be spent in the staterooms. Even so, there are seven of them as opposed to the six that are usually found aboard charter yachts this size for 12 guests, once again giving Seanna a market advantage. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
The main-deck master is truly a suite, too. It includes a private office, a king-size bed, a pair of proper seating areas, his-and-her bathrooms (his doubles as a steam shower while hers has a tub), his-and-her dressing areas and the same iPad controls as the rest of the yacht for the digital entertainment server, window dressings, air conditioning and lighting. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
As with the gymnasium and that fabulously enticing elliptical machine, I found all of these rooms to be instantly welcoming and openly inviting. I had the same reaction to Seanna‘s exquisite, 27-foot mahogany StanCraft tender, which begged to be shown off with a cruise around the harbor. It took me a while to realize it, but all of these things combined to make me feel different aboard Seanna than I do aboard most other big yachts. I wasn’t thinking about how she’d been built or designed; I was being sucked into the experience of being on board. Courtesy Benetti Yachts
It wasn’t just the beautiful decor or the spaces or amenities, but instead all of the thought that had gone into how people would actually use everything. There’s a great deal to look at and love aboard Seanna, but what exceeds all expectations are the things that most people won’t notice at first, things conceived with exacting purpose to appear perfectly natural. “The general arrangements look very conventional, but there’s a lot more going on aboard this boat than people might realize,” as Dixon puts it. “It’s great when it all works out and the boat actually gets used. That’s really the whole point, isn’t it?” Courtesy Benetti Yachts
Seanna is part of the Burgess Yachts charter fleet. She takes 12 guests with 16 crew at a lowest weekly base rate of approximately $570,000. Courtesy Benetti Yachts

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