Designed to bring owners and guests into closer contact with the water, beach clubs began with the advent of fold- down swim platforms in the stern. But designers and shipyards are constantly evolving the concept with alternative solutions that significantly enhance the yachting experience.


Nowadays, it is almost unheard of for a superyacht not to feature some kind of beach club facility. The conventional beach club with a transom door that folds down to create a “terrace on the sea” has proved its worth on multiple yacht projects. Once an afterthought that shared space with the tenders and toys, beach clubs have developed into dedicated spaces equipped with bars and gyms, saunas and steam baths, massage rooms and beauty parlours—all that’s missing is the sand.

Their development owes much to the relocation of the tenders and toys away from the lazarette in the stern. The 73m (240ft) fast explorer motor yacht Silver was among the first to introduce a forward tender garage with gullwing doors. At the time of her launch in 2007, the innovation opened up the lower deck aft for an expansive beach club and meant the distracting business of launching and retrieving the tenders could be done out of sight of the guest areas. The beach club was further expanded on her sister ships to include a hammam and spa, along with a hairdressing salon and a recess in the floor to take a jogging machine overlooking the fixed swim platform.

The 65m (213ft) Galactica Star took the concept to another level and with her forward tender garage she provides a capacious beach club of nearly 80sq m (861sq ft). Because these spaces are contained within the hull structure the challenge is to provide natural light and airiness so in addition to the fold-down transom platform this beach club has another large shell door on the port side; sunlight can also stream through the glass-bottomed pool on the main deck immediately above bringing natural light into the whole area.

Beach clubs with folding sea-level platforms have their limitations; perhaps the biggest drawback is that they only realize their full potential at anchor when all the shell doors are open, so designers are forever looking for new ways to provide easy access to the water while making best use of the available real estate. Eidsgaard Design took a fresh approach to the transom layout of the 67m (220ft) motor yacht Vanish by creating a terraced layout that descends gradually from the main deck aft to an intermediate sunbathing area, and then to the fixed swim platform. Between the two staircases is the entrance to the spa and gym, which can also be accessed from a platform serving the portside tender garage. The solution takes full advantage of the little used main deck aft by bringing many of the beach club functions out of the lazarette and into the open air.

A few yachts have solved the question of where to stow tenders to maximize beach club space with drive-in garages. These floodable bays in the stern look cool and can transform the garage into a beach club with the possibility of a covered seawater pool—an attractive option for guests who feel uncomfortable swimming in open water when the yacht is at anchor. Motor yacht J’Ade was launched in 2013 and developed the concept further by introducing a transverse entry to its drive-in garage and floodlit swimming pool—all on a yacht of under 60m (197ft) in length.

The shipyard that built J’Ade followed up with another radical solution aboard 55m (180ft) Atlante, whereby the custom tenders are housed on the main deck aft in a semi-enclosed area that doubles as a lounge and cinema. This freed up space below for a sumptuous yet relaxing wood-lined beach club equipped with solarium, gym, massage couch and steam room. In fact, the space is so sophisticated it serves as the yacht’s main entrance with a grand staircase of teak and grey-veined Carnico marble linking the beach club with the main salon.

Maverick designer Stefano Pastrovich has challenged conventional ways of thinking even further with his 77m (253ft) X R-Evolution concept, which features deployable “bungalows” for owner and guests that can be launched from the aft deck when at anchor and moored at a distance from the mother ship. The solution effectively turns the whole mother ship into a floating beach club. Furthermore, thanks to the multihull’s shallow draught it can even be connected to the shore with inflatable pathways and jetties for the tenders and toys.

A few yachts have solved the question of where to stow tenders to maximize beach club space with drive-in garages. These floodable bays in the stern look cool and can transform the garage into a beach club with the possibility of a covered seawater pool—an attractive option for guests who feel uncomfortable swimming in open water when the yacht is at anchor.

Floating bungalows and pop-up pantries might inspire our imagination, but sometimes the tried-and-tested solutions work best. This was the view of the experienced owner of 11.11. Eschewing the trend for a waterside beach club, he decided to focus the spa and leisure activities on the top deck, which was completely redesigned and rebuilt around the pool. Arguably the most indulgent spot on the yacht, it includes a steam room clad in pearlescent mosaic tiles and a marbled-lined massage room. In traditional fashion, the transom garage houses the custom limousine tender and water toys.

Modern yacht design and the inclusion of beach clubs into superyacht layout has prompted a renewed focus on reconnecting the owners and guest with the water, and as such the whole yachting experience becomes more immersive and natural: one feel’s part of the action rather than being an observer. The resultant beach club vibe leads to less formality and a more relaxed atmosphere where multi-generational fun is the name of the game.


This article originally appeared in The Superyacht Book – an insider look into some of the most luxurious floating residences. Get your copy here.

Tony Harris
Tony Harris
Along with editing The Superyacht Book, Tony Harris spent a decade as publisher and chief executive officer of Boat International magazine.