A Home in Every Port? Sounds Like Utopia
A showroom in Beverly Hills takes you onboard the latest floating luxury condo ship that allows residents to feel right at home the world over.
Imagine having a beautiful luxury home on the French Riviera, in the Greek Isles, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Sydney, Rio and ports closer to home like San Francisco and Miami. If you think you’d have to be richer than Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett combined in order to achieve this, guess again. Oh, it will cost you a pretty penny, millions to be specific, but it is do-able for some, on a luxury residence cruise liner like Utopia.
You may have heard about The World, basically a floating luxury condo ship, where you can purchase an onboard residence, furnish it, unpack once and cruise the world all year long. Or perhaps simply fly in when the ship is docked at a port that interests you. The World launched in 2002, and retirement goals for the wealthy took on a whole new dimension.
Utopia is the next generation of the same concept, currently under construction in Finland. You can get a taste of the luxury in a posh showroom on Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive, where several rooms have been assembled to give you an idea of what’s in store for you on board.
In essence, the rich marble, wood, hardware and state-of-the-art appliances are more luxurious than most of us have in our own homes. When the ship is finished, possibly in 2016, residents will be able to move into one to four bedroom units of up to approximately 6,200 square feet, and will pay from about $3 to $30 million. Annual maintenance fees are expected to be around 4.5 percent of the list price.
There will be 200 luxury residences available, and there are also more subdued units for your nanny, valet, chef or personal assistant. Yes, it will have top-of-the-line family and children’s facilities, if you want to give your family a year-long educational experience. And plans also call for a 206 unit luxury hotel onboard, in case your mother-in-law intends to stay for a month or two.
Residents will be able to eat in numerous gourmet restaurants on board, or cook in their own chef's kitchen. They can enjoy a world-class spa, lounges, shop in designer boutiques, or huddle up and take advantage of 24-hour room service.
Utopia plans to cruise the world, anchoring for major events like the Monaco Gran Prix, the Running of the Bulls, Rio’s Carnival, the Tour de France, Wimbledon and Cannes. Cruise officials will assist residents in gaining admission, of course, and are in talks with studio execs to host movie premieres right there in the ship’s lavish theater.
Climb Aboard UtopiaView All 8 Photos
Lest you think this ship is just for the rich and fabulous, know that it’s also planned to be a worldwide humanitarian aid vessel. A philanthropy concierge, whose duty it is to assist passengers in giving back to the worldwide community, will connect residents with those in need in the various ports. Many potential residents have expressed the wish to continue their philanthropic work while they travel.
For example, there’s a particularly well-furnished orphanage in the Seychelles, the result of The World porting there shortly after the islands were devastated by a tsunami. The ship’s residents actually donated their designer furniture right out of their suites.
That’s a story proudly told by Captain Ola Harsheim, who helped design The World and helmed it for more than five years. Now he’s overseeing development of Utopia, implementing suggestions residents have made in the past, like temperature-controlled wine storage facilities, in addition to the wine refrigerators that come standard in each kitchen. He will be the captain of Utopia when it launches.
Although three to four years may seem like a ways off, about 80 units have already been pre-sold, and those who sign up now have the opportunity to select their unit’s finishes. That should give you plenty of time to dream, plan and secure your fortune — and perhaps win the lottery.