I have just returned from Puerto Rico having stayed in historic Old San Juan at the wonderful El Convento Hotel. In itself not very interesting, except that I have been to the same hotel about 20 times in the 15 years.
What though is the relevance to buying a new yacht?
The answer lies with my reasons why I keep going back. They are very similar to those you might consider when buying a yacht through Horizon Yacht Sales.
Staying at a nice hotel for me is a premium purchase. Buying a yacht is definitely a premium purchase; it is a big ticket item. When I’m spending hard earned money I want to know I’m getting it right, and there are a number of things I’m looking for when dipping my hand in my pocket.
Pedigree is something I look for as a sign of quality. Good charter companies, like good hotels thrive, others fade into insignificance.
Originally built in 1641 as a Carmelite convent, El Convento opened as a hotel in 1962 and is very successful. Although Horizon is not quite as old, they have an outstanding reputation and have successfully been selling yachts into the Caribbean since 1998. Both have longevity and a proven track record. Both have true pedigree.
Neither the hotel, or Horizon, is the most expensive nor the cheapest, but both offer a fair price. El Convento’s simple ethos is “to consistently be a premier hotel with elegant style and first class service”. Horizon’s ethos is very similar, “to offer immaculate yachts, exemplary customer service and outstanding value for money”. I think both are very credible.
Some people will be attracted to bigger “sausage factory” charter companies, just like some will be to the bigger hotels. To me though, bigger does not always mean better. I prefer something slightly smaller, with a more boutique feel that exudes quality, and actually delivers real personal service.
I’m sure, as many of you can attest, consistently great personal service is elusive, especially in some of the bigger operations where you can feel a little “processed”. Personal service is derived, as I’m sure you know, from a company’s philosophy and delivered through its people especially those you deal with day in day out.
I really appreciate a team that live their product, love their work and is welcoming, professional and friendly. El Convento delivers this in spades and so do Horizon.
Another point to consider, and something I found at the hotel and Horizon, is a synergy and accountability between the sales team and the people who actually deliver the service. Horizon only sells privately, or into their own charter fleets and when buying a yacht you’ll get help throughout the purchasing cycle: from initial purchase, placement into charter and then at the end, whether that is selling, buying another yacht, or if you simply decide to sail off into the sunset.
When using your yacht you’ll want to know everything works and it will be hassle free. Everything should run smoothly, and the yacht prepared to the highest standard. Be certain that before you take the boat out the checks have been made, and any maintenance issues addressed, so you don’t have to set sail dissatisfied from the start.
Unlike others, with Horizon, there are no turnarounds less than 24 hours so they can ensure you get your boat in the best possible condition.
Another reason I book the same hotel is that they give me choice. When buying a yacht you’ll want choice too.
Horizon deals direct with the manufacturers and offers the full range of models from Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Nautitech, Jeanneau, Beneteau, Dufour and Bavaria. They also choose layouts, equipment, sail plans, electronics, interior finishes etc. So you can customize your choice of yacht to your own desires. You can trust them to help spec the boat how you want, with expert advice, knowledge and guidance, and not simply push a particular boat they want in the charter fleet.
The last reason I keep going back to the same place is location, location, location. The Old San Juan area in Puerto Rico has restaurants, history, bars, forts, open spaces and there’s always something going on. (I could go on as I’m sure you can imagine!)
When choosing Horizon as your yacht sales and charter partner it’s the same. What better place to call your Caribbean home than the BVI. Nanny Cay Marina has plenty of shopping, bars, restaurants and shore-side facilities. Then cast off into pristine blue water, constant trade winds, wonderful islands, and great places to relax or party. Sailing Heaven!
Maybe finding your yacht sales and charter partner is a bit like dating. You may play the field for a while and get a set of different experiences, some good, some bad, but when you find the one that’s right and captures your heart, as Beyonce says, you should “put a ring on it”!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my comparisons of choosing my favourite hotel with buying a yacht. Maybe I will see you in the BVI one day on your brand new yacht from Horizon…or maybe at El Convento!
Written by Alastair Ashford who lives in Antigua.