Alexander Coles is the Owner and Senior Yacht Charter Broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter, a company he founded in 2014 after 13 years’ experience arranging luxury yacht charters in the south of France, throughout the Mediterranean and worldwide. More than half of his bookings are repeat clients or referrals from existing clients that include ultra high net worth individuals, celebrities, royal families and large corporations. His aim is to deliver beyond all expectations – whether he arranges a charter booking for a two week Summer holiday for a family looking for the last word in discretion, through to corporate yacht charters for companies looking to present an extremely high profile at an important event.
What is it that you do exactly?
I arrange luxury yacht charters for highly discerning individuals from all over the world. I specialize in all Mediterranean yachting destinations but with particular emphasis on the Côte d’Azur and French Riviera, such places as St Tropez, Cannes and Monaco. The yachts I offer are from 25-100m in length and are all fully crewed by highly professional crew, offering the ultimate in floating luxury. In addition to yachting holidays, I also rent yachts to companies attending prestigious events in the south of France such as the Cannes Lions, MIPIM and the Cannes Film Festival.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the fact that I spend my days arranging experiences designed to give others pleasure! My clients are usually very busy business people and they want their holidays to be absolutely perfect in every way. Working very closely with each yacht’s Captain and crew, I aim to ensure an absolutely seamless luxury experience for each client.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes, France
I absolutely adore this legendary hotel on the luxurious Cap d’Antibes peninsula between Antibes and Cannes in the south of France. The hotel is incredibly private and set in beautiful gardens with fabulous views of the Mediterranean. The staff are utterly AMAZING! It’s incredibly luxurious but in a very discrete and unpretentious way. If you haven’t stayed there, I strongly recommend it. It is to my mind and many others, the best hotel in the world!
Villa Katy, Korcula, Croatia
I first discovered this wonderful villa on the island of Korcula in 2007 and booked it for two weeks. It was my first visit to Croatia and I have been going there ever since. The house is surrounded by the sea on three sides with the most stunning views. It has a private pontoon for swimming and taking a boat or kayak out into the bay. It’s an extremely private place and you could stay there for weeks without seeing a soul! This villa is a place to truly lose yourself and switch off. The nearby town of Vela Luka has plenty of shops and restaurants if you ever feel like going out!
The Yard, Milan
I often go to concerts in Milan in the summer months and discovered this fabulous hotel on the internet completely by chance. This hotel is truly unique, part loft apartment, part gentlemen’s club… each suite is themed around something different, motor racing, tennis etc. It’s not often you have Louis Vuitton trunks in your room, unless they’re yours of course! Truly fabulous decoration and beautiful objets d’art to be found throughout. The bar and terrace are also stunning! As the name implies, the hotel is set around a beautiful courtyard right in the centre of Milan, my favourite city in Italy.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
I have been lucky enough to have dined at some of the best restaurants in the world, Le Louis XV in Monaco, Le Gravroche in London etc. But the one that really stands out is The Five Fields in London. I went there with my wife for my birthday last year and was truly blown away. Chef Marguerite Keogh is incredibly talented and uses beautiful ingredients in very creative ways. The food is rare in that it is incredibly stylish but definitely not style over substance. We had the tasting menu and every course was a triumph. The restaurant has been receiving rave reviews and I am sure it is only a matter of time before the Michelin inspectors give the restaurant the recognition it deserves!
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
Yes absolutely! The vast majority of my clients are rather wealthy to say the least, and some of them pretty famous too. I certainly won’t name any names but celebrities certainly love chartering yachts!
I always attend the Monaco Grand Prix and have seen lots of famous faces there, both from the world of F1 of course but also music and cinema. I also love the restaurant Cipriani in Monaco, owned by Flavio Briatore, there are always lots of famous people in there and at the nearby club Twiga! The same is true of some of the beach clubs at Pampelonne near St Tropez.
Funnily enough, for all the celebrities I see on the Côte d’Azur, I actually probably see more famous people in London, specifically around Kensington and Chelsea where I spend a great deal of time.
There is an Italian restaurant called La Famiglia in Chelsea that I’ve been going to since I was in nappies. I must have been there hundreds of times and there is always a famous actor or musician eating there every time I go! As a child, I had my photo taken there with Clint Eastwood and the photo stills hangs on the wall in the restaurant.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I can’t wait to go to India! I have heard so much about the country and people! Those I know that have been, absolutely rave about it – the food, the colours, the vibrancy. I want to do it justice though and go for a couple of months so I am waiting until I have the time. Spare time is a bit of a luxury at the moment!
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Alex. Good luck with your quest to get to India – I was lucky enough to be there for a couple of days in 2013 but, like you say, it was sadly definitely nowhere near long enough to remotely do it justice!
This interview was originally published on A Luxury Travel Blog and can be found here