Unconventional Hospitality Design: A look at the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, superyacht Evrima

Melanie Duffey, PhD
Allen Reimer Reed Associate Professor
Interior Design program, Auburn University

In hospitality design we often think about the design of restaurants, bars and guest rooms; however, in recent luxury sectors these designs have transcended into unique applications including: superyachts and even gulf streams. The Ritz Carlton Collection is one of the first to offer a fleet of superyachts for guests who want to set sail across the globe. The first ship in the series, Evrima, set sail in October 2022 and has 5 restaurants and 6 lounges with 149-suites for guests. This past fall, Auburn University’s hospitality studio, CADS 5300, had the privilege to hear from the Evrima lead designer, Taylor Cluff with Marriott, about its launch.

In hospitality design, one of the first items a designer needs to consider is their target guest. In the case of the Ritz Carlton Collection and the design of Evrima, named after the Greek word ‘discovery’, the superyacht wanted to set itself apart from a cruise ship. As a point of comparison, cruise ships may hold up to 2,000 to 2,500 suite rooms whereas the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection has approximately 149-suite rooms. Evrima boasts that its service to staff ratio is approximately 3 staff to every 1 guest with a total of over 260 Ritz Carlton “ladies and gentlemen” staff. Additionally, most guests who have set sail with Evrima have never set foot on a cruise ship, according to Taylor – an unexpected statistic when researching their target guest.

The Evrima; The Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection

In addition, when developing the design narrative for Evrima, the design team found iconic cruise ship design features (large ballrooms, buffet-style restaurants, grand staircases, etc.) and made deliberate attempts to not include those features within their design of the superyacht. Taylor emphasized that the list of what they are not was just as important as what they are, as it relates to the identity of the ship.

A typical grand staircase inside a cruise ship.
The Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection stair well.

Above you can see the design differences in the Evrima staircase in comparison to the grand staircase of traditional cruise ships. Restaurants and lounges were designed to feel like a private yacht experience and are broken down in scale to feel intimate. The food and beverage approach maintains the high standard of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and features brand partnerships with Moet, Michelin star chefs and more.

A typical cruise ship restaurant buffet style
One of five restaurants on Evrima with Michelin star chef menu

Finally, in terms of materials and finishes, Taylor described a challenge that took creativity to overcome. In terms of the target guest, the Ritz Carlton guests are accustomed to natural materials such as marble, wood and other luxury high-end materials. Taylor quickly discovered that the weight of marble, by itself, would not be prohibited but with the addition, the weight of all the materials would have to be evaluated. The design team came up with clever veneer approaches, luxury vinyl solutions in lounges and used other materials, such as leather, to finish the suites with clever detailing that was also lightweight.

Ritz Carlton Yacht guest room with integrated wardrobe storage and leather detailing
Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship

Last, we learned that three other ships will set sail in 2024, 2025 under the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection (Ilma and Luminara) and that competitors such as Four Seasons and Aman are launching similar superyachts in the upcoming years.

For more information on this unique project visit: https://www.ritzcarltonyachtcollection.com