Two days ago, we arrived in St. Maarten on an easy non-stop flight and were met at the airport by BINA's First Officer who whisked us just 5 minutes away to Simpson Bay Marina where the crew awaited us with cool towels and refreshing Peach Bellinis in hand. We smiled and toasted to a wonderful vacation. Looking around, we were surrounded by some of the world's most luxurious yachts. Simpson Bay is quite a sight for yacht-spotting aficionados.
Simpson Bay Marina
Chief Stewardess Karen offers us a tour of the yacht before showing us to our cabin. We enter into the spacious main salon through shiny glass doors and then pass the formal dining room, galley, and gym room, on our way to the light-filled Master Suite with his-and-hers bathrooms and closets. On the level above is the Bridge, Captain's Quarters, Sky Lounge with bar and outdoor deck with dining table and sitting area. On the top deck is a Jacuzzi surrounded by plush cushions and pillows. The sundeck also has chaise lounges, a bar and dining area. We make our way back down three levels where there are four guest accommodations: two VIP suites and two twin cabins with Pullmans allowing them to sleep 3 people each. The yacht can sleep 12 people total.
Upper salon/Sky Lounge
BINA is elegant, yet ultimately comfortable with the inspiration for the décor being a classic Hamptons' beach house. It is light and bright throughout, with creams and whites accented with pops of color in the main spaces and in the bedrooms. The overall feeling is soothing, comforting and relaxing.
We use St. Maarten as a starting point because it is a yachting hub surrounded by the Caribbean's most exclusive islands -- Anguilla to its north and St. Bart's to its south. All our friends have come aboard now and we're on our way to anchor off Anguilla's Sandy Island for the evening. Chef Nikos goes overboard (pun intended) preparing a lavish 6-course dinner that took him a total of 27 hours to prepare! It dazzles us and is such an impressive start to the trip. We soon see that the entire Bina crew is just as amazing which makes our vacation that much more enjoyable.
For every meal the table is dressed in a different way
One of Chef Nikos' beautiful dishes
The next day we take the yacht's tender over to Sandy Island – an adorable little tropical island with a Robinson Crusoe feel. With nothing more than a makeshift bar, we sit with toes in the sand and sip on rum punches and pina coladas and enjoy the castaway atmosphere. There's even a real shipwreck across the water caused by Hurricane Lenny in 1999.
Drone photo by Taylor Chien
In the afternoon we're off to St. Bart's. This is our first time there and arriving on a superyacht is definitely the way to do it! We leave a dramatic sunset in our wake and get ready for an evening out. Karen makes reservations for us at Bonito, a chic restaurant in the hills overlooking the port of Gustavia.
On our way to St. Bart's. Drone photo by Taylor Chien
Bonito is a fitting introduction to the most stylish island in the Caribbean. A DJ plays as a chic crowd dines and sits at the bar in the open-air restaurant. Cocktails are served in distinctive ways – some in glass spheres with tropical flowers, another in a hollowed out green pepper. The dishes are also served in unique ways. Further down our table someone has ordered something that comes under glass and when the waiter lifts the cover, smoke wafts out.
Breakfast is still my preferred time of day with platters of tropical fruit, freshly baked pastries, and my favorite soy cappuccino. Chef Nikos also prepares us anything our hearts desire. When everyone is up, we take out many of the toys the yacht has to play with – Jetskis, fly-board, triple-deck slide, inflatables, snorkeling gear, stand-up paddle boards…and this is only half of what they offer! BINA is such a fantastic yacht for friends and family fun (and they're even pet friendly).
Our friend, Sarai Rollins, enjoying the sun deck
We are anchored off Shell Beach, so for lunch we take the RIB tender on shore to Shellona restaurant right on the beach. This is another of St. Bart's chic eateries with DJ, but this time in the sand. We have a view of the beautiful beach and the beautiful people while we enjoy lovely wines and food.
In the evening, BINA offers entertainment on multiple levels -- one evening we stayed up singing karaoke in the Sky Lounge and the crew even got in on the action. Another night we watched a movie on the top deck under the stars.
Returning to St. Maarten we take the tender over to Maho Beach to experience the rush of jets passing just feet over the beach as they land. There's no end to the amount of fun on a superyacht!
Booking: Through the superyacht brokerage Edmiston, a one week's charter in the Caribbean or Mediterranean starts at $150,000, excluding food, drink, fuel and staff gratuities (when tipping, clients often give the crew 10 per cent of the charter price). The ten-year-old yacht has just been completely refitted in 2016.
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BINA docked in St. Maarten
Captain Kostas Karakasidis
Captain, Chef and some of the Crew
Lead photo credit: Breakfast on BINA by Taylor Chien