Life afloat

Whet your appetite for all things aqua with this wishlist of superyacht spa and pool designs.

Written by Brittany Cooper

25 June 2020


How do you go for a dip in the middle of the ocean, without dipping a toe in the ocean? From waterfalls to freshwater pools that can be lowered into the sea, these beautifully outlandish ideas will have you dreaming of taking the plunge.


Serious swims

Some yachts have Olympic-level swim jet training systems. Feadship’s Moon Sand’s six-by-two-metre pool has a contraflow system to swim against, as does the infinity pool aboard Oceanco’s Alfa Nero.



The 15-metre pool on Eclipse, designed by Terence Disdale, has a bottom that can be raised to become a paddling pool or alternatively turn into a dance floor.

Oceanco’s Alfa Nero takes this one step further: the pool’s bottom rises to create a helicopter landing pad, flush with the deck. The pool can be filled with fresh water in just 30 minutes, or with salt water if thalassotherapy is desired.


Moon Sand’s pool has an adjustable floor so it can be used safely by children and adults. And it doesn’t need to be emptied and refilled – it’s covered with teak decking to make it invisible when not in use.


Space ace

Dutch design studio Cor D. Rover has patented a pool design that eliminates vast dump tanks. The pool is capped off and filled to the brim with fresh water. This stops the water sloshing around, effectively turning it into a solid block of weight.

One of the biggest advantages, though, is no waiting for the pool to be filled at anchor – the owner can swim as soon as the cover is lifted.


We’re currently working on three new exciting spa projects for superyachts, building to our clients’ specifications. The process normally takes four to five months from brief to delivery.

The biggest concern is always weight. Stainless steel is very lightweight and structural, thus the advantage over other materials.

We’re always looking at creative ways to store the water using custom surge tanks and creative valving.


SHANNON KNAUB: Sales Team – Diamond Spas


Chasing waterfalls

Heesen uses a 3-metre-wide opaque sheet of water that falls onto the spa pool on Quite Essential to give more privacy on the aft main deck. Such is the pressure that the falling water can be used as a screen for projecting films.


See-through surfaces

Alfa Nero’s infinity pool is close to the waterline, offering a transparent view through a waterfall transom. The effect, according to designer Dan Lenard, is “to connect life on board to the sea.”

For Oceanco’s Jubilee, Sam Sorgiovanni designed a hammam below decks, with large aquarium looking into the pool above.

Sanlorenzo’s Seven Sins and Tankoa’s Suerte also have transparent panels in the bottom, which look down to the beach club and the saloon respectively.

One memorable project for Lateral Naval Architects was a freshwater pool that was lowered into the sea so the owners could have the feeling of swimming in the open while touching only clean, filtered water.


If designed well, spas and pools provide an exciting aesthetic and a fun focal point for the family or friends sharing the yacht.

The designer and shipyard team need to fully understand the subtleties of the client’s intended use of the pool or whirlpool, and the surrounding area.

Recently, we’ve had requests to help resolve extremely complex structural integration issues such as floating pools and spas made largely of transparent materials.


LEE ARCHER: Principal Project Manager – Lateral Naval Engineering

When I was looking for a new boat, I thought about how a lot of the Palm Beaches have that little bow rider, where you can sit in the seat with the kids while the boat is underway. I thought if you could do that … then surely we could turn that into a spa.

CEO Mark Richards said: “Absolutely. If you can dream it, I can build it.” Then he just designed it and built it. You can keep it full while you’re underway and the stabiliser means it doesn’t move, it’s rock solid. It’s so much fun having the water bubbling along while you’re underway.

JOHN CALLEIJA: Owner – Clarity, Palm Beach 65

John Calleija first brought up the spa idea; we’ve done three more 65s with spas since.

It’s actually not a lot of water – only 400 litres – so it’s not enough to affect that boat. We designed the spa’s cushions to look normal but in coarse articulating foam so they don’t hold water.

It’s an awesome spot to be somewhere beautiful on a hot day.

MARK RICHARDS: CEO – Palm Beach Motor Yachts

Jacuzzi’s mission is to create dedicated wellness areas on the yacht thanks to our hot tubs, saunas and whirlpool baths. We work with many yacht and superyacht producers such as San Lorenzo, Ferretti, and Azimut Benetti.

Naval architects must have tailor-made products, and every Jacuzzi hot tub can be customised. Thanks to the 15-degree slant of the grill, the water remains at spa deck level even if there is a slight rocking motion.


GIORGIO TERZUOLO: Brand and Communication Manager EMEA – Jacuzzi


Five senses

Owners are no longer accepting the smell of strongly chlorinated pools – it certainly interferes with swim-up cocktail bars – so it’s becoming more common for water treatments systems to use bromine.

Tech companies like Van Berge Henegouwen now offer complex control systems for spa lighting and music to influence circadian rhythm and combat jetlag. They’re controlled by tablets in custom, watertight, temperature-proof casing.


Hot stuff

Lürssen’s Kismet boasts a generator heat-recovery system for its swimming pool and spa, while the pool on Benetti’s Seasense uses waste heat from the exhaust system.



There’s nothing like size. The 10-by-3.6-metre freshwater pool on Seasense carries 27,000 litres, making it one of the largest ever built on a superyacht, behind that of Alfa Nero.


A heated spa in a cold climate on top of the yacht can be thrilling, like a heated spring in Iceland all to yourself. It also solves the problem of getting salty bathing in the ocean.

Typically, I like to use the superyacht’s existing geometry and complement it in the pool design, then enhance it with lighting and materials to create an experience for the owner and guests every time they are poolside. There’s an important narrative to the design that really makes the space.


MISHA MERZLIAKOV: Head Designer – Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design


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