It has been five years since Salamanca Group invested in Barceloneta's marina; a marina that was built in 1992 when Barcelona saw a wave of investment to host the Olympic Games. Prior to '92, the Barceloneta, Barcelona's coal district, was somewhere locals joked that you only went to for two things: to get coal or get robbed. US$100m later and the marina, now known as OneOcean Port Vell (formerly Marina Port Vell), is a luxury hub and one of the world's most well-located superyacht marinas. 

"Having been ex-royal navy, ex-yacht captain and having been lucky enough to sail around many parts of the world, I do not know of another marina that is so well located," Paul Cook, general manager at OneOcean Port Vell tells TSO. "Salamanca has turned it into a luxury resort marina, focused on the owners, the captains and the crew."



While the marina has been open and had yachts berthing for a while now, it has only been officially fully up and running since January 2015 and, at the time of interview, the marina was completely full, with a lot of returning clients. Cook says that the marina has proved to be an extremely popular starting and/or ending place for cruising in the region already, with the Balearics only around nine hours away, Palma six hours and even Monaco a day away.

“It is so cost effective to start an itinerary here, with provisions arriving in Barcelona 24 hours before they would go on to Ibiza, for example,” he says, adding that conversely, many owners and guests end up staying in Barcelona longer than they expected, lured in by its culture, liveliness and 22 Michelin star restaurants. Some guests have arrived with the intention of staying just a couple days and ended up staying for well over a week. 

Off-season the marina is already a popular maintenance stop. Major refit work is saved for MB92 up the road, but minor maintenance and warranty work is frequently completed in berth at OneOcean Port Vell. “Shipyards like this because rather than the yachts having to come all the way back to the shipyard for minor fixes and post-shake down tweaks, they can just do it in the marina," says Cook. "The rule is, if you would be happy for your neighbour to be carrying out the same work, then it is ok. No putting up tents or that sort of thing though."



If owners want to buy a long-lease berth (21 years) at OneOcean Port Vell, the marina team will manage it, with 75 per cent of the rental income going to the owners and the rest going to the marina. “The people who bought berths while we were still developing have seen their berth rental prices go up and that is only going to continue,” says Cook, who explains that there are now no berths under 40m available to buy until they build more. “We are already reselling some of the smaller berths for people and they are making a good profit.”

Next September the marina plans to host the first ever Royal Thames Regatta in partnership with London’s Royal Thames Yacht Club. Originally set to be held this year, Cook says that sometimes you just have to have the guts to say something isn’t ready. “It is difficult to get owners and yachts to commit to any event,” he says. “The original plan was to do the regatta this year, but we have made the decision to postpone it until 2016, to ensure that it is the best that it can be. There is no point in half baking it. Next year it will be a great event - a regatta in Barcelona will be something special.”

To learn about OneOcean's new offering, OneOcean Monaco, click here.