Most of the marinas in the yacht hotspots of the western Med were built before the age of the superyacht. Their capacity for yachts over 50m is limited, meaning that space is at a premium - oversubscribed and overpriced. Barcelona’s Vilanova Grand Marina is different. Designed and built in 2009 specifically with superyachts in mind, it offers a marina and homeport alternative for the real yacht leviathans in the Med.

With 43 out of its 49 berths dedicated to yachts over 30m, Vilanova has plenty of space, something that has traditionally been at a shortage in the western Med over the last few years. “The opening of several marina infrastructures in recent years means that the number of berths available in the western Med has increased,” says Ignacio Erroz, the director of the marina. “This in turn has resulted in an improvement of services at competitive rates. But berthing options are still not meeting the demand, which will continue to be unbalanced as future forecast shows.” 

Just 35 minutes from Barcelona proper, Erroz describes Vilanova as a “a bespoke superyacht marina”. Unlike many of the fashionable stopovers around the Med though, this is the ideal homeport. Its 30,000sqm technical area offers all the services that superyachts and their crew might require on a daily basis off-season and on, such as paint works, mechanics, carpentry, electronics, upholstery, repairs, a 200-tonne travel hoist, dry-docking and maintenance. “Most of our clients use the marina as a homeport,” Erroz tells us. “Spring and autumn are our busiest seasons, with occupancy levels reaching at times 90 per cent, which is extremely good considering that we have been operating for just over four years.” 

The largest yacht Vilanova has ever hosted is 110m, but its fleet typically ranges from 50m to 100m. Berth facilities include everything you would expect: 24-hour surveillance and access-control systems, power supply up to 600 amps for 80m yachts, satellite and internet, decalcified water, bunkering service at berth points, waste and sewage collection and more. 

While Spain’s waters have always been an attractive cruising ground, up until this year its matriculation tax made it difficult and prohibitively expensive for charter yachts to make Spain their base. Following the government’s decision to cease applying the tax to vessels operating commercially, Spain is now once again opening up for superyachts. Good news for Spain’s marinas, it means that places like Vilanova can really become the new hubs. “This [tax change] is a very positive measure that eliminates some of the obstacles we historically had in our country for the development of the charter activity,” says Erroz. “I am certain that we will see a considerable increase of charter yachts in Spanish waters in the coming years, not only in the Balearic Islands but in mainland Spain as well.”

The nature of the marina’s position puts a plethora of high-quality services at its superyachts’ disposal, making it a good temporary mooring stop between charters. Erroz admits that its newer position on the yachting circuit might mean some services are less easily accessible at the moment when compared to the French coast or north of Italy, but stresses that this is changing. “Regions such as the French coast and north of Italy are more accustomed to catering for superyachts,” explains Erroz. “However, the increasing number of yachts cruising the Spanish coast means that services are developing fast and that the industry is preparing to receive a larger fleet than ever before.”

With this in mind, the marina has partnered with BWA Yachting to ensure top onsite concierge services. Add to this its own helipad, proximity to the cultural attractions of Barcelona city and nearby Garraf National Park, Vilanova won’t need to wait long for it to be just as firmly on the marina map as older favourites.

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