Bringing a unique addition to the charter market, the La Sultana hotel group has spent the last five years restoring and transforming one of the last remaining Cold War Soviet spy ships of its type into a classic luxury yacht, which has now been launched exclusively for charter.

Named La Sultana, the 65m yacht was originally named Aji Petri and was built in 1962 at the Georgi Dimitrov shipyard in Varna in Bulgaria. It was built as a Black Sea passenger ferry designed to carry cargo and people but, in 1970, global political tension made Aji Petri invaluable to the Soviet navy as an environmental research ship and it was sent to the North Atlantic Ocean on behalf of the International Organisation of Telecommunications for unofficial spying on the US and the UK.

La Sultana

With La Sultana being launched exclusively for charter, and with the affiliation to such a prestigious hotel chain, the yacht brings a different business model to the market. With some opinions in the industry believing that superyachts are not yet able to compete with the seven-star level offered by top hotels – and as a result believing that the industry is missing out on potential business – the La Sultana could be a step in the right direction.

La Sultana

While the yacht’s representatives explained that they were not yet able to comment on how successful this business model is, they are confident that the formula will work. “The yachting industry is guest-oriented as much as the hospitality industry, with a very high level of service and luxury,” says Paul Charles, La Sultana representative. “If you don’t provide the best service, then guests won’t choose a particular yacht so you have to keep offering the highest standard possible.”

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