Kontiki Expeditions: SLH’s First Water-Based Member

Filed Under: Hotels

Here’s an intriguing concept, even if it’s not something most of us are likely to ever book…

What is Small Luxury Hotels of the World?

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is a collection of over 500 boutique hotels around the world. What differentiates SLH from many of the other major hotel groups is that SLH doesn’t manage any properties directly, but rather it essentially acts as a marketing and sales platform for a community of independent hotels.

SLH also has a partnership with World of Hyatt, though unfortunately this new experience isn’t participating in the Hyatt partnership (at least not yet).

Kontiki Expeditions yacht joins SLH

Kontiki Expeditions has just become the first water-based member of SLH, as the company will offer yachting experiences off the coast of Ecuador.

The first Kontiki Expeditions yacht, Kontiki Wayra, is scheduled to start sailing as of May 31, 2021. The 128-foot yacht will have nine staterooms, and will offer two different week-long itineraries.

Kontiki Wayra exterior

Kontiki Wayra exterior

As it’s described, “Kontiki will transport guests to untouristed areas in Ecuador to explore and celebrate the indigenous cultures within a context of wellness.”

Kontiki Expeditions itinerary

The experiences will feature 10 crew members and two local experts. The crew will include wellness professionals, naturalist guides, and a local chef.

The yacht will feature a sundeck, gourmet salon, two outdoor lounges, a bar, a jacuzzi, and a gym and fitness area.

Kontiki Wayra deck

Kontiki Wayra jacuzzi

Kontiki Wayra deck

Kontiki Wayra deck

Kontiki Wayra indoor dining room

Kontiki Wayra indoor lounge

Kontiki Wayra guest room

Kontiki Wayra guest room

Kontiki Wayra bathroom

Pricing for the experience begins at $7,425 per person per week, based on double occupancy. This includes all activities, meals, transfers to and from ports, park entrance fees, guided expeditions, and more.

Looking at pricing for the first itinerary, I am a bit surprised by the lack of price difference between rooms. For example, a room with a veranda is only about 10% more expensive than a room with portholes. Also, that’s a really nice looking bathroom for a yacht…

Kontiki Expeditions pricing

Kontiki Expeditions pricing

Why am I even writing about this?

I’m not writing about this because I’m ready to go on a cruise in the coronavirus era, or because I’m thinking “what a deal, y’all should hop on this $15K week-long cruise.”

Rather I’m writing about this because I find the concept to be a fascinating extension of what we typically see from hotel groups:

  • There’s often not much middle ground between a cruise ship with hundreds or thousands of guests, and a private yacht charter that costs $100K+ for a week
  • Ā While there are some shared yacht charter concepts out there, they’re typically not very well marketed, it can be tough to figure out the details, and they typically can’t be booked this easily
  • As far as semi-private yachting goes, the price for this experience actually doesn’t sound that bad, especially given how nice the ship looks (though I’m almost surprised how much they’re able to fit on a ship that’s “just” 128 feet long)

The interesting points angle here is that SLH and Hyatt have a partnership, whereby World of Hyatt member can earn and redeem points at select SLH properties:

  • This property isn’t yet part of that, and frankly I doubt it will be; I wouldn’t be surprised if Hyatt and Lindblad Expeditions have an exclusive partnership when it comes to cruising
  • Even if this yacht were to join the Hyatt and SLH partnership, I wouldn’t expect it to be bookable at standard award costs
  • If the yacht were to join the partnership, some might appreciate the earning potential — you could then earn points, elite nights, and credit towards lifetime Globalist status

Bottom line

Kontiki Expeditions has become the first water-based member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It’s interesting to have a yacht with under 10 rooms join a major hotel marketing group.

As of now there aren’t many implications for those looking to earn or redeem points, though it sure would be interesting if the yacht were to become part of the World of Hyatt collaboration…

  1. Yeah, I didn’t realize it was Kontiki and not Contiki. Was thinking it was going to a 18-25 yo yacht party booze cruise.

    Btw, I think there are some reasonably priced chartered yachts. What about yacht week Croatia? Only 500 ish per person. Look like fun too…

  2. Dr. McFrugal – I came here to say that! I was expecting ports of call to be more like Panama City Beach and Cancun.

  3. (I say this having read that it wasn’t Ben’s point. It’s more of an observation about their business plan.)

    Starting May 2021? Yeah… cruises are so hot right now. šŸ˜›

  4. I feel like the original Contiki is going to be suing these guys for trademark infringement. They opened up river cruises about 2 years ago now under their brand so itā€™s a bit too close.

    Personally, Iā€™d rather a Contiki as this concept sounds a bit too far fetched to be actually executable.

  5. Interesting last week my trip to the Galapagos in late January was finally cancelled (was waiting for them to cancel). There are loads of ā€œliveaboardsā€ in Ecuador. I was supposed to be on one for 16 people.

    I agree with @scott. Contiki vs Kontiki is a bit too close.

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