I do like a good stroll along the Thames – it re-asserts my London-ness as well as providing a completely different landscape to the heady hills of Hampstead.
Last week, on one of these strolls, I noticed that one of boats of the Embankment pier – the only permanently moored yacht, no less – was being spruced up both inside and out.
At the entrance I encountered a charming gentleman by the name of Prince Sidi Mohammed Muzzafar Khan who recently purchased the yacht.
He explained to me that, come mid-May, he will have gained full control of the helm (excuse the pun) and will have transformed the vessel into a new and very exclusive members-only club.
And WHAT a transformation! I remember The Yacht At Temple Pier as a slightly seedy nightclub which celebrated its heyday about a decade ago.
A nice idea, but it never seemed to attract quite the right crowd. Nevertheless, it was very evident from a peek inside the new and improved Yacht, that big changes are afoot.
Khan (or “Poncho” to his friends) was first cousin to the late Benazir Bhutto and has been a club owner for most of his life.
During the 1990s he partnered up with Bob Guccione, the owner of Penthouse International, and the notorious Dai Llewellyn, to start up the Club Royale in Mayfair.
Khan is therefore very au fait with the concept of exclusivity and with the crowd which he will be trying to pull.
The Yacht which, prior to its stint as a nightclub, hosted parties patronised by the Queen, Winston Churchill and Bhutto herself, will once again be a venue with strictly VVIP access only.
Khan is the first to admit that his venture is not overly ‘Credit Crunch-friendly’ as it aims to woo some of the world’s wealthiest ladies and gents.
Only 300 people will be invited to become ‘Governor Members’ and will pay Â£10,000 for the privilege.
Nevertheless, the hefty price tag will come with an array of fabulous perks including a 24ct Gold plate membership card, the sole use of the Yacht for one day a year and exclusive use of a world class restaurant, for which they’re hiring a head chef worth Â£100,000 per annum.
They also hope to act as the London base for a number of people, offering business facilities such as free use of meeting rooms, a business telephone answering service and 1,000 personalised business cards.
For me, the draw is its location and the romance of the River Thames, which I perceive to be a severely underused attraction.
The terrace area on top of the Yacht allows view of Millennium Bridge, the Wheel, the Tate Modern, the Oxo Tower, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the NT, the Gherkin, St Paul’s – all of London’s most prestigious landmarks. If only I had a spare ten grand…
Guest Blogger : Louisa Aniela.