Although not much is known about the Russian vodka mogul, Yuri Sheffler, his yacht Serene often makes it to the news. The Daily Mail and other newspapers reported on the global technology kingpin Bill Gates and his family chartering Serene for US$5 million per week in August 2014. The 134m yacht is rumoured to be the largest yacht ever to have entered the Seattle harbour.
Built by the Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri, the magnificent yacht was delivered in 2011 at the cost of around US$330 million. Guests of the Serene are accommodated in 12 cabins consisting of a VIP stateroom, a master suite, seven double cabins and three twin cabins. Although guest lodgings can house up to 24 guests comfortably, there is enough room for 52 crew members – ensuring the absolute comfort of every guest travelling with the luxurious vessel.
Ideal for social chartering, the Serene’s facilities include five beautifully designed levels with top of the range entertainment facilities. This includes a jet stream swimming pool on deck, saltwater swimming pool below deck, hot and cold Jacuzzis, a cinema, beach club, library, gym and a spa room. The yacht also has a helicopter hangar and landing pads and docking space for a large submarine. For guests who prefer to stay onboard but would like to feel what it is like underwater, there is the ‘Nemo Room’ – an underwater viewing area. Although extremely opulent, this sort of lavishness is not uncommon for Russian billionaires.
The Secret Tycoon
The owner of Serene, Yuri Sheffler is a Russian oligarch who has not been home to Russia in over 12 years. Sheffler holds British citizenship and is the founder of SPI Group – an international leader in the wine and spirits industry and the sole distributor of Stolichnaya vodka outside Russia. Although his whereabouts are as much of a mystery as the man himself, Yuri Sheffler is rumoured to divide his time between his offices in Switzerland, Sardinia and London.