With small dimensions, cabin conundrums and the needs of the crew to contend with, designing a boat is no mean feat. Here, owner and interior designer, Veronika Blomgren, reveals her vision for sailing vessel Alexa; plus we round-up the best of the rest.

“I designed Alexa like I would a house”, recalls Blomgren, who three years ago transformed a traditional phinisi into an elegant charter yacht for two. “First and foremost I was guided by aesthetics – which work at sea just as they do on land – and the desire to give guests as many beautiful experiences as possible during a stay.” Which goes some way towards explaining why Blomgren painted the 30-metre long boat white and has furnished the single cabin with textiles from India, artefacts from the island of Sulawesi and lighting that she designed herself.

She also added a balcony to the bedroom (which is on the upper deck because “I believe you have to be able to sleep under the stars”) for a private breakfast or as a quiet reading spot in the heat of the day; kept the indoor living space small (guests spend most of their time out on deck); and created a spacious open-plan galley kitchen (“a happy crew is the most important part of a boat project”). Of her decision to have just one cabin, she says: “When planning the layout an architect is not just drawing lines, but imagining what life onboard will be like. Privacy was essential and I wanted guests’ movement throughout the day to be absolutely harmonious.”


If your sea legs are twitching, here are four more beautiful boats to get onboard with…


A floating hotel on water, Aqua Mekong has 20 suites with teak floors, slate-grey walls and tan leather chairs. This tranquil look is down to the Saigon-based architects at Noor Design, who used local, sustainable materials and artisanal touches to add Indochine character to the spaces. The top deck comprises a glass-walled bar lounge with a contemporary interpretation of the region’s woven can planter chairs, a games room, cinema, gym and plunge pool.



Inspired by the Indonesian phinisi sailing vessels that were used on the spice trading routes, the five-cabin, twin-masted Silolona is the vision of extraordinary owner Patti Seery, who commissioned an architect and a group of traditional boat Konjo builders on the island of Sulawesi. Her walls are lined with original 16th-century maps and charts of South East Asia and there are Chinese trade ceramics scattered about.



The biggest traditional sailing boat ever built in Indonesia, the 65-metre Lamima was designed by Spanish yacht architect Marcelo Penna and is available exclusively for private charter. She has an iron wood hull, a teak deck and seven contemporary cabins, each with a wood panelled feature wall and traditional Indonesian Ikat throws on the bed.


For everything else there is MasterCard, for something priceless it's Lamima #RajaAmpat #Lamima

A post shared by Mark Renshaw (@mrjp81) on


Hardwood floors, designer furniture and handmade Peruvian artefacts are all to be found on Delfin III, the newest ship in the three-strong Delfin fleet that sails the Amazon (it’s also the largest with 22 cabins). In the Canopy lounge, as in the cabins, walls are painted in a neutral palette so that the eye is drawn to the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and the scenery passing by.


London-based freelance journalist Emma Love specialises in writing about interiors, design and travel for titles such as Elle Decoration and Condé Nast Traveller, where she is a contributing editor. She also writes for publications such as the Financial Times and the Guardian.