Karpaz Gate Marina: A home away from home
Since Marina World last wrote about Karpaz Gate Marina more than a decade ago, this 300 berth marina in Northern Cyprus has transformed into a unique, fully serviced, world class haven for superyachts and yachts from around the world. Charlotte Niemiec invites managing director, Liza Singer, to talk shopLying in crystal blue waters that straddle Asia and Europe, the Platinum 5 Gold Anchor Karpaz Gate Marina strikes the perfect balance between offering a five-star, boutique-feel marina and a bustling international standard yachting hub that opens up the whole of North Cyprus to the boating community.
Singer has been with the project from the start. Israeli born and raised, her impressively long list of accolades and skills include being a lawyer and accountant (CPA) with an MBA in finance and 18 years’ experience in private equity and investments. In 2004, she began collaborating with a British entrepreneur to realise his vision of establishing Karpaz Gate Marina on the pan handle-shaped Karpaz Peninsula. Singer has overseen the design and construction of the marina since 2006 and continues to lead its expansion, including the recent opening of its hotel, hamam and spa.
Developing a modern marina in a country that stands at a historical, linguistic and cultural crossroads between two continents hasn’t always been plain sailing, Singer explains. “There have been great challenges in working in a multicultural, diverse environment as a foreign investor while introducing a new sector of tourism to this part of the island. Starting from rock bottom with no infrastructure alongside the geopolitical challenges and lack of supporting ecosystem for yachting services, there was a lot of work to be done, including educating the local market and gaining support from multiple industries, from taxi drivers and tour guides to technical expertise and chandleries. It has been challenging learning the local culture and cultivating the right business relationships within a new environment.”
But the ambitious plans and hard work have paid off. Today, Karpaz Gate Marina is an official port of entry to the country with customs and passport checks completed on-site for arriving sailors, and a marina basin that caters to the needs of all boats up to superyacht size.
“The unique qualities of our marina resort combine to create a special and secluded marina haven unlike any other,” says Singer. “Cyprus is still largely undiscovered by the yachting community and still unknown to tourists visiting the rest of the island. Karpaz Gate is a unique marina in that it was designed and developed to operate as a whole resort with high standards being met across all its operations. The levels of service you’d expect in a luxury hotel extend to berth holders and marina guests, so concierge and room services are all available from the comfort of a visitor’s own boat as well as all the usual marina services you’d find in a high-end marina. This is what sets us apart from other marinas – our level of service is unparalleled, with access to all the luxury facilities that our resort offers. We aim to entice visitors with the assurance that we go the extra mile to provide all they could need to allow them time to relax, indulge and explore the local area and waters.”
The marina offers 300 berths on floating pontoons, catering for superyachts up to 60m (197ft), and 18,000m² (194,000ft²) of shipyard and dry dock, which can provide hard standing for up to 20 vessels of various sizes. The marina has a fuel station and a well-equipped and experienced team at the shipyard’s Technical Centre, which includes a 300-ton Ascom travel lift that can service vessels of up to 10m (33ft) beam. The team carries out both minor and major projects, such as servicing of engine and reduction gear, rudder systems and navigation equipment, electrical works, yacht painting, hull repairs, anti-fouling, woodwork, teak deck applications, and polishing and varnishing.
“We have 24/7 surveillance with extensive CCTV across the marina and resort as well as security staff who regularly patrol the safe and secure marina and resort,” Singer confirms.
On-site leisure facilities are available for hotel and marina guests and are just a short stroll from the pontoons, featuring a hotel, spa, gym, fitness facility, beach club with 33m (108ft) infinity pool, children’s pool and play area, private beach area, watersports centre and beachside restaurant. All guests enjoy free use of the leisure facilities, and discounts in food and beverage facilities. They can also enjoy free access to the Yacht Club area.
From the beginning, respect for the natural beauty of this unspoilt area was a key consideration in the development and the build focused on using ecological materials and accessories. The resort is immersed in, but also reliant on, its natural surroundings. Vibrant trees and flowers thrive in the on-site nursery, while the vegetable and herb garden and greenhouse provide fresh produce straight to the plate alongside homemade bread and fresh, locally-sourced dairy, fish and meat. To encourage green energy, an on-site solar plant supplies over half of the total electricity usage, while ecological and recycling initiatives include minimal usage of non-recycled materials like plastics.
A no fishing rule is also in place to protect the wildlife and preserve the water, which supports the protection of the many species that thrive throughout the peninsula, both on land and in the warm, clear waters and sea caves along the coast.
A bright future
Over the coming years, Singer hopes to further strengthen the capabilities of the marina’s Technical Centre and shipyard as “we have all the physical capabilities and the economic benefits to be a very competitive solution in the East Mediterranean for yacht owners.”
“We also hope to be able to raise awareness for a new status quo between the two parts of the island to allow all to enjoy the joint seafront, hence our support in the ‘Winds of Change’ project – a pioneering sailing venture that has brought together the first bi-communal Cypriot sailing team to sail around the divided island together.”
“I feel privileged to establish our company and get to know the marvellous local people who have supported me and worked with me since we arrived. There is always a challenge when arriving in a foreign country, especially in a country like North Cyprus with the special political and social circumstances. This was a new experience for me, and due to various circumstances, I was given the responsibility for all aspects of the project – construction, financial, legal, team building, team training, marketing, service, and building a relationship with all the stakeholders. More than anything, I’m proud of our team, mostly local from Turkey and a few foreign members who give our resort its special, friendly, and welcoming feeling. Karpaz Gate Marina is a home away from home for so many nationalities.”