If any yacht owner could claim to have the Midas touch, it’d be Aaron Fidler. His newly refitted 136-foot Palmer Johnson AK Royalty is painted entirely in 24-karat-gold dust. Just to make it a bit more extra, Fidler also had the Jet Skis and SeaBobs colored to match.
The former deckhand is now a superyacht owner. And when the time came to buy his dream yacht, Fidler knew exactly what he wanted: a fast, sporty luxury toy that matches his gold Lamborghini. And he wanted to make sure the new yacht would turn heads. If the gold doesn’t do it for onlookers, he figured, the boat’s DJ booth, Fendi-inspired interior, and 38 mph top speed would.
More from Robb Report
Fidler took a circuitous route to yacht ownership. He studied computer electronics engineering at a point where technology was moving so fast that his education was obsolete by the time he graduated.
After university, he traveled around the world, living in the Amazon Rainforest, Chile’s Atacama Desert, and different parts of Europe. While in South America, he met people who told him about the yachting industry, and a few months later he landed a job as a deckhand aboard the yacht Solemates in South Florida.
After working his way up through ever-larger yachts to the position of chief engineer aboard an 180-footer, Fidler used his engineering background and began developing products for the marine industry. He initially produced circuits to improve phone connections between yachts and docks, before eventually cofounding tech company Furrion with his brother.
The duo began with commodity products such as televisions and entertainment systems and marinized them. They then bought a Numarine 78HTS and installed the first AI concierge system that provided weather and onshore restaurant recommendations, even advising guests what to wear. When the Fidlers sold Furrion in 2021, annual sales were $350 million.
“My goal during all those years of hard work was to have my own boat,” Fidler says. “I’d always dreamed of having a Palmer Johnson. They built the most beautiful, sexiest boats. When AK Royalty came along, I knew it was the one.”
Fidler shipped the 136-footer (built in 2009 and originally named Plus Too) from France to Dubai, where he now lives, and spent a year remodeling it.
A large part of the multimillion-dollar, six-month refit focused on transforming the existing white exterior into glittering gold. “It took time, money, and energy getting the mix of 24-karat-gold dust and marine paint just right so that it glints under the sun’s reflection,” he says.
Then there was the development of AK Royalty’s lighter, fun side to lure day charterers, via Burgess Yachts, who would want to enjoy it from the home port of Dubai. A dive compressor center, inflatable slide, fly board, and 12-person floating trampoline are just some of the toys. There’s also a six-person Jacuzzi on the sun deck, a state-of-the-art AV sound system with iPad controls, and DJ deck on the aft deck.
The boat’s engineering systems were upgraded, including the air-conditioning and generators that can power other boats when traveling off-grid. “I want all the backup systems required to explore remote regions in comfort,” says Fidler.
The refurbished interior enjoys gold fittings, Fendi carpets, and soft furnishings. In keeping with its ostentatious exterior, faux wildlife is big on board, with silver tiger sculptures in almost every room.
The original his-and-hers bathroom in the master suite was ripped out and remodeled into one large marble-clad ensuite with a steam shower, sauna and full-sized bathtub.
Fidler and his family are using the vessel to cruise the UAE and Oman. Next year, the plan is to head to the Red Sea before crossing to the Mediterranean. “I don’t like traveling slow, so I tell the captain to go everywhere at warp speed,” says Fidler.
At 38 mph, AK Royalty delivers.
Click here for more photos of AK Royalty.
Best of Robb Report