A new level of luxury has hit the waters of magnificent Lake Powell this past summer with the addition of a new Axiom Star fleet, a one-of-a-kind collection of rental lake yachts. When we had first heard the news, Houseboat magazine rushed to the Arizona marina to be one of the first to try it out. For years we’ve been enjoying our summer vacations by renting houseboats from Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, but it was clear this new lavish Axiom Star lake yacht was truly unlike any rental boat we’ve ever been on and that’s what lured us back to this 186-mile-long lake that has nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline. Lake Powell begins in northern Arizona and extends into southern Utah and is truly a unique body of water that just begs to be explored.
When it comes to houseboat rentals across the country, you usually have a wide variety of options ranging from the smaller, value-based models to larger vessels that will accommodate more passengers. But until now, these rental boats have all come up short of being considered a truly high-end luxury experience that you typically only find when you have a custom-built houseboat designed just for you.
“There is new energy and excitement at Lake Powell with the arrival of the Axiom Star vessels,” says Eric Johnson, vice president of operations at Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas. “With its stunning natural splendor, Lake Powell is the ideal setting for this type of luxurious experience.”
Axiom Yachts are built in Phoenix, Ariz., and are a Compass North Industries brand. This manufacturer has created a solid reputation for itself by bringing yacht-quality features to the houseboat industry with its custom-built boats, and this new rental fleet designed for Lake Powell Resorts is a perfect reflection of its high standards.
Last June I traveled to the Wahweap Marina in Page, Ariz., with my family and friends to see firsthand what all the excitement was about. When you first see the Axiom Star in the distance you can easily identify it as something different than what you’re used to seeing in the houseboating industry. In fact, during the week-long rental it was easy to spot the houseboat from miles away because of its distinctive look.
From the moment we checked in, it seemed like even the marina staff recognized the uniqueness of the Axiom Star in the way they talked and referred to the new rental line. The marina staff were constantly buzzing around the docks helping others, but they seemed to pause for just a brief second when they would find out we were renting the new Axiom. Everyone we talked to on the dock was quick to let us know how impressed they were with the high-end houseboat. The excitement of this rental fleet can be felt on the docks, but the enthusiasm actually starts at the top.
“We are excited to offer our guests the opportunity to explore Lake Powellaboard a luxury lake yacht,” said Bruce W. Fears, president of Aramark. “We believe our new fleet will change the future of the boating vacation experience.”
At Houseboat magazine we’ve set foot on hundreds of custom houseboats over the years and when we first came onboard this luxury yacht we would never have guessed we were on a rental boat. The Axiom is designed to rival the look and feel of a high-end home and by using modern technology, the manufacturer has created a vessel that is truly user-friendly.
The 65-foot Axiom Star fleet consists of seven new boats and is available for a minimum seven-day rental during the summer and a minimum five-day rental the rest of the year. The vessels are designed as an ultimate indulgence and includes four staterooms that allow you to sleep eight or in our case two families comfortably.
Each room has a queen size bed, flat-screen television and a DVD player with the remainder of the boat comprised of two heads, a fully-loaded galley and a large salon seating area that includes a tracking satellite TV system and a surround-sound music system. Being able to watch both the Stanley Cup playoffs as well as the NBA playoffs while out on the water was a real plus for our crew.
Piloting services are included in every Axiom Star rental if you want them. A trained marina staff member will navigate your journey and anchor the boat at the beach of your choice. While it was tempting to take advantage of another luxurious perk, we chose to take the boat out ourselves since we felt comfortable at the helm. But for those unfamiliar with this large body of water or those new to houseboating, it is nice to know you have options so you can truly enjoy you houseboat vacation if you don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel.
While a lot of time was spent on the back deck, the crew seemed to spend a lot of time inside when not in the water. The galley/salon is truly state-of-the-art with full-size stainless steel appliances including a refrigerator, gas range, dishwasher and a microwave. Other creature comforts such as a sofa with chaise and seven-piece dinette set are also part of the layout. Upstairs, a screened-in upper deck offers panoramic views of Lake Powell while providing privacy for guests. The deck includes a deluxe wet bar, mini-fridge, icemaker, barbecue grill, television and patio furniture for the perfect day relaxing on the lake.
One night while the kids were in the salon with their eyes glued to the latest Disney animation movie, the adults snuck up to the top deck to enjoy the 250-gallon hot tub as well as the starlit sky. We all felt like houseboat owners, not renters, as we enjoyed the evening.
Most people choose to use their houseboat as a base camp once they’ve anchored and then use smaller boats for sightseeing and exploring the area. The rental of this high-end lake yacht also includes your choice of a powerboat—which is perfect for exploring all of the magnificent lake’s nooks and crannies—or two personal watercraft for exciting water adventures. With our group we opted for the powerboat and then rented two additional PWCs so we’d have more options for the week. While the powerboat was ideal for pulling tubes and for exploring, the PWCs were constantly being used and if we had to choose between the two options we probably used the PWCs more than the powerboat.
After a week on the water in this beautiful lake yacht our crew only had one complaint: the trip wasn’t long enough. Reluctantly our vacation was over and it was time to leave the luxury behind. We had rented our Axiom Star at Wahweap on the south end, which currently has five of the seven new houseboats, while the other two are located on the north end at the Bullfrog Marina.
With years of renting experience under our belt, we can honestly say we’ve never rented a houseboat quite like this. We were custom houseboat owners—even if it was just for a week.
For More Information:
Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas provides houseboat and powerboat rentals, lodging and scenic tours. For more information or to book a houseboat vacation, call 888-896-3829 or visit www.lakepowell.com. Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, managed by Aramark, is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.