Corinna Graf, CEO of Puerto Portals.


Since 2013, Corinna Graf has held one of the most important positions in Majorca's luxury industry. She is the CEO of Puerto Portals. Opened in 1986, it has attained its enormous reputation thanks to the efforts of her parents and also to the support of the Royal Family. The yacht Fortuna, used by the former king, Juan Carlos, was initially based in Puerto Portals.

It's quite a responsibility to maintain your father's legacy?
Yes, it is. I agreed to take the position in 2013 when he was still alive. It was going to be temporary. I had intended to go back to industry and my work in electrical appliances manufacturing. I had trained in Switzerland and developed an interest in industrial creativity and factories. But I got hooked on the marina. I think this will be forever.

There is creative work in Puerto Portals as well. It's a luxury industry.
Yes. That's because we create experiences. It's luxury but it is also somewhere to come without spending anything: just to walk or run. It's a place of beautiful people, that's for sure. It's fantastic.

How do you manage to create and maintain this oasis of luxury?
A lot of hard work. We have moorings, and from these we try to cover all needs. We have a high-security service, which is very important. There are great shops and restaurants. We stage events, even in the low season.

How did it all begin?
At the time when my parents decided to establish Puerto Portals, there were only moorings. There wasn't anything else. You couldn't even buy a newspaper. There were a lot of complaints. But my parents, rather than complaining, set about a project that required a great deal of investment. It was a risk to create moorings surrounded by landscaped and commercial areas. Few people understood the concept at that time.

Thanks to that investment, we have a whole facility that is incomparable. The first years, it is true, were tough. But little by little people started to come. An ice-cream parlour opened. Then there was Tristan, which added a great deal of prestige.

You work in a luxury industry, but you don't like the word luxury.
That's because luxury is defined by the individual. For me, luxury is about having time, not about a boat. It is a power of luxury to be able to study what you want and to realise yourself as a person. My parents were more concerned that I should be happy rather than be the cleverest. That gave me a great deal of peace of mind. My parents were very influential people, but I appreciated that I was never being pressed into living up to them.

Was the port as you wanted when you took on the responsibility?
It was. There is a team of wonderful people - fifty of them who work here. There are others who work indirectly with us as well. We have to function as a perfect machine and be clear about our direction.

Will the new charge have an impact on Puerto Portals? Were you surprised by the increase?
Back in 1981, the charge was the equivalent of 5,800 euros per year. In 2012 it was reassessed at 1.9 million. We discussed this and finally, after a new valuation of the port and new conditions that include 35 years of concession and investment, the fee was set at 2.5 million. The increase doesn't surprise us, because we have been negotiating with the Ports de les Illes Balears for years. We are facing the next stage with enthusiasm. It's a big challenge.

You deal with many powerful people because you are head of a mega luxury product, and yet you don't like the word.
It's an enormous responsibility. Our luck is in having people who come in vacation mode. We're at a moment of maturity. We're 31 years old and we know our customers well: their tastes, their priorities. We work for them every day. Yes, they are people with a lot of power, but they come to Puerto Portals for enjoyment, for relaxation and to be able to almost always go unnoticed.

Puerto Portals is not just of key importance to Majorca. It has gifted a story of marvellous images.
We have a problem in that we are seen as only being a port for the rich, when in fact we have many small boats. We have clients with great wealth. We have heads of state. But we also have customers with small boats who are of equal importance. Nevertheless, images such as those of the Royal Family make me fully aware that this is an iconic place.

How is physical security managed?
There is constant cooperation with the state security forces. Heads of state like the port because they feel that they, and their own security services, are not going to be troubled. The coordination works very well, for instance with the Guardia Civil.

How did the relationship with the Royal Family develop?
My parents reserved the number one mooring for Fortuna, and this was the case for many years. It was this that made the relationship. The family has always felt very comfortable with us. And they love the Flanigan restaurant. The time came when it was no longer feasible for Fortuna to be here and went instead to Porto Pi. This was mainly so as not to disturb other boats. The Royal Family has helped us a great deal.

Will there be a return of the glamorous images of previous years, the ones that have given so much global fame to Majorca?
It's difficult to recover those times. Circumstances have changed. To try and copy something that doesn't arise naturally would be wrong.

Is the Royal Family aware of their importance to Majorca?
I don't know, but I would say yes. They are aware of their effect on society. Queen Letizia knows well what is of interest. I think they see it as something normal. I don't know if they really feel that they are important. It's very difficult for someone to feel what is normal, when it is so important for other people. The image of the Queen at the shops or sailing benefits Majorca and the whole country, because the photo is published across the globe and gives Spain a very good image: one of security, modernity and normality. For the port, it is very important if they have dinner at Flanigan.

Yes, but it's also the case that in recent years they have been criticised.
For us, they are very important and also for the tourism industry in general. I'm sure that they are uneasy with the criticisms. During the years of crisis, the luxury market was difficult, and the family has had to deal with certain issues in recent years. Look, people who could buy in Majorca but have preferred to in London for fear of being recognised have taken money abroad, and so that extended the crisis. But there are of course people who have done things right. They live well but they give work to many people.

How do you organise being a good mother and wife?
I am a mother of three. Like all the women who work for me, I arrange things. I have small children and if I need a favour from someone who is busy, it is done because of being accustomed to fitting in with what is asked. Someone who is unemployed can be overwhelmed by anything. I take other people's children. If five need to be fed rather than three, then that's no problem.

What about the regattas at Puerto Portals?
There was the third Puerto Portals Sailing Week last week. It has replaced the Breitling Regatta. It's the Formula One of sailing, a marvel.