21 Ultimate Gifts

Overview

Swedish supercar 240 mph Koenigsegg CCX and $7.3 million rare green diamond ring from deGrisogono. Plus exlusives from Moet Hennessy, Callaway golf, rocket racing league, Four Seasons, Parmigiani and more.

From This Issue

21 Ultimate Gifts: Bringing Something to the Table

During Napoléon Bonaparte’s reign, European furniture styles reflected his ambition and his ego. Mahogany pieces that were designed and decorated to be grand and monumental—later referred to as the Empire style—filled the homes of the aristocracy as well as those of the middle class. But after Napoléon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Europe experienced a […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Color Contrast

Nearly a decade after the death of Gianni Versace, who once described his couture as having “the memory of the classic mixed with a touch of the future,” the designer continues to influence his company’s products. The Versace home collection (212.317.0224, http://www.versace.com), which debuted in 1992, comprises furniture and accessories that reflect Gianni’s tastes for […]

FrontRunners: Sitting Pretty

To coincide with the opening of its fourth U.S. showroom, which is located outside Los Angeles in Culver City, Calif., German furniture company Vitra (www.vitra.com) commissioned architect Greg Lynn to create a one-of-a-kind chair. “I wanted to make something extremely comfortable, but I was also interested in finding a new way to handle the base […]

From The Editors: One for the Books

About the time in 1912 that Boston pharmaceutical tycoon and philanthropist George Robert White completed renovating what now is known as the Wyck Estate, the French château–style mansion on the North Shore of Massachusetts that is among Robb Report’s “21 Ultimate Gifts” , Philadelphia society members George Dunton Widener and his wife, Eleanor, were finalizing […]

FrontRunners: Architectural Landmark

Domus has occupied the front ranks of the world’s architecture and design journals since its founding by Milanese architect Gio Ponti in 1928. In December, the German publisher Taschen (www.taschen.com) will release a 12-volume, 6,960-page set (priced at $600) that contains the Italian journal’s best articles accompanied by English translations. Introductory texts will discuss the […]

Home: Sleeping Beauty

Sferra Fine Linens has created bedding so precious that you might hesitate to lie on it. The Burano sets—each comprising one ivory fitted sheet, one ivory flat sheet, and two pillowcases—are made from 1,020-thread-count, Italian-woven Egyptian cotton. More significantly, they incorporate Point de Venice lace, a centuries-old style of embroidery that the company, which now […]

Antiques: Beyond Borders

“Frames are really the Cinderellas of the art world,” says Deborah Davis, author of the forthcoming book The Secret Lives of Frames: One Hundred Years of Art and Artistry (Filipacchi Publishing, 2006). “They’re hard-working and completely ignored, and most of us, except a small circle of professionals, have no means for appreciating them for what […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Coast to Coast

When neither east nor west is best, when matters on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts demand equal attention, or when the virtues of both locations are equally alluring, it becomes desirable to own homes on both sides of the country. In addition to being beautiful, well situated, secure, and close to the ocean, this […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Super Model

An intricately detailed model of an automobile or superyacht of your choice, crafted by British silversmith Gil Holt.   Price starting at $2 million Upon receiving a commission to fashion in silver a precise model of a new and rare Aston Martin Vantage Volante Special Edition, Gil Holt ran his hands up and down the […]

Double Take

In the English countryside, 30 miles south of London, an Arts and Crafts brick manor has been reborn, transformed into a stylishly appointed, high-tech guesthouse. However, the exterior is deceiving, for it appears much the same as it did when the house was built nearly 80 years ago. When a 40-year-old venture capitalist and his […]

FrontRunners: Some Like it Haute

Those fond of the beach lifestyle now can own a part-time residence at the 118-year-old Hotel del Coronado (www.hoteldelrealty.com) on San Diego’s Coronado Island. The resort, which provided the setting for the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot, recently began offering limited-use, oceanfront condominiums with starting prices of $2.4 million. Owners may use the two- […]

FrontRunners: Gimme Shelter

The basement level of West Virginia’s Greenbrier hotel (www.greenbrier.com) contains rooms that once were always booked for, though never occupied by, Beltway power brokers. The 1,100 bunks tucked behind a 25-ton blast door in the 112,544-square-foot facility, built by President Eisenhower during the Cold War, were reserved for government officials in the event of a […]

FrontRunners: Nice Going

Visitors to Nice, France, have a new venue for surveying the action along the Riviera, at the Palais de la Mediterranee (www.lepalaisdelamediterranee.com). Although the rebuilt landmark opened in 2004, it only recently unveiled its largest accommodation. Suite 927, with a 1,292-square-foot interior and a 538-square-foot terrace, offers a fine view of the Promenade des Anglais […]

Travel: Movin’ on Up

Town-car driver Russell Figaredo greets most members of Private Escapes Destination Clubs with a refreshing glass of fruit juice or a bottle of water when they arrive in the Big Apple. But when two guests from Tennessee flew in on a hot day last summer, the lifelong New Yorker suggested cold beers instead. “With some […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Thai Game

Entry for one team—you and five other players—in the next King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, to be held no sooner than April 2007 in the Golden Triangle region of Thailand. Three weeks’ accommodations for six at Four Seasons resorts in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Koh Samui. A private viewing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s […]

Journeys: Animal Rites

“Song soong,” says a young mahout, urging an 8-foot-tall female to lift her leg off the ground. He taps the Asian elephant with a goad, and she responds, raising a foot as though kicking up her heel. The action creates a generous crook in her leg, a leathery curve from which the elephant’s keeper plans […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: How Sweet It Is

A shipment of $200 worth of Michel Cluizel chocolate, selected by you from the company’s range of offerings, every week for the rest of your life. A chocolate room for your home designed by Richard Perl, Cluizel’s CEO and sommelier of chocolate, and a tutorial from Perl on how to better appreciate fine chocolate. A […]

Smoke: My Blue Heaven

Cigar smoking is an inherently low-tech activity. The product itself has barely changed in a century; it still comprises only a roll of leaves and a tiny smear of glue, and it is made with the simplest of tools. Just as Harley-Davidson enthusiasts embrace the decades-old design touches in their machines, smokers revel in the […]

FrontRunners: Photographic Memory

In 1954, Leica Camera (www.leica-camera.com) launched its M-series of rangefinder cameras, which photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) and other devotees have called the purest photographic instruments available. Last month, the German company introduced the Leica M8, the line’s first digital device. The $5,300 M8 retains all the attractions of the analog M-series, including its speed, precision, […]

Spirits: A Different Dram

Traveling by steamboat and horse-drawn carriage, Alfred Barnard set out in 1885 to visit each of the 161 distilleries in the United Kingdom. His detailed account of the journey, The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, became the authoritative word on whisky after its publication in 1887. In the book, Barnard singled out Ardbeg, on […]

Wine: Drinkable Art

Recently, in the course of a conversation having nothing to do with wine, I was asked to explain the difference between a talented craftsman and an artist. In the few moments during which my ego (that portion of the brain which concerns itself with how one’s words will come across when quoted) searched for a […]

Dining: Parting Gifts

Dine at the Modern, located inside the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan, and just as you are about to leave, a member of the wait staff will present you with a gift bag containing a cellophane-wrapped cake. The restaurant offers stollen, a German holiday fruitcake, from Thanksgiving until early January, and lemon or […]

FrontRunners: Moody Hues

Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999), a cofounder of Southern California’s post-surrealist movement in the 1930s, created a number of intimate, unsettling still lifes—including the one pictured below, Portrait of Inez (1933). This piece, one of a number of works referred to by scholars and collectors as her “mood” paintings, is among hundreds of artworks spanning five centuries […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Given the Delamain family’s wide-ranging assortment of extracurricular interests, it is remarkable that its members—whose roots in the Saintonge district of Cognac can be traced back to 1625—ever found time for spirits. Since the mid-18th century, when James Delamain married Marie Ranson, the daughter of a successful négociant, and became a partner in the firm […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Cameroon wrappers usually surround mild filler tobacco, as most cigar makers prefer to emphasize the distinctive flavor of the African leaf. What a surprise, then, to taste the Camacho Select, a Cameroon-wrapped cigar made with unusually bold filler tobaccos. The filler’s flavor does not overpower the wrapper, but instead seems to amplify the silky, sweet […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: A Swede with Speed

The Koenigsegg CCX, a made-to-order, 240-plus mph, 806 hp Swedish supercar, customized with the exterior and interior colors of your choice.   A private tour of the Koenigsegg factory near Angelholm, Sweden, guided by Christian von Koenigsegg, and an opportunity to test the CCX’s performance capabilities on the runway adjacent to the factory. An invitation […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Four by Four

Four seasons’ worth of clothes from four American wardrobe consultants.   The nearly 600 clothing items will include a tuxedo made from pashmina, two suits of Guanashina cloth, a dozen shirts constructed from suitmaker’s linen, a vicuña double-breasted British overcoat with sheared mink lining, and two suits made from Vanquish, a new blend of pashmina […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Fine Wine, Fine Line

A collection of Château d’Yquem that includes at least one bottle of every vintage produced from 1860 through 2003. A pair of walnut wine cabinets designed by David Linley to house the collection. Price starting at $2.5 million When Stephen Williams acquired this Château d’Yquem vertical assemblage two years ago, it was comprehensive, but not […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Watchmaking Laid Bare

A custom skeleton Tecnica timepiece from Swiss watchmaker Michel Parmigiani. Three limited-edition Kalpa skeleton watches, two of which mark Parmigiani’s 30th anniversary as an independent watchmaker. Price starting at $1.11 million Michel Parmigiani has been making watches for his eponymous Swiss brand for 30 years, but some of his most exquisite timepieces do not appear […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Go, Go, Goldammer

ExperiMental, the first racing motorcycle made by Canadian custom bike builder Roger Goldammer.   Price $450,000 During his childhood in British Columbia, Canada, Roger Goldammer often helped his father repair his Jaguar and his piston-powered aircraft. Ultimately, however, Goldammer succumbed to the spell of the motorcycle. “Emotionally, you can go from exhilaration to relaxation to […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Puff the Black Dragon

One of only five boxes (containing 100 cigars) of the Gurkha Black Dragon Edición Especial.   A unique antique camel-bone humidor from northern India. Price $115,000 K. Hansotia & Co./Beach Cigar Group, better known as Gurkha, operates under the tenet that perfection cannot be rushed. Named after the Nepalese fighters who, after defending their country […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Land of the Links

A 20-day trip for seven to play 10 Scottish and Irish golf courses of your choice. A past PGA champion will complete the pair of foursomes.   A round of golf at Scotland’s Carnoustie, site of the 2007 British Open, and seven VIP tickets to the tournament. Travel through Scotland on the Royal Scotsman train. […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Save the Elms

Perpetual care of the 550 endangered American elms that line the entire east side of New York City’s Central Park, along Fifth Avenue. A plaque bearing your name will be placed in the park to commemorate your role in preserving the trees. Price $2 million In 1930, Dutch elm disease (DED) reached the United States […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Fit to a Tee

A golf makeover for four that begins with a custom club fitting at the Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif.   Seven return trips to the center for instruction, club alterations, and rounds of golf at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara, where your foursome will stay during each visit. A round of golf with […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: It’s a Blast

A customized Mark-1 X-Racer rocket and the first Mark-2 X-Racer, which will succeed the Mark-1. A Rocket Racing League team, with two racing rockets, a truck and trailer equipment to transport the team rockets, and a customized hangar. Rocket-flying classes with the league’s pilot instructors. A home flight simulator and a gaming system that will […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Southern Comfort

A premium membership in the invitation-only yachting club Private Sea. The membership includes first right of refusal on chartering the next five additions to the club’s fleet.   An optional 12-day trip for six to Antarctica aboard Revelation, a privately chartered yacht. As souvenirs of the Antarctica trip, a limited-edition collection of photographs by Frank […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Get into the Mix

Travel for a group of four to France for private blending sessions at the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house and the Hennessy Cognac distillery, and for a tour of the Krug Champagne house.   Take home your blends and additional offerings from Veuve Clicquot, Krug Champagne, and Hennessy Cognac. Lodge in VIP accommodations at the Veuve […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Are You Ready to Rock?

A one-of-a-kind electric bass guitar from German luthier Jens Ritter.   A day of recording in the Miami studio owned and designed by Lenny Kravitz. A customized tour bus from Marathon Coach. A wardrobe of day wear and stage costumes by Manuel, who has dressed Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and dozens of other legendary musicians. […]

Sport: I’m a Luger, Baby

Our goal is to stamp every sport on our “passports,” the passes we procure at Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge that gain you entry to all the Olympic sports complexes in and around the town. It is not an easy task for a weekend, yet it is only midafternoon on a Friday, so ample time remains […]

Golf: Broadmoor Horizons

A 1920s-era brochure for the Broadmoor shows an image of the then-new resort’s circular driveway, white facade, and vine-draped loggia, accompanied by a caption that states, “All four sides of the hotel are equally attractive.” The same cannot be said of the resort’s hometown of Colorado Springs. In the decades since its beloved Broadmoor opened […]

Sea and Sardinia

Midway through the race, five yachts—Viriella, Sei Tu 2, OPS 5, Flying Dragon, and Charis—converge on the same buoy. The wind is light, but the boats have gathered a good head of speed, and as they cluster together, shouts rise up in Italian, Spanish, and English. Viriella, behind and to the right of Charis, has […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: It Isn’t Easy Buying Green

An extremely rare, 25-carat green diamond, one of the largest of its kind. The cushion-cut stone is set in a gold ring by Swiss jewelry house de Grisogono that features an additional seven carats of black diamonds. Price $7.3 million   Colored diamonds are rare, and green diamonds are rarer still, but one of this […]

Jewelry: Karma Lounge

Since 1852, India’s Kasliwal family has adorned maharajas as well as European and Middle Eastern royalty with opulent jewels crafted at its Gem Palace of Jaipur. In November, the family-owned company added a new chapter to its storied history by opening a salon in a brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Although the jewelry house […]

FrontRunners: Star Turn

Brazilian jeweler H. Stern (www.hstern.net) is showcasing its new asymmetrical diamond cut, the Stern Star, in 21 pieces of jewelry that combine those white gems with black diamonds and the company’s proprietary 18-karat Noble gold, an alloy with a distinctive warm tone. Compared to a typical round, brilliant-cut stone, the Stern Star has a wider […]

Watches: Personal Matters

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, copresident of Chopard, agrees that the manufacture he established to produce the company’s connoisseur-class L.U.C. watches is hardly a commercial necessity. A decade after their debut, L.U.C. watches (so named for company founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard) still account for only 3,000 of the nearly 75,000 watches the company produces annually. Furthermore, the L.U.C. collection, […]

Wardrobe: Sole Men

Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling are challenging England’s bench-made shoe establishment by defiantly cutting the cap toes of their new calfskin oxfords in the shapes of diamonds. They also are twisting the penny straps on softly rounded square-toe loafers, and making diamond-shaped perforations on classic wingtips and monk straps. G.J. Cleverley, John Lobb, or Edward […]

Style: Out of the Vault

Ralph Esmerian adeptly maneuvers around the piles of papers, boxes, and books that cover virtually every surface in his office in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. Even beneath his desk, dish towels conceal stacks of trays laden with jeweled antique handbags and objects d’art. Unfazed by the clutter, Esmerian delights in presenting his favorite treasures, which include […]

Time: Russian Dressing

A crowd gathered last summer in Moscow’s Sobornaya Square, within the Kremlin walls, to watch 120 Presidential Guards in full regalia perform a 40-minute display of drills and dressage, accompanied by the horns and bass drums of a finely tuned brass band. The ceremony did not mark a Russian holiday, nor the anniversary of a […]

Grand Allusions

A watch manufacturer traditionally has demonstrated its mastery of the mechanical art by producing a grand complication, often a sober-looking piece that incorporates a chronograph, perpetual calendar, and minute repeater. However, as watchmakers continue to introduce futuristic designs and innovative mechanisms, they are changing the perception of what constitutes a noteworthy technical achievement. This year, […]

FrontRunners: Select Cut

London-based clothier Thomas Pink (www.thomaspink.co.uk) has designed a men’s formal shirt to hold a size 6 or smaller cigar. The two-fold Egyptian button-down, which the company has dubbed the Mogul, bears a breast pocket divided into two sections. The smaller section is box-pleated to accommodate smokes of varying ring gauges and lies flat when empty, […]

Contributors: Moving Experiences on Water, Racetrack, and Elephant Back

While serving as ballast on the sailing yacht Viriella during this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Robb Report senior editor Michael Schulze learned that the sailors who participate in Sardinia’s summer regattas take the competitions very seriously, despite the many distractions presented by the Mediterranean island’s glitzy social scene. “The sailors look as though they […]

FrontRunners: Top Honor

In the early 1950s, General Motors designer Harley Earl, fresh from watching world speed records being set at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, conceived the Pontiac Bonneville Special. His vision of jet-age speed, which featured a Plexiglas canopy and gullwing panels, debuted at the General Motors Motorama in 1954. GM built only two examples of the […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Last of the V-12 Voisins

A 1931 Voisin C20 Simoun Demi-Berline, the only known remaining car of its kind.   Price $5.5 million It seems fitting that Gabriel Voisin’s surname should be an anagram for vision, as the French inventor often was ahead of his time when creating vehicles, whether they were intended to be driven or flown. By the […]

Sacré Rouge!: Schooling More Ferrari Owners

Ferrari North America President Maurizio Parlato was instrumental in establishing the Ferrari Driving Experience at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, the first Ferrari driving course conducted outside of the carmaker’s hometown of Maranello, Italy. At a recent session, Parlato offered his take on the Mont-Tremblant program and its purpose.   RR: What was the reason behind opening […]

Sacré Rouge!

Like fingernails running down a chalkboard, Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” screeches from the speakers of the classroom’s plasma-screen television. Nobody gonna take my car / I’m gonna race it to the ground / Nobody gonna beat my car / It’s gonna break the speed of sound. . .   As the frenetic soundtrack reaches a […]

FrontRunners: Prop Master

The 8-year-old design of the P180 Avanti from Italy’s Piaggio Aero (www.piaggioaero.com)—a turboprop with an unconventional appearance, roomy interior, and superior fuel efficiency—has been upgraded. The Piaggio Avanti II displays the same unique exterior, with its aft wing that holds two rearward-facing engines. This configuration provides an unusual amount of lift, reducing drag and cutting […]

Aviation: Pilot Program

A built-in parachute that provides a soft landing in an emergency, a cockpit warning system that helps keep you clear of hillsides and other obstacles, and seat belts that double as air bags all are standard equipment on Cirrus Design’s SR22, a $350,000, four-seat, single-engine, piston-driven aircraft. However, to owners who would be pilots, the […]

Boating: Accelerated Development

Four to six years typically pass from design to delivery of a custom superyacht. But the Amels boatyard in Vlissingen, Netherlands, has reduced that time to 24 months or less. Amels builds its Limited Editions, a new series of 171-foot yachts, with standardized dimensions, engineering, and accommodations, but it also allows owners to incorporate their […]

Art: Wait and Sea

David Lester’s ship has not yet come in, but it should arrive in a few more months. Lester, the cofounder and coprincipal of the SeaFair company, claims steel shortages that arose in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath delayed construction of Grand Luxe, SeaFair’s first art fair exhibition vessel, and forced him to postpone the yacht’s December launch. […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: That’s the Spirit

A full-size, airworthy replica of Charles Lindbergh’s plane, Spirit of St. Louis.   The maps and charts on which Lindbergh plotted the course for his historic flight, as well as a signed first edition of his Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir about the journey. A plane-themed wooden sculpture—perhaps of Spirit of St. Louis—by aviator and artist Erik […]

Sea and Sardinia: Parade of Starwoods

Beginning in the early 1960s, as the Aga Khan developed Porto Cervo, his reach extended along Costa Smeralda, where he built several hotels. He ultimately sold the properties to Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which in turn sold the majority of its holdings to billionaire real estate investor Thomas Barrack Jr. in 2003. Starwood continues to […]