Formal Function

Overview

Black Tie gets a sleek new look. A sneak preview of the world's ultimate city escapes.

From This Issue

Home: Spare Arts

If it is true that creative endeavors are the offspring of experience, as well as of the mind and spirit, then the conception of the Bolier & Co. showroom, which opened earlier this year in High Point, N.C., occurred some time ago—in fact, long before Christian Plasman founded the furniture brand in 2003. Plasman, who […]

Greater Than Gatsby

Some eight decades ago, when Long Island’s Gold Coast glittered like one of Daisy Buchanan’s diamond necklaces, the heir to a steamship company fortune crafted a mansion here that could have housed Gatsby himself. Louis Luckenbach, whose grandfather founded the Luckenbach Steamship Co., built his palace in the style of a French Normandy estate, amid […]

FrontRunners: Amazing Space

In a territory that is starved for room, the 7,000-square-foot presidential suite on the 16th and 17th floors of the InterContinental Hong Kong (www.hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com) provides sumptuous relief. The five-bedroom suite, priced at about $11,000 per night, is Hong Kong’s largest hotel room and features a kitchen, dining room, study, gym, and split-level living room with […]

FrontRunners: Close Encounters

Those interested in something perhaps not as cool but certainly much colder might consider a trip to Antarctica. In 2004, a naturalist discovered an unrecorded emperor penguin rookery on Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea. Quark Expeditions (www.quarkexpeditions.com) offers a chance to view these 4,000 breeding pairs up close during a two-week trip that […]

Travel: Time and Again

Peter Mckay, co-owner of the three distinctive London boutique hotels (the Gore, Hazlitt’s, and the Rookery) known collectively as Hazlitt’s Hotels, employs a characteristically British understatement to assess the charm of the properties. “Someone who came from the 18th century would not feel completely out of place in them,” he says. Such a guest, however, […]

Journeys: Getty’s Address

Standing largely as he left it more than 30 years ago, J. Paul Getty’s former home in Italy confirms that, though good taste does not necessarily accompany wealth, the oil baron possessed an abundance of both. Assisted by Italian art historian and critic Federico Zeri (who later became a trustee of the Getty Museum in […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Finding Its Forte

It is likely that no one has ever whispered, in the manner of Bergman to Bogie, “We will always have Frankfurt.” The city on the Main River is the financial center of Germany and the birthplace of Goethe, but it is infamously stodgy and bourgeois. So when Villa Kennedy opened on the Main’s south bank […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Swell Dwelling

Calvinist missionaries from Europe nearly wiped out surfing in the 19th century, when they forced Hawaiian natives, who were the sport’s primary practitioners at the time, to desist from such hedonistic pursuits. A small group of Hawaiians, however, continued the island tradition covertly. The surfers eventually migrated to the turquoise swells of Waikiki Beach, where, […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Gold Rush

The sheiks in Abu Dhabi witnessed the transformation of Dubai, its fellow United Arab emirate, from a sleepy, sandy town into a tourist destination of mind-boggling proportions. Inspired by Dubai’s spectacles of creativity and wealth–man-made islands modeled after the earth’s continents, a property formed in the shape of a sail and marketed as the world’s […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Mayfair Lady

The neighborly relationship between Claridge’s and Buckingham Palace dates to at least 1860, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, in her suite at the hotel. Claridge’s, which opened in the heart of Mayfair in 1854, has hosted numerous parties for the House of Windsor in the ensuing […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Gone Batty

Weird does not typically top the list of attributes one seeks in an urban hotel–unless, of course, one is heading to the capital of Texas. Here, oddity is not merely accepted, it is embraced enthusiastically. With a dichotomy of residents that ranges from artists to techies, vegans to cattle ranchers, and liberal academics to conservative […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Saigon Rising

From the rooftop bar­ of the Caravelle Hotel, Vietnam War correspondents routinely watched U.S. Air Force jets streaking over enemy strongholds on the outskirts of Saigon, dropping bombs and leaving pyrotechnic displays in their wakes. “There were dozens of us up there, like aristocrats viewing Borodino from the heights,” wrote Michael Herr in his 1977 […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Tall Tails

In the 1930s, white-gowned Southern belles made their debuts into society by descending into the Jefferson Hotel’s rotunda while suspended from wires overhead. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was discovered as a tap dancer while waiting tables at the hotel’s restaurant. In the upper lobby, pet alligators swam in marble pools, greeting guests who, over the years, […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Basque in the Shadow

When the Frank Gehry—designed Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao in 1997, this industrial hub in northern Spain suddenly became an international tourist destination. The Basque city’s undulated, titanium-and-steel landmark also helped lure other renowned architects from around the world: Japan’s Arata Isozaki designed the gate to Bilbao; Spaniard Santiago Calatrava built the airport and a […]

Ultimate City Escapes: Heavy Mettle

The members of black sabbath are better known for trashing hotel rooms than for decorating them, but in the Sorrento Hotel’s Music Suite, a poster signed by Ozzy Osbourne and his heavy metal cohorts crowns the head of the bed. The poster—which complements the room’s displays of gold and platinum records, a guitar signed (not […]

Ultimate City Escapes: By Georgian

Irish history is inextricably intertwined with the British, and the Merrion hotel’s pedigree is no exception. Mornington House, one of four renovated 18th-century townhomes on Dublin’s Upper Merrion Street that form the bulk of the hotel, was the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, the Iron Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoléon at Waterloo. But the Merrion, […]

Ultimate City Escapes: The Mighty Pen

Every afternoon, live chamber music and the scents of jasmine and Darjeeling drift through the grand lobby of the Peninsula Hong Kong. Here, surrounded by boutiques and dwarfed by neoclassic columns topped with gargoyles, hotel guests and Hong Kong residents partake in what has become a favorite pastime at Peninsula properties worldwide: tea. The daily […]

Antiques: Reading Between the Lines

When fred feinsilber began acquiring illustrated books—in his case, limited-edition publications that feature high-quality engravings, sketches, plates, and sometimes original artwork—he did so with the assumption that Pablo Picasso could be as valuable to him as Albert Camus was. For Feinsilber, the 66-year-old retired founder of the French chemical company Revco, the illustrated books would […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Highly Decorated

C.F. Martin & Co.’s 1 millionth guitar suitably marks the milestone. Beginning in 2002, inlay artist Larry Robinson spent two years laboring over what would become the most elaborately ornamented guitar in the company’s history. A Dreadnought model constructed of extremely rare Brazilian rosewood, the millionth Martin is a phantasmagoria of Victorian and Baroque embellishments […]

FrontRunners: Universal Remote

The Vertu Constellation cell phone seems sure to find a following among international travelers. Vertu (www.vertu.com), a British subsidiary of Nokia, has designed a device that tells the time in three locations simultaneously, incorporates a real-time currency converter and flight and weather trackers, and provides one-button access to 24-hour concierge service. The leather-backed phone is […]

FrontRunners: Art Appreciation

These days, a good number of interior designers are taking cues from French Art Deco pieces of the 1920s and ’30s—including those of Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Paul Dupré-Lafon. At the height of their careers in Paris, Dupré-Lafon displayed a talent for decorating hotels, while Ruhlmann drew praise for his elegant furniture made with exotic woods. […]

FrontRunners: Sweet Successes

Torte and tart, cake and crepe, frozen and hot—cocoa will take an appetizing range of forms, including sculptural, when the Chocolate Bar returns to Boston’s Langham Hotel (www.langhamhotels.com) on September 9. The downtown landmark, which once was a Federal Reserve bank, has drawn Saturday afternoon crowds to its decadent weekly binge during the fall, winter, […]

FrontRunners: First Crush

The second an­nual Crush Camp, a two-day course for aspiring winemakers hosted by Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines (www.diageowines.com), begins Septem­ber 14 in Napa, Calif. Experts from five of Diageo’s Napa Valley vineyards—Acacia, Beaulieu, Moon Mountain, Provenance, and Sterling—will serve as the counselors. Participants will harvest grapes, create their own wines, and taste Beaulieu’s Clone […]

FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

Few chicago publishing executives can claim to be pioneers—certainly not mavericks who moved west to settle and conquer the land. But John Shafer can. In 1972, he left his life as a textbook publisher behind to settle on a 200-plus-acre parcel of land in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. At the time, only a handful […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Zino Platinum fans no longer need to pack a travel humidor for every trip. The Chubby—beloved for its sophisticated flavor, unusual perfecto shape, and whimsical name—is now available sheathed in a sturdy metal tube. Toss the Chubby Especial Tubo inside a suitcase or glove compartment, and upon arrival you will find it in perfect condition […]

FrontRunners: Sensual Feeling

Spas continue to meld East and West in pleasing ways. The Beau-Rivage Palace (www.brp.ch) in Lausanne, Switzerland, one of Europe’s grande dame gems, now houses a spa operated by Cinq Mondes of Paris. The menu of therapies and beauty rituals draws from Japanese, Ayurvedic, North African, Taoist, and Balinese traditions. The Siam Sojourn combines a […]

Art: Metal Urges

Bending and welding metal into a chair that is as compelling to look at as it is comfortable to sit on is a relatively straightforward process, in Paul Freundt’s opinion, if you understand human physiology. “All you’ve got to do is support the ischium bones,” says the 55-year-old metal sculptor, illustrating his point by grasping […]

Spas: Living Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil sits casually on a stool and discusses his theories about healthy aging with 70 guests of the Miraval resort and spa in Catalina, Ariz. “It’s not about living forever,” says the 64-year-old physician, who, as the spa’s recently named director of integrative health and healing, has developed a series of workshops for […]

Wine: Masters of Malbec

From the terrace of his newly completed winery, which overlooks a vineyard appropriately named Finca de la Vista, Santiago Achaval rests his gaze momentarily on an olive grove. He points to the shade the grove casts on his vines. He would like to cut the trees down, he admits, but they have been here at […]

Dining: Branching Out

As any restaurateurs would, Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing expected challenges when they opened their new establishment near New Orleans, but they could not have anticipated the natural disaster that devastated the city. Nevertheless, their restaurant, Longbranch, in Abita Springs, La., was up and running less than a month after Hurricane Katrina struck. Before they […]

Collectibles: It’s Tricky

The spectacular growth of the magic memorabilia market is no illusion; collector Mike Caveney can attest to that. “When I started, it was a much smaller group,” says the 56-year-old from Pasadena, Calif., who began collecting magic-related posters, photographs, and books in the 1970s. “We would meet in magic shops, and I could buy a […]

Leisure: Farm Team

In a field of broken stalks stands General Cigar president and chief operating officer Daniel Núnez. Scattered bits of stems and leaves, still showing faint traces of green, indicate that this ground recently hosted a substantial crop of tobacco. Yet although every last twig has been stripped of its precious commodity, the field remains full […]

Golf: Northern Exposure

Notwithstanding Newfoundland’s name—and the fact that Newfoundlanders have been playing golf here for more than six decades—few U.S. players have discovered the Canadian island province, at least not as a destination for which you would pack your clubs. However, now that the Humber Valley Resort has opened its new River Course, a golfer might have […]

FrontRunners: Close And Comfortable

Calculating that by this point in human history, men in the thousands will have grown weary of unisex salons, former sports-industry executives Bill Sanders and Adam Dishell have created a Los Angeles–area barbershop that recalls an old-school London gentlemen’s club. At The Shave of Beverly Hills (www.theshavebeverlyhills.com), patrons sit in antique barber chairs, sip cock­tails, […]

Watches: Season Tickets

Stanislas de Quercize, the recently appointed CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, must not be averse to risk. After all, he entrusted two young executives possessing minimal watchmaking experience to conceive the timepieces that would mark the Paris jewelry house’s centennial anniversary this year. One of those men responsible for the Lady Arpels Centenary watch, […]

Jewelry: Turkish Delights

Yossi Harari says he is a student of ancient Ottoman, Etruscan, and Hellenistic art, and those influences are readily apparent in his jewelry designs, including his new collection, Yossi Couture. The pieces were made by layering 24-karat gold with oxidized silver to produce a matte black finish. It is a technique, he says, that was […]

High Stakes Style

An American Dream, Norman Mailer describes Las Vegas of 1965 as “a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.” Vegas’ pulsating radiance has only intensified in the decades since Mailer penned his impressions, as […]

Style: Bespoken For

Custom clothing may enable the wearer to express his unique sense of style, but of the more than 100 custom shirts that Louis Bershad orders each year, the ones he relishes most are distinguished by features initially fashioned for another man. It is not by chance that Bershad’s shirts with the sharply pointed button-down collars […]

Z Is For Zest

BMW was first, in 1996, with its made-in-America Z3 roadster, which, powered by a 4-cylinder engine dribbling out 138 hp, required nearly 10 seconds to reach freeway speed limits. Get a ticket in a Z3, went the claim, and your other vehicle should be equipped with pedals and a bulb horn. Next to roll out […]

FrontRunners: California Dreaming

In the early 1950s, automobile designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin began imagining a new sports car in his studio in Hollywood, Calif. He sold the design, which featured doors that flipped open sideways and slid into the front fenders, to Kaiser-Frazer Corp. in 1952. The automaker went out of business only a few years later, but […]

Back Page: Leading By Getting Out of the Way

The accomplishments of Bavar­ian Motor Works–known better as BMW–become that much more impressive when you consider that some car companies struggle to produce a merely competent version of just one type of car. BMW excels at making sedans, but every now and again, it releases a truly magnificent sports car such as the 507 or […]

FrontRunners: Premium Blend

In 2003, the Italian boatbuilder Mochi Craft, part of the Ferretti Group (www.ferrettigroupusa.com), introduced an astonishing hybrid that combined elements of an American lobster boat with those of a Mediterranean pleasure craft. Baby boomers in particular loved the 51 Dolphin for its soft, rounded lines, 1950s-era automotive styling, and racy but muscular look. Now, following […]

Boating: Box Launch

To explore the Queen Charlotte Islands two years ago, Massachusetts businessman Bernie Blum had his 43-foot Cheoy Lee shipped overland from Florida to British Columbia. Blum then set his sights on the Baltic, but transporting his yacht there proved to be more complicated. “The big yacht transport outfits don’t go to the Baltic,” he notes. […]

Fashion Sail

It is the day before the 2006 Newport-to-Bermuda race, and any minute now we are going to cast off and put one of the racing yachts through its paces. But first, Enrico Chieffi, Italy’s two-time Olympic sailing champion and now vice president of sales for yacht maker Nautor’s Swan, wants to point out a few […]

Bavarian Birds Of Passage

No sound of wheels or hoof-beat breaks The silence of the summer day, As by the loveliest of all lakes I while the idle hours away. –from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Cadenabbia, Lake of Como Had Henry Wadsworth Longfellow strolled along the Lago di Como shoreline this past April, he may have revised his tetrameter to […]

Wings & Water: Air Turbulence

Change is in the air–literally. New business models are proliferating in private aviation, and a complicated industry is growing more so, as debit cards, hybrid ownership programs, and other options conspire to confuse and confound private fliers. First, a word about the author: I flew an aircraft for the first time in 1970, when I […]

Wings & Water: Less Is More

In an industry where growth and expanded services predominate, the PlaneSense fractional program offers a case study in the benefits of doing a single thing well. PlaneSense, which is managed by Alpha Flying of Manchester, N.H., sells shares in just one aircraft type, the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12. This turboprop has a range of more than […]

Wings & Water: Safety First

Speak with a regular flier about his priorities when selecting a fractional or charter provider, and chances are good that avoiding catastrophe will be at or near the top of his list. Recognizing this, private aviation companies are taking aggressive measures to improve the safety of the planes they fly. As part of this effort, […]