21st Annual Best of the Best

Overview

Aston Martin, Cartier, Cessna, Davidoff, De Bethune, Ferrari, Four Seasons, Gulfstream, Harry Winston, Isaia, Kiton, Lamborghini, Leviev, Lürssen, Patek Philippe, Perini Navi, Steinway Lyngdorf, Tom Ford & More.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Stephan Winkelmann

With his bespoke pinstripe suits and 1960s-style sideburns, Stephan Winkelmann embodies Lamborghini’s raging-bull image. A German-born businessman raised in Italy, Winkelmann became CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. in 2005, after the company fell under the auspices of Audi, and soon introduced German precision to the Italian marque’s rough-and-tumble cars. “Lamborghini has always been uncompromising and […]

From the Editor: Putting Luxury in Perspective

Recently, one of our editors brought to the attention of the rest of the staff an April article from the Washington Post that neatly encapsulates a media phenomenon we have observed of late with increasing dismay: the demonization of the wealthy and the industries that cater to them. Titled “The Idle Dream,” the piece details […]

Aircraft and Flight Services

Private flight has certainly seen better years. In addition to fighting a recessionary headwind that has slowed the entire manufacturing sector, this particular industry has served as the media’s preferred target for populist outrage in the wake of financial crisis and Wall Street scandal. In the minds of many, its products have become the ultimate […]

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4

To maximize the excitement of driving the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, follow these simple steps: Press the button that engages the Corsa (racing) mode; disable the traction and stability controls; remove your foot from the brake; and then stomp on the gas pedal. Initiating this launch function, however, is by no means essential to the […]

Audi R8 V10

The new Audi R8 V10 (www.audi.com) features the body of Robb Report’s 2008 Car of the Year and the same engine—a 5.2-liter V-10—that powers the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4. Aside from a few minor design alterations—oval-shaped exhaust pipes, slightly larger scoops on the side blades, and fewer crossbars beneath the all-LED headlights—the R8 V10 is […]

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Genuine enthusiasts in search of the perfect sports car need make no excuse for choosing the latest Corvette Z06 over more costly marques. But if the stigma of a modest-priced vehicle is more burden than one can bear—and if the lure of exclusivity beckons—then the $106,520 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (www.chevrolet.com) is the solution. That General […]

Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series (www.mbusa.com) might represent the last hurrah for the current-generation SL. If this is so, the class is not going quietly. When the SL65 is at full acceleration, on its way from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the air intake of its twin turbochargers produces a harrowing whoosh. […]

Aston Martin DBS

During the filming of Quantum of Solace last year in northern Italy, in the middle of a downpour, an Aston Martin DBS slid off the road, tore through a guardrail, and plunged into Lake Garda. The driver escaped and swam to safety, suffering only a few dings and grazes. The car was recovered, but it […]

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé (www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com) has a few of the same familial traits as its cousin, the convertible Drophead Coupé: rear-hinged coach doors, an optional brushed-stainless-steel hood, and an abbreviated version of the Drophead’s aluminum space frame. But the hardtop is more driver-friendly because of several alterations, including the obvious—the permanent roof, which is offered […]

Jaguar XKR

The superfast, stunningly elegant Jaguar XKR (www.jaguarusa.com) should erase all concerns about the brand’s resurrection and any questions about the restoration of its vitality. Working from the 2009 model, designer Ian Callum added a deeper chin to the front, fender scoops to the jowls, and a functional spoiler plus four exhaust pipes to the rear. […]

Ford Shelby GT500

Ask Carroll Shelby which of his Mustangs is his favorite, and the answer is always the same: the next one. The 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 (www.shelbyautomobiles.com) is the most recent “next” pony from Shelby, and—with 540 hp and 510 ft lbs of torque—it does not disappoint. Just like last year’s KR-?edition Mustang, this GT500, priced […]

Ferrari California

In contrast to its Ferrari stablemates, the California will not intimidate drivers and does not move through life belching basso and brimstone. And when it comes to horsepower, even a Nissan GT-R has it beat. But while the California’s 454 hp V-8 engine is subdued by Ferrari standards, it is consistent with the car’s quiet […]

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

This year’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster (www.astonmartin.com) is substantially different from last year’s model, though the changes are not apparent at a glance. The car’s body did not call for any tinkering, so Aston’s designers wisely left the long hood, raked windshield, sculpted sides, and integrated tailpipes alone. But under the bonnet resides a […]

Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG (www.mbusa.com) represents a more powerful, larger-displacement transformation of the already über-enhanced SL55 roadster. The new car’s numerical moniker denotes (somewhat inaccurately) its 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated, 8-cylinder engine, which replaces the SL55’s supercharged 5.5-liter V-8. Designed entirely by AMG, the new motor develops 518 hp, an 8 hp increase. And although torque […]

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

The 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet (www.porsche.com) abounds with performance-centric upgrades. The most innovative feature is Porsche’s new 7-speed automated manual gearbox, which utilizes two clutches to produce lightning-fast shift times and better fuel efficiency. Called the Porsche Doppelkupplung, or PDK, the transmission replaces the antiquated Tiptronic S system and is paired to a […]

Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S

As Maserati’s number-one market, the United States receives priority treatment from the Italian brand—which is why Americans were already taking delivery of their $138,100 Quattroporte Sport GT S sedans in February, while Maserati was introducing the car to members of the media in Modena, Italy. The mutual affection between Maserati and American auto enthusiasts, which […]

Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed

Self-driving sybarites will find no paucity of luxury sedans to tempt them. Each of these cars offers some degree of sporting behavior and demonstrates that being ensconced and being entertained are not mutually exclusive driving experiences. But no sedan flashes luxury on the inside as unabashedly as the new $198,500 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed […]

BMW 750Li

With a red-carpet body, old-world luxury, and new-millennium handling, BMW’s fifth-generation 7 Series restores the luster to the marque’s flagship model. And the premium version, the BMW 750Li (www.bmwusa.com), has a little more of everything, including a wheelbase that is 5.5 inches longer than the 750i’s. Technology in the 750Li is abundant but not mind-numbing. […]

Cadillac CTS-V

If you categorized the Cadillac CTS-V (www.cadillac.com) by its performance figures alone, you could place it among the exotics. With 556 hp and 551 ft lbs of torque, the rear-wheel-drive sport sedan can reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 191 mph. Those are Ferrari-like figures. Developed by GM’s High […]

Performance Tuner: Shelby GT 500 Super Snake

Sometimes factory stock is not enough. For Carroll Shelby, it has never been, at least not since he introduced his first G.T.350 in 1965. Now the Las Vegas–based Shelby Automobiles will transform a 2007 or 2008 Ford Shelby GT 500 into a Shelby Super Snake. These are aggressive cars; the mildest upgrade for a coupe […]

Multipassenger Vehicle: Becker Automotive Design Cadillac Escalade ESV

The specialty arena is choked with aftermarket builders claiming to build a better mousetrap. But one manufacturer, Becker Automotive Design, has stood the test of time, consistently setting the bar for quality, innovation, and value. The company’s latest offering, the Becker Automotive Design Cadillac Escalade ESV (priced from $150,000 to $250,000), is the ultimate iteration […]

Off-Road Vehicle: Icon SCORE Baja 1000 Limited Edition

Forget about jeeps and Hummers; when Armageddon arrives, the ride of choice will be an Icon. Like a modern-day FJ40 Land Cruiser, the entry-level Icon ($96,000) is a rugged utility vehicle in its own right. But the company adds another $60,000 worth of high-performance equipment and transforms the Icon into the apocalypse-ready SCORE Baja 1000 […]

Laucala Island

In the cerulean waters of northern Fiji’s far-flung Vanua Levu, a lush and undulant island formerly belonging to the late publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes has been converted into one of the world’s most exclusive refuges. Laucala Island—a 25-villa resort set on a nearly 3,000-acre private isle—is the brainchild of the reclusive Austrian energy-drink tycoon Dietrich […]

Capella Ixtapa

Everything is where it should be at Capella Ixtapa (877.247.6688, http://www.capellahotels.com), which opened in December in this resort town on Mexico’s central Pacific coast. Inside each of the 59 guest rooms, a bedside remote controls everything from the television to the lights; flip-flops, a straw hat, and a bottle of sunscreen outfit you for a […]

The Connaught

“It has been a little while since we last had the pleasure of your company at the Connaught,” begins Anthony Lee, the hotel’s general manager, in a letter that he sent to past guests in March, “and I wanted to keep you abreast of recent events.” With characteristic British understatement, Lee then proceeds to itemize […]

Aman at Summer Palace

Straying from Amanresorts’ less-is-more aesthetic, the new Aman at Summer Palace (+86.10.5987.9999, http://www.amanresorts.com) abounds with brightly lacquered imperial furnishings. The Beijing hotel is set within century-old buildings adjacent to a former palace of Empress Dowager Cixi, who reportedly collected before her death in 1908 enough hand-sewn frocks to fill 3,000 camphorwood chests. Amanresorts preserved the […]

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

A marble replica of Michelangelo’s Bacchus welcomes guests to the courtyard lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (+39.055.26.26.1, http://www.fourseasons.com). Opened last June at the Palazzo della Gherardesca, the Florence hotel features Renaissance-era reproductions and original artworks throughout its public spaces and guest rooms. The 116 rooms—located within the palace and an adjacent convent—include the […]

Montage Beverly Hills

In Beverly Hills, the epicenter of youth-obsessed Los Angeles, many a cosmetic surgeon offers procedures that promise a younger-looking you. Montage Beverly Hills (310.860.7800, http://www.montagebeverlyhills.com), which opened last November, has flipped the local formula: The brand-new hotel’s facade was designed to resemble a century-old, Spanish Colonial Revival–style estate. Still, this high-profile property embraces the area’s […]

Fractional: Ritz-Carlton Club

Since its founding in 1999, the Ritz-Carlton Club has opened six properties in such diverse locations as San Francisco, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Bachelor Gulch, Colo. In the past year—a time when many management companies were canceling projects—the Ritz-Carlton Club had its most prolific period to date, releasing 10 two- to four-bedroom homes at […]

Destination Club: Exclusive Resorts

By early 2009, most destination clubs had either merged with other clubs, filed for bankruptcy, dramatically changed their travel policies, or some combination of the three. But Exclusive Resorts—which launched in 2002 and acquired several of its properties well before the peak in real estate values—has held firm to its commitments to members and has […]

Golf Resort Community: Kiawah Island

With seven courses designed by such legends as Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Pete Dye, Kiawah Island would attract buyers for its golf alone. But what separates this 10,000-acre resort community from other golf-centric developments are its prime coastal location—which includes 10 miles of sandy beaches—and its superlative amenities. This combination has made […]

Beach Resort Community: Hualalai

Few beach communities offer year-round access, guaranteed sunshine, seclusion, and the ease and security of being located within the United States. Hualalai is one of them. Located on 865 acres along the Kohala Coast, the Big Island of Hawaii’s driest stretch of coastline, the community benefits from more than a mile of rugged oceanfront that […]

Mountain Resort Community: Talisker Club

The Talisker Club in Park City, Utah, comprises three communities in two locations. Tuhaye, a 2,000-acre community of 675 homes and homesites (priced from $439,000 to $4.65 million), is situated about 10 miles east of Park City’s Main Street and offers open areas for horseback riding, mountain biking, golfing on a private Mark O’Meara–designed course, […]

Le Macchiole 2005 Messorio

If merlot tends to be flabby and undefined in the States (perhaps due more to the popularity of this style than to flawed fruit or winemaking), Italian versions demonstrate the heights of beauty to which this varietal can soar. In 1975 the late Eugenio Campolmi purchased the rustic Le Macchiole winery (located in Bolgheri, also […]

Mas de Boislauzon 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Quet”

The traditional 59-acre Mas de Boislauzon estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape has been run for generations by the same family, whose present-day members include Monique Chaussy, the property’s chatelaine; her daughter Christine; and her son Daniel, the winemaker. The unassuming family maintains a low profile, but this has not prevented seekers of authentic Rhônes from singing the […]

Pio Cesare 2004 Barolo Ornato

Pio Boffa—great-grandson of the eponymous founder of Pio Cesare—brought this Piemontese producer noted for its classic wines into the modern world by introducing its first single-vineyard Barolos. Though the estate-owned Ornato vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba forms the primary source of Pio Cesare’s “regular” Barolo DOCG wine, the Ornato designation is reserved for limited quantities of […]

Viña Cobos 2005 uNico Mendoza

Although winemaker Paul Hobbs produces remarkable wines from his base in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, his greatest efforts lie far to the south, in Argentina. Attracted to the country’s signature Malbec grape, Hobbs has touched the sky again and again with each new vintage. A dedicated, state-of-the-art winery facing the great wall of the Andes […]

DuMOL 2006 finn Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

While the Bordeaux varietals deliver immense satisfaction, their beauty—like that of a Cubist abstract—tends toward the bold, the bright, and the linear. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, relies on subtle forms and delicate layers of light and shadow to suggest, rather than render overtly, its impressionistic landscapes of sensation. At least French Pinot Noir […]

Hourglass 2006 Blueline Vineyard Merlot Napa Valley

When Ned Smith purchased six acres of land in St. Helena, Calif., he had no ambitions for the site other than to grow a bit of Zinfandel to make wine for his friends and family. Shortly after Smith passed away in 1990, however, the hillside vineyard became infested with phylloxera, and Smith’s son Jeff persuaded […]

JC Cellars 2006 Rockpile Vineyard Haley’s Reserve Syrah

Jeff Cohn, the former winemaker at Rosenblum Cellars—a producer of particularly fine vineyard-designate Zinfandels—stepped out on his own in 2006 to devote his full energies to JC Cellars. His modus operandi resembles that of his former employer, Kent Rosenblum: Establish relationships with the finest growers across the state to produce modest quantities of immodestly great […]

The Last Drop 1960 Blended Scotch Whisky

The pleasure of connoisseurship lies largely in discovery. For the spirits aficionado, the search often leads down crooked paths: through agave-filled deserts for tequila; over countryside strewn with medieval ruins for Cognac; and across humid, tropical islands for rum. In the case of the three adventurers behind the Last Drop ($2,000), the quest for great […]

Highland Park 40 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Last year, the Highland Park 40 Year Old Single Malt Whisky (www.highlandpark.co.uk, $2,000) became that distillery’s oldest permanent expression. From its floral and light smoke aromas to its gorgeous, deep notes of spice, toffee, butter, vanilla bean, and fruitcake, this Orkney spirit owes its multidimensional flavors to the sherry-oak casks in which it spent four […]

Pierre Ferrand Single Vintage Cognac 1914

Twenty years ago, businessmen Jean-Dominique Andreu and Alexandre Gabriel met with artisan Cognac distiller Pierre Ferrand to offer him advice on introducing his small namesake brand to the American market. Since that time, the company’s beautifully expressive eaux-de-vie have not ceased to impress us, and the recently released Pierre Ferrand Single Vintage Cognac 1914 (www.pierreferrandcognac.com, […]

Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon

Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon (www.heaven-hill.com, $200) is Heaven Hill’s second release of rare whiskeys that pay tribute to the distillery’s sixth-generation master distiller, Parker Beam. Released annually, each edition is made up from stock personally selected by Beam and his son Craig from among Heaven Hill’s massive 700,000-barrel reserve of bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskeys, […]

Mount Gay Rum 1703 Old Cask Collection

In 1801, an Englishman by the Dickensian name of Cumberbatch Sober changed the name of his Barbados sugarcane plantation from Mount Gilboa to Mount Gay when his friend Sir John Gay Alleyne, the estate’s manager, passed away. (The name Mount Alleyne had already been taken.) Today, this island distillery is part of the Rémy Cointreau […]

Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

Idaho has nothing on Sweden when it comes to potato pride. In fact, it was not until 1980 that distillers in that country could legally produce vodka made from anything other than the spud. With the recent release of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka (www.karlssonsvodka.com, $40), master blender Börje Karlsson (who played a major role in the […]

AsomBroso Vintage Extra Añejo Tequila

Since he created the AsomBroso brand nearly a decade ago, Southern California–based entrepreneur Rick “Ricardo” Gamarra has continued to push the traditional boundaries of tequila production with offerings like AsomBroso La Rosa, a rose-tinted tequila introduced in 2006 that receives its pink coloring from spending three months in French-oak wine barrels that once held Bordeaux. […]

Davidoff Reserva 12

Strength is a relative term, but few (if any) of the very best cigars currently in production would qualify as ultramild. The trend toward greater intensity is not a marketing gimmick, but rather a direct reflection of the tastes of our times. As cigar smokers continue to demand fuller, more concentrated flavor, fine cigar makers […]

Casa Magna Colorado

Several years ago, Matasa president Manuel Quesada, one of the Caribbean’s most respected cigar makers, met with his friend Nestor Plasencia, the godfather of Nicaraguan tobacco and the largest tobacco grower in Central America, to discuss producing the ultimate Nicaraguan puro—a cigar whose wrapper, binder, and filler are grown in the same country. At “The […]

Montecristo Reserva Negra

The Montecristo brand originated in 1930s Cuba, but the Dominican Republic version, born in the 1980s (long after Castro’s nationalization of the cigar industry), has ventured far from the Havana puro. The latest “Monte”—and the one to stray farthest from the brand’s birthplace—is the Montecristo Reserva Negra (www.altadisusa.com, $7.50–$12), which is swathed in an elegant, […]

Rocky Patel Renaissance

Honduran cigars are notably meaty—?though, of course, this loose adjective makes no distinction between the lowly top round and the mouthwatering porterhouse. But if we are to liken cigars to cuts of beef, then the Rocky Patel Renaissance (www.rockypatel.com, $7.30–$8.30) is certainly our bone-in filet mignon—a sublime steak not often found on the menu. Indeed, […]

Cohiba Puro Dominicana

Although other companies brought their Dominican puros to market first, General Cigar began experimenting with Dominican-grown wrappers as early as the 1970s. Recently, the company’s retiring president and chief operating officer, Daniel Núñez, at last unveiled one of the splendid outcomes of those experiments, the Cohiba Puro Dominicana (www.cigarworld.com, $14.30–?$21.30). It is not the company’s […]

Kiton

No other branded suitmaker devotes as much time to a single suit as Kiton does to its K-50 model. The “50” in the name refers both to the number of hours a Kiton tailor spends fashioning one of the bespoke suits and to the limited quantity the company can make annually. In addition to the […]

Brioni

Brioni has acquired exclusive rights to Vanquish II—a proprietary blend of vicuña, pashmina, and qiviuk by Belgian fashion supplier Dormeuil—and it is using this material to produce a special-edition line of suits that are priced as high as $43,000. Because the cloth is so rare, Brioni (888.778.8775, http://www.brioni.com) will produce only 150 of these suits. […]

Isaia

The cut of a typical Isaia (888. 996.7555, http://www.isaia.it) suit includes a natural-fitting shoulder with a slight forward pitch, a high armhole, and a canoe-shaped breast pocket. These traits are common among suits made by Neapolitan tailors. But the silhouettes of Isaia’s suits vary greatly, ranging from the short, slim-cut Gregory to the newly introduced […]

Oxxford Clothes

In addition to sourcing some of the most luxurious suit fabrics—materials made from vicuña and other rare fiber blends that sell for as much as $5,000 a yard—Oxxford Clothes (212.593.0204, http://www.oxxfordclothes.com) has updated the look and shape of its suits. The company’s latest offering is a line featuring shorter, trimmer-cut jackets with high-cut armholes and […]

Tom Ford

When Tom Ford launched his namesake collection two years ago, most coverage of the story focused on the cut of his suits and the shape of his sportswear. Less attention was paid to his leather goods, even though Ford had restored Gucci to its former glory eight years earlier by concentrating first on the leather […]

Bottega Veneta

esigner tomas maier incorporates Bottega Veneta’s (212.371.5511, http://www.bottegaveneta.com) trademark intrecciato weaving as accents on the brand’s latest collection of leather goods. But the look and feel of the briefcases, satchels, wallets, and other accessories owe as much to Maier’s own collection of washed and weathered cardigans as they do to any other items in the […]

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren (888.475.7674, http://www.ralphlauren.com) has added a range of bags and briefcases made from classic calfskin to its already impressive array of leather goods. Perhaps the most enticing new offering, however, is the brand’s made-to-order program. Through this program, you can customize belts, desk folios, wallets, and luggage by having them made in virtually any […]

Stefano Ricci

At a time when brands have become indistinguishable, opines Stefano Ricci, “Most men are forced to express their character through their accessories.” The Stefano Ricci (212.371.3901, http://www.stefanoricci.com) brand’s pieces are certainly distinctive; most feature crocodile and other exotic materials that are as rare as they are refined. Each of Ricci’s pieces—bags, briefcases, small leather goods, […]

Dolder Grand

After opening on a hillside overlooking Zurich, Switzerland, in 1899, the Dolder Grand (800.745.8883, http://www.thedoldergrand.com) resort and kurhaus, or health retreat, soon became a gathering place for the European elite. But the towered and turreted grande dame did not age gracefully, eventually falling from its perch in Zurich society and closing in 2004. Its owner—Urs […]

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Do not be alarmed if you suddenly feel smaller upon arriving at the Resort at Pelican Hill (949.467.6800, http://www.pelicanhill.com), a 504-acre golf retreat that opened in Newport Coast, Calif., in November. “Those are Palladio principles,” says Ralph Grippo, president of Irvine Company Resort Properties, about the attributes and diminishing effect of Pelican Hill’s Andrea Palladio–inspired […]

Dolce 2005 Napa Valley

Ever since the late 17th century, when Hungarians discovered the ability of Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, to transform the juice of a simple grape into ambrosia, disease—usually the enemy of farmers—has proved a stroke of luck for vintners seeking to produce magnificent late-harvest wines. Outside of Tokaj or Bordeaux, no producer has performed this […]

Merry Edwards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley

Few winemakers have graced our Best of the Best list with such pleasing frequency as Merry Edwards, who remains the undisputed mistress of American Pinot Noir—thanks in large part to her interest in clones and her understanding of their impact on the quality of the finished wine. The meticulous matching of appropriate Pinot Noir clones […]

Schramsberg 2001 J. Schram North Coast

Jacob Schram is among the handful of European immigrants who, in the 19th century, found their way to Napa Valley and, in so doing, founded one of the New World’s most successful wine regions. In 1862, Schram purchased sizeable acreage near the town of Calistoga, on which he planted Riesling, among other varietals; dug extensive […]

Fractional-Card Programs

In evaluating various fractional-card programs for possible inclusion in this year’s Best of the Best list, I and the other members of the Robb Report Private Aviation Advisory Board considered several important factors. For example, we looked at the ways card providers fulfill their customers’ expectations of service on a daily basis. We evaluated their […]

Charter-Card Programs

Jet-card programs offered by charter companies differ from those offered by fractional vendors in that they always rely upon third-party air carriers or charter companies to provide aircraft. (In most instances, fractionals utilize aircraft from their own fleets.) With this in mind, one of the most effective ways to differentiate between charter-card programs that are […]

Fractional Programs

When you fly fractional, you do not just buy flight time: You invest in a limited partnership of sorts with a fractional provider. As a “limited partner,” you rely on this provider—the “general partner”—to handle scheduling cheerfully and professionally; deliver a safe, well-maintained aircraft with experienced pilots; take off and arrive on time; bill accurately; […]

Ultralong-Range: Gulfstream G550

Gulfstream created the niche market for ultralong-range business jets more than 17 years ago when it introduced the GV. Today the company still dominates this segment, with the G550, a big, powerful aircraft that enjoys a reputation for rock-solid reliability. In fact, the G550’s spaciousness and cutting-edge technology have inspired an almost cultlike following. Its […]

Long-Range: Dassault Falcon 900EX

For many years, Dassault’s line of Falcon jets enjoyed a certain mystique among pilots. The Falcons were nimble and quick, while many of their competitors tended to handle like trucks. Today, other manufacturers have mostly caught up with Dassault in this regard, but the Falcon line still appeals to those who appreciate truly elegant engineering. […]

Super Midsize: Bombardier Challenger 300

Bombardier’s Challenger 300 has a range of 3,564 miles, perfect for travel between locations in North America. Its competitive price of $20.8 million, its roomy cabin, and its zesty performance have made this super midsize jet a favorite among private-jet travelers. Since Bombardier delivered the first Challenger 300 in 2004, the plane has become popular […]

Midsize: Hawker 900XP

The spacious Hawker 900XP is a popular choice worldwide with fractional programs and flight departments, and it has been gaining attention from some operators ready to “right-size” from bigger jets. These individuals are realizing that midsize jets can accomplish most missions more cost-effectively than larger models. Hawker launched the 900XP in 2007 with new engines […]

Light: Cessna Citation CJ3

Cessna inspires brand loyalty by providing aircraft for each stage of a customer’s travel life. From the tiny piston-driven Skyhawk all the way up to the Citation Columbus business jet, Cessna offers planes for the novice, the weekend pilot, the corporate titan, and every air traveler in between. This strategy apparently works. According to Cessna, […]

Cessna Citation Mustang

Cessna was a bit slow in making its decision to enter the very light jet market. But when the Wichita, Kan.–based company eventually did enter this segment, it did so with a bang. Its acclaimed VLJ, the twin-engine Citation Mustang, is so big and powerful that Cessna prefers to call it an entry-level light jet; […]

Cirrus SR22

The Cirrus SR22 (800.790.2933, http://www.cirrusaircraft.com) is the best-selling single-engine piston aircraft, and that is not just because of its built-in parachute and sweetly appointed cabin. Rather, it is because Cirrus continues to add attractive new features and options that respond to the needs of its customers. Its latest is an upgraded “weeping-wing” system for coping […]

Daher-Socata TBM 850

Owner-operators who want the performance of a jet and the affordability of a turboprop will prize the Daher-Socata TBM 850 (954.893.1400, http://www.tbm850.com) single-engine turboprop. The $2.9 million TBM 850 carries six people, including the pilot and copilot, more than 1,600 miles at speeds up to 368 mph. The aircraft also offers responsive handling, robust performance, […]

Feadship Predator

In 2008, the Dutch shipbuilder Feadship launched what is arguably its most innovative yacht to date, the 239-foot Predator. It only takes a quick glance at Predator’s menacing bow and aggressive lines to understand why the yacht was named as it was. Predator’s groundbreaking design is a triumph of both form and function. The distinctive […]

Corsair Yachts Nero

When asked once about the prices of his famous Corsair yachts, American financier J.P. Morgan reportedly answered, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Nearly a century later another visionary businessman has recaptured the priceless majesty of Morgan’s Corsair vessels in the Corsair Yachts Nero, a 295-foot passion project that combines the classic […]

Lürssen Martha Ann

The Lürssen Martha Ann (+49.421.6604.166, http://www.lurssen.com) offers a level of luxury noteworthy even among superyachts. From its ornate wall sconces to its warm, paneled woodwork, François Zuretti’s elegantly traditional interior exudes opulence. The decor’s formality also contrasts nicely with the boat’s other amenities, which include an observation lounge that converts to a cinema, a 2,650-gallon […]

Oceanco Anastasia

Australian designer Sam Sorgiovanni designed the 248-foot Oceanco Anastasia (+31.78.699.5399, http://www.oceancoyacht.com) specifically for a family that loves to play at sea. It would be difficult to find another yacht—in any size range—with as comprehensive a collection of water toys. Consider this: Anastasia carries a custom 31-foot Vikal sports tender, a custom 31-foot Vikal half-limo tender, […]

Benetti Xanadu

Last December Captain Paul Brackley stood on the sundeck of the Benetti Xanadu watching the world’s top charter brokers inspect the recently completed 197-foot megayacht. Brackley had just spent two years shepherding Xanadu’s build in Italy, and he was confident that the boat was truly stunning. However, given that there is currently no shortage of […]

Feadship Hurricane Run

The 175-foot Feadship Hurricane Run (Camper & Nicholsons, 954.524.4250, http://www.camperandnicholsons.com) is the first Feadship launched in 2009. The owner named the boat after a racehorse, just as he did with his two previous yachts, High Chaparral and Thunder Gulch. And, like those 164-?footers and the Thoroughbreds for which they are named, Hurricane Run lives up […]

Palmer Johnson Hokulani

Palmer Johnson Hokulani (International Yacht Collection, 954.522.2323, http://www.iyc.com) is the second build in Palmer Johnson’s 150 series, but the first to go into charter. The craft, replete with gold hull and black trim, turned heads when it sashayed onto the charter market in 2008, and it has been in demand ever since. Passengers will not […]

Perini Navi Salute

Perini Navi’s Salute is the first yacht in the Italian shipbuilder’s highly successful 184-foot line to be designed as a sloop. While Perini’s ketch designs of this length have been somewhat staid, sluggish performers, its single-masted Salute is a beast when sailing upwind—a boat that could capture any number of prizes on the superyacht regatta […]

Wally Saudade

Monte Carlo–based Wally is known for bold, futuristic powerboat and sailboat designs. The Wally Saudade (+377.9. 310.0093, http://www.wally.com), the company’s 148-foot flagship, further enhances this reputation with a hull design that borrows somewhat from another breakthrough craft: the 143-foot Wally Esense. Saudade is both fast and deep-sea-worthy. Its owner, an experienced German yachtsman, mandated that […]

Yachting Developments Bristolian

Low-riding with towering black sails that include a lion’s crest, the Yachting Developments Bristolian (+64.9.417.0060, http://www.yachtingdevelopments.co.nz) is representative of the new breed of fast, oceangoing superyachts from New Zealand. Bristolian’s owner, a racing sailor, wanted a yacht that would perform well at sea, while his wife wanted one that would be comfortable belowdecks. Designer Philippe […]

Royal-Huisman-Ethereal

The 190-foot Royal Huisman Ethereal (207.646.9504, http://www.royalhuisman.com) is one of the most environmentally friendly sailing superyachts to launch in the last few years. It boasts the first true hybrid engine on a sailing ship, a power source that uses motion generated under sail to recharge the yacht’s lithium-polymer batteries and run all functions on battery […]

Furniture: Dakota Jackson

“I’ve always thought of desks as big pieces of real estate,” says furniture designer Dakota Jackson. “They are about expanse and being able to accommodate a range of activities without becoming cluttered or feeling cramped.” His latest desk, Maverick, is a spacious 90-inch-by-40-inch piece that appears light and elegant, yet still gives the individual sitting […]

Bathroom: Duravit

Since entering the u.s. market nearly two decades ago, German bathroom-product manufacturer Duravit has managed to stay ahead of its competitors by following one simple rule: Design comes first. However, Timothy Schroeder, president of Duravit USA, admits that following this rule is not always easy. “The first task is to design a beautiful product,” he […]

Textiles: Jakob Schlaepfer

Since 1904, the Swiss firm Jakob Schlaepfer has produced couture fabrics for Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Marc Jacobs, and Prada, among others. However, last year the company created a collection of couture-worthy textiles specifically for the home. For Jakob Schlaepfer’s new Décor line, artistic director Michele Rondelli and his design team created 22 opulent […]

Tabletop: L’Objet

Prior to founding L’Objet in 2004, Elad Yifrach enjoyed a successful career as an interior designer in Beverly Hills—a profession that gave him insight into what was missing in the luxury-goods market. “I would shop for clients and always wish there was more out there, especially in tableware,” says the 31-year-old Israeli-born designer. “Then I […]

Steinway Lyngdorf Model LS Grand Theater System

Peter lyngdorf, founder of Denmark’s Steinway Lyngdorf, enjoys a near-godlike reputation in the audio industry. For much of his career he has worked to create home-audio systems with “absolutely no restrictions or limitations.” With the Steinway Lyngdorf Model LS Grand Theater System, he has achieved this goal. The system, which starts around $266,000, combines digital […]

Sennheiser HD800 headphones

The Sennheiser HD800 headphones (860.434.9190, http://www.sennheiserusa.com) break new technological ground in several ways. Consider their 2.2-inch transducer—the largest among all dynamic headphones—which enables a staunch low-end response without sacrificing the high frequencies, or their enormous frequency response: 6 to 51,000 Hz. In the process of developing the HD800, Sennheiser engineers actually patented several of their […]

Snell Acoustics Illusion Reference loudspeaker

Joseph D’Appolito went to work for Snell Acoustics full-time last year, shortly after conceiving the Snell Acoustics Illusion Reference loudspeaker (978.538.6262, http://www.snellacoustics.com). D’Appolito is known for designing the ideal driver arrangement, which places a lone tweeter between two midrange transducers. This design—called the D’Appolito array—allows for a flawless crossover from middle to high frequencies and […]

Meridian 810 Reference Video System

The picture delivered by the Meridian 810 Reference Video System is so clear and defined that even the most ardent devotees of celluloid may find it indistinguishable from that of a traditional film projector. Utilizing an advanced video scaler developed by Meridian and Marvell, the system actually boosts the resolution of any video format to […]

Sharp Limited Edition Aquos LCD TV Series

Wth a 2.4-inch profile, the televisions in the Sharp Limited Edition Aquos LCD TV Series (800.237.4277, http://www.sharpusa.com) incorporate seamlessly and unobtrusively into most interiors. Though these TVs can be used in home theaters, they are probably better suited for stand-alone applications throughout the home. An external terminal box with five full high-definition inputs can connect […]