Our Exclusive Private Club Portfolio

Overview

The world's 6 most essential memberships.  Cobra reincarnated: 1964 meets 2004 in the superformance coupe.  A modern grand tour of 3 spectactular retreats in France, Germany and Switzerland.  Plus, the 2005 Aston Martin DB9; new looks and performance to shake, not stir, the competition.

From This Issue

Feature: A Home for the Harvest

Terroir, like so many other French words, does not lend itself to direct English translation. Succinctly put, it describes the “placeness” of a thing: the influences of environment—of air and soil, wind and seasons—upon that object’s character, substance, and quality, each of which is shaped by a kind of vicinal tropism. It is the essence […]

FrontRunners: Sound Advice for PC Listeners

Considering the ubiquity of iPods and the accessibility of high-bandwidth Internet content—music, video, games—it should come as no surprise that a hi-fi company has recognized the need for better-than-average sound for computer listeners. The Xducer 2.1 Loudspeaker System from Xhifi (866.559.4434, http://www.xhifi.com) is one of the first, and certainly the most comely, in the burgeoning […]

Appliances: One-Stop Shopping

Not long ago, the only way to gain entrée into the rarefied world of custom kitchen or bath design was to visit a showroom accompanied by your designer or architect. Fortunately, for those of us with strong opinions about what goes into our homes, showroom doors formerly marked To the Trade Only are opening to […]

Furnishings: Baccarat through the Looking Glass

Expect your sense of vision to go into overdrive when you enter the new Parisian quarters of Maison Baccarat. The imposing hôtel particulier, located a short sprint from the George V hotel on a quiet block in the 16th arrondissement (11 Place des Etats-Unis), used to belong to Parisian social butterflies and arts patrons Charles […]

FrontRunners: Minnesota Modern

Frank Gehry’s radical Weisman Art Museum and the pioneering Walker Art Center paved the way for Le Meridien Minneapolis (800.543.4300, http://www.minneapolis.lemeridien.com). The 21-story hotel, which opened in May 2003, is the showcase for Le Meridien’s new Art + Tech line, a concept that aims to elevate the brand through high-technology hotels with contemporary adornments. Within […]

Travel: Eau Canada

In January 1915, less than a year before Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance descended to its grave beneath Antarctica’s ice floes, Frank Hurley, the expedition’s official photographer, discovered a diversion in observing the killer whales that lurked in the frozen water alongside the hull. The seal-stalking whales, Hurley wrote upon the expedition’s conclusion, “broke through the thin […]

Journeys: Grand Tour du Jour

An imported London taxi has dropped us off at an Italian restaurant with a French name, and we wash down pasta with Spanish wine here in the town of Baden-Baden, Germany, after spending an afternoon at the Irish-Roman baths. This is to be a week of European immersion and a sprint to sample three countries […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Design Foretold

Nineteenth-century British designer Christopher Dresser worked against the grain of his more prominent Arts and Crafts contemporaries. Spurning conformance to the costly tradition of handcrafting, the design reformer embraced the industrial revolution by creating furniture, textiles, ceramics, and metalware that could be mass-produced and made available to all, regardless of social class. Dresser’s manufacturing techniques […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Gurkha Master Select Inspired by a departed Indian brand, the Gurkha cigar now emerges from rolling rooms in the Dominican Republic. Yet its assertively spicy flavor evokes the piquant tastes of its original homeland. With the Gurkha Master Select, a khaki sheath furthers the allusion, swaddling the cigars inside each individually numbered red mahogany box. […]

FrontRunners: To Die For

Elie Bleu (elie.bleu@wanadoo.fr) does not gamble when it comes to caring for cigars, but the venerable French humidor maker took its cue from the casino when it created the Vegas Collection ($2,475). The 50 die-shaped humidors in the limited edition have been finished with dark sycamore veneer, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and sealed with eight layers […]

FrontRunners: Art Sale

For the first time since 1921, a Vermeer painting is going to auction. Sotheby’s (www.sothebys.com) will sell Young Woman Seated at the Virginals July 8 in London. Sotheby’s issued a modest presale estimate of $5.3 million. “We opted for the relatively conservative figure to focus people’s attention on the painting, rather than on the price,” […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

2001 Archery Summit Renegade Ridge Estate Oregon Pinot Noir Single-mindedness is not the sole secret to success, but it certainly has defined the ethos of Archery Summit since Gary Andrus, the original winemaker, founded the estate in 1993 to produce New World Pinot Noir with a decidedly Burgundian flair. This focus persists under the tutelage […]

Smoke: Combustion Chamber

One of the showcase apartments in New York’s new Time Warner Center includes a room dedicated to indulgence. Nestled among the clubby chairs are cabinets devoted to wine, liquor, and cigars. Iris prints of abstracted smoke rings by Donald Sultan adorn the walls, echoed by a smoke ring–themed carpet made by Beauvais. “We called it […]

Spirits: Singular Single Malts

We tend to associate old and rare spirits with small, obscure producers quietly meting out their precious nectar in enclaves of Scotland’s sprawling countryside. The discovery of something wonderful in an unexpected place is, after all, the aim and end of the connoisseur’s art—and certainly its supreme pleasure. But in today’s crowded world, such a […]

Dining: Feast for the Senses

Hogtown, Toronto the good, or just plain T.O.—whichever nickname described this town in the past no longer adequately characterizes the ethnically diverse, sophisticated metropolis that is now Canada’s largest city. The influx of immigrants from the world over translates to a polyglot assortment of cuisines, making it easy to find great meals without venturing beyond […]

Feature: Memberships of Privilege

Since its earliest incarnations on the links and shores of the British Isles, the country club has served as both community and venue, a gathering place to share a common interest and refine one’s knowledge of, and skills in, the chosen pursuit. Modern versions of the country club incorporate an emphasis on family, providing an […]

Memberships of Privilege: Best of Both Worlds

New York Yacht Club Today’s New York Yacht Club is, Commodore Lawrence Huntington says, “a far cry from white-haired businessmen having lunch in February in Manhattan.” It is no longer, as it was for most of its existence, a paradox: a yacht club with no permanent waterfront presence, only a midtown address, on West 44th […]

Memberships of Privilege: A Call to Arms

Valhalla Shooting Club & Training Center With a loaded pistol in his holster, the stockbroker, while on vacation in southwestern Colorado, enters a forbidding city neighborhood, seeking a pair of armed criminals who have taken refuge here—perhaps in the smoky bar or maybe in one of the dark alleys. Just as the stockbroker steps into […]

Memberships of Privilege: Private Dye

La Romana Country Club Pete Dye first arrived in la Romana, a remote village on the Dominican Republic’s southern coast, at the request of the local sugar mill in 1968. Three years later, he had carved one of the world’s most spectacular golf courses from the shoreline east of town. Dubbed Teeth of the Dog […]

Memberships of Privilege: Spoils of the Vine

Napa Valley Reserve A banker. a real estate magnate. A shipyard owner. An actor and film director. A pilot. This is indeed a patchwork cast of characters with which to form a plot—one that would perhaps have stretched the narrative talents even of a Balzac or a Dickens. But whatever device these masters of convolution […]

Memberships of Privilege: Powder Aplenty

  Yellowstone ClubThe morning after a huge storm has dumped 3 feet of feather-light powder across the Rocky Mountains, members and guests of the Yellowstone Club are leisurely sipping coffee and easing into their ski boots beside a roaring fire. Absent is the panic they would be experiencing at any major ski resort, the fear […]

Leisure: French Resistance

In the fastidious orbits of the Parisian bon ton, where being from anywhere other than Paris marks one as a rustic, no region is considered more droll than that diminutive province clinging to the northeastern frontier of France: Alsace. Oh, it is a funny place, they say, a slow, provincial region whose people can barely […]

Symposium: Taste Test

You do not walk, stroll, or saunter when entering Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, the chef’s fabled three-star restaurant in Paris. Au contraire, according to one advisory from the Ducasse organization, “Guests glide, as if imperceptibly, from the Plaza Athénée’s majestic vestibule to the bright setting of the restaurant.” This probably takes practice so, unsure of […]

Sport: It’s a Man’s World

Clad in sleek, black suits that render them nearly invisible at this evening hour, the members of a small band of neophytic ninjas silently wind their way through the high alpine wilderness of Colorado’s White River National Forest. They employ their newly honed skills of evasion to slip undetected among the shadows before using their […]

Feature: Hoop Dreams

Jerry Stark finds himself in a vexing predicament: His ball is jawsed—stuck between the jaws of the hoop, one of the arches commonly referred to as wickets but known among the croquet cognoscenti as hoops. Such is the consequence of flubbing a routine shot, one that the 49-year-old croquet instructor has made countless times since […]

FrontRunners: Jewel Box

Michelle Ong’s artistic jewelry designs, formerly available only through a private appointment or at auction, can now be found at her recently opened Carnet salon (carnet@carnetjewellery.com) in Hong Kong’s luxury shopping area known as Central. Like Ong’s distinctive style, the boutique fuses Eastern and Western influences. It was designed by famed architect Edward Tuttle, whose […]

Watches: High Time for Enzo

Shanghai is a city in transition, poised for a major breakthrough as the metropolitan beacon of mainland China, simmering with its potentially massive luxury market. Shanghai’s space-age skyscrapers rise ambitiously into the smog, juxtaposed with the low-slung pagoda roofs of decrepit and doomed old neighborhoods. VWs and Buicks clog the bustling streets, having replaced scores […]

Jewelry: Golden Advice

When a Park Avenue socialite grew disenchanted with her multimillion-dollar collection of jewelry, most of which sat dormant in a vault, she turned to Alexandra Kindler-Mulitz for guidance. As a jewelry consultant, Kindler-Mulitz helps clients build distinctive and personalized jewelry wardrobes that are not only wearable but also represent good investment and heirloom potential. “We […]

Wardrobe: Jeans Pool

When Italian suitmaker Kiton expanded its collection to include handmade dress shirts, seven-fold neckties, and even bespoke shoes, the strategy did not seem to be a major departure from the company’s traditional tailored roots. The Neapolitan manufacturer’s plunge into jeans, however, is more difficult to fathom. But for Kiton owner Ciro Paone, the decision to […]

Feature: Pink Pleasures

From powder to fuchsia, pink is the color of the moment in fashion and accessories. But with fine jewelry, pink is both au courant and classic. While viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, jewelry designers have uncovered a treasure trove of precious pink gems: vivid spinel, rich rubellite, icy morganite, and pretty, pale angelskin coral. […]

Style: Cool Britannia

When Nick Hart was creative director for British suitmaker Chester Barrie four years ago, he attempted to nudge the struggling 70-year-old Savile Row institution into the 21st century by developing a collection with slimmer, more contemporary styling. Among the items he created was a hand-tailored travel jacket, a reinterpretation of a 1940s concept, with numerous […]

From the Editors: Clubs of the Fugitive Kind

The culture of private clubs is at heart antisocial. Prestige aside, denizens of the Metropolitan Club, the Knickerbocker, the Union Club, and the Newport Casino have historically sought out these bastions not so much to partake of the improving influences of civilization as to find refuge from them. These institutions served for their fugitive members […]

Family: Family Feuds

The Chicago Pritzker family, a dynasty that traces its good fortune to a Russian boy who came to the United States at the turn of the last century, is one of America’s immigrant-entrepreneur success stories. Four generations after Nicholas Pritzker taught himself to speak English by reading the Chicago Tribune, the family is said to […]

FrontRunners: Fast and Few

Ferrari’s inimitable Enzo, the Italian exotic of which only 399 versions exist, has been trumped—by a member of its own family, no less. Maserati (www.maseratiusa.com), purchased by Ferrari in 1997, will build only 50 street-legal models of the MC12 (Maserati Competizione 12-cylinder), the supercar that will compete in the FIA GT series. (Click image to […]

FrontRunners: Century Marque

In 1979, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com) celebrated its 75th anniversary by producing 100 examples of the Silver Shadow II, a special edition identifiable by badges with red-on-chrome lettering. The subtle flourish referenced cars built prior to 1931, before the carmaker began using black lettering.   To mark its 100th anniversary this year, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars […]

Autos: Lotus Blossoms

If judged solely on the modest block under its hood, the Lotus Elise that the British carmaker introduced to the European market in 1995 would never have gained its acclaim. The Rover engine delivered less than 120 hp, but the small and stylish Elise was built on a lightweight bonded aluminum chassis, which transformed the […]

Feature: Cobra Reincarnated

Henry Ford was wrong: history is not bunk. Refutations abound, especially in the auto industry, where the Superformance Coupe represents yet another example of the past’s influence on the present. Without its ancestor, the remarkably successful Cobra Daytona, a car that has become firmly embedded in racing history, the Coupe would not exist. And that […]

Wheels: Along the Same Lines

Visually and mechanically, Aston Martin’s new and striking DB9 seems to offer no compelling reason for its purchase over the apparently similar, somewhat senior, yet still extraordinary Vanquish. Unless, of course, one feels compelled to save around $70,000 by buying the 2005 two-seat DB9 instead of thumbing out $230,000 for a four-seat Vanquish. Other than […]

Back Page: Going to Extremes

Forming a club is not nearly as challenging as sustaining it. In addition to maintaining the original spark of enthusiasm that led to the club’s creation, its leaders must continually add new members who will someday carry the flame. For the executive rider clubs that we profiled in a September 1995 feature, “A Different Breed […]

Memberships of Privilege: The Thrill of the Hunt

Radnor Hunt The first thing they are likely to tell you at the Radnor Hunt in Malvern, Pa., is that foxhunting is misunderstood. “It really shouldn’t even be called ‘foxhunting,’ ” says Samuel Griffin, the club’s immediate past president. “Instead, it should be called ‘fox-chasing.’ By the time the hounds get onto a scent, the […]

Golf: Bringing Up Bovey

In January 2003, when entrepreneur Peter de Savary acquired the Manor House hotel in Devon, England, the property’s best years were well in the past. Viscount Hambledon, son of British bookseller W.H. Smith, had built the formidable mansion in 1906 on the edge of what is now Dartmoor National Park. The house became a hotel […]