The Travel Issue

Overview

10 top new hotels, 5 sensational superyacht charters and 4 adventures in space. Plus, safe travels - essentials of private security. Also, Balkan beauty - cruising Croatia's coast in the Bently Continental GTC.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader

Richard Kessler is a man of many interests—and many outlets for those interests. The former chairman of the Days Inn hotel chain, the 65-year-old hospitality pioneer has spent the past 26 years as chairman and CEO of the Kessler Enterprise, his Orlando, Fla.–based hotel operations and development firm. Along the way, he has cultivated interests […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Power Trip

In 1768, when the future King Gustav II of Sweden gave this pair of finely detailed globes to the French duchess d’Enville, it was a gesture freighted with meaning. Made by Anders Akerman, Sweden’s best mapmaker, each globe was engraved with what was known about the earth and the heavens. The world still held mysteries: […]

Wings & Water: Protect and Serve

Last february, while sailing off the coast of Oman, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., were taken hostage by pirates. The couple’s 58-foot yacht, on which they had been navigating the world since 2004, was soon tracked down by four U.S. warships, but the Adams were shot to death by their captors […]

Postcards from the Galaxy

It was a moment of triumph, and Sir Richard Branson was savoring it: His VSS Enterprise had just gracefully touched down at San Francisco International Airport to become the first spaceship to land at a commercial airstrip. Striding through the terminal afterward, the Virgin Group founder could not help but gloat a little.  “Gorbachev offered […]

Sea Change

Looking out to a cloudless sunset over turquoise water, Rachel Buchner recalls a rainy day about four years ago. Buchner, the general manager at Mozambique’s Azura resort, remembers this particular day because one of her porters, a former fisherman, failed to come to work. “The next morning he showed up, and I asked him where he […]

FrontRunners: Fashionable Luggage

Santiago Gonzalez appreciates functional and fashionable luggage. Indeed, traveling weekly between his homes and offices in New York, Paris, and Cali, Colombia, he makes great use of the duffel that he designed for the Santiago Gonzalez Men’s Collection (available at Bergdorf Goodman, http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com). The collection is produced in Colombia by Nancy Gonzalez, the namesake brand […]

FrontRunners: Inner Space

One of the most capacious boats in its class, the 45-foot Sessa Fly 45 (www.sessamarine.com) has an interior that seems even larger than it is. The boat’s flexible layout allows for two or three 200-square-foot guest cabins belowdecks, as well as a full galley and three heads. The main deck has room for a breakfast […]

FrontRunners: Scotch under the Rocks

Three bottles of the recently released Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky 1907 are included in the Alfred Dunhill Antarctic Whisky Cabinet (www.dunhill.com). The Mackinlay has the flavor and nose of whisky from a cache that Ernest Shackleton abandoned during his Antarctic exploration in 1909. After Shackleton’s three lost crates of Mackinlay were discovered under […]

FrontRunners: Welcome to the Machines

Known best for futuristic watchcases resembling frogs, owls, and even jet engines, MB&F has released a new series of timepieces called Legacy Machines that displays far more traditional designs. The MB&F Legacy Machine N°1 (www.mbandf.com), for example, evokes pocket watches or the first wristwatches from a century ago. Created in collaboration with watchmakers Jean-Francois Mojon […]

FrontRunners: Downhill Record

A tiny, 12-megapixel camera and a microphone sit between the lenses of the $400 Liquid Image Summit Series HD 1080p goggles (www.liquidimageco.com), enabling you to shoot hi-res photos and 1080p full-HD video footage while skiing, snowboarding, snowball fighting, or even luging. Buttons on the goggles’ exterior control the camera functions, and a small LCD screen […]

FrontRunners: Cushy Boots

Designed by the Apex Sports Group, a Colorado company known for its extraordinarily comfortable ski boots, the Apex Ski Boot CF3 (www.apexsportsgroup.com) is intended specifically for more athletic skiers. The $1,495-per-pair CF3s have a full carbon-fiber chassis and heat-moldable linings, which offer a fit that is slightly narrower and firmer than those of Apex’s previous […]

FrontRunners: Forks Lift

Located in the Sierra Madre mountains along the border between Colorado and Wyoming, the 200,000-acre Three Forks Ranch (www.threeforksranch.com) launched its first full season of snowcat skiing in December. The chairlift-free ski program, which runs through the end of March, provides access to 1,100 vertical feet of untouched powder and eight groomed runs that accommodate […]

FrontRunners: Airborne Again

Consider the new Eclipse 550 (www.eclipse.aero) an upgrade of the popular EA-500, which has been on the market since 2006. Eclipse Aviation, one of the first manufacturers to sell a small personal jet (formerly called a very light jet), delivered 260 examples of the EA-500 before filing for bankruptcy in 2008. Renamed Eclipse Aerospace and […]

FrontRunners: Healing Property

Since 1778, people have been journeying to West Virginia’s White Sulphur Springs to bathe in the city’s healing waters. The Greenbrier hotel opened in 1913 to provide lodging for these visitors, and now the 6,750-acre resort will be home to a 21st-century wonder of wellness: the Greenbrier Medical Institute (www.greenbrier.com). Scheduled to open in early […]

FrontRunners: Weight of the World

A 6-foot-by-4.5-foot, 330-pound atlas from Australian publisher Millennium House, Earth Platinum (www.millenniumhouse.com.au) stands taller and weighs more than most of its readers. The $100,000, 128-page book includes maps and photo spreads—made from stitching together as many as 1,000 images—of world wonders. The atlas represents four years of work by nearly 100 cartographers, geographers, and editors. […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Joker’s Wild

1960 Fiat 600 Jolly  A version of the Fiat 600 custom-built by Italian coachbuilder Ghia, the Jolly attracted owners from Lyndon Johnson to Aristotle Onassis, the latter of whom kept one on his yacht and employed it for transportation when he docked in Mediterranean ports. The Jolly, which means “joker” in Italian, also was a […]

Villa F

The city of Venice may be sinking into the Adriatic Sea, but it is doing so in style. Francesca Bortolotto Possati, president and CEO of the city’s Bauer Hotel group, introduced her latest contribution to Vene­tian splendor with the opening of Villa F in July.   The 16th-century villa—first a home to Venetian nobility and […]

Taj Palace Marrakech

Commissioned to build a five-star hotel in Marrakech, Ameri­can architect Stuart Church was presented with a 124-acre site in the Palmeraie district, 10 minutes outside the Old City. Church developed a cohesive plan encompassing architectural, interior, and landscaping designs for what was to become the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. Five years and several false starts later, […]

The Siam

Traveling by boat through Bangkok’s Dusit district, one cannot help but notice the traditional Thai houses that stand on stilts at the edge of the Chao Phraya River. The historic houses mark your arrival at the Siam hotel, the first hospitality project of its kind in the residential neighborhood of Dusit. Scheduled to open in […]

San Camp

After undergoing a complete redesign, Botswana’s San Camp reopened in July amid a thin stand of ilala palms on the fringe of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, one of the Earth’s largest salt flats. The tented retreat, which operates annually from April to October, joins Jack’s Camp and Camp Kalahari as the only outposts on Uncharted […]

Petit St. Vincent

A lot has changed at Petit St. Vincent since the 115-acre Caribbean private-island resort closed for renovations last summer. But the local code at the resort, which reopened in November, remains the same: Red still means “please leave us alone” and yellow, “check the flagpole, we have a request.”   Twenty-two flagpoles, each with one […]

Hotel Bel-Air

The original residents of 701 Stone Canyon Road—one of Los Angeles’ most enviable addresses—did not have their names emblazoned on movie-theater marquees or spelled out in wrought-iron filigree above the main gates of motion-picture studios; they did, however, have well-heeled hooves. These equine tenants enjoyed their bosky surroundings courtesy of Alphonzo E. Bell Sr., an […]

De L’Europe

Owned by Heineken International, Amster­dam’s De L’Europe was the favorite hotel of the Dutch beer brewer’s engaging CEO Alfred “Freddy” Heineken. So when the company embarked on a down-to-the-studs remodel of the riverfront building, it included in the plans a tribute to its late leader.   The De L’Europe originally opened in 1895 as the […]

Jumeirah Frankfurt

From the streets of downtown Frankfurt, the gleaming 25-story tower that houses the Jumeirah Frankfurt is immediately recognizable for its asymmetric form. But it is the reverse perspective—of the city skyline through each room’s floor-to-ceiling windows—that guests of this contemporary new hotel will appreciate most.   Of the 157 rooms and 61 suites in the […]

Croatia Uncovered

Our Bentley-hosted Croatian caper begins at the Hotel Monte Mulini, a 2-year-old structure of chrome, glass, and blond marble near the cobblestoned fishing village of Rovinj, on the Istrian Peninsula. A group of 2012 Continental GTCs—Grand Touring Convertibles—is assembled on the hotel’s portico under an undulant roof evidently inspired by the Adriatic Sea, to which […]

Chart Toppers

Despite stormy conditions and dire forecasts in the yachting industry, the world’s top shipyards launched a flotilla of magnificent megayachts in 2011. Several of these dramatically appointed vessels recently joined the charter market, offering amenities ranging from an onboard Michelin-starred chef to a 46-foot inflatable waterslide. Of the many fine launches from the past year, […]

Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi

As might be expected from a designer whose creative influences include comic John Cleese and fellow designer Philippe Starck, the mood set by Olga Polizzi at the Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi ranges from whimsical to avant-garde. Inside the curvilinear glass structure, a flock of suspended avian shapes in colored glass soars from the lobby […]

Niyama

Spread over two jungle-covered islands in the Maldives’ southern Dhaalu Atoll, Per Aquum’s Niyama is the follow-up to Huvafen Fushi, a landmark Maldivian retreat that is home to the world’s first underwater spa. The new resort, which will partially open in January, is twice the size of its sister property and counts an underwater nightclub […]