Keeping track of thousands of the world’s top hotels and resorts is part of the daily routine for Robb Report associate editor Jennifer Hall. In this issue’s Luxury Preview special section, Hall turns her critical eye to the $600 million, 2,500-acre Christophe Harbour development on St. Kitts (see “Caribbean Haven,” page 166). “What makes this community so unique is that it takes up the entire southeastern peninsula of the island,” she says. “In addition to a hotel and recreational facilities, Christophe Harbour will contain several residential neighborhoods, and the natural lagoon on the peninsula’s western side will become a 300-slip marina where guests and homeowners will be able to dock their yachts.”
Hall also worked with the rest of Robb Report’s editorial team to determine the complete Luxury Preview lineup, which showcases the most eagerly anticipated finds for 2009 and beyond. “CityCenter [see page 154] looks intriguing,” she says. “For years now, I’ve been watching what for so long was just a big hole adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip become a small city in its own right. When completed, it will have four high-luxury hotels—it’s definitely something to watch.” Other hotel openings on Hall’s radar include the new Armani properties debuting in the Middle East and Europe (page 146) and the Pelican Hill and Terranea resorts coming to Southern California (page 132).
As a longtime contributor to Robb Report, Jack Smith has covered art, cars, wine, dining, fashion, and philanthropy, among other topics. He says he is interested in culture and the finer points of connoisseurship (though he admits that as a young journalist he wrote a piece about snake hunting). While researching this issue’s profile of Alain Ducasse (“The Man Who Fell from the Sky,” page 192), Smith dined at the chef’s restaurants in the best neighborhoods of New York, Monte Carlo, London, and Paris. A glamorous assignment, to be sure—even for the most jaded culinary critic—but reporting it came with its fair share of ups and downs. “I visited all of the restaurants in just eight days,” Smith explains. “But I paced myself and spent two nights in each city.” Then, when Smith conducted what he calls his “big interview” with Ducasse (pictured below), the Michelin-starred master insisted on conversing only in French. “One, because he was very careful about what he had to say,” Smith muses, “and two, because he had never heard me speak French, so I think he was curious.” Happily, Smith, who studied for a time in the 1970s at the University of Pau in France, speaks the language fluently.
Boating writer Michael Verdon examines the growing market for expedition yachts in “The New Ocean Explorers” (page 179). The boats differ from traditional yachts in three ways, he observes: “Typically, they can travel farther than traditional yachts, they are rugged in appearance, and they don’t travel very fast.” Indeed, a trip across the Atlantic Ocean in an expedition yacht, which usually plows through the water at about 10 knots, can take weeks. Yet, Verdon explains, for owners of these vessels, the journey is not about comfort, with them flying into port and staying on a yacht for a week while a captain chauffeurs them around. “It’s about getting their hands dirty and creating their own maritime adventures,” he says. “There are more manufacturers building these types of boats than there were a decade ago. Demand is obviously growing.”