20 Super Suites


Top villas at the world's premier resorts. Plus, Audi's all-new A8, high marks for the lighter, longer, and more powerful flagship sedan. Perfect Pro-Ams, play golf's greatest tournaments. Also, Grand Openings - new hotels in Singapore, Tasmania & more.

From This Issue

From the Editors: Seaside Sanctuaries

during the belle epoque, noblemen, millionaire industrialists, financiers, and kings seeking civilized retreats from civilization carved up the rocky coast of the French Riviera, planting exotic gardens as stage settings for an extraordinary assortment of pastel pleasure palaces, such as the Villa Rose-Pierre at Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat featured in this month’s selection of vacation villas […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Last of the Gentlemen Racers

1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta The long-lived and wide-ranging 250 series, which included Ferraris as disparate as the racing GTO and the luxurious Lusso, the signature model was the 250 GT SWB (short wheelbase) Berlinetta. The car’s iconic status was affirmed in August when the 50th anniversary of its competitive debut was celebrated at […]

Journeys: The Princeville of Tides

Tropical beverages were the topic of conversation during most of the 90-minute drive from Kauai’s Lihue Airport to the St. Regis Princeville Resort. My driver, John, whose wife had worked at the former Princeville Resort’s pool bar for 14 years, had much to say about the property’s recent changes. “She used to be able to […]

Wheels: Audi Brings Its A-Game

Audi won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans after a mid-June day and night of pounding, flat-out racing—the kind where vision blurs at 220 mph, g forces multiply a driver’s body weight by a factor of five, and engines operate on the verge of meltdown. Despite such punishment, Audi’s R15 diesel prototypes finished the […]

Stockmans’ Camp by Eichardt’s Private Hotel

The Resort: Eichardt’s Private Hotel dates to 1859, when William Gilbert Rees, cofounder of the city of Queenstown, New Zealand, renovated the woolshed on his lakefront homestead and opened it as an inn for gold prospectors. Far from Rees’ original vision, Eichardt’s today features five hotel suites with fireplaces and heated floors, as well as […]

Royal Residence at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi

The Resort: Modeled after the villages of northern Thailand’s Lanna kingdom (13th–18th centuries), Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is a 60-acre compound of tropical gardens, working rice paddies, colonial-style suites, and carved-teak structures with pagoda roofs. Activities at the 123-room resort, which is located 10 minutes from Chiang Mai’s city center, range from Ayurvedic treatments in […]

Villa Rockstar at Eden Rock

The Resort: Several of the 34 guest rooms, suites, houses, and cottages at Eden Rock on St. Barts are named and themed after past guests of the 60-year-old resort. Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo are among those celebrated by the accommodations, which are set along a sandy cove or atop a rock that protrudes from […]

Villa Rose-Pierre at Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

The Resort: A fixture on the French Riviera for more than a century, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat sits on the tip of a towering promontory between Nice and Monte Carlo. The 74-room resort—which reopened last year after a 14-month, roughly $95 million renovation that included the addition of a new wing and spa—consists of classical […]

Villa North Island at North Island

The Resort: No one will oblige you to do much of anything on North Island. The 519-acre private-island resort—reached via a 20-minute helicopter ride from Seychelles International Airport—immerses guests in a blissfully isolated atmosphere where the urge to remain sequestered in a beachside villa is hardly unusual. Still, the Indian Ocean’s crystalline waters tend to […]

Pezula Private Castle at Pezula Private Estate

The Resort: Pezula Private Estate may be off South Africa’s standard tourist path, but this sprawling resort and residential community generously rewards those who make the detour. The 2,500-acre property—located on the rugged Indian Ocean coast, 300 miles east of Cape Town—is a sportsman’s paradise, with an 18-hole golf course and a Field of Dreams […]

Hilltop Residence at Laucala Island

The Resort: “No problem” is the response to most requests made at Laucala Island. From coconut-milk baths to midnight tee times at the David McLay Kidd–designed golf course, the more than 300 staff members at this private-island resort—located 45 minutes by plane from Fiji’s international airport—are equipped to arrange just about anything for their guests, […]

Bulgari Villa at Bulgari Resort

The Resort: The blue of the Indian Ocean appears even brighter against the volcanic stone walls of Bulgari Resort, a strikingly contemporary 59-villa property set along 492-foot-high cliffs on southern Bali’s Bukit Peninsula. An open-air spa clings to the precipice, as does a pool area where guests take in the tropical Indonesian sun. A funicular […]

Villa Cortez at One&Only Palmilla

The Resort: The Palmilla was one of the first hotels in Los Cabos, and it remains among the few authentically Mexican properties on this now-touristy stretch along the Sea of Cortez. Reopened as a One&Only in 2004, the resort sprawls across 250 oceanfront acres, where palm trees shade hacienda-style structures with white-plaster walls, red-tile roofs, […]

The Chalet at Twin Farms

The Resort: Twin Farms’ ostensibly endless list of activities (skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, snowshoeing, swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking) has prompted many a guest to describe the 300-acre Vermont resort as camp for grown-ups. But the parallel ends at Twin Farms’ outdoor experiences, which give way to such sophisticated pleasures as a 26,000-bottle wine cellar, an […]

Private Reserve at Soneva Gili

The Resort: Guests of Soneva Gili quickly adapt to the “no news, no shoes” policy at this private-island retreat in the Maldives. Butlers attend to their barefoot and blissfully unplugged charges by unpacking for them on arrival and offering cold towels, drinks, and other treats throughout their stay. Most of Soneva Gili’s over-water villas are […]

Villa Cima at Villa d’Este

The Resort: The grande dame of Italy’s Lake Como waterfront, Villa d’Este opened in 1873 as a retreat for Milanese aristocrats. The 152-room resort’s centuries-old structures and gardens set a stately backdrop for languid walks along the lake and lunches of risotto on the main restaurant’s terrace. Each of the rooms and suites, which are […]

Casa Elar at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

The Resort: A 90-minute drive northwest from Los Angeles, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa offers solace for city slickers amid 220 acres of oak trees, golf course greens, and herb gardens. The resort’s 308 rooms and suites are housed within a few Spanish Colonial–style buildings scattered throughout the property’s rolling hills. Guests can walk or […]

The Villa at Sandy Lane

The Resort: Pink lounge chairs and umbrellas dot the crescent-shaped beach at Sandy Lane, a 113-room Barbados resort that dates to 1961. In addition to a beach club—which offers kayaking, banana-boat rides, and other water sports—the resort features a tennis club with nine courts and a golf club with three courses (including the Tom Fazio–designed […]

Royal Estate at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

The Resort: Designed to resemble an opulent Polynesian village, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort consists of 100 over-water and beachfront villas surrounded by a turquoise-blue lagoon. Bora Bora’s main island is just 15 minutes away by boat, but most guests are happy staying put at this multi-island resort, where staff members use the local […]

The Homestead at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

The Resort: The six guest lodges at the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa range from a glass-walled house built on stilts to suites perched on the side of a rocky cliff to thatch-roofed bush cottages. Regardless of their chosen quarters, Phinda guests enjoy exclusive access to the 56,800-acre reserve, which sits near […]

Chalet Ormello at Hôtel de Charme Les Airelles

The Resort: Like something from an alpine fairy tale, the Hôtel de Charme Les Airelles in Courchevel, France, is a chalet-style retreat with stenciled wall paintings covering its exterior and knotty-pine woodwork throughout. The 52-room hotel, perched slope-side at Les Trois Vallées (the largest ski area in the Alps), offers direct mountain access through its […]

Private Reserve at Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay

The Resort: Just 90 minutes by car from Dubai, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay in Oman seems worlds away from the Las Vegas–like emirate. The resort combines elements of an intimate, rustic fishing village and those of a contemporary vacation-home community, with 82 villa accommodations strung along a beachfront site on the northern Musandam Peninsula […]

The Robb Reader: Tom Fazio

Tom Fazio counts himself among the fortunate few whose passion and profession are perfectly aligned. “My hobby happens to be golf,” says the 65-year-old course designer, whose nearly 200 layouts include Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Pinehurst Nos. 4 and 8 in North Carolina, and Fallen Oak in Mississippi (site of a Champions Tour pro-am […]

Spas: Private Practice

Cheryl Jacobs, spa director at Manhattan’s Surrey hotel, believes an elite spa experience means a discreet one. “A lot of private information is exposed before, during, and after a treatment,” says Jacobs, who joined the Upper East Side hotel in January to launch its new spa. “I think our clients feel most comfortable when they […]

Jewelry: Yellow Fever

Under a patch of land in the remote wilderness of Western Australia, geologic conditions produced just the right amount of nitrogen and heat to create pure and exceptionally clear yellow diamonds. Some of these stones recently surfaced in a jewelry collection from Tiffany & Co. The new line features cushion-cut and pear-cut yellow diamonds set […]

Home: Giorgetti at the Plaza

One of Giorgetti’s latest creations is not at the Italian furniture maker’s New York Design Center showroom on Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue, but rather in a penthouse residence on the 20th and 21st floors of the storied Plaza Hotel at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. The aforementioned creation amounts to more than $500,000 worth of […]

FrontRunners: Hermès

At first glance, the pieces in the Hermès Haute Bijouterie (www.hermes.com) jewelry collection appear modern and striking. A closer study reveals that the rings, necklaces, and bracelets also embody the brand’s familiar equestrian motif. The 14-piece collection represents the first foray into fine jewelry for the French luxury-goods company, which began as a saddle maker […]

FrontRunners: Fast Feline

With a 35-knot top speed and clean exterior lines, the Leopard 43m (www.leopardyachts.it) looks and travels like a sporty, svelte cruiser. At the same time, its spacious flybridge and sleek, well-configured cabins—dressed with dark woods and white leather upholstery—give passengers the sense that they are aboard a vessel that is much larger than 141 feet […]

FrontRunners: Fierce Featherweight

Since 1967, Bologna, Italy–based NCR has been dazzling the motorcycle world with its Ducati makeovers, shrouding the Italian racers in functional excesses of rare metals and composite materials. The company’s latest model, the NCR Millona 16 (www.ncrfactory.com), begins as a V-4 Ducati Desmosedici RR. NCR refits the RR’s engine with titanium and aircraft-grade-aluminum components and […]

FrontRunners: Earning Its Stripes

Like the original Shelby Mustang from 45 years ago, the 2011 Shelby GT350 (gt350.shelbyamerican.com) begins as a basic Mustang GT and is transformed post-purchase into a purpose-built muscle car by Shelby American. The company’s factory supercharges Ford’s new lightweight, aluminum, 5-liter V-8, increasing its horsepower to 500 or more. In addition to the blue racing […]

FrontRunners: Fine Stationary

The Ciclotte (www.ciclotte.com), a design-driven stationary bike that arrived in the United States this summer from Milan, Italy, is one piece of in-home exercise equipment you will not want to use as a clothing rack; it is too attractive to be concealed under laundry. Built from carbon fiber and steel, the $10,000 bike employs an […]

FrontRunners: Set to Sail

The $290,000 Corum Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 (www.corum.ch), a special-edition minute repeater tourbillon that marks the 50th anniversary of the manufacturer’s Admiral’s Cup watch design, is massive and water-resistant—traits that can hamper a minute repeater’s sound. But Corum enhanced the volume and clarity of the movement by using a larger, inverted minute rack […]

FrontRunners: Old Glory

On October 15 in New York, the U.S. Cavalry’s sole survivor from the 1876 battle known as Custer’s Last Stand will be auctioned during a Sotheby’s sale titled Custer’s Last Flag: The Culbertson Guidon from the Battle of the Little Bighorn (www.sothebys.com). The flag is being sold by the Detroit Institute of Arts, which acquired […]

FrontRunners: Glass Act

Earlier this year, Hering Berlin—the German maker of porcelain plates and bowls found in the restaurants of Pierre Gagnaire and other top chefs—debuted its first non-porcelain products, which include the Domain and Source glassware collections (www.heringberlin.com). The Domain series comprises carafes, decanters, and wine goblets with smoke-colored roemer stems and bowls designed for Chardonnay, Bordeaux, […]

From the Robb Cellar

With the arrival of Prohibition in 1919, Napa Valley’s once-thriving family wineries—most of which belonged to European immigrants who had brought with them their native winemaking traditions—closed down, and the vineyards that supplied their fruit went fallow or were replanted as orchards. When wine production re-emerged in the postwar years, many of the techniques used […]

Delaire Graff Estate

When Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds Holdings, acquired South Africa’s Delaire Winery in 2003, he did so as much for the property’s views as for its vintages. In May the British jeweler realized his vision for the site—now known as Delaire Graff Estate—with the opening of a spa, two restaurants, and 10 guest lodges […]

Fullerton Bay Hotel

Gone are the red oil lamps that once guided early-20th-century seafarers into port at Singapore’s Clifford Pier. Today the Fullerton Bay Hotel gleams as the pier’s new beacon. Opened in July, the six-story Fullerton Bay is the first waterfront hotel within Singapore’s master-planned Marina Bay development. The 106-room property is located a short distance from […]

Saffire Freycinet

The Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast has long been known as a place of spectacular natural beauty—the area became a national park in 1916—but until recently few accommodations in the area exceeded the campground category. The June opening of Saffire Freycinet—a $29 million resort with 20 lavish suites and a manta ray–shaped main lodge—marks […]

A Royal Marque

Only a select few American automobiles have joined the ranks of the world’s four-wheeled icons. The Model T, Corvette, Mustang, and original Lincoln Continental were commercial successes that set the standards for style in their times and went on to kindle the passions of collectors; but with its design, flamboyance, and presence, one make and […]

Aviation: Total Eclipse

In its first decade of business, Eclipse Aviation delivered 260 aircraft. The New Mexico company was the fastest general-aviation jet manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 planes, and by the beginning of 2008 it had a backlog of more than 1,000 orders for its lone production model, the six-seat, twin-turbofan EA500 very light […]

Dining: Hungarian Rhapsody

Like a beautifully executed musical improvisation, chef Miguel Vieira’s eight-course tasting menu at Costes Restaurant in Budapest, Hungary, delights the senses with harmonious notes and striking contrasts. “In small ways and in some techniques, what I learned from Ferran Adrià informs my cooking,” says the 32-year-old Vieira, who worked as the sous-chef at El Bulli, Spain’s […]

Sports: Going to Extremes

As we hovered over Paradise Peak—a 9,800-foot summit 25 miles west of Sun Valley, Idaho—my guide, Lel Tone, assured me that I would have no problem skiing the waist-deep powder below us. I have skied black-diamond-rated mountains throughout the world, but I rode chairlifts to the tops of all those groomed slopes; this was my […]

Collectibles: Ballpark Figure

If the Major League Baseball Opus Marquee Edition had a trading card, the back would read something like this: pages: 790; size: 20 x 20 inches; weight: 75 pounds; images: 1,000+; words: 110,000+; cost: $3,000. The new tome’s supersize dimensions (and price tag) may bring to mind baseball’s steroid era, but the contents of this […]

Home Electronics: Smaller Wonder

Technical Audio Devices avoided ambiguity when naming its new loudspeaker, the Compact Reference. It is what its moniker says it is: a compact version of the company’s Reference One, a world-class speaker by any measure of performance, size, and price. Seeing the need for a more “size-appropriate” loudspeaker—one smaller than the brand’s 4.2-foot-tall, 330-pound, $70,000-per-pair […]

Watches: Mechanical Advantage

For companies with brand names as substantial as Hublot’s, acquiring 30 new employees may not seem particularly newsworthy. But for a niche industry in which art, craft, and precision engineering intersect on a single square inch of real estate, an apparently small move such as this can have profound implications. “Thirty watchmakers is a small […]

Autos: The Cadillac of American Coupes

One of the world’s most formidable ultraperformance sedans is Cadillac’s CTS-V, a 556 hp supercharged sledgehammer that claims to be the fastest four-door around the Nürburgring and goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Reasonably priced and locally grown, this outlier from Detroit proves that GM has what it takes to raise the […]

Desert Oasis

With its near-constant sunshine and numerous golf courses, the Southern California desert can prove irresistible—especially for those who reside in cold climes. Such was the case for a Chicago-based businessman and his wife who 20 years ago purchased a home at the Vintage Club, a private resort and golf community in Indian Wells, Calif. The […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Sharp Shooter

Had James Bond been vanquishing villains in the 19th century, surely he would have found a use for this Russian strongbox. The circa-1815 safe, which is on offer for $815,000 from New York City antiques dealer Carlton Hobbs (www.carltonhobbs.com), conceals within its neoclassical exterior a complex series of mechanisms that trigger a hidden pair of […]

Leisure: Above and Beyond Par

My approach shot to the 15th hole at Mayakoba’s El Camaleón course has caught the greenside bunker. It is not my first time in the sand today. I have been struggling, and now I need to get up and down to help out my teammates—one of whom decides that now is an opportune time to […]

Leisure: Above and Beyond Par: Going Pro

When selecting a pro-am tournament, you should consider the obvious (quality of course, strength of field) and the not-so obvious (three rather than four amateurs per pro, walking and caddies, tee times rather than shotgun starts, additional special events). Individual spots typically cost between $4,000 and $10,000 and may include VIP passes and extra tickets […]

Falcon’s Nest Villa at Peter Island Resort

The Resort: In the 1960s, Norwegian businessman Torolf Smedvig built a series of A-frame chalets on his 1,800-acre Caribbean isle and opened the property as Peter Island Resort. Smedvig’s exclusive retreat—located across the Sir Francis Drake Channel from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands—has been updated and expanded over the years, and today features clusters […]