23rd Annual Best of the Best


2011 Luxury Portfolio: 100+ award winners. Aston Martin, Audi, Brioni, Ferrari, Gulfstream, Ralph Lauren & more. You can now purchase this issue’s articles from our website by clicking here, or download the new iPad app which is FREE to existing print subscribers. Click here to download the iPad app.

From This Issue

From the Editor: A Brief History of the Future

History is a harsh taskmaster. With alarming regularity, it seems, we are confronted with the challenge of either making history or becoming it. Certainly the long path of civilization is littered with the cautionary wreckage of those industries, institutions, and individuals that failed to recognize developing trends and technologies poised to disrupt their comfortable existences. […]

The Robb Reader: Joshua Bell

Joshua bell is often called the rock star of classical music. Indeed, the violin virtuoso tours the world 250 days per year, bringing sellout crowds to their feet with a distinctly sweet tone and an athletic performance style that may explain his signature untucked silk shirts. At a youthful 43, Bell has recorded more than […]

Best of the Best 2011: Sports Cars: Ferrari 458 Italia

When our judging panel of nearly 50 readers selected the Ferrari 458 Italia as the 2011 Car of the Year with a landslide vote in Robb Report’s March issue, the editors and writers who had the chance to drive the car were not surprised. While we anticipated the outcome, the 458’s accomplishment still is notable, […]

Best of the Best 2011: Motorcycles: Cruiser: Ducati Diavel

When Porsche introduced the Cayenne nearly a decade ago, purists feared that this attempt to expand the brand would only dilute it; suddenly soccer moms and other seemingly unworthy owners would be driving Porsches. Instead, by possessing unprecedented performance capabilities, the Cayenne enhanced the image of the SUV—and perhaps the images of a few soccer […]

Best of the Best 2011: Motorcycles: Custom: NCR Millona 16

Its irascible motor and unusually low weight render the Ducati Des­mosedici RR too much motorcycle for many riders. But for the Italian boutique bike builder NCR, the MotoGP race replica is only a starting point. From the Desmosedici it creates the Millona 16, or M16. Associations with the firearm of the same name may be […]

Best of the Best 2011: Sedans: Bentley Mulsanne

While motorcars become greener, lighter, smaller, and less expensive, Bentley clings to its heritage by offering the Mul­sanne, a supersized sedan with a carbon footprint as large as that of a South York­shire coalfield. The world of motoring—plus an estimated 10 percent of Bentley owners—is all the better for this mighty $290,000 museum piece, which […]

Best of the Best 2011: Women’s Watches: Breguet Reine de Naples Sonnerie au passage

When Breguet sought to add a high-level complication to its successful Reine de Naples ladies’ watch model, its development team looked to the original watch made two centuries before. Commissioned in 1810, No. 2639—which Abraham-Louis Breguet personally delivered to Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples—was a most remarkable timepiece. The first and only wristwatch Breguet himself […]

Best of the Best 2011: Personal Aircraft: Twin Engine: Beechcraft King Air

Beechcraft’s King Air line has outsold all other twin-engine turbo-prop business planes combined. This distinction speaks to the line’s longevity—47 years and counting—and its quality. Like past models, each of the three current ones—the entry-level C90GTx and the larger, more powerful 250 and 350i—is efficient, versatile, and comfortable. The King Airs also are attractive alternatives […]

Best of the Best 2011: Personal Aircraft: Single Engine: Cirrus SR22

When Cirrus Aircraft debuted the single-piston, parachute-equipped SR22 10 years ago, the Duluth, Minn.–based manufacturer established new standards for safety, comfort, and performance. In the decade since, Cirrus has continued to upgrade its best-selling aircraft and now offers it with features that protect against icing, boost high-altitude capabilities, and enhance stability. David Mendal, a pilot […]

Best of the Best 2011: Custom Megayachts: Perini Navi Exuma

Exuma marks the beginning of an era for the Perini Navi Group. The first motor yacht ever built by the 28-year-old Italian yard, the 164-foot boat offers the best of two worlds, combining the sophisticated design and superior engineering of a Perini Navi sailboat with the versatility and durability of an expedition vessel. The yacht […]

Best of the Best 2011: Audio: The Sonus Faber

Sonus Faber’s flagship loudspeaker, known simply as the Sonus Faber, stands 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs an astonishing 354 pounds. This tower of power’s size, however, is dwarfed by its second-to-none sound quality. Italian manufacturer Sonus faber, which debuted its namesake speaker last June, constructs the cabinets of all its loudspeakers to enhance […]

Best of the Best 2011: Decor: Bathroom: Snaidero USA Living

Snaidero USA has been serving up innovative kitchen designs for more than 60 years. From the company’s futuristic showrooms to its museum-worthy collaborations with such design luminaries as Paolo Pin­infarina and Virgilio Forchiassin, it has established itself as the trendsetter of its trade. Now Snaidero is taking its cutting-edge—and comprehensive—creations to a new room altogether: […]

Best of the Best 2011: Decor: Kitchen: Argento Vivo

Established in 1969, the Italian kitchen company GD Cucine has worked for years with real estate developers in the United States to outfit high-end condominium complexes and second-home communities. However, only since Nov­ember has the manufacturer had a two-story, 8,000-square-foot showroom in New York. And only since the debut of that Manhattan space have the […]

Best of the Best 2011: Decor: Furniture: Delaunay Collection

Since 1997, Craig Van Den Brulle has guided exquisite pieces by some of the 20th century’s best designers through his namesake Man­hattan furniture gallery and into the hands of serious collectors and top interior decorators. Now he is channeling that energy and expertise into his own series of limited-edition furnishings—a blend of handcraftsmanship and technology […]

Best of the Best 2011: Spirits: Highland Park Orcadian Limited Edition Series 1968 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

 One of the greatest and richest single-malt whiskies in existence was created against one of the world’s starkest landscapes—a remote, windswept island in the Orkney archipelago. High­land Park, Scotland’s northernmost distillery, is the birthplace of the Orcadian Limited Edi­tion Series 1968 ($3,999), a 40-year-old single malt that expresses dramatically different aromas and tastes than the […]

Best of the Best 2011: Dining: Eleven Madison Park

Dinner begins with a puzzle: a square card printed with a grid of 16 words. Each is an ingredient, the waiter explains, and together they make up the menu. Choose four, and the kitchen will create a cold appetizer, a hot appetizer, a main course, and a dessert based on your selections. Choose foie gras, […]

Best of the Best 2011: Spas: The Aman Spa at Amanfayun

Treatments at the Aman Spa at Amanfayun, in China’s lake district of Hang­zhou, begin at the Rec­eption House—a building that once served as a dormitory for plantation workers in the ancient village of Fayun. In January 2010, Aman­resorts completed its transformation of the village into a serene retreat, which is nestled amid 35 acres of […]

Best of the Best 2011: Golf Courses: Old Macdonald

More golf courses closed than opened in the United States last year, and the industry experienced a significant drop in rounds played. Yet at least one Amer­ican golf institution showed signs of life in 2010, thanks in part to a man who died more than 70 years ago. Charles Blair Macdonald, the country’s first homegrown […]

Best of the Best 2011: Domestic Red Wines: Vérité 2007 La Joie

Success can sometimes be achieved by accident, but greatness requires deliberate effort. Certainly the late Jess Jackson understood this, though he once jokingly remarked to me that the success of his first winery was actually a happy coincidence. That project began in 1974, when Jackson, a San Francisco–based attorney, joined the burgeoning ranks of California […]