24th Annual Best of the Best


Special Issue: Robb Report's 2012 Luxury Portfolio. 180+ award winners - Automobiles, Menswear, Watches, Resorts, Yachts, Private Jets, Jewelry & more.

From This Issue

Best of the Best 2012: Custom Megayachts: Rossi Navi Numptia

Rossi Navi is not as well known as many of its yacht-building counterparts in Europe. But with the delivery of Numptia last July, the 30-year-old Italian yard emerged as an industry leader. The 230-foot yacht, Rossi Navi’s largest to date, is a towering testament to the yard’s prowess in building boats that are beautiful both […]

Best of the Best 2012: Custom Megayachts: Benetti Seanna

Delivered last August to longtime Benetti yacht owners, the 213-foot Seanna (+39.0584.3821, http://www.benettiyachts.it; available for charter through Burgess, 212.223.0410, http://www.burgessyachts.com) is a floating showcase of custom fittings and furnishings. Italian walnut paneling with nickel inlays, wenge cabinetry, Botticino and alacatta marble flooring, and a marble stairway with nickel balusters and carved handrails are among the […]

Best of the Best 2012: Custom Megayachts: Heesen Quinta Essentia

The dutch shipyard Heesen completed seven yachts in 2011, of which Quinta Essentia (www.heesenyachts.nl; available for charter through Nakhimov, http://www.nakhimov.com) was the standout. Delivered last June as the largest yacht in the 34-year-old builder’s range, Quinta Essentia sports a red-wine-colored hull in reference to the owner’s passion for Italian wines. The yacht’s commodious aft-deck spaces […]

Best of the Best 2012: Semicustom Megayachts: Azimut Grande 120SL

At 120 feet, the 120SL is the grandest vessel in the Azimut Grande series, a line of 100-plus-foot planing yachts with which the Azimut-Benetti Group bridges the gap between custom and semicustom yacht building. Like the rest of the collection, the 120SL features exterior styling by longtime Azimut designer Stefano Righini. Carlo Galeazzi, who also […]

Best of the Best 2012: Semicustom Megayachts: Danish Yachts AeroCruiser 38

With a striking design from Espen Øino International, the 125-foot Danish Yachts AeroCruiser 38 (+45.9845.4200, http://www.danishyachts.com) might be the most cutting-edge semicustom yacht. Launched in April 2011, the first AeroCruiser 38, christened Shooting Star, features a carbon-fiber hull and superstructure, making the yacht extremely light for its size—and extremely fast. It achieves a top speed […]

Best of the Best 2012: Semicustom Megayachts: Custom Line 100

Unlike its more classically shaped siblings, the Custom Line 100 (+39.0543.787511, http://www.customline-yacht.com), the first of which the Ferretti Group unveiled last July, features a sporty design with a voluminous, wide-body shape. The 100-foot yacht’s standout features include a fold-down balcony off the main-deck salon, plentiful windows, and strategically placed LED lighting that further brightens the […]

Best of the Best 2012: Production Boats: Wider 42

Tilli Antonelli, who founded the Pershing yacht company in 1981, made a splash last April with the debut of the inaugural model from his new brand, Wider. With the Wider 42, the industry veteran and his dream team of engineers and designers have successfully redefined the weekend-cruiser category.   Equipped with a pair of optional […]

Best of the Best 2012: Production Boats: Frauscher 1017 GT

Launched last September, the Frauscher 1017 GT (www.frauscherboats.com) is an exceptional racer that represents the pinnacle of performance and design from the 85-year-old Austrian shipyard. The 33-foot 1017 GT (named for the boat’s 10.17-meter length) is equipped with dual 300 hp engines—which can be upgraded to 430 hp apiece—and can reach a top speed of […]

Best of the Best 2012: Production Boats: Wally//One

With aggressive and easily identifiable designs, boats from Monaco-based Wally demand attention. The new Wally//One (www.wally.com) is no exception. Designed for use as a day boat or a megayacht tender, the 43-foot vessel, which Wally unveiled last September, is the smallest model the builder has ever produced. But it is certainly not lacking in power. […]

Best of the Best 2012: Production Boats: Riva Iseo

The Riva Iseo (www.riva-yacht.com) is one of the storied Italian brand’s most exciting launches in recent years. The 170-year-old builder, which debuted the Iseo last summer, implemented its first hybrid propulsion system as an option for this 27-foot cruiser. The system features a zero-emission mode, making the boat ideal for use on lakes with emission […]

Best of the Best 2012: Business Aircraft: Business Turboprop: Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350i and 250

Practicality, performance, and comfort are trademarks of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350i and 250 (316.676.5034, http://www.hawkerbeechcraft.com) turboprops. The $7 million twin-engine 350i is at the top of the 48-year-old King Air line—the all-time best-selling private-aircraft line. With a seating capacity of 11 passengers, a range approaching 2,000 miles, a cruise speed of about 360 […]

Best of the Best 2012: Business Aircraft: Business Turboprop: Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II

If King Airs define the turboprop category, then the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II (561.253.0104, http://www.piaggioaero.com) redefines it. The curious-looking design elements serve specific purposes in improving the aircraft’s performance and the passengers’ comfort. Piaggio, an Italian manufacturer, placed the twin rear-facing engines 8 feet behind the farthest aft passenger seat to minimize cabin noise […]

Best of the Best 2012: Business Aircraft: Light: Embraer Phenom 300

The category-crossover aircraft from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer are changing the way the industry thinks about business-jet design. The $8.76 million Embraer Phenom 300 (954.359.3700, http://www.embraerexecutivejets.com) has acquisition and operating costs similar to those of a light jet—its 127-gallon-per-hour fuel burn leads the light-jet category—but it looks, feels, and performs like a larger aircraft. The Phenom […]

Best of the Best 2012: Personal Technology: AKG K3003

Since mobile mp 3 players took over the world—namely Apple’s iPod, whose first-generation device launched in 2001—audiophiles have scoffed at the thought of a pocket player providing genuine high-fidelity sound. Using these personal devices with Apple’s stock earbuds makes matters worse, and spending a few hundred dollars on upgraded earbuds only goes so far—none have […]

Best of the Best 2012: Personal Technology: Vertu Constellation

The new Vertu Constellation (www.vertu.com) is the English mobile-phone maker’s most advanced handset to date. It is also the Nokia subsidiary’s first phone to feature a touchscreen, making it easy to access Vertu’s exclusive services, which include a dedicated 24/7 concierge to arrange most anything, be it “impossible” reservations, private-security details, or advice from such […]

Best of the Best 2012: Personal Technology: Apple iPad

The Apple iPad (www.apple.com) is yet another testament to the vision of Steve Jobs, who introduced the first version in early 2010. The third generation of the tablet, which Apple debuted in March—and famously sold 3 million units of in the first three days on the market—offers an unrivaled user experience. Upgrades from the two […]

Best of the Best 2012: Audio: Constellation Audio Reference Series

In 2008, Australia-based financiers and audiophiles Murali Murugasu and David Payes brought together a dream team of designers and engineers to create a new standard for audio componentry. Last summer, with the unveiling of the Sirius high-definition digital music source and multiformat player, the final addition to the Constellation Audio Reference Series (805.201.2610, http://www.constellationaudio.com), the […]

Best of the Best 2012: Audio: Steinway Lyngdorf S-Series

Danish audio wizard Peter Lyngdorf—inventor of two audio systems previously named Robb Report’s Best of the Best—has outdone himself with the Steinway Lyngdorf S-Series(www.steinwaylyngdorf.com), which began shipping last June. The true innovation behind this compact system is the series’ S-15 speaker units, the design of which splits the rear-firing audio radiation to produce what is […]

Best of the Best 2012: Video: Elite LCD TV

Not since the 2008 release of Pioneer’s fabled Kuro Elite plasma TV has a display panel hit the market with such a refined picture as that of the new Elite LCD TV. After Pioneer shut down its plasma business in 2009, Sharp Electronics, which acquired a stake in Pioneer in 2007, took over Pioneer’s Elite […]

Best of the Best 2012: Video: Kaleidescape M700 Disc Vault

With the Kaleidescape M700 Disc Vault (650.625.6100, http://www.kaleidescape.com), the Sunnyvale, Calif.–based producer of home-theater servers and playback systems has eliminated the inconveniences associated with Blu-ray Disc viewing while also addressing movie-industry concerns about illegal content sharing. The $6,995 M700, which Kaleidescape began shipping to dealers last summer, copies the contents of Blu-ray Discs to a […]

Best of the Best 2012: Kitchen: Fusion

When Marwan Rizek, president of Cameo Kitchens and Fine Cabinetry, decided to update the front display at the company’s Toronto showroom, he resolved to fill it with the kitchen of tomorrow. The result is Fusion ($250,000 as shown), a compelling kitchen design that utilizes new technologies to foster perhaps the oldest human social activity: bonding […]

Best of the Best 2012: Bathroom: Bisazza Bagno

Last year’s arrival of Bisazza Bagno, a new bath division from the Italian mosaics company Bisazza, introduced unprecedented artistry to the room that needed it most. The company’s first two collections feature rich materials, unusual shapes, and ornate mirrors, lamps, and other accessories that would be just as desirable in a living or dining room. […]

Best of the Best 2012: Art & Collectibles: Antiques and Sculpture: Kunstkammer Georg Laue

Entering Kunstkammer Georg Laue is akin to walking into the 16th-century library of a learned nobleman or eccentric scholar. The gallery features a bewildering assortment of antique treasures, from exquisite inlaid chests to precious sculptures and objects in wood, ivory, silver, and gold. Religious artifacts, scientific instruments, and even natural-science rarities occupy the magical landscape. […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

Now in its third generation, the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG (www.mbusa.com) comes with an all-new twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 engine (the same one that powers the CLS63 AMG), which produces 550 hp and 560 ft lbs of torque when equipped with an optional performance package. All of this power pulsates through a 7-speed transmission and 4Matic AWD […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Lexus LX570

When the third-generation Lexus LX570 (www.lexus.com) debuted in 2007, it embodied the automaker’s “Pursuit of Perfection” tagline. Not surprisingly, Lexus has made only negligible changes to the drivetrain options and technology packages accompanying the $81,000 eight-passenger SUV’s mid-cycle refresh. The stalwart 5.7-liter V-8 engine and the optional Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, heated steering wheel, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Range Rover Evoque

At last count the Range Rover Evoque had collected more than 100 motoring awards. They include a pair of automotive Oscars: North American Truck of the Year for 2012 (selected by a panel of 50 American and Canadian automotive journalists) and Top Gear’s Car of the Year. Even China’s Sohu.com and Guangzhou Daily have honored […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Infiniti JX35

With a starting price of just over $40,000, the Infiniti JX35 (www.infiniti.com) is one of the more cost-effective vehicles ever featured in a Best of the Best issue. It might also be the only selection ever that comes with its own concierge service. Infiniti Personal Assistant is a 24-hour service to which owners have free […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: Porsche 911 Carrera S

By the numbers, no sports car has more loyalists than the Porsche 911. With nearly 50 years under its belt, the 911 series has undergone seven fundamental changes while remaining true to the original 1963 design. But unlike most sequels, the newest 911, specifically the Porsche 911 Carrera S (www.porsche.com), betters its predecessor on all […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R (www.nissanusa.com) is a car in search of a track—or possibly a runway. This $97,000 machine is built to obliterate any competitors in a straight sprint. It is not pretty, polite, or plush. It is a monster that has rightfully earned the nickname Godzilla. Equipped with a 3.8-liter turbocharged V-6 engine, the GT-R […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: McLaren MP4-12C

After a few fits and starts, the McLaren MP4-12C (www.mclaren.com) finally has made it to America. We were sorry that McLaren chose not to participate in this year’s Robb Report Car of the Year contest, but this automaker does things differently from the rest. Who else could build a series-production supercar essentially from scratch, bringing […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: Audi R8 GT

With a 560 hp v-10 engine snitched from the Lamborghini Gallardo, a top speed of 199 mph, and a zero-to-60-mph time of just a sniff over 3.5 seconds, the Audi R8 GT (www.audiusa.com) is a race-ready supercar by any definition. Foreign models come with a roll cage and competition bucket seats, and carbon fiber abounds. […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: BMW M5

For drivers old enough to have experienced the original M5, BMW holds special significance. That car’s small, trunk-mounted M badge struck terror in the hearts of Porsche and Ferrari owners; the prosaic, pugnacious German sedan redefined the limits of four-door performance. Umpteen iterations later, the M5 remains true to its mission, even as the sports-sedan […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: Audi A7

Mercedes-Benz’s CLS 500 arrived on the market seven years ago as a brilliant optical illusion with an oxymoronic classification. Its low, descending lines fooled the viewer into thinking this four-door sedan was a two-door coupe. Jaguar, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, and even Hyundai eventually followed Mercedes-Benz into the four-door-coupe segment. Now comes the Audi A7 (www.audiusa.com). […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: Porsche Panamera GTS

The latest and eighth addition to the carmaker’s four-door-coupe model line, the Porsche Panamera GTS (www.porsche.com) should resonate with 911 owners—the Porsche purists. Equipped with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 engine, the $109,000 Panamera GTS sits one slot below the Panamera Turbo models in terms of performance (and pricing). The automobile’s front-mounted engine produces 430 […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: Audi A8 L W12

The big man on Audi’s campus is the long, luxurious 12-cylinder version of the new A8 sedan, the Audi A8 L W12 (www.audiusa.com). No other automobile offers so much performance, luxury, and refinement in such an understated package. Priced from $133,500, the new W12 is for those who want it all but prefer flying under […]

Best of the Best 2012: Sedans: Chrysler 300 SRT8

Chrysler’s dark and serious television commercials convey the message that the brand’s 300 sedan is imported from Detroit. Drive the Chrysler 300 SRT8 (www.chrysler.com) and you will understand what narrator Joe Mantegna is getting at. This high-performance version of the mainstream 300C borrows noticeably from the Europeans. Its high-end technology and performance is definitely Teutonic, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Coupes & GTs: Maserati GranTurismo MC

The Granturismo MC dispels the notion that Maserati is a second-tier player among Italian sports-car brands. The beauty of the GranTurismo is indisputable, and its Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V-8 engine sends 444 hp and 376 ft lbs of torque to the rear wheels, enabling the MC to reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds […]

Best of the Best 2012: Coupes & GTs: Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca

In an age of paddle-shift automatics, button-controlled suspension modes, shift-mapping software, and driver-tuned exhausts, the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca (www.ford.com) is a welcome throwback to the get-in-and-drive days of its progenitor.   The original 1969 Mustang Boss 302 was a race-bred machine developed by Ford for the hotly contested Trans-Am series. Today’s Boss […]

Best of the Best 2012: Coupes & GTs: Jaguar XKR-S

Most Jaguar disciples considered the standard Jaguar XK coupe and roadster—with their 5-liter engines and 385 hp—naughty enough. Then came the XK-R, which added a supercharger and 125 units of horsepower. Arriving this year, the Jaguar XKR-S (www.jaguar.com) is one really bad cat. Jaguar has tuned the supercharged engine to produce a tarmac-munching 550 hp, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Ferrari 458 Spider

Ferrari purists seldom are followers of soft-top fashion, preferring the marque’s rigid berlinettas and their beautiful flowing forms to the canvas-roofed spiders. However, Ferrari’s latest mid-engine marvel, the 458 Italia, has morphed into a convertible without the fussy fabric flying buttresses of its predecessors. The 458 Spider features a folding aluminum hard top that transforms […]

Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Aston Martin Virage Volante

Aston martin is a boutique builder of beauties—luxury sports cars that cling tightly to the past yet never show their age. Silhouettes have remained similar for decades, and even today they continue to display signs of the ’60s and traces from the legendary DB5. The brand might be emulating Porsche and its glacial evolution of […]

Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Bentley Continental GTC

An advocate of excess, Oscar Wilde would have made a perfect pitchman for the Bentley Continental GTC (www.bentleymotors.com), a heavy and heavily handcrafted vehicle that coddles driver and passengers and has a performance envelope that is more locomotive than automotive. Bentley’s use of only the finest leather and mirror-matched woods is well publicized, but few […]

Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Replete with style, speed, and a set of wings that stretch skyward, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG coupe (the modern-day Gullwing) became one of the most coveted sports cars when it arrived in the United States in 2010. The car—with its guttural muscle-car exhaust note and nostalgic wings—captured the hearts of our Robb Report judges and […]

Best of the Best 2012: Motorcycles: Touring: Harley-Davidson Switchback

Touring bikes are specialized machines designed to make the miles melt away, but their narrow purpose is their drawback. Most touring rigs endure months of downtime, while more versatile steeds see daily action.   Harley-Davidson addresses this problem with its new Switchback, a touring bike that performs a presto personality change into a cruiser. Thanks […]

Best of the Best 2012: Motorcycles: Custom: Confederate X132 Hellcat

Confederate Motors has been building ambitiously designed, hand-assembled motorcycles since 1991, but for its latest creation, the Birmingham, Ala.–based manufacturer has introduced a new platform that eliminates many of the complicated steps involved with building its earlier bikes. For the new X132 Hellcat, instead of mounting the powerplant onto the frame with bushings, the Confederate […]

Best of the Best 2012: Motorcycles: Sportbikes: Ducati 1199 Panigale

As sportbikes continue to shed weight and gain power, such improvements might reach a point of diminishing returns. The ruthless pursuit of acceleration and razor’s-edge handling could lead to such radical transformations that a bike becomes a soulless beast built only for statistical domination.   Ducati was at a crossroads when updating its venerable 1198 […]

Best of the Best 2012: Motorcycles: Cruisers: Star Motorcycles Raider SCL

Singular style and robust brawn typically distinguish the most compelling cruisers from lesser specimens, but those qualities often come at a premium. Bucking the high-price trend is the new Raider SCL from Star Motorcycles, an American brand of cruisers produced by Yamaha. The bike incorporates custom-style details and a muscular motor into an off-the-shelf package […]

Best of the Best 2012: Vacation Homes: One Sandy Lane

On Barbados’s Platinum Coast, One Sandy Lane reigns. Designed by Larry Warren, the local architect who also built the legendary Sandy Lane hotel nearby, One Sandy Lane is an ultraexclusive enclave centered on a regal 100,000-square-foot edifice housing just eight villa-style residences. The homes came on the market last fall (seven have sold), and prices are […]

Best of the Best 2012: Vacation Homes: Inspirato

Since their introduction nearly 14 years ago, destination clubs have become popular with affluent travelers looking to vacation in, but not own, multimillion-dollar homes worldwide. But with the economic downturn came the faltering of the nascent industry; some clubs filed for bankruptcy, and members took large investment losses on their membership deposits. Those troubles, however, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Spas: Espa at the Istanbul Edition

Spread across three basement-level floors of a new 15-story, 78-room hotel, Espa at the Istanbul Edition (+90.212.317.7700, http://www.editionhotels.com) opened in March 2011 in the bustling residential district of Levent. Adorned with woven-horsehair wall coverings and bronze-and-leather flooring, the 20,000-square-foot spa includes an indoor swimming pool, 10 treatment rooms, a VIP suite, whirlpools, a snow cabin, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Spas: Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie

Los Angeles’s iconic Hotel Bel-Air—a woodsy, storybook getaway complete with resident swans—has been the preferred city retreat of Hollywood royalty for 65 years. Now, after completing a two-year, $100 million renovation, the famed hotel has a retreat of its own: the Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie (310.909.1681, http://www.hotelbelair.com). Opened in October, the 4,100-square-foot, Alexandra […]

Best of the Best 2012: Hotels: The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

The International Commerce Center was designed to be Hong Kong’s highest building, piercing the sky at 1,883 feet. Government regulations, however, forbid structures from standing taller than the surrounding mountains, so architects had to downsize it to 1,608 feet. Even so, the Kowloon-side skyscraper still rises nearly 250 feet higher than its closest competitor in […]

Best of the Best 2012: Hotels: Corinthia Hotel London

Set on the Thames riverfront in a sprawling Victorian-era Belle Epoque building, the Corinthia Hotel London (+44.20.7930.8181, http://www.corinthialondon.com) has reshaped London’s luxury-hotel landscape since opening in April 2011. Built for roughly $480 million—in a shell that previously housed the Hôtel Métropole and, later, offices for the Ministry of Defense—the groundbreaking 294-room property took four years […]

Best of the Best 2012: Hotels: Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Location is not everything at Mandarin Oriental, Paris (+, http://www.mandarinoriental.com), but the modern eight-story retreat is certainly well situated in the City of Light. The hotel’s address along rue Saint-Honoré—between Chanel and Place Vendôme—is convenient to premier shopping grounds and to such requisite stops as the Louvre, the Tuileries Palace, and the Paris Opéra. Entered […]

Best of the Best 2012: Resorts: Ballyfin

Built in 1822 as the home of British baronet Sir Charles Coote, Ballyfin Demesne was once Ireland’s most lavish Regency mansion, the centerpiece of a 614-acre estate of esplanades, parkland, woodland, and a lake at the base of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Adding to the milieu, Lady Coote commissioned for the grounds such follies as […]

Best of the Best 2012: Resorts: Amanruya

Opened in December, Amanruya (+90.252.311.12.12, http://www.amanresorts.com) is the third Mediterranean resort and 25th property worldwide from Singapore-based Amanresorts. The 36-villa retreat—located outside Bodrum, Turkey, on a hill overlooking Mandalya Bay—recalls an ancient Mediterranean village, with a collection of locally designed structures modeled after nearby farmhouses and traditional Ottoman buildings. The cottage-style accommodations feature white-marble flooring, […]

Best of the Best 2012: Golf Courses: Castiglion del Bosco Golf Club

Unveiled last june in what designer Tom Weiskopf calls “one of most beautiful settings I have ever seen,” the Castiglion del Bosco Golf Club (+39.0577.1913001, http://www.castigliondelbosco.com) adds a first-rate championship course to the many allures of the Tuscan countryside. Weiskopf artfully stitched the course through a patchwork of ancient vineyards on a 4,500-acre wine estate […]