Amazing Adventures

Overview

Testing the new BMW 630i Convertible on South Africa's rugged coast. Plus, extreme explorers, 5 ultimate expedition yachts for charter and new retreats in Ireland, Tasmania, Florence, and more. Also, Mercedes' ferociously efficient 2012 CLS63 AMG.

From This Issue

Boating: Taking the Cake

With its launch of Cakewalk last August, Derecktor Shipyards set the record for the largest U.S.-built yacht by volume. At 281 feet, the six-deck motor yacht—which displaces an astonishing 2,998 gross tons of water—is also the longest American-made yacht since J.P. Morgan Jr.’s 343-foot steamer Corsair IV in 1931. The substantial superyacht represents a significant […]

Watches: Vintage Victory

The sudden discovery of an extensive cache of decades-old watch movements reminded horologist Claude Sanz of the painful divide that exists in the minds of watchmakers between the glory days before the advent of quartz movements and the tense decades that followed. “The watchmakers who worked before the quartz crisis in the 1970s really don’t […]

Wardrobe: The Deconstructionist

When Eddia Mirharooni was an architect in his native Iran, he designed an innovative suspended roof that appeared to float above the walls on sheets of glass. That blueprint brought him top honors at a prestigious design competition, along with a position at a Los Angeles architectural firm. Now, more than three decades after Mirharooni […]

Vacation Homes: Grand Slam

While many vacation homes offer golf course views, few look out over the game’s seminal playground: the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. Next summer, however, a handful of individuals will be able to call the world’s oldest and most famous links home when Hamilton Grand—a collection of 26 luxury residences located just paces behind […]

Art: Masterpiece Theatre

When the Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair—the leading British show of its kind—abruptly folded in 2009 after 75 years, speculation began almost instantly about what might fill the void. Would one of the competing fairs held in London in June lure its audience, or would something new emerge in its place? To the surprise […]

Sport: Fowl Play

My lesson with Lars Magnusson seems to be paying off. The 36-year-old founder of Wyoming-based driven-shooting outfitter Blixt & Company has just walked me through the weight-forward, upright-stance, gun-to-cheek position that proper clay and wing shooting demands. Now, just 15 minutes later, I shatter the first four black clay disks that come into my range. […]

Clean Living

With my waders pulled up to my armpits I sloshed into Tasmania’s Great Oyster Bay and pushed my way to the shallows where the baby bivalves floated by the thousands. Since my arrival on Australia’s remote island state several days earlier, I had lunched daily on the plump, delectable shellfish, chasing them with gulps of […]

Clean Living: From Cozy to Cutting Edge

Separated from Australia by the 150-mile-wide Bass Strait, Tasmania is a land apart—a place of wild and beautiful landscapes, friendly and gregarious people, a pleasantly temperate climate, wonderful wine and food, and inviting accommodations. The Red Feather Inn (www.redfeatherinn.com.au), in northern Tasmania near the city of Launceston, epitomizes the quaint country hideaway. Amenities include freestanding […]

Soft Spot

South Africa, despite its sociopolitical, racial, criminal, and economic despairs, remains an extraordinary adventure capital. Off the country’s coast, an intrepid traveler can descend into the Indian Ocean in a steel cage and go nose to snout with very large, very hungry great white sharks. The flat top of Table Mountain, rising 3,500 feet above […]

Extreme Explorers

On most megayacht charters, adventure means motoring from one idyllic Caribbean cove to another, or hopping among the Mediterranean’s most glamorous ports of call for cocktail hour. But a new breed of explorer yachts is bringing the same level of comfort and service one might find in Monte Carlo to the extreme ends of the […]

Spirits: Toscana Twist

Toscana has long been a favorite gathering place for power brokers, epicures, entertainment personalities, and residents of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood. For more than two decades, these loyal patrons have flocked to the contemporary trattoria to enjoy its casual atmosphere and the flavorful output of its wood-burning oven. On busy Saturday evenings, these […]

Travel: Hang Loose

Mornings on Hangzhou’s West Lake begin with a subtle symphony. Docked wooden sampan boats creak and moan, rhythmically bobbing with the lake’s waterline. As a breeze whistles past, dewdrops fall from the tips of willows, echoing through the archways of ancient stone bridges. Cranes and orioles chatter in the distance while soaring over scenic spots […]

Home Electronics: Center of Attention

For music reproduction, few loudspeakers compare with the two-channel Utopia models made by French hi-fi manufacturer Focal-JMlab. However, until recently the company had yet to offer a center-channel unit to complement its current generation of reference-quality Utopias—which range from the nearly 7-foot-tall Grande Utopia to the bookshelf-model Diablo Utopia—in a multichannel home-theater system. Focal began […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

The signature wine of Joseph Drouhin, one of the most distinguished négociants in Burgundy, has a curious name. Clos des Mouches translates as “enclosure of the flies,” a moniker that this premier cru vineyard, located on a hill near Pommard in the Côte de Beaune, has borne since the 16th century. The name assumes a […]

Collectibles: Well Suited

As combat garb, suits of armor have been obsolete for centuries. But its sculptural qualities can render a suit timeless as a decoration for the home, whether the armor is an antique replica or an exceedingly rare and valuable original. “Antique armor does fit well alongside contemporary and modern art,” says Thomas Del Mar, a […]

Wheels: Efficiency Gains

Our introduction to the new Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG took place this winter in the mountains of Southern California, where broad interstates leaving San Diego become two-lane byways. We dawdled past avocado farms, blasted along straight and empty roads between small towns, and challenged the brakes and suspension by taking 25 mph corners at twice that […]

Leisure: Cellars’ Markets

The mill-shaped sign hanging out front of the shop and the massive scales inside are holdovers from Berry Bros. & Rudd’s early days, when, at the close of the 17th century, the Widow Bourne opened the Coffee Mill on St. James’s Street. Her grandsons, William Pickering Jr. and John Pickering, eventually inherited the store, located […]

The Robb Reader: Ann Ziff

When the Metropolitan Opera was in dire need of funding last year, arts patron Ann Ziff came to the rescue with a $30 million donation—the largest single gift the New York institution has ever received from an individual. Ziff, 64, has quietly supported several such organizations over the years, not only with donations but also […]