Best of the Best


Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Feadship and more.  The 2003 Luxury Portfolio.  The best autos, boats, motorcycles, golf, travel, home and design, electronics, art and more.

From This Issue

The Best of the Best 2003: Appliances – Samsung HomePAD Internet Refrigerator

Move over, professional range. The Internet refrigerator is taking control of the kitchen. The Samsung HomePAD Internet refrigerator will challenge the most uncompromising aesthete with its state-of-the-art fusion of technology, function, and design. This 27-cubic-foot side-by-side refrigerator/freezer ($8,000) might become the kitchen status symbol of the decade. Its sleek, ribbed aluminum doors not only house […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Undiscovered Bests – U-vola

Suspend your judgment for a moment. U-vola, the bizarre-looking watermelon-shaped speaker from Italy, is not a passing gimmick.   All of the design aspects—from the contoured shape to the steel wire that supports it—have been carefully chosen by Alessandro Copetti to create what is, despite its quirky appearance, a well-crafted speaker that performs superbly. U-vola […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Appliances – Dyson DC07

As a boy growing up in England, James Dyson’s fascination with vacuum cleaners began with the high-pitched scream of the motor and the odor of dust that permeated the room. His life’s work, to reinvent the hardworking appliance, came out of simple frustration. “I found it easier to bend down and pick up the dog […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Appliances – Boffi Soho

For proof that the Italians are still on the cutting edge of kitchen design, look no further than Boffi. The company was founded in 1934 outside Milan by brothers Dino, Pier Ugo, and Paolo Boffi, and it has maintained its edge over the years by collaborating with some of Italy’s top designers, including Piero Lissoni […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Audio/Video

To develop a home theater unconstrained by space and price, the DVD player of choice is the top-loading TAG McLaren Audio DVD32R. It is gorgeous to behold and built to the constructional standards of the Formula 1 team that shares its name. The Lexicon MC12B processor continues to best all comers with its signal handling, […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Home Automation – Crestron MP2E

The true measuring stick of a home automation system is the controller—not the visible touchpanels or keypads. “The controller is the mind, heart, brain, and soul of a home automation system,” says Anson Fogel, chief technology officer of ESC, an electronics integration company in Aspen, Colo. “The user interfaces are nothing without it. They are […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Antiques Dealers – Trevor Philip & Sons

Although antiques are often functional, few were originally designed as professional-quality tools. Since 1972, London-based Trevor Philip & Sons has dealt in antique instruments from across the sciences, including astronomy, navigation, seafaring, surveying, microscopy, time-telling, and even medicine. Indeed, their value as highly reliable tools is a significant part of their value as antiques. “All […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Undiscovered Bests – Spa Palazzo

You will find the new Spa Palazzo at the Boca Raton Resort & Club on Florida’s Gold Coast. But don’t be surprised if, during a visit, you begin craving paella, tapas, and sangria. Fashioned after Spain’s legendary Alhambra palace, the opulent spa is an architectural wonder, with exposed cedar-beam ceilings, two-story arched cathedral windows, a […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Hotel de Russie

Built in the early 19th century, the landmark Hotel de Russie—ideally situated on Rome’s chic Via del Babuino, near the Spanish Steps—drew a wealthy and royal crowd for more than 100 years before it was shuttered during World War II. Fortunately for travelers, it was rediscovered and renovated in 1999 by Sir Rocco Forte, who […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Hermitage Hotel

Nashville, Tenn., long renowned for country music and the Grand Ole Opry, has never enjoyed a comparable reputation for world-class lodging. This perception could change with the recently reopened Hermitage Hotel. Located opposite the State Capitol, the hotel was the city’s grandest when it originally opened in 1910. It hosted the National American Woman Suffrage […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Grace Bay Club

With only 21 expansive suites, no children, a new European spa, and an endless stretch of white beach and striking turquoise water, Grace Bay Club on the island of Providenciales in the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos Islands offers all the luxury of a large hotel or resort, but in a peaceful, intimate environment. You can […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – Hotel Bel-Air

Hotel Bel-Air is not for those seeking the hip Hollywood or California beach scenes. On the contrary, since the 1940s it has been a favorite sanctuary of heads of state, corporate executives, and celebrities who prefer complete seclusion, guaranteed privacy, and attentive service in a gorgeous setting. The grounds burst with ferns, flowers, and fountains. […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels – WaterColor Inn

There is a saying that the farther north you travel in Florida, the farther south you get. Southern drawls become thicker, grits more prevalent, the countryside more unspoiled, and the hospitality more welcoming.   This is the setting for WaterColor Inn, a 60-room property on the state’s northwestern gulf coast. Designed by renowned architect David […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Resorts – Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, located on the secluded eastern tip of the island, is like no other Ritz-Carlton. It consists of Mediterranean-style villas that contain more than 200 rooms, bubbling fountains, and hidden courtyards, spread throughout 30 acres. The resort exudes romance, offering rose-petal turndowns, candlelit dinners on the sand, massages on the beach, and […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Resorts – Ocean Club

Formerly a 1960s-era jet-setters’ resort, the Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas has reclaimed its past glamour after a $100 million restoration effort. The reborn 106-room resort now includes the chic Dune Restaurant, which serves French-Asian fare; a scenic 18-hole golf course; and private Balinese spa villas with daybeds, water fountains, open-air gardens, […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Resorts – Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa

Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa makes the most of its location, a site that author James Michener called “the most beautiful lagoon in the world.” The glass-floored lobby offers a unique view of the exotic fish-filled water below, and the 1,500-square-foot bungalows—each furnished with Indonesian mahogany canopy beds, French silver bath fixtures, and Italian […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Airlines – Cathay Pacific

From start to finish, Cathay Pacific provides a superior travel experience for the discriminating first-class passenger. The airline hosts the industry’s top airport lounge, The Wing, at its home base in Hong Kong International Airport. Here, travelers can freshen up in the airline’s day spa, sample fine wines and cuisine from the restaurant, or simply […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Airlines – Singapore Airlines

Take the interior of a Rolls-Royce, the hospitality of a five-star hotel, and the epicurean delights of a gourmet restaurant, and send them 33,000 feet in the air. The result is Singapore Airlines. Singapore’s first-class accommodations, with oversize, burrwood-appointed seats in Connolly leather, set a new standard for airborne elegance and comfort. The seats are […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Domestic White Wines – Rudd Estate 1999 Chardonnay Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard

Although Rudd Estate is a relative newcomer, the winery’s Rudd Estate 1999 Chardonnay Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard nevertheless bears a potent pedigree. This single-vineyard Chardonnay is made with fruit sourced from the Bacigalupi Vineyard, which is planted with the same 40-year-old Wente clones used to produce the 1973 Château Montelena Chardonnay that triumphed in […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Domestic White Wines – Beringer 1998 Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc Nightingale Botrytized Private Reserve

While the Sauternes and Barsacs continue to reign supreme over the kingdom of dessert wines, U.S. winemakers are demonstrating a growing mastery of this age-old technique by which the noble rot, botrytis, transforms the Sémillon grape into a fantastic ambrosia that delights palate and imagination. The best among these new-world Sémillons to be released in […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Cigars

Padrón 1926 Astute readers may be experiencing déjà vu, recognizing that we honored the Padrón 1926 series in last year’s Best of the Best issue. Our selection was based on early production samples, which were exceptional. Padrón, however, had higher expectations and decided to allow the 1926 to age for another year. Now it has […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Spirits – L’Esprit de Courvoisier, Shakespeare, Tanqueray No. Ten, Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old

French Evolution Master blender Jean-Marc Olivier has captured 200 years of history in a bottle. Olivier dipped into the Courvoisier paradis vault to create a fusion of historic vintages spanning generations of tradition at this noted house. Each of the component Cognacs in L’Esprit de Courvoisier dates prior to 1930, some having been produced during […]

The Best of the Best 2003: International White Wines – 1995 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs

Taittinger vineyards, with approximately 600 acres of vines, are among the most extensive in Champagne. The holdings include significant Chardonnay vineyards, and the predominance of Chardonnay in the cuvées contributes to Taittinger’s delicate, fresh, house style. Taittinger named its tête-de-cuvée (which comes in a Rosé version as well as this Blanc de Blancs) for the […]

The Best of the Best 2003: International White Wines – 1999 Kracher Welschriesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Zwischen Den Seen #8, Neusiedlersee

From his birthplace in Austria’s Burgenland region, not far from the Hungarian border, Alois Kracher makes some of the best sweet wines in the world. These late-harvest stunners sit neck-to-neck with other botrytis-influenced wines such as Yquem, Hungary’s finest Tokajis, and the superb botrytised Semillons of Australia. Austria has made remarkable progress in quality—and marketing—over […]

The Best of the Best 2003: International Red Wines – 1999 Barossa Valley Estate E&E Black Pepper Shiraz

Barossa Valley Estate originally started as a growers’ cooperative in 1985, when 80 third- and fourth-generation Barossa Valley growers united to address dwindling prices and disappearing markets. Years later, Aussie wine-industry giant BRL Hardy came on board as a partner, and the group opened a new $24 million winemaking facility, complete with surrounding vineyards, in […]

The Best of the Best 2003: International Red Wines – 1999 Álvaro Palacios Finca Dofí Priorat

While collectors clamor for the 2000 Bordeaux vintage, and critics dull their pencil leads with praise for Australia, Spain has quietly emerged as the world’s most exciting wine-producing country. The fevered investment that first pumped pesetas, and now euros, into the construction and renovation of Iberian bodegas is paying off in a wave of spectacular […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Domestic Red Wines – Beaulieu Vineyard 2000 Signet Collection Zinfandel

The origins of California’s most characteristic wine were unknown until recently, when researchers traced the Zinfandel grape to vineyards of Croatia. While this zesty varietal has never achieved the cult following of Cabernet or Pinot, it remains a full-bodied, flavor-packed delight that pairs beautifully with honest food—from spicy pastas and aged cheeses to barbecued ribs. […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – Zuni Cafe

For the past 15 years, Zuni Café chef Judy Rodgers has been relying on ingredients such as raw kumomoto oysters, sand dabs, and free-range organic chickens to prepare meals that can raise your consciousness higher than substances San Francisco was associated with in the counterculture days of the 1960s. As Grace Slick used to sing: […]

The Best of The Best 2003: Dining – L’Arpège

At L’Arpège, chef Alain Passard’s three-star Michelin restaurant in Paris, vegetables are the kitchen’s focus. Passard shocked the culinary world two years ago when he removed from his menu 12 signature meat dishes and announced that he would explore vegetables instead. “I have discovered within vegetables a palette of extraordinary flavors that can be supremely […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – Citarella

Citarella, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has been acclaimed as one of the premier seafood retailers in the United States. That boded well for its owner, Joe Gurrera, when he decided to open the restaurant Citarella. His chef, the skillful and imaginative Brian Bistrong, would have easy access to the freshest and finest ingredients. Bistrong, […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – The French Laundry

Easily bored, chef Thomas Keller continues to challenge himself and the world of gastronomy. Whether it is cauliflower panna cotta with Beluga caviar or his version of coffee and doughnuts (cappuccino semifreddo with miniature cinnamon-sugar doughnuts), you can taste the mischievous efforts of a chef who continues to evaluate what makes things flavorful. But this […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – Das Fletschhorn

Das Fletschhorn, in the exclusive, car-free resort of Saas-Fee, Switzer-land, proves that it is possible to enjoy first-rate dining in the mountains. Known among Swiss cuisine cognoscenti as Irma Dütsch in honor of its chef of the same name, this restaurant offers haute cuisine in which local ingredients are treated with the utmost deference. Dütsch […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – AZ

As indicated by a résumé that includes a doctorate in biochemistry from Princeton and a cooking stint with madcap chef Bobby Flay, chef Patricia Yeo is both brainy and passionate. At her restaurant AZ in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, she deconstructs classic dishes and puts them back together to bring out the essence of the flavors. […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Dining – Taillevent

Despite the formal atmosphere of Taillevent, which features Louis XVI decor and a phalanx of tuxedoed waiters, the staff of the Paris landmark conveys a genuine sense of warmth.   “Taillevent is more of a club than a restaurant,” says the restaurant’s owner, Jean-Claude Vrinat. “The word ‘customers’ is banished; visitors or friends is the […]

Best Things First: Sweet Endeavor

Scharffen Berger chocolate maker (800.930.4528,, the producers of the world’s tastiest chocolates, does not limit itself to candy bars and gift boxes. It produces baking chocolate, chocolate sauce, truffle-making kits, and even a limited edition perfume, Cacao, which is distilled from Venezuelan cacao beans. The company was founded in 1996 by friends John Scharffenberger, […]

From The Editors: The Qualities of Taste

An eye for quality and an aptitude for taste are not the same thing. The person who can recognize at a glance the perfections or flaws in a diamond, its precise color and grade, is not necessarily the same individual who can choose the style of setting that will show that stone to its best […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Golf Communities – Hokuli’a

Developer Lyle Anderson’s newest community is Hokuli’a on the Big Island of Hawaii. It could be Anderson’s reputation for combining exquisite, resortlike amenities with high-value real estate (Desert Mountain, Desert Highlands, Superstition Mountain, and Las Campanas) that has buyers back on the mainland lining up for the Hokuli’a lots, which start at $1 million. Or […]

Best Things First: Well Played

In at least one respect, polo is not unlike basketball. In the sport of kings, a key to success is the ability to move without the ball, or so says Maj. Hugh Dawnay (+353.51.384216), the world’s premier polo instructor. “What most people do is react to the ball, but that puts you in the wrong […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Undiscovered Bests – Vhernier

When Vhernier introduced its jewelry at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman in March, even the store’s most urbane clientele could not help but take notice of the colorful, innovative, and daring new designs. The Italian jeweler is known in Europe for original ideas such as a gold tubular bracelet that, when curved around the wrist, separates […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Undiscovered Bests – Andean

There is a reason why Andean considers itself the Rolls-Royce of glove makers. Its gloves are made from the finest blemish-free peccary (wild boar skin) found in the Amazon jungle, and hand-sewn by artisans in Peru. They are also the only gloves lined in vicuña and made with gussets between the fingers for greater flexibility […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Wardrobe – Modern Marvels

Sportswear: Ermenegildo Zegna Zegna owns one of the world’s finest textile mills, giving the Italian sportswear maker the luxury of fabric exclusivity and experimentation. Innovative fabrics, such as wools woven like denim and knits designed to look like vintage corduroy, are combined with a sharp eye for sophisticated styling in Zegna’s Soft collection, which is […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Wardrobe -Traditional Favorites

Suits: Oxxford Clothes Oxxford Clothes’ latest suit silhouette was modified from a roped-shoulder, nipped-waist design first introduced in the 1930s. By raising the button stance, angling the pockets, and adding cloth under the arm to prevent the shoulder from appearing overexaggerated and outdated, Oxxford Clothes—the only major American suitmaker still working entirely by hand—continues to […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Jewelry – Orlando Orlandini

“I wouldn’t reveal my techniques, even if I were tortured,” says Italian jewelry designer Orlando Orlandini, while his face beams with a characteristically warm and embracing smile. He is only half joking. Indeed, Orlandini closely guards the secrets behind his artistry, which transforms gold into unique, grace-ful jewelry that resembles flowing golden fabric. Unlike most […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Jewelry – Tiffany’s

It took nearly five years to accumulate the harmoniously matched South Sea pearls for Tiffany’s prized necklace, which has a price tag of $447,500. The jeweler has just one strand of this stature and can only hope to complete another next year; there are no guarantees. Most of Tiffany’s South Sea pearls come from Nick […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Jewelry – Harry Winston

For the connoisseur with an appetite for the rarest and most unusual diamonds, colored diamonds are the ultimate pièces de résistance. For nearly a century, Harry Winston has handled some of the world’s rarest colored diamonds—from the 45.52-carat dark blue Hope diamond to a 60-carat fancy pink diamond that dates to 1642. Today, Winston’s multimillion-dollar […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Jewelry – Taffin

“Jewelry can be colorful, large, and fun without appearing pretentious,” declares James Taffin de Givenchy, whose designs undoubtedly fit this description. His Taffin collection is sold exclusively from his Madison Avenue salon in New York City. Among his bold new creations is a rare 22-carat old mine-cut diamond ring that is set with four mandarin […]

The Best of the Best 2003: Jewelry – Cartier Haute Joaillerie

Louis Cartier was undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest arbiters of jewelry style. During his heyday in the early 1900s, he explored exotic Egyptian, Islamic, and Asian art for inspiration and forged modern, yet feminine, jewelry that distinctly reflected the fashion and culture of his generation.   Today, Louis Cartier’s principles of design are ever […]