Best of the Best


2005 Special Luxury Portfolio. Ferrari, Aston Martin, Patek Philippe, Four Seasons, Feadship & More.

From This Issue

Best of the Best 2005: Architects

David Hovey David Hovey has a nuanced view of history. Although steadfastly committed to contemporary architecture, he nonetheless traces his architectural philosophy to the Romans. “The Roman architect Vitruvius’ definition of architecture was ‘firmness, commodity, delight,’ ” Hovey says. “Firmness relates to the construction of the building, commodity to its function, and delight to its […]

Best of the Best 2005: Antiques

At its booth at the 2005 TEFAF Maastricht fair, London antiques dealer Trevor Philip & Sons displayed an object that no doubt piqued the curiosity of most passersby. The turn-of-the-century brass jockey scales are vaguely sinister-looking and resemble a cross between a ducking stool and an oil derrick. Dangling from one arm of the crossbeam […]

Best of the Best 2005: Personal Electronics

As recently as a year ago, most photographers still were using digital cameras only for quick-and-dirty shooting. But thanks to a new wave of excellent digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, film has nearly disappeared from many professional studios. Professionals and amateurs agree that the best of the new breed is the Canon EOS 20D; Robb […]

Best of the Best 2005: Landscape Architects

Every great estate deserves an equally grand garden. To this end, Robert Truskowski, over the course of his 34-year career, has created formal gardens in the South of France and tropical sanctuaries on Mustique. The landscape architect has floated king palms down Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, trucked in 40-foot conifers to a Lake Tahoe property to […]

Best of the Best 2005: Interior Designers

When Carl D’Aquino and Francine Monaco joined forces seven years ago, the New York duo began offering a boutique approach to the entire architecture and design process. D’Aquino trained as an architect but, he says, he “made a left turn 20 years ago into interior design because I found it more fulfilling.” Monaco, who also […]

Best of the Best 2005: Furnishings

Near the center of the Uberlandia, Brazil, factory where the Atmosphere company produces its furniture—not far from the 250-year-old mango tree around which the factory floor and roof were built—sits a massive piece of machinery constructed from the parts of an old tractor, scraps of weathered aluminum siding, and the handlebars from a child’s bicycle. […]

Best of the Best 2005: Bath Design

“If you look at faucets today, you have little machines pressing out water with nothing behind it,” says Reinhard Zetsche, a designer for the Swiss kitchen and bath products company KWC Faucets. Such a description falls hopelessly short of capturing the form and function of the glass-and-chrome Murano faucet that he codesigned with Bruno Sacco, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Kitchen Design

Amid a sea of minimalist, albeit stunning, European kitchens, Italian manufacturer Snaidero dares to be different. Almost a half-century of collaborations with architecture and design luminaries—including Gae Aulenti, Angelo Mangiarotti, Paolo Pininfarina, Massimo Iosa Ghini, and Roberto Lucci and Paolo Orlandini—has given the company a creative edge and produced a distinctive range of highly functional […]

Best of the Best 2005: Art Galleries

Sometime in the 1980s, Warren Adelson, founder of Adelson Galleries in New York, received a call from a New Jersey woman who claimed to have an oil painting by Mary Cassatt that depicted two women feeding ducks from a boat. The caller explained that her father had served in the military during the American liberation […]

Best of the Best 2005: Entertainment

Kaleidescape’s Media server system is one of the first landmark products in this age of convergence, an era that is supposed to unite the functional qualities of personal computers with the entertainment options offered by digital consumer electronics. Kaleidescape’s system can store the contents of an entire DVD collection on a massive computer hard drive […]

Best of the Best 2005: Audio

With so many products catering to compressed music playback on portable players, it is refreshing to find a company that dedicates a product to the opposite end of the spectrum. Although high-quality two-channel music reproduction may be considered a dying technological art form, a handful of manufacturers continue to provide outstanding equipment. Classé Audio’s CAP-2100 […]

Best of the Best 2005: Resorts

Trisara opened on the island of Phuket just two months before the catastrophic tsunami ripped through Southeast Asia last December. Although news coverage of the Thai island depicted total devastation, many of Phuket’s homes and resorts survived relatively unscathed. Trisara, which is perched atop steep jungle cliffs overlooking a bay protected by coral reef, incurred […]

Best of the Best 2005: Hotels

Few hotels offer a more magnificent prospect than that of Gresham Palace, Four Seasons’ newly restored Art Nouveau landmark on the banks of the Danube in Budapest, Hungary. Below each of the seven suites, and within view of several of the 172 rooms, brightly lit pleasure craft and party boats cruise the river. The grand […]

Best of the Best 2005: Private Resort Communities

A residence within a private resort community is more than just a vacation home; it is an entrée into a vacation environment. Increasingly popular with those in the market for a second (or third, or fourth) home, such communities offer the conveniences and amenities of full-scale resorts, but on a more personal level. Not only […]

Best of the Best 2005: Fractional-Ownership Clubs

On St. Thomas’ Great Bay beach, a personal concierge delivers sparkling water to a woman sunbathing where the sand meets the surf, mere steps from her suite. In Jupiter, Fla., a caddie concierge places a call to the spa from the 16th hole of a Jack Nicklaus course, scheduling postgolf treatments for two. And thousands […]

Best of the Best 2005: Private Residence Clubs

Over the past year, no Best of the Best category has grown as quickly as the private residence club has. Companies in this increasingly crowded field promise the benefits of vacation home ownership minus the inconveniences, offering their members access to elegant estates in multiple locations at a fraction of the cost of a single […]

Best of the Best 2005: Adventure Travel

Like the world that it has been traversing for the past 14 years, TCS Expeditions, the Seattle, Wash., company that specializes in private jet journeys, continually presents new experiences for travelers. TCS’s current menu includes around-the-world tours with stops in such exotic locations as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Easter Island in the South Pacific, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Spas

RafflesAmrita Spa, Canouan Island At the RafflesAmrita Spa on Canouan Island in the Grenadines, you will find all of the Asian elements that characterize the Singapore flagship: Indonesian and Thai furnishings, exotic lotus tea, and therapists practicing treatments that originated in their homelands of Nepal, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, or the Philippines. But the spa also […]

Best of the Best 2005: International Red Wines

In one of those unfortunate but necessary wastes of infant Bordeaux, I recently had the occasion to size up the 2001 Haut-Brion alongside the same vintage from the other four original first-growth châteaux (sans latecomer Mouton) at a private tasting in Los Angeles. The Haut-Brion was the hands-down winner in my book, easily sprinting past […]

Best of the Best 2005: International White Wines

Château Suduiraut adjoins a more illustrious estate, Château d’Yquem, but its lineage is hardly less noble, its wines scarcely less distinguished. The château was rebuilt in the 17th century after the original structure burned to the ground, and the parkland surrounding the new edifice was designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre, whose comprehensive résumé […]

Best of the Best 2005: Domestic Red Wines

One is left to wonder whether Lady Margaret Michael, when she dubbed the stark, steep slope beneath Mount St. Helena in Sonoma County’s Knights Valley “Les Pavots,” had in mind le pavot des jardins or le pavot somnifère. Sir Peter Michael’s staff will tell you, if you visit the winery and Sugarloaf Ranch, that his […]

Best of the Best 2005: Domestic White Wines

Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley 2001 One seldom thinks about labels, except as a means of identifying a certain desired bottle among the phalanxes of competing bottles on the shelves of a wine merchant’s shop. In most instances, a wine label serves as a kind of billboard in miniature proclaiming, through delicately limned châteaux or offbeat […]

Best of the Best 2005: Spirits

The 2002 sale of a bottle of 62-year-old Dalmore for more than £25,000 ($48,000) at McTear’s auction house in Glasgow set an auction record for Scotch whisky. The buyer evidently was aware of the Dalmore’s reputation as a Scotch drinker’s Scotch. Although not one of the flashier names in Highland whisky, this distillery has nevertheless […]

Best of the Best 2005: Dining

Well before it opened in February 2004 in the Time Warner Center, Per Se had the most elusive dinner reservations in New York. Then there was the fire. Six days after Thomas Keller’s restaurant opened, an electrical blaze incapacitated its kitchen, and while the damage to the interior was minimal, three months passed before Per […]

Best of the Best 2005: Cigars

Davidoff Especiales “7” Robusto Real Conventional cigar-rolling wisdom dictates that the number of leaves in a filler blend should never exceed four, because any more would make it impossible to “bunch” the filler, a process in which the leaves are crimped in the hand so that they fold over each other and curl into tubes […]

Best of the Best 2005: Last of the Best

Designs on Relaxing Two years ago, an official from the European branch of Jacuzzi invited Pininfarina, the 75-year-old Italian design company that has shaped Ferraris, Maseratis, and Alfa Romeos, to collaborate on a product line that would present whirlpool technology in a sleeker and even more sensual light. “All of the sketches [evolved from] the […]

Best of the Best 2005: Golf Courses

The chasm of an abandoned rock quarry drops precipitously near the first hole at Sandy Lane’s new Green Monkey golf course. From the vantage point of the hole’s putting surface, the adventure that awaits you on this Tom Fazio design is evident, but you will have to settle for seven ocean-view holes before descending into […]

From The Editors: A Cautionary Tale

Too much is always too much—even of the best of the best. While the rest of this issue remains entirely devoted to that subject, we felt a pause during which to moralize briefly on that theme would not be unwelcome. And, indeed, the singular adventure of John T. Unger, though penned more than 80 years […]

Best of the Best 2005: Men’s Wardrobes

Rapid growth and prolific experimentation often can work to a company’s disadvantage. Ermenegildo Zegna, though, has learned from its zealous drive to diversify that sometimes the best design ideas can rise from the ashes of others. When the company launched its Zegna Sport line in 1999 as an upscale alternative to Nike, the Trivero, Italy, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Bespoke Menswear

TAILORED CLOTHING Cesare Attolini By perpetually tweaking the armhole, narrowing the shoulders, and streamlining the construction of the quintessential Neapolitan suit that his father, Vincenzo, invented in the 1930s, master tailor Cesare Attolini proves that it is possible to make a garment fit like a second skin without sacrificing style or comfort in the process. […]

Best of the Best 2005: Fashion Accessories

SHIRTS  Finamore The second-oldest shirtmaker in Naples has extremely limited distribution in the United States and maintains a very low profile, but the anonymity of the fourth-generation family-owned company will not last. While other Italian shirt brands promise superfine fabrics and hand sewing on seams, armholes, and buttonholes, Finamore delivers all these fine points plus […]

Best of the Best 2005: Dress Watches

Patek Philippe’s original 5036 annual calendar was significant when introduced nine years ago, because it was a relatively simple complication that emulated the appearance of the far more complicated timepieces for which the brand is known. By contrast, the watchmaker now has employed a modified version of the same annual calendar mechanism for the Gondolo […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sports Watches

Automotive racing–themed chronographs certainly are not a rarity, but none captures the essence of the sport as well as Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore Juan Pablo Montoya ($19,500 to $64,900), which is limited to 1,600 pieces in titanium, rose gold, and platinum. Montoya, a Formula One driver, provided extensive input throughout the design process, and […]

Best of the Best 2005: Traditional Complications

It is not easy to impress connoisseurs of complicated watches, but De Bethune has accomplished this feat in only a few years. The marque’s uncompromising quality standards and modern design sensibility are perhaps best exemplified by the De Bethune DB15 moonphase/perpetual calendar ($65,900), which is the company’s first watch to contain a movement developed in-house. […]

Best of the Best: Women’s Watches

Delaneau Tourbillons Producing a complicated mechanical watch for women requires a bit of audacity, and Cristina Thévenaz, creative director for DeLaneau, has plenty. DeLaneau’s Tourbillons ($150,000 to $400,000), released last spring in an initial series of 12 pieces, reflect equal measures of complicated watchmaking mastery and traditional Geneva métiers d’art. Specialist Christophe Claret developed Thévenaz’s […]

Best of the Best 2005: Revolutionary Watches

By the time Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled its Gyrotourbillon ($310,000) last spring, at least three other makers already had developed multiaxis tourbillons, the captivating, revolving interpretation of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s original tourbillon concept. For its panache, however, the Gyrotourbillon stands above the others.   Watchmaking credentials are not required to recognize that something unusual is occurring as the […]

Best of the Best 2005: Diamonds

“This stone is a true showstopper,” says designer Michael Beaudry, who recently secured the rights to use an innovative new diamond cut called the Flame in his designs, including this recently completed ring. In the predominantly traditional diamond world, the Flame stands apart as an inventive yet approachable stone.   The Flame’s distinctive flared shape […]

Best of the Best 2005: Colored Gemstones

Chanel’s Transition necklace denotes the progression of day into evening through an ombré of sapphires ranging in color from pale sky blue to deep violet. The captivating design reflects Mlle. Chanel’s fascination with the planets, stars, and night sky—themes she often expressed in her original diamond jewelry from the 1930s that depicted stars and comets. […]

Best of the Best 2005: Estate Jewelry

Rarely does a genuine jewelry masterpiece emerge on the market exemplifying the pinnacle in design, craftsmanship, and beauty of a specific era. This Lacloche Frères Art Deco ruby and diamond necklace is such a piece. “It’s one of the best examples of Art Deco design that I’ve ever seen,” says veteran estate jeweler Russell Zelenetz, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Pens

Montblanc Bohème Royal The Bohème Royal pen by Montblanc is anything but bohemian. This $150,000 made-to-order writing instrument incorporates a number of modern design elements without overlooking the classic European crafts that long have been associated with the brand. One such discipline is nib grinding, an art that is completed in-house at the German manufacture. […]

Best of the Best: Ferrari F430

By attaching our Best of the Best tag to the Ferrari F430 coupe ($170,000), we are in accord with a discerning roster of earlier judges—auto writers of many languages other than Italian, a vicarious public, the car’s first customers, even designers and engineers from competing enterprises—who believe this to be the finest Ferrari ever built, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sports Cars

Call 911 Apologies for repeating a decades-long mantra, but the best everyday sports car—the Porsche 911—has once again become better with the new-for-2005 997 series. Its most capable iteration is the Porsche Carrera S ($90,000), and the surprise to seasoned 911 fans is the extent to which it improves on its 996-based predecessors. The car […]

Best of the Best 2005: GTs & Coupes

It has been an incredible odyssey, this triumphant and rapid trek by Aston Martin from crumbling British cottage industry to automotive icon. In the company’s gloomiest years, a village main street ran through its Newport Pagnell plant, wooden hammers pounded on aluminum fenders, and (in 1992) only four dozen cars were sold. Then came a […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sedans

These paragraphs will not be the first to observe that ours is (among other things) a hyperactive and unfocused age, in which sound bites substitute for substance, amorous fulfillment is most readily obtained from a pill, and dramatic plots serve merely to furnish cinematic opportunities for vehicular slaloms or adrenaline-drenched combat sequences. Popular culture has, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sport-Utility Vehicles

Land Rover most certainly put the U in SUV; since 1948 its ridge riders have labored as beasts of many burdens for the world’s militaries, dairy farmers, lords of manors, Colombian drug wholesalers and the law enforcers who pursue them, alpine rescuers, safari guides, jungle explorers, and pipeline inspectors. However, Land Rover never has been […]

Best of the Best 2005: Aftermarket

Many people see aftermarket tuning as a numbers game, in which the greater the figures for power and speed the better. The Ruf Rt 12 Turbo (starting at around $300,000 for the 650 hp version) arrives at this game ready to play, churning out 650 hp and reaching a 220 mph top speed. But how […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sportbikes

Over the past decade, Best of the Best billing in the sportbike realm has passed from one manufacturer to the next as each company, in turn, has attained an incremental edge over its rivals in performance or styling. With the Ducati 999R, however, the Bologna, Italy–based manufacturer has brought to bear the full weight of […]

Best of the Best 2005: Cruisers & Roadsters

Harley-Davidson VRSCR Street Rod Harley-Davidson’s 2006 VRSCR Street Rod is the best in the cruiser class not just for its stellar road manners and engineering, but because the bike blazes a bold new path for the historically conservative company. Based on the hugely successful V-Rod platform, the $16,500 Street Rod pushes the all-American brand into […]

Best of the Best 2005: Sailboats

At 295 feet overall (260 feet on deck), Athena is the largest private sailing yacht of the modern era and the largest all-aluminum yacht, having been constructed entirely of Alustar, a high-tensile aluminum alloy that offers a greater strength-to-weight ratio than standard aluminum. Nevertheless, this giant still displaces a staggering 1,177 tons. Her three masts […]

Best of the Best 2005: Megayachts

As rarefied as the world of luxury yachts is, the products often share a similarly conservative design. Granted, the laws of physics apply to all vessels equally, and certification boards and insurance requirements apply their own pressures to conform. But the primary reason for this uniformity is that the vast majority of boaters are content […]

Best of the Best 2005: Production Yachts

With one 27-foot leap—from its previously largest 88-foot model to its latest 115-footer—Pershing (a division of the Ferretti Group) advanced from a prominent builder of open sport yachts to a player in the megayacht field. Confirmation of Pershing’s elevated status came in October at the Genoa International Boat Show, where the express cruiser was honored […]

Best of the Best 2005: Speedboats

The balance and handling that enabled Donzi’s 38 ZR raceboat to win seven American Power Boat Association (APBA) championships have trickled down to the more family-friendly production version of the craft.  Endowed with the same advanced hydrodynamics and composite structural technology as its more competitive sibling, the ZR also retains the raceboat’s low-profile bow, which, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Charter Yachts

Feadship yachts are among the most popular with charter clients, regardless of the vessels’ sizes or their details, which are as varied as the tastes of the owners. The new 235-foot Utopia, the largest yacht ever launched from the De Vries yard in the Netherlands, promises only to enhance the Dutch builder’s cachet in the […]

Best of the Best 2005: Personal Aircraft

A turbocharged update of the innovative Lancair 300, which combined sleek high-tech design with robust performance when it was introduced six years ago, the Lancair Columbia 400 is the fastest certified piston-powered airplane available. At 25,000 feet, the 400 zips along at an amazing 270 mph, fast enough for Lancair vice president Tom Bowen to […]

Best of the Best 2005: Business Jets

Gulfstream’s G550 is the ideal business jet for those who do not want to compromise when traveling for professional or personal purposes, who prefer to reach their destinations with minimum drama and maximum efficiency, and who require flexibility, capability, and safety from their means of transportation. “With the G550’s extraordinary performance, state-of-the-art technology, unsurpassed comfort, […]

Best of the Best 2005: Fractional-Ownership Programs

The burgeoning, competitive fractional ownership market offers many choices, and most of them will deliver you and your guests to the designated destination on time and with minimal drama. However, the levels of experience, service, and selection that are offered can distinguish one fractional company from another. No one has more experience in the fractional […]

Best of the Best 2005: Flight Card Programs

By issuing flight cards, companies offering fractional shares of aircraft are able to entice flyers who hesitate to make the financial commitment associated with purchasing a traditional fractional share. Through a flight card, essentially a debit card from which pre-purchased flight hours are subtracted after each trip, you can buy private-jet travel in increments of […]

Best of the Best 2005: Charter Brokers

Sentient Jet has designed its Private Jet Membership program so that it offers clients the simplicity and choice of chartering with the service and reliability of fractional or outright ownership. Membership takes the form of a debit account and is available in two basic levels: Silver, for $100,000, and Gold, priced at $250,000. In both […]

Back Page: Going to Pieces

As the parent of any toddler will attest, sharing does not seem to be a natural human instinct, and yet it is the basis of an ongoing revolution in the luxury realm. This movement began in 1986, when Richard Santulli, then an aviation company executive and former math teacher who had attempted unsuccessfully to share […]

Best of the Best 2005: Touring & Adventure

BMW R 1200 GS Like SUVs on two wheels, BMW’s adventure touring bikes are sturdy, comfortable, and equally at home on any type of road surface—or on no road at all. Numerous manufacturers claim to offer similar versatility with their touring models, but BMW’s go-anywhere machines are in a class of their own, and the top-of-the-line […]