Best of the Best


The 2002 luxury portfolio; the best autos, boats, motorcycles, golf, travel, dining, wine, spirits, cigars, fashion, jewelry, home & design, electronics, art & more. Plus a special bonus: the world's top 12 undiscovered luxuries.

From This Issue

From The Editor: In Appreciation

From the time of Adam, human beings have accepted as axiomatic the notion that the price of knowledge is contentment. That the accrual of information and experience leads us, sooner or later, to dismiss the familiar, the tried, such that places, objects and situations that once rewarded us with pleasures both intellectual and sensory end […]

Best of the Best 2002: Autos: Best Coupes

Lines and Redlines If only for its dramatic lines and exquisite proportions, any coupe or convertible in the Jaguar XK lineup would be the pick of the British carmaker’s litter. While today’s XK series cannot duplicate the aesthetic immortality of the XK120—not many cars can—the current crop offers a level of performance that matches its […]

Autos: Best of the Best Coupes: Mercedes-Benz SL500

I remember sliding Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder into the 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500’s CD player and hearing the first blasts of his trumpet playing through the eight-speaker Bose system. The SL500 merges onto the highway, and the 302-hp engine, hushed at first, swells into full song, rocketing the car into the flow of traffic. As the […]

Best of the Best 2002: Autos: Best Sedans

New and Improved Infiniti’s Q45 has certainly had its critics. Jay Leno declared that its logo looked like a basket of snakes, and later refinements still left the car with boring and same-old interiors that were an easy inducement to falling asleep at the wheel. The 2002 Infiniti Q45, promises to silence the snickers. It […]

Autos: Best of the Best Sedans: BMW 745i

Driving out of Boston’s Logan International Airport at 3:30 pm on a Friday afternoon is a fate to wish upon only the truest of wretches. Yet as I sit fender-to-fender, inching forward toward tollbooths, a 7,221-foot tunnel clogged with more cars, and the commuter-choking Big Dig construction project, I am ecstatic. Where else would I […]

Autos: Best of the Best Aftermarketers: Brabus

A gentle push on the 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500’s accelerator gets the 5-liter, 302-hp engine growling and catapults the car up to speed. But a squeeze on the gas pedal of a Brabus-tuned SL500—transformed into a 6.1-liter, 426-hp behemoth—sends the two-ton coupe rocketing past everything in sight. “A stock car is somewhat muted in its response,” […]

Boating: Best of the Best Megayachts: Trinity Yachts

Trinity Yachts Last November, the 177-foot tri-deck Seahawk put out from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, headed for Fisher Island, Fla., where the Trin-ity Yachts vessel was to be christened. Jim Mattei, Seahawk’s owner, invited his mother to break the bottle of Champagne over the yacht’s bow, and as the bottle shattered to a […]

Best of the Best 2002: Motorcycles: Best Sportbikes

Speeders Beware With its stars-and-stripes motif, the Ducati 998S Bostrom has an undeniable American patriotic appeal, but the Italian bike is at its best when it’s a 150-mph red, white, and blue blur. The 998S Bostrom, a replica model of the bike piloted on the World Superbike circuit by California racer Ben Bostrom, is not […]

Motorcycles: Best of the Best Sportbikes: Molto Mille

Molto Mille For decades, the Rock Store, a restaurant and souvenir shop in the mountains above Malibu, has been a weekend gathering place for biking enthusiasts, and as with most motorcycle venues, an invisible demarcation line bisects its parking lot: cruisers on one side, sportbikes on the other, and never the twain shall meet. Well, […]

Best of the Best 2002: Aircraft: Best Business Jets

Public Servants’ Servant The Italian government owns two Airbus Corporate Jetliners, and Venezuelan lawmakers recently ordered an ACJ. In February, France joined the government-owned ACJ club, taking delivery of the business jet so that it could conveniently transport government officials to international meetings. The French-made twin-engine ACJ, modeled after the Airbus A319 commercial jet, cruises […]

Aircraft: Best of the Best Business Jets: Boeing Business Jet 2

In February 2001, the owner of the first-ever Boeing Business Jet 2 had just taken delivery of his new aircraft at Seattle’s Boeing Field when, 10 minutes before takeoff, the ground began to tremble. For nearly a minute, the region shook and shivered, struck by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked buildings, knocked out power, […]

Best of the Best 2002: Golf: Best Courses

Link to Scotland Compare the courses at Bandon Dunes with the checklist of what defines a Scottish/Irish links.   Desolate seaside location; raw, tumbling dunes land; constant drumming of surf; open, treeless, and windswept; weather that changes three times in the space of a round, including at least one episode of rain? Check.   Hard, […]

Best of the Best 2002: Golf: Best Resorts

Great Scot Once the summer home of Andrew Carnegie, Skibo Castle in Scotland’s Northern Highlands is now the setting for a year-round house party for the members of Peter de Savary’s Carnegie Club. The public rooms are decorated in chintz and furnished with plush settees grouped around crackling fires, and animal heads, portraits, and rows […]

Golf: Best of the Best Resorts: Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst Resort There are things to do in Pinehurst, N.C., besides playing golf. You could test your croquet prowess, ride a horse, shoot skeet, play tennis . . . but why would anyone want to do anything except play golf here? Ever since 1900, when James Walker Tufts hired a young Scottish pro named Donald […]

Golf: Best of the Best Equipment: Titleist

You may not be able to golf a lick. Your drives might curve like a Chiquita into the hinterlands, your irons may displace more earth than a steam shovel, and you might putt with the touch of King Kong. If, however, your golf bag is filled with equipment made by Titleist, at least people will […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Airlines

Gourmet to Go It may strike you as odd, but there are travelers who choose to fly Cathay Pacific Airways simply for the dim sum breakfast, on par with the dim sum served in Hong Kong’s best restaurants. Equally popular is the airline’s signature dessert, a double-milk custard laced with ginger, which wins praise from […]

Best of the Best Airlines: British Airways Concorde

As any frequent traveler knows, there’s not much glamour left in flying. But you can find both speed and style when you fly British Airways Concorde. The flights resumed last November following a 15-month hiatus to determine the cause of the August 2000 Concorde accident and to implement changes. Now, after intensive safety inspections and […]

Best of the Best 2002: Dining: Best Restaurants

Table With A View Heaven seems a little closer when you wine and dine on the terrace of Restaurant Principe Leopoldo at the Villa Principe Leopoldo & Residence in Lugano, Switzerland. Perched atop the Collina d’Oro (the Golden Hill), the restaurant offers breathtaking views of the city and Lake Lugano, as well as of the […]

Dining: Best of the Best Restaurants: Restaurant Plaza Athénée

The Restaurant Plaza Athénée at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris is more than just a study in elegance. While the decor is striking—the formal antique style was coordinated by Patrick Jouin—the heart of the experience here is the presentation of the food. What distinguishes this restaurant from other luxury establishments is its simplicity, which […]

Best of the Best 2002: Dining: Best Chefs

Master of the Sea As a chef, Eric Ripert’s greatest attribute might be his ability to select the freshest, tastiest seafood for New York’s Le Bernardin. Or, it just might be the restraint he shows in preparing it, allowing the natural flavors to speak for themselves. Whether it is serviche of black bass, baked turbot, […]

Dining: Best of the Best Chefs: Alain Ducasse

Now and then a hardworking visionary comes along and defines the goals and standards of an entire generation. Among chefs, Alain Ducasse is that man. The 45-year-old Castelsarrasin, France, native is in charge of not one, but three of the best restaurants in the world: the two-Michelin-star Le Louis XV in Monaco, the three-Michelin-star Restaurant […]

Best of the Best 2002: Wine: Best Domestic New Releases

  Primed for PinotAcacia Winery 1998 Beckstoffer-Las Amigas Vineyard Pinot Noir (Napa, Calif.) Only 480 cases of this single-vineyard, Burgundy-style pinot noir were bottled. But what this wonderful vintage lacks in volume, it gains in flavor. Founders Michael Richmond and Larry Brooks have maintained a long tradition of producing vineyard-specific pinots with growers in Napa’s […]

Style: Best of the Best Jewelers: Graff

While cruising the Mediterranean on his yacht last summer, an American businessman had the urge to purchase some jewels for his companion. He knew exactly whom to call. The next day, renowned diamond merchant Laurence Graff, with $150 million worth of diamond jewelry in hand, flew on his private jet, boarded his own yacht, and […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Suits

Advance Team While other suit makers remain content with superfine fabrics and quality workmanship, Kiton continues to raise the style bar. The Naples, Italy, company that is known for its old-world handmade quality also keeps an eye fixed on the future, testing new concepts with its evolving LaSa (for Laboratoria Sartoriale) model, which features linen/canvas […]

Style: Best of the Best Suits: Oxxford Clothes

Oxxford Clothes A quick look at the lapels is all it takes to gauge whether a suit has a superior pedigree. A perfect lapel is not pressed flat but instead has an attractive natural roll and a gentle lift off the chest. If you ripped open the seams to inspect the contents within, you would […]

Home & Design: Best of the Best Interior Designers: David Milinaric

David Mlinaric “All good interior design needs a frame of good, if not great, architecture. The better the architecture, the less one has to decorate.” Throughout his distinguished career, David Mlinaric has worked with some remarkable, mostly British, frames: Spencer House, Waddesdon Manor, the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, and the British Embassies in […]

Art: Best of the Best Antiques Dealers: Peter Tillou

Peter Tillou is depositing his assets in the 1904 landmark bank building in Torrington, Conn., after purchasing, fully restoring, and rescuing it from certain commercial demise. The building will reopen this fall as Tillou’s antiques gallery, housing the entire inventory from his recently closed showrooms on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in Litchfield, Conn. “It’s […]

Travel: Best of the Best Hotels: Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Ever since its opening in 1911, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée has been considered the epitome of understated elegance. Now, after a hugely successful renovation, the hotel fairly glitters. All the guest rooms and suites have been spruced up with new velvets, damasks, and silks. Many have terraces and offer views of the Eiffel Tower or […]

Travel: Best of the Best Destinations: New York City

It didn’t take long after the September 11 attacks for New York City to pull out all the stops and regain its glamour. To paraphrase Henry James, it is still an extraordinary growing, glowing, glittering, good-natured, cosmopolitan place. Not to mention that New York, with its decidedly “been there, done that” air, continuously reinvents itself […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Destinations: London

Traditionally known for maintaining a stiff upper lip, London is enjoying its Cool Britannia status, as emerging neighborhoods develop their own Bohemian twists. The wave started several years ago with the popularity of Notting Hill, but now other formerly downtrodden sections of the city are blossoming into diverse locales for residents and visitors alike. The […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Destinations: The Maldives

The Maldives, a chain of low-lying, palm-fringed islands and atolls scattered across the equator in the Indian Ocean, is the ultimate locale for an aquatic escape. With crystal-clear lagoons, white powdery sand beaches, and pristine coral reefs, the Maldives are a mecca for sailing, surfing, snorkeling, and diving. Deep-sea fishing is another large draw, but […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Destinations: Antarctica

The thrill and wonder of exploring Antarctica is something even the most jaded traveler would have trouble scoffing at. Regardless of the endless number of frequent flier miles you’ve accrued, or the number of destinations you’ve visited, you’ll find this 5.5 million-square-mile continent of ice a magical domain of pure wilderness and spectacular beauty. The […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Resorts: Royal Malewane

Tucked away in its own private wildlife reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park, about an hour’s flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, is the extraordinary Royal Malewane. Only superlatives apply to this luxury safari lodge, which hosts a maximum of 16 people in sumptuously furnished thatched villas with gazebos, plunge pools, and huge decks […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Resorts: Willow Stream

Many of the ultraluxurious resorts in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, including The Boulders and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, have recently added spas, but perhaps the most impressive is Willow Stream— The Spa at Fairmont at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This tri-level 44,000-square foot retreat, anchored by an indoor waterfall modeled after the mystical Havasu Falls […]

Symposium: A Meditation on the Best

The most accurate wristwatch. The Fastest Sports Car. The Most Powerful Amp. An elusive quarry that has challenged and inspired enthusiasts, the Best has become a holy grail of sorts. For this Purist, who has spent much of his life seeking perfection in an imperfect world, the Best is more than any single category of […]

Home Electronics: Best of the Best Home Automation: Crestron Isys

The latest additions to the Crestron Isys system give homeowners a level of control and flexibility never before available. The 5-inch TPS-2000L and the 6-inch TPS-3000L touch-sensitive LCD video screens enable you to control audio and video sources, lights, drapes, climate, security, and communications systems throughout your home. Not only can you control your home’s […]

Best of the Best 2002: Motorcycles: Best Cruisers

A Different Look The BMW R 1200 C is a cruiser with an eye-catching twist, one that distinguishes it from the acknowledged king of the cruiser market, Harley-Davidson. “The biggest player in the cruiser market is Harley-Davidson,” says Tom Plucinsky, BMW Motorcycles general manager. “When we came into this segment, we decided we wanted to […]

Motorcycles: Best of the Best Cruisers: Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

A stock exchange executive who was seeking to purchase the new Harley-Davidson VRSCAV-Rod called his local dealer. Then he called his contacts at Harley headquarters. He’s still waiting for one. Another Harley enthusiast who was lucky enough to purchase a V-Rod at his dealer rode home on the bike. Hours later, however, he returned it […]

Best of the Best 2002: Aircraft: Best Flight Services

Safety Behind the Scenes Recently, a TAG Aviation charter flight was in line at an airport for deicing. The airport crew sprayed fluid onto the jet just before takeoff. However, the deicing fluid swept across the nose and over the windshield, fogging the windscreen and hindering the pilots’ view. The flight was never in danger, […]

Aircraft: Best of the Best Flight Services: NetJets

Kevin Russell, senior vice president of Executive Jet, travels with two cell phones, a BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, and a laptop. In his office, he has a PC and videoconferencing capabilities. Despite all his communication options, Russell says there is no substitute for a handshake and an in-person meeting. “The most effective tool I have […]

Best of the Best 2002: Travel: Best Hotels

Scene to be Seen It comes as no surprise that Switzerland’s Riffelalp Resort 2222m, the highest Alpine resort in Europe, has extraordinary scenic views. More remarkable, however, is that with a one-touch remote control you can raise your guest room curtains without budging from your bed and watch the sun rise over the Matterhorn, the […]

Wine: Best of the Best Domestic Estates: Beringer Vineyards

Success in the wine business can often prove the precursor of failure. Note the sad fate of Inglenook. The finest winery in Napa under the direction of legendary wine maker George Deuer, Inglenook produced some of the best cabernets to come out of California (or, arguably, anywhere else), until the mid-1960s, when owner and entrepreneur […]

Best of the Best 2002: Wine: Best Domestic Estates

Purity and Polish Kistler Vineyards (Sebastopol, Calif.) In the realm of fine wines, pedigree often overshadows purity.  Even in California, whose wine industry, at least by European standards, is relatively new, large brand names and wineries with cult followings, such as Screaming Eagle or Bryant, steal the limelight from the quiet, exceptional achievements of smaller […]

Best of the Best 2002: Wine: Best International New Releases

Austrian Overture Nigl 2000 Riesling Privat (Kremstal, Austria). Few regions have burst on the scene with such a cornucopia of world-class, food-friendly, and refreshingly un-oaked wines as Austria. And Nigl has proven itself one of the country’s best. This wine is truly a monument to the wine maker’s skill. The 2000 Riesling Privat has an […]

Best of the Best 2002: Spirits: Best New Releases

A Bourbon King Bourbons are rarely aged beyond 9 years. Many distillers believe that the effects of the charred, new oak barrels (which, by law, must be used to age bourbon) may begin to overpower the whiskey after longer exposure. However, a lot depends upon the individuality of the bourbon, the barrels, and where those […]

Spirits: Best of the Best New Releases: The Macallan Gran Reserva 18-Year-Old Single-Malt Whiskey

Macallan’s 18-year-old offerings have long reigned as the monarchs of full-sherried malt whisky. But the distillery surpassed this outstanding achievement a few years ago with the discovery of a small number of barrels containing whisky that can best be described as super-sherried. For whatever reason (even Macallan’s master distiller can’t explain it), the aging whisky […]

Smoke: Best of the Best Cigars: Cohiba Extra Vigoroso

Whether you are speaking of the Cuban or the Dominican brand, the Cohiba name is revered among most cigar connoisseurs. The Extra Vigoroso, though, has catapulted the Dominican Cohiba to the pinnacle of quality among superpremium cigars. When the Dominican brand first appeared in the 1980s, it barely registered with most cigar smokers because of […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Watches

Youth Movement Girard-Perregaux is a classic manufacture that is prized among the cognoscenti for its distinct, under-stated way with mechanical masterpieces. It is therefore a little surprising that the fastest-growing market for Girard-Perregaux is men and women in their early 40s who are buying their first serious watches. What’s responsible for the growth spurt? The […]

Style: Best of the Best Watches: Patek Philippe

When Patek Philippe unveiled its supercomplicated Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatch at last year’s World Watch and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland, an American collector read about the introduction on the Internet and boarded his private jet bound for Basel. Such is the passion of a devoted collector of Patek Philippe watches. By the end of […]

Style: Best of the Best Sportswear: Luciano Barbera

It’s easy to understand why Luciano Barbera has garnered a reputation as Italy’s reigning prince of style. “Understated and deluxe, like Italian cashmere” is how one associate describes him. “He is the Thin Man—Nick Charles—without the martini,” says another. “I’ve always considered him my role model because of his taste level,” adds Murray Pearlstein, owner […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Sportswear

Shirt Story You could say that Robert Talbott’s handmade cashmere and cashmere/ mink Estate Collection sport shirts were 50 years in the making. Launched in 2000 to coincide with the California company’s golden anniversary, these ultraluxe shirts, priced from $2,600 to $2,800, represented a new frontier for a label originally known for its handmade, seven-fold […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Designer Collections

Midas Touch Tom Ford’s creative vision and marketing acumen put Gucci back on the map and 4 million shares of the company’s stock in his pocket when the 81-year-old Italian luxury brand was delivered into the hands of French billionaire François Pinault last year. Soon after, naysayers thought the inexhaustible Ford had bitten off more […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Shoes

Finishing Touches Silvano Lattanzi wants it known that he uses genuine, top-grade cordovan leather in his new footwear collection. The bespoke shoemaker located in Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Italy, feels so strongly about making this point that he purposely leaves the skin supplier’s “Genuine Cordovan” branding clearly visible on his new collection of shoes rather than […]

Style: Best of the Best Shoes: G.J. Cleverley

George Glasgow and John Carnera never worked for George Cleverley, the late venerable British bespoke shoemaker under whose signature they now produce men’s bespoke footwear. In fact, they met their mentor while working at another shoemaker, New & Lingwood. Cleverley was semi-retired at the time and building custom shoes in a corner of the shop […]

Best of the Best 2002: Style: Best Furnishings

Signing Bonus Consolidation in the luxury field may worry purists, but it has benefited American pen enthusiasts. Since Richemont, owner of Cartier and Montblanc, acquired Montegrappa in January, availability in the United States has greatly improved. The company has manufactured gold nibs and writing instruments since 1912, originally under the name Elmo (the name changed […]

Style: Best of the Best Furnishings: Martin Dingman

With little interest in the mass market, Martin Dingman left the presidency and creative helm of Cole Haan accessories just before the Maine leather goods company was purchased by Nike. Dingman established his own signature leather goods business in 1990, initially manufacturing only handmade belts using the finest American alligator, Italian calfskin, and New Zealand […]

Best of the Best 2002: Home & Design: Best Architects

Site for Sore Eyes “Your neighbor is the enemy—who knows what he’s going to build—so I always tell clients to buy land at the edge of a national park,” says Hugh Newell Jacobsen, who has been practicing architecture from his Washington, D.C., office since 1958. What draws him to a site is a great view, […]

Best of the Best 2002: Home & Design: Best Interior Designers

Mistress of Discipline Naomi Leff refuses to be pigeonholed by one style. “People live so differently in different climates that everything I do depends on the geography and, obviously, on the personal taste of a client. Working in a variety of styles makes my job much more interesting,” she says. Leff’s diverse portfolio includes the […]

Best of the Best 2002: Home & Design: Best Realtors

The Art of Marketing Architecture In the hands of David Mossler, Michael Deasy, and Crosby Doe, the marketing of exceptional architectural properties has become a powerful tool. Since joining forces in the early 1980s, the partners of the Beverly Hills real estate company have excelled at running ads that marry provocative copy with Julius Shulman’s […]

Best of the Best 2002: Home Electronics: Best Audio Equipment

Updated Tradition Audio Research, under the aegis of William Z. Johnson, has seen tube amplifiers go in and out of fashion since the original high-end revolution 30 years ago. In recent years, the company’s amplifiers have grown larger and more complex, but there has always been a coterie of audiophiles with a special passion for […]

Home Electronics: Best of the Best Video Equipment: Sony VPHG90U

Even with the myriad display technologies currently capturing our collective attention—DLP, LCOS, plasma, and others—the faithful, time-honored CRT projector remains the king of picture quality, particularly those with nine-inch CRTs, or “guns,” as they are colloquially known. These projectors provide the brightest, sharpest pictures, and are the only consumer devices that can reliably display high-definition […]

Best of the Best 2002: Home Electronics: Best Home Automation

Radio Advantage Options for retrofitting a residence with a home automation system have been very limited for homeowners who cannot bear the thought of invasive, inside-the-walls wiring. One solution is Vantage Controls’ RadioLink, a wireless control system. Vantage replaces a home’s traditional light switch plates with ScenePoint dimmers, which have built-in transmitters to send a […]

Best of the Best 2002: Wine: Best International Estates

Teutonic Treasure Langwerth von Simmern (Rheingau, Germany). Once upon a time, the wines of the Rheingau were the most famous in the world, selling for more than Lafite or Montrachet. The vineyard most responsible for this reputation was Erbacher Marcobrunn, whose praises were sung by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since […]

Art: Best of the Best Art Galleries: Pace Wildenstein

Once a year for the eight years following his father’s 1963 death, art dealer Daniel Wil-denstein sent Georgiana Blois, who was friendly with many British noble families, to ask the Earl of Radnor if he would sell Wildenstein his 17th-century portrait by Diego Velázquez, titled Juan de Pareja. Wildenstein wanted it as a memorial to […]

Best of the Best 2002: Autos: Best Aftermarketers

Comfortable Discretion Becker Automotive Design’s leather-lined Ford Excursions are equipped with every necessary office tool and every entertainment device possible, but from the outside, they look like any SUV you might see at a supermarket, in a school carpool line, or in rush-hour traffic. That’s exactly what the company wants you to see, because Becker […]