Exotic Pleasures


McLaren SLR 722 supercar debuts in Dubai. Visionary new men's eyewear designs, plus ultimate adventures in Africa, India and Patagonia.

From This Issue

Home: Natural Talent

When hotelier David Garrett sold the Point late last year, it was not because he had lost interest in the 11-room resort on New York’s Upper Saranac Lake. Rather, the sale of the property—which William Avery Rockefeller built in 1933 to serve as his Adirondack wilderness retreat—seems to have been part and parcel of Garrett’s […]

Travel: Conn. Artists

Not just any helicopter would do for architect Malcolm Appleton, designer of one of the cottages at Winvian, a new resort in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills. The aircraft did not necessarily have to match the upholstery, but it did have to fit in the living room, and it had to be built by a Connecticut company. […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Pick of the Pockets

Scratching on the eight ball would be preferable to leaving a scratch on the Bolero, the first pool table from Barcelona furniture maker Tresserra Collection (+, http://www.tresserra.com). The Bolero features a frame of Ceylon lemon wood (the model shown, which is priced at about $112,000) or dark walnut ($118,000), vaquetilla leather–lined pockets, stainless steel fittings, […]

Vacation Homes: On the Rise

Iin 1885, Chicago Home Insurance Building opened on the corner of La Salle and Adams Streets as the world first skyscraper. The 10-story edifice, which featured a steel frame that supported the walls, introduced a new structural form that forever altered the way people work and where they live. Today, three construction projects in the […]

Feature: Layer Upon Layer

Scott Salvator knows that his designs will not appeal to everyone. “What we do is the antithesis of what’s been popular for 10 years,” he says, contrasting his interiors with the sparser styles favored by many of his peers. “But there’s a market for it. It [requires] a certain type of eye.”   An attorney […]

Art: Animal Attraction

When Judy Kensley Mckie sees a duck on a pond, she does not think, “Oh, how cute,” or “Look at it swim,” or even “That would taste delicious in an orange sauce.” Instead, the Cambridge, Mass., artist wonders whether it could support a glass tabletop. “Birds are good because they have a lot of parts. […]

Feature: Eye on the Tiger

An auspicious headline ran on the front page of the Times of India on my first morning in the country. Three new Bengal tiger cubs had been spotted in Ranthambhore National Park, bringing the total number of tigers in the reserve to 36. The discovery was welcome news considering that the park’s tiger population had […]

Feature: Nomads in No-Man’s-Land

Osvaldo Anwandter—30ish, tanned, fit, and wearing fishing waders—voices a lament familiar to fishermen the world over. “Sometimes they bite,” says the expedition manager for the Chilean Patagonia–based extreme fly-fishing and ecotourism company Nomads of the Seas; “sometimes they don’t.” Seldom do they not bite during a weeklong, 800-mile round-trip cruise along Patagonia’s fjord- and river-rich […]

Eye on the Tiger: Staying on Safari

India is difficult to negotiate, and travel between destinations can be arduous and time-consuming. It is therefore wise to plan your trip through a well-established tour company such as Micato Safaris (800.642.2861, http://www.micato.com), which can provide suitable transportation and guides to ensure a smooth journey. Micato can arrange stays and safaris at each of these […]

Nomads in No-Man’s Land: Hoping for the Right Bird Call

The opportunity to observe a number of marine mammals and aid in their study and conservation is a daily occurrence during a Nomads of the Seas journey. Humpback whales, Chilean dolphins, and colonies of sea lions are daily sights. It did not take long before the ecotourists aboard Atmosphere could distinguish Magellanic penguins from the […]

Feature: Blessing in Disguise

It is dinnertime at Mweya safari lodge, a resort of thatch-roofed cottages in the middle of East Africa’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. The guests, seated on a grassy plateau with a view of the Kazinga Channel in the distance, are not the only ones dining alfresco. About 20 feet below, at the foot of a […]

Blessing in Disguise: In the City and on Safari

Banditry and Rebel insurgency continue to keep northern Uganda, along the border with Sudan, off limits to tourism. However, foreign visitors are most welcome at these two hotels in the capital city of Kampala and in this lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kampala Serena Hotel The organic appearance of the hotel’s facade and of the […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

The Rocky Patel Edge Missile Maduro is ideal for those instances when you crave a cigar but lack the time to smoke one. This cigar delivers all the delights of an hour-long Churchill in a fraction of the time. The Missile Maduro’s intense flavor (courtesy of a dark Costa Rican wrapper and powerful Nicaraguan binder […]

The Collector: Pure Country

  Its OwnerGeorge Gruhn has owned and operated Gruhn Guitars in downtown Nash­ville, Tenn., since 1970, selling vintage guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. In addition to scores of Martins, Rickenbackers, Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, and Gibson Flying Vs and Les Pauls, Gruhn has acquired and sold the 1928 L-5 guitar with which […]

Antiques: Curiouser and Curiouser

Interior decorator and antiques dealer Keith Skeel considers the decorative objects that he owns his “friends.” But, sounding like a New Englander instead of the Lon­doner he is, Skeel says that he has acquired all the friends he needs. In fact, with a collection of more than 4,000 items, he thinks he has too many. […]

Collectibles: Pole to Pole

Eernest Shackleton failed in his attempt to become the first man to reach the South Pole, but he was responsible for the first book being printed on Antarctica. In 1907, before embarking on what would be the first of two unsuccessful journeys to the South Pole, the British explorer had two members of his crew, […]

Wine: Silverado Trail Blazer

The early pioneers of Napa Valley were often reluctant refugees or eager visionaries—descriptions that apply equally to Diane and Ron Miller, who, in a later (if perhaps not kinder) century, decided to plant roots in the soil of wine country. The couple’s quest began in 1976, when—along with Diane’s mother, Lillian Disney, Walt Disney’s widow—they […]

Dining: Pigging Out

For those with sufficient foresight, the wait for jamón Ibérico bellota is nearly over. In 2004, La Tienda, a Williamsburg, Va.,–based online purveyor of foods imported from Spain, began accepting $200 deposits for the $1,200 ham. Now, after more than two years of curing, the first of those hams might soon be ready to be […]

Style: Bringing Up the House: Green Is Always in Style

The picturesque harbor in Portofino seemed almost too small and ill-equipped to handle the two dozen 55-foot sailboats that converged on the Italian seaport last May for the final Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta. Captains of the competing vessels included Leonardo Ferragamo, Sergio Loro Piana, Tom Ford chief executive Domenico De Sole, L’Oreal CEO Lindsay Owen-Jones, and […]

Contributors: Beasts on the Road and in the Bush

Senior correspondent Paul Dean was shocked to see just how much Dubai had changed since he last visited the Middle Eastern emirate 15 years ago. “At one point [during his previous trip there], I was driving through town in a ’76 Cadillac convertible. I came to a stop at a traffic light and looked up […]

FrontRunners: Manhattan Renovation

Sometimes,” says chef Terrance Brennan, “change for change’s sake is good.” Thus for the sake of change, at least, Brennan ordered a top-down renovation of Picholine (www.picholinenyc.com), the Manhattan restaurant he opened 13 years ago. After a five-week closure, Picholine reopened last fall with an interior palette of soft purples and grays and a new […]

FrontRunners: The Russia Art House

Moscow’s massive Manege, a neoclassical landmark built in 1817 for the five-year anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoléon Bonaparte’s troops, was intended to shelter an entire infantry regiment, including horses. The building soon will host a corps of a different sort, when more than 80 international dealers gather from May 28 through June 4 for […]

FrontRunners: Movable Feast

Those shiny black Suburbans seen ranging British Columbia’s Fraser Valley are not transporting foreign dignitaries; they are carrying epicureans to the area’s best farmers, winemakers, bakers, cheese makers, and chefs. The expeditions, organized by Vancouver’s Chef & Chauffeur (www.chefandchauffeur.com), provide an opportunity to try the area’s artisan cheeses, wines, and other edible attractions.

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

The Portuguese wine industry has been victim to its fair share of outrageous fortunes—from the declining popularity of Madeira at the turn of the 20th century to the military coup of 1913 that, for more than 60 years, stifled the country’s republican government and, in the process, the development of its wines. Strife, however, was […]

FrontRunners: T. Total

Green T. House Living (www.greenteahouse.com.cn), a restaurant and teahouse located near the Wenyu River on the outskirts of Beijing, is the latest creation of Chinese master chef JinR. The establishment, which opened this spring following the success of its Beijing predecessor, Green T. House, is set within an 18,000-square-yard compound that resembles a smaller, stylized […]

FrontRunners: Valley High

San Franciscans no longer have to forsake fine sushi during their weekend trips to wine country. Go Fish (www.gofishrestaurant.net) opened in St. Helena last September as the first serious sushi establishment in Napa Valley. The 160-seat restaurant sources fish for its raw, grilled, poached, and sautéed specialties from as far away as Asia and Europe. […]

From The Editors: Feast or Perish

Funny how a recollection can strike at the most convenient time, at the precise moment in a narrative that allows for a seamless advancement and enhancement of the story. In this issue, we have a golfer, in the middle of a game, recalling a Mark Twain witticism (“Discovery in the Desert“), and a McLaren driver, […]

Sport: Wider Target

Hunting has supplanted golf as a means of cultivating social and business contacts, claims Richard Purdey. His perspective on the merits of one sport versus another might not be completely objective; until his recent retirement, Purdey was the chairman of James Purdey & Sons, the London purveyor of bespoke, handcrafted guns and rifles collected by […]

FrontRunners: The British Are Coming

In the early 1900s, Morven Park Mansion, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Leesburg, Va., was home to the state’s reform governor Westmoreland Davis. On the grounds of the estate, Davis also operated a horse farm that became a leading breeder of Thoroughbreds. The 1,200-acre Morven Park therefore seems an apt location for the […]

Golf: Cactus Makes Perfect

On a breezy desert day in early December 2006, Ben Cren­shaw is tromping around the second green at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s new Saguaro Course with a furrowed brow. He has spotted what appears to be a slight deviation from his original plans on the front-left portion of the putting surface. “I might be wrong,” he […]

Leisure: Discovery in the Desert

Welcome to the Taj Mahal of golf courses,” says Dave Alvarez, a PGA pro at the Madison Club, as he leads me to the practice tee. An assistant dressed in a crisp white long-sleeve shirt and green necktie—like Bobby Jones, only without the knickers—hands me a freshly polished iron, while my caddie arranges a dozen […]

Watches: Eclectic Eccentric

The timepieces that Felix Baum­­­­gartner and designer Mar­tin Frei create for their company, Urwerk, are not as bizarre as they seem. Instead of hands, their latest 201 series features a so-called satellite system that displays the hours with three rotating cubes that orbit the dial and sweep along an index at the bottom to indicate […]

Style: Bringing Up the House

When Ermenegildo Zegna’s remodeled Manhattan store reopens this fall (simultaneously with the brand’s Milan flagship), it will look more like someone’s townhouse than a retail establishment. A grand staircase will lead to the second floor, where you will find a library designed with a stone fireplace and rich wood-paneled walls. Those walls will hold black-and-white […]

FrontRunners: Wheel Write

To the extent that pens can resemble cars, the Tibaldi for Bentley (www.tibaldi.it) writing instruments, from the Italian brand that Aquila Brands resurrected last year, display similarities, both visible and tactile, to the collection’s namesake automobiles. The knurling on the turning parts of the pens recalls that of Bentley knobs and handles; the pens’ barrels […]

Feature: Singing the Blues

While he was a gem buyer for Tiffany & Co., Harry Platt presumably was not easily impressed by a stone’s beauty. But when a Tanzanian gemologist presented him with a newly discovered deep royal blue gem in 1967, Platt decided that it was the most important gemological find of the century. Platt, who is the […]

Feature: Alternative Viewpoints

Lapo Elkann has described the eyewear from his new company, Italia Independent, as unique and innovative “personal belongings” instead of “status symbols.” The debut model from Elkann, the grandson of Giovanni Agnelli and heir to the Fiat fortune, is named Carbon Sever. The customizable aviator-style sunglasses are made entirely from carbon fiber—the same lightweight and […]

Autos: Espresso con Crema

One writer damned the Quasi-Automatic Transmission in the otherwise smooth and affable Maserati Quattroporte for its mechanical hiccups and “up-shifts that are depressingly clumsy and slow.” Another reviewer noted identical burps, adding, “The vehicle often dives during the power lag between shifts.” In our 2004 evaluations of Maserati’s then-new sedan, most of us scribes agreed […]

Feature: Desert Storm

Dubai’s is the tale of two emirates, both borderline surreal. The traditionalist who resists change at any pace might see Dubai as an Arabian nightmare in which souks—those smoky, ancient markets that sell incense, spices, and hubble-bubbles—now proffer Cinnabon and Starbucks. It is a place where miles of freeways and megalopolis clutter are overtaking the […]

Desert Storm: A More Special Maybach

The oversize, overendowed, and pretty much over-everything undertaking known as Maybach was supposed to supplant Rolls-Royce as the acme of automotive overindulgence. Mission not accomplished. The Maybach’s V-12 engine produces a staggering amount of tug, enough to pull this three-ton vehicle from zero to 60 mph in a wink over five seconds. Innovations, such as […]

Motorcycles: Ten… Nine… Eight…

When Ducati unveiled its new 1098 S Tricolore at the Milan motorcycle show late last year, it answered the prayers of many of the bike maker’s fans. For those Ducatisti who had been concerned about the company’s design direction, as expressed by the polarizing 999 model, the 1098 provided assurance that Ducati had not lost […]

FrontRunners: Speeding Ticket

A new series of private track events organized by Supercar Life (www.supercarlife.com) gives you a chance to test the limits of a Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430, Aston Martin DB9, Mercedes AMG SL65, and 997 Porsche Turbo. The events, which take place at motor clubs throughout the country, are limited to 15 drivers each. For an […]

Aviation: Fast Company

As the plane readies for takeoff, a controller’s voice comes over the headphones: “We’ve got an experimental on the runway. . . Whoa! Did you build that yourself?”   “About 51 percent,” replies Mike Hooper. “Very nice.” Having received the tower’s appreciation of his plane and its instructions for takeoff, Hooper, chief pilot for Epic […]

Wings & Water: Rugged Good Looks

A sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) does not hide its emotions well: When it grows excited, its large dorsal fin (from which it derives its name) turns neon purple. Nothing—except sex, one presumes—arouses a sailfish more than food, so a purple flash in the water makes a savvy fisherman exhibit signs of excitement of his own. This […]

Boating: Fearless Factor

“If you think about an object’s function,” Ferdinand Alexander Porsche once observed, “the form sometimes creates itself.” Certainly this dictum applies to his brainchild, the Porsche 911. But for this designer, cars were only the beginning. In 1972 he founded the independent Porsche Design Studio to develop consumer products that, like the 911, look beautiful […]

FrontRunners: Shooting Star

Carbon fiber is proving to be a gift to speedboaters. The material, bonded with epoxy resin, pre­sents a significant alternative to fiberglass, allowing boatbuilders to create stronger, lighter vessels that are the nautical equivalents of racecars. One of these, the 51-foot Outerlimits GTX, debuted at the Miami Boat Show in February. The powerboat, from Outer-limits […]

Wings & Water: Rugged Good Looks: The One That Almost Got Away

When Hatteras launched its first yacht, a 41-foot Convertible, in 1960, company founder Willis Slane dubbed the vessel Knit Wits—appropriate enough, it seemed, for a company led by a man who knew almost nothing about boatbuilding, financed mainly by textile executives, and located 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in High Point, N.C. But over […]

Wings & Water: Rugged Good Looks: Mega Maestro

An architect by training, Nicaraguan-born Juan Carlos Espinosa—JC to the yacht world—discovered his talent for yacht design while working on the first American-made jetboat, the 126-foot Time built by Palmer Johnson in 1987. Now he applies that talent to the designs of megasportfishermen, custom craft that are longer than 100 feet. His stylings combine exterior […]