Ferrari 458 Spider


Top-down remodel, Maranello’s agile new 562-hp convertible. Valentine’s Day Survival Guide, 45 his and her gifts from the heart. Plus, private clubs redefined, inside America’s most exclusive hot spots. Also, Grand Openings: new destinations in Hong Kong, Milan & Amsterdam.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Mario Batali

Perhaps the most celebrated of America’s celebrity chefs, Mario Batali presides over an epicurean empire that includes everything from television shows and restaurants (20 and counting) to brick ovens and pepper mills. The 51-year-old entrepreneur recently added a new show on ABC (The Chew) and a new cookbook to his burgeoning portfolio, but food is […]

Dining: Chicago Style

When word spread that hotelier Ian Schrager had taken control of Chicago’s aging Ambassador East Hotel and its ground-floor restaurant, the Pump Room, the city collectively gasped. In the minds of Chicagoans, the Pump Room was untouchable, the legendary hangout of Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra. Then Schrager announced plans to close, gut, and remake […]

Leisure: Nightlife Ascending

Private clubs used to mean old: old money, old members, old bastions of formality and hierarchy. But over the past 10 years, something has changed on the private-club scene: A younger, hipper breed of club is plugging directly into the life of a city. To be well connected in Hollywood requires a membership at Soho […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Tempting Proposition

1965 Ferrari 250 LM Pininfarina Stradale Speciale Powered by a 3.3-liter V-12 mounted longitudinally aft of the driver, the 250 LM was Ferrari’s first mid-engine GT. The company envisioned a competition successor to the aging 250 GTO, but the LM never received homologation, and ultimately Ferrari produced only 32 examples.   If rarity is a […]

Wheels: Breathing Easy

Building a better sports sedan is seldom if ever a simple task. It involves striking a delicate and often elusive balance between real-world requirements (passenger comfort, cruising range, cargo capacity) and gut-punching performance. But even when on paper the matrix appears to be synchronized, sometimes the formula does not translate to the road quite right. […]

FrontRunners: Piaget Altiplano Skeleton

When viewed from the front of its case, the Piaget Altiplano Skeleton ( appears similar to traditional skeleton designs. But the case is so svelte—less than a quarter of an inch thick—that when you look at it from the side, it all but disappears. The case contains the thinnest-ever skeletonized automatic movement. Assembled in-house by […]

FrontRunners: Marks of Zagato

At its unveiling last spring commemorating the 50th anniversary of the DB4GT Zagato’s debut, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato ( represented a nod to history and a glimpse into the future. Aston Martin plans to begin building the V12 Zagato this summer. The car’s price is expected to be about $525,000, and production will be […]

FrontRunners: Pleasure Cruiser

Like its closed-top sibling, the Hedonist Open ( is 62 feet long and achieves a top speed of 48 mph, courtesy of three MAN r6 800hp engines paired with three Rolls-Royce water jets. The all-mahogany-hulled craft, by Serbian manufacturer Art of Kinetik, stows a three-person tender that can be launched using the boat’s built-in crane. […]

FrontRunners: Striking Cars and Chords

Collectibles ranging from a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited Tourabout to antique mechanical musical instruments will be up for bid February 24 and 25 at RM Auctions’ Milhous Collection sale ( The auction, conducted in association with Sotheby’s, will take place at the Milhous Museum in Boca Raton, Fla. In addition to cars and instruments, the sale […]

FrontRunners: Full of Grace

Caps shaped liked a feminine neckline and engraved with the double-G royal monogram reference the inspiration for the Montblanc Princesse Grace de Monaco collection ( The series of writing instruments includes three pen designs, the most exclusive of which is limited to three examples (one for each of the princess’s children). Priced at $107,700, the […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Rare wines and art sit at the top of Cliff Lede’s list of personal passions, but rock music follows closely. Though soft-spoken, the Canadian businessman and owner of Cliff Lede Vineyards has a wild side that finds expression in the system by which he and his team identify the unique blocks, or crus, that make […]

Hotel Icon

Now on view in Hong Kong is the future of five-star hotels. Opened in September, Hotel Icon is a 262-room tower operated by the hotel school of Hong Kong Poly­technic University. The school runs the property not just as an exclusive destination in the Kowloon district, but also as a fully functioning testing ground for […]

Hotel Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam

The famous grand hotel in Amsterdam reopened in June as part of Sofitel’s new Legend brand. This collection from the French hospitality company includes the Metropole Hanoi in Vietnam, Egypt’s Old Cataract Aswan on the Nile, and other carefully restored historic hotels, a group to which the Grand rightfully belongs.   Dating to 1411—when two […]

Armani Hotel Milano

For his second hotel venture, Giorgio Armani headed home to Italy. In a partnership with Emaar Properties of Dubai (the setting of Armani’s first hotel), the fashion mogul spent four years redesigning and expanding his Milan megastore to house the Armani Hotel Milano.   The Armani, which opened in November, is set within the imposing […]

Watches: Deep Time

More than a few eyebrows were raised among the collectors who gathered recently in Dubai at the world’s largest suspended aquarium for the unveiling of Blancpain’s latest timepiece: The revelation took place at the bottom of the 10-million-liter tank. It was not, however, the unusual circumstances of the introduction that elicited these surprised reactions; instead, […]

Jewelry: Rings of Fire

Peter Thum’s signet ring is a striking object: a textured piece of steel and gold, hand-forged by jeweler Philip Crangi and concealing a secret inside the band—the serial number of the AK-47 from which it was made. Thum, a New York entrepreneur and humanitarian, started Ethos Water and sold it to Starbucks, then founded the […]

Home Electronics: Magnetic Attraction

Compared with the biggest names in the high-performance-headphone business (Sennheiser, Grado, Beyerdynamic, Stax), Audez’e is in its infancy. But the Southern California manufacturer, which recording- and film-industry veteran Alexander Rosson cofounded in 2009, ascended straight to the top tier of full-size-headphone producers with the $945 LCD-2. (The company’s inaugural release, the LCD-1, had a short […]

Motorcycles: Spin Recycle

It is a tasty two-wheeled confection, a delicate retro-style moped inspired by board-track racers—those primitive motorcycles that in the early 20th century perilously rocketed around banked ovals made of wooden planks. Finished in custom colors and accented with pinstripes and machined-metal details, a Derringer looks like something that might have been ridden to the Five […]

Travel: Peace Out

In 1858, a french botanist named Henri Mouhot set off on a journey to Southeast Asia that began with a miserable four months at sea and continued with a trek beset by monsoons, floods, feverish heat, riled elephants, and rivers of leeches. But Mouhot emerged in Cambodia to encounter a vision so magical, he wrote, […]

Aviation: Latitude Adjustment

Cessna’s Citation business jets have long been lauded for their speed, reliability, and performance, but they also have been criticized for their cramped cabins. The company has addressed this shortcoming by adding width. The new Citation Latitude, a $14.9 million midsize jet that Cessna expects to begin delivering in 2015, has a cabin measuring 6.4 […]

Autos: Expanding the Range

If Ferrari can be moved to design a station wagon and Porsche pressured into offering a sedan and a hybrid supercar, then it should startle no one to learn that Range Rover has built an SUV that is not shaped like a tea caddy. The buffed, rounded, long-tailed, and thoroughly contemporary Evoque marks the brand’s […]

Art: Paris by Brushstrokes

The vast contemporary art collection at the Pompidou Center in Paris has been known to overwhelm visitors, yet Domoina de Brantes wends expertly through the galleries, guiding her charges to works of particular significance and giving a tutorial on the Paris art scene along the way. Stop­ping in front of Thomas Hirschhorn’s wall-size Outgrowth, she […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Secret Is Safe

Döttling’s Buonaparte contains hidden assets. While restoring an 18th-century Italian safe, craftsmen at  the Döttling safe company ( in Maichingen, Germany, intended to fit it with a secret compartment. Toward the end of the project, however, they discovered that someone had beaten them to it long ago. “It is unique to this safe,” says Döttling […]

Self-Control Cruiser

Although it has been re-engineered and reshaped to accommodate its ingeniously designed retractable top, the Ferrari 458 Spider is essentially a convertible version of the 458 Italia coupe. But the folks at Ferrari expect the new model to serve a completely different purpose and attract a different type of driver.     Typical Italia owners, […]

French Evolution

After purchasing an unremarkable mid-1990s house in a private enclave of Los Angeles in 2008, the new owners—an investor; his wife, a philanthropist; and their two children—were faced with the prospect of a significant remodel that would meet their family’s needs and accommodate their growing art collection. They immediately called in Southern California designers Frank […]

Spas: Rules of Surrender

In 2003, I was among the first guests to experience the Spa Montage Surrender at Southern California’s Montage Laguna Beach. So when I was recently offered a similar opportunity at the resort’s sister property in Utah, I was happy to capitulate. Montage Hotels & Resorts, which also operates a city hotel in Beverly Hills, officially […]

Golf: A Star Is Born

Brian Paul was walking off the 14th green at Kukui‘ula when he spotted the tail. Paul, the head golf pro at this new Tom Weiskopf–designed course on Kauai, is accustomed to seeing humpback whales in the adjacent Kukui‘ula Bay, but this one was different. “It started slapping its tail against the water over and over […]

Love Rules

In the game of love, a well-chosen gift never fails to score a few points. And the stakes run high on Valentine’s Day, when every paramour hopes to unwrap a perfectly tempting little something. So consider your loved one—lighthearted or elegant? cerebral, sweet, or sinful?—and then peruse these pages to find a gift that will […]

FrontRunners: Body Art and Sole

A French footwear designer known for his brand’s sky-high stilettos has opened his first men’s-only boutique, in Paris. Christian Louboutin (, located across from the brand’s flagship store on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, offers the namesake designer’s full line of men’s footwear, from classic loafers to crystal-encrusted sneakers. Prices range from about $700 to $3,300. At […]

Spirits: Ave Tequila

The Mayans were producing alcoholic beverages from the agave plant more than 500 years ago, but the pinnacle of such drinks in modern times—at least as far as extra añejo is concerned—has been reached only recently. Since March 2006, when the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, the agency that regulates Mexico’s tequila production, established the extra […]