Luxury Preview 2010


Jaeger-LeCoultre's $2 million timepiece trio. Introducing Mercedes-Benz's 21st-Century Gullwing. Plus, the all-new superlight SLS AMG coupe. Also, exclusive debuts: Ferrari 456 Italia, Bentley Mulsanne, Mandarin Oriental's One Hyde Park, Allard roadster, Bulgari's 125th-anniversary jewelry & watch collection, Beechcraft Premier II, Palmer Johnson 170, Hermès Men’s Boutique, Pershing 108 & more.

From This Issue

100 Perfect Pours

Humorist Fran Lebowitz once amended Eleanor Roosevelt’s much-quoted remark on great minds (the former first lady took it as a matter of course that her own passed muster), stating, “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.” We are inclined to agree with Lebowitz: Why talk about […]

Spirited Diversions

’Tis the season for toasts, and to fortify ourselves for these welcome occasions, we have assembled a list of spirits that move us. Many of these have been around for some time, while others are new releases. Most, however, are small-production and therefore somewhat elusive. Ideal for giving, savoring, and collecting, they are the most […]

Setting Pretty

Holiday Dinner by Kelly Wearstler China: Trousdale collection, Kelly Wearstler for Pickard, $56.50 to $337.50; available at Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus stores. Stemware: Juwel collection, Theresienthal, $135 each; available at TableArt. Flatware: Stainless steel, TableArt, $122 for a five-piece setting. Napkin ring: Brass Twine, Kelly Wearstler for Sferra, $105 for a set of […]

The Art of the Invitation

When the invitations for Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball arrived from Tiffany & Co. bearing an incorrect address for the Plaza Hotel—the event’s venue—the host, with no time to have them redone, simply crossed out the mistake and added the right number. He also wrote an afterthought on each one, in his signature […]

Sport: Fit to a Ski

Head to any ski mountain and you will find demo stations tempting you to take a brand-new pair of skis out for a spin. Ski shops also encourage test-drives of their inventory—which is neatly categorized by skiing style (all-mountain, carving, or powder)—so purchasing the right pair should be easy. “Except that skiers don’t always know […]

Boating: Monarch of Muscle

If there were a royal line in the American yachting industry, Magnum Marine would surely have a legitimate claim to the throne. Three decades ago the South Florida company created a line of sleek, powerful boats that typified the Miami Beach scene of the 1980s. Today, Magnum enjoys a high profile in the same luxury-performance […]

Autos: Dirty Dozen

Under normal circumstances, driving a Lamborghini Murciélago at top speed provides enough excitement for one day. Twelve cylinders wailing away behind your head as you floor the accelerator is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping. However, the circumstances under which I drove this latest, lightest Murciélago were not exactly normal. The sun had just set […]

Personal Technology: Call Time

The first cellular phone call was made in 1973 on a handset that weighed 2.5 pounds and stood 9 inches tall. Soon thereafter, cell phones became symbols of wealth and status; early users paid top dollar to make phone calls on the go. Today, however, that distinction is lost. According to CTIA-The Wireless Association, there […]

Watches: Hero of the Hour

The novel double-balance spring arrangement in Henry, a recently created watch from Swiss manufacturer H. Moser & Cie, is made completely in-house. The ability to pull off this rare feat of production autonomy in a notoriously interdependent industry marks a notable change in fortune for a company that only a few years ago was struggling […]

Jewelry: Lush and Lapidary

Nearly a decade ago, after a long operation to repair an intracranial aneurysm, Dr. Russell Trusso, a Cleveland-based neuroanesthesiologist, left medicine with a life-changing resolution. He was determined to launch a new career that would enable him to give expression to his long-suppressed interest in the arts: He would become a jewelry designer. Trusso approached […]

Dining: High-Fashion Fish

“I apply Coco Chanel’s theory of getting dressed to my cooking,” says Michael White, the Michelin-starred chef of Manhattan’s new and already highly acclaimed Italian seafood restaurant Marea. “It’s the culinary equivalent of removing one accessory before you walk out the door. In other words, the food should taste like what it’s supposed to taste […]

Antiques: Again the Grain

Of the pioneers of midcentury modern—the design movement that spanned roughly 1945 to 1970—Oscar Niemeyer is probably the best known to have come out of Brazil. Yet the 101-year-old Niemeyer (he will turn 102 in December) is but one of many Brazilian modernists who created furniture mainly out of deep red-and-black jacaranda and other dramatic […]

Travel: Mounting a Challenge

Of all the things that London seems to be short on—sunshine and dispassionate cabbies, to name two—gilded shopping byways certainly are not among them. From Notting Hill’s Westbourne Grove and Brompton Cross in Knightsbridge to Belgravia’s Motcomb Street and the burgeoning Shoreditch Triangle, avenues lined with fashionable boutiques can be found in seemingly every corner […]

Golf: Making Its Point

The grumble of construction trucks drowns out the rumble of surf on the oceanfront 17th hole at the Punta Mita Club de Golf’s new Bahia course. The racket detracts from this otherwise serene setting on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, but the disruption is not unwelcome. At a time when many resort projects have been put on […]

Home: Style and Sculpture

When James Magni travels to Paris, he stays at a flat near the city’s most central park, the Jardin des Tuileries. The apartment sits above Colette, a fashionable store that purveys an eclectic mix of apparel, music, and home accessories. “I love picking up a pastry and sitting outside to watch the hip, cool people […]

Uxua Casa Hotel

Wilbert Das, creative director of the Diesel clothing company, made sure that no trees were felled during the construction of his Uxua Casa Hotel in the picturesque fishing village of Trancoso, Brazil. Originally intended as Das’ vacation home, the nine-room Bahian retreat—which is located about a 10-minute walk from the beach, on Trancoso’s scenic quadrado […]

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and Grand Wailea

It may seem odd that visitors to Maui’s Wailea Beach would choose the manufactured sanctum of a hotel pool over the shore’s golden sand and soothing surf. But at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea’s Serenity Pool Terrace, waterside massages and other indulgent amenities can make even the most alluring beach seem secondary. Perched […]

Mamilla Hotel

King David might feel at home at the 194-room Mamilla Hotel, which opened in June in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Mamilla, 10 minutes from Jaffa Gate near the Old City of Jerusalem. The collaborative effort of Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie (designer of the Ballet Opera House in Toronto) and Italian architect/designer Piero Lissoni, the Mamilla […]

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa

Ancient Banyan trees and 17,000 swaying palms shade the trails at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa in the Maldives. The resident biologist at the private-island resort, which opened in July, leads tours along the trails, pointing out wildlife and plants such as the noni, the basis of Maldivian remedies for arthritis and hypertension. If you […]

Dakota Mountain Lodge & Golden Door Spa

Dakota Mountain Lodge is at the brink of something big. Geographically speaking, the Park City, Utah, hotel sits at the edge of the Canyons, the fifth-largest ski area in the United States. And while the Canyons has never been as fashionable as the nearby Deer Valley and Park City Mountain resorts, the 3,700-acre property is […]

FrontRunners: Class Act

The Acura ZDX (—the marque’s oxymoronically labeled four-door sports coupe that debuted as a crossover prototype in April—is now a production vehicle. Available for sale this winter, the ZDX will have a price between the MDX SUV’s ($41,000) and the RL luxury sedan’s ($47,000). Like the MDX, the ZDX will have a 300 hp V-6 […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Merry Edwards has confronted numerous adversities during her long winemaking career. Her first independent venture, Merry Vintners, ended when a cash-strapped creditor called in its loan. Her tenure as vice president and winemaker at Laurier Winery came to a finale when its parent company filed for bankruptcy. But she persevered, and in 1997 she established […]

FrontRunners: Jaguar

The redesigned Jaguar XJ ( looks young and stylish—just like the type of person who is apparently supposed to drive it. At a July unveiling event in London, Jaguar appeared intent on reestablishing the cool quotient of the XJ, a sedan whose basic shape had not changed dramatically since company founder Sir William Lyons introduced […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Ready for Takeoff

After more than half a century, Mercedes-Benz will spread its wings once again with the 2011 SLS AMG. This past March, Mercedes-Benz invited a select group of journalists to the AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. The purpose of the trip, which preceded the Geneva International Motor Show, was a mystery to the invitees, and rumors […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Colorful History

Bulgari will cap off its 125th anniversary with a sale of vibrant designs for the new year. As the finale to a year of festivities celebrating its 125th anniversary, Bulgari will offer a collection of 11 one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and seven limited-edition watches at an auction at Christie’s New York on December 8. Though new […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Up and Away

In 1998, Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland Helicopter formed a partnership to develop an aircraft that they hoped would revolutionize executive travel. This new model would build on the tilt-rotor designs that Bell and Boeing pioneered with the V-22 Osprey, which is used by the U.S. military, but would feature a comfortable interior similar to that […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Green Machine

Next summer, the Italian yacht builder Pershing will launch the first boat in its 108-foot series. The Pershing 108 features an efficient, eco-friendly split-engine design that will let a captain draw propulsion from one, two, or all three of its 1,815-kilowatt MTU diesels. With only the center engine engaged, the 108 will use minimal fuel […]

2010 Luxury Preview: The Original Hybrid

The Allard J2X MkII revives a racer that offered the best of both worlds. In modern automotive parlance, the word hybrid conjures up visions of the ubiquitous econobox wobbling smugly in a carpool lane. But for car enthusiasts, the term recalls the first time a large American engine found its way into a light, nimble […]

2010 Luxury Preview: V-8 Is Enough

Ferrari fires up its ultra-powerful 458 Italia. The Ferrari 458 Italia will be the next prancing horse to leave the Maranello stable. This replacement for the mid-engine F430 will feature an ultra-high-revving engine, an aluminum chassis, twin-wishbone suspension, triple-tip exhaust, and Pininfarina design. The car’s name denotes its 4.5-?liter engine displacement and its eight cylinders, […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Sailing Through the Recession

Palmer Johnson shows no signs of slowing as it prepares to launch the PJ170. As the current economic slowdown becalms many yacht manufacturers, one U.S. shipyard is speeding ahead at full throttle. Palmer Johnson, a Wisconsin-based builder of high-performance luxury yachts, expanded its manufacturing facility on Lake Michigan in 2007, which enabled it to begin […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Fit for the Task

If Umberto Angeloni has his way, your wardrobe will soon be better suited to your profession or pastime. The former chief executive of the Italian fashion house Brioni is the mastermind behind Uman, a Milan-based brand of suits and other apparel set to launch in spring 2010. In addition to its Lounge series of custom […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Just for Men

Come February, the French fashion house Hermès will open its first shop devoted entirely to men. The Hermès Men’s Boutique will occupy 6,000 square feet of Madison Avenue retail space across the street from the company’s Manhattan flagship store and not far from its Broad Street shop in the Wall Street area, which serves a […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Oh, Deer

St. Regis and Montage promise to elevate Park City’s already lofty Deer Valley Resort. When the Stein Eriksen Lodge opened mid-mountain at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort in 1983, the hotel was not only the first upscale property in the Park City area, but also one of the first high-end projects anywhere to combine hotel rooms […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Foreign Exchange

A top French chef will open a restaurant in the Bright Light City while a young American chef expands his presence in the City of Light. Parisian Pierre Gagnaire will extend his empire into the United States this winter just as American Daniel Rose begins building his in Paris. Gagnaire, who holds three Michelin stars […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Town and Country

Everything has been emptied out of the former Playboy Club in London, says Roland Fasel, general manager of the nearby Dorchester hotel. The Dorchester Collection—which comprises seven properties including the Dorchester and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles—plans to expand to 15 hotels in North America and Europe by 2015. In 2010, the group will […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Safe Houses

In 2008 a London penthouse reportedly sold for $200 million—the highest price ever paid for a condo. The luxurious residence is one of 86 units in the One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge. When construction ends in late 2010, this address will be among the most exclusive in the world. Composed of four interconnected glass […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Sound and Safe

The Grande Sonnerie—Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most sophisticated musical watch yet—will come with two additional timepieces and a sonic security system. Upon its release in 2010, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest summit-class timepiece, the Hybris Mechanica a Grande Sonnerie, will be the most sophisticated musical watch the company has ever manufactured. Composed of 1,300 parts, the complex Grande Sonnerie will operate […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Track Star

The 2011 Mulsanne will be Bentley’s next top model. When it goes on sale next summer—for around $300,000— the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne will occupy the top position in the luxury automaker’s lineup, a spot formerly held by the now-retired Arnage-series sedan. With an all-new 6.75-liter V-8 engine, the stately Mulsanne, which was named for the […]

2010 Luxury Preview: Solitary Refinement

The single-pilot Beechcraft Premier II prepares for liftoff. When the Raytheon Beechcraft Premier I took to the skies more than a decade ago, it was the first business jet to possess an all-composite fuselage. The unique properties of the composite material allowed designers to create a plane that weighed less and offered more cabin space […]

The Robb Reader: Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is no stranger to the concepts of bigger, faster, and first. In 1986, the Virgin Group founder broke the speedboat record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean. A year later, he and the Swedish aviator Per Lindstrand completed the first hot-air-balloon trip across the Atlantic. Then, in 1991, the duo covered 6,700 miles […]

Wheels: Stinging Endorsements

Ronn Maxwell grins as he hands over the keys to his new car, the Ronn Motor Company Scorpion. Then Maxwell, a barrel-chested 57-year-old whose ostrich-skin boots and smooth drawl betray his Texas origin, drops into the passenger’s seat.  When I turn the key, the Scorpion releases a vicious wail that, as the drive continues, never […]

Map of the Spas

After an exhilarating day on the slopes outside Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Bavarian Alps, my friend Ted and I decided to unwind with a swim and sauna in a spa. Nobody had mentioned to us that this particular sauna was a) coed and b) nude—well, not totally nude: Ted and I wore bathing trunks, which prompted […]

Map of the Spas: Restorative Retreats

A host of soothing spots for medical, massage, Ayurvedic, water, and wine treatments. MEDICAL Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Mass. The Executive Health Program typically begins with a 90-minute physical examination and interview. 413.637.4100, Millcroft Inn & Spa, Ontario, Canada The two- or three-day Lite Detox Getaway assesses your state of wellness and then educates you […]

The Italian Job

Around 1598, Jacopo Peri debuted Dafne—thought to be the world’s first opera—at the Florence, Italy, home of Jacopo Corsi, a composer and patron of the arts. Today the structure, which sits at the intersection of Via degli Strozzi and Via de’ Tornabuoni in the heart of Florence, is part of the Palazzo Tornabuoni, a Four […]

Big Time

Scott Slavis, a Las Vegas–area watch collector, recently acquired a massive clock and watch winder by the renowned German clockmaker Erwin Sattler. This imposing piece is encased in a desk and contains multiple banks of computer-controlled winding units that rise on command from the desk’s surface. “I had five or six people come to my […]

Big Time: Swinging Sensation

Modern clocks are as rich in technical detail as watches, and certainly richer in history. Yet they lag behind in popularity. The most avid aficionados of these highly accurate objets, unlike many watch collectors, often want to appreciate the beauty of precision mechanics without the distraction of fashion. Yet because mechanical complexity can itself be […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Aristocats

In October 1818, sculptor Jean-Charles-Nicholas Brachard l’aîné began crafting these two Sèvres biscuit models of pacing lions, with embroidery-motif saddlecloths and reticulated gilt baskets, for the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. Brachard l’aîné took inspiration from an 1817 design for an elaborate dessert service conceived by the artist Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (the son of painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard). This […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Singular Sensation

Bertone’s 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 Roadster Lamborghini astonished the auto world with the debut of its sensuous Miura at the Geneva Salon in 1966. Two years later, Italy’s famed styling studio Bertone staged an encore of sorts at the Brussels Motor Show—and surprised Ferruccio Lamborghini himself—when, to wild acclaim, it unveiled its own one-off of […]