The Private Travel Issue


10 extraordinary escapes; exclusive adventures on land, sea, and air. Plus the privileges of destination club membership.  Also the 599 GTB: Ferrari's supercar for the real world.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Scaling The Summit

Elec­trostatic loudspeakers, which use a single, electrically charged panel rather than a cone woofer and tweeters to transform signals into sound, can re-create pitch-perfect audio in the middle and high ranges and eliminate the problem of distortion caused by crossover. Now, MartinLogan (, which is known for such electrostatic pacesetters as the $70,000 Statement e2 […]

Home Electronics: iPod around the House

Now that apple iPods have become the principal repositories for many households’ music collections, the options for spreading the sound from a single unit throughout the home have proliferated. The best of these new products feature interface devices that connect an iPod to a sound system—typically a multiroom audio system—controlled by in-wall keypads or touchscreens. […]

Home: Natural Selections

Los Angeles furniture maker Martin Pierce finally acceded to demand this spring when he launched Martin Pierce Hardware, his collections of knobs, pulls, handles, and levers. In the mid-1990s, Pierce, a British expatriate who trained as a wood-carver, created for his then fledgling namesake furniture company an armoire to accompany his Hedgerow bed. Unable to […]

Eagle’s Nest

The steel-and-glass aerie rises from just above the fog line on a hilltop in Malibu, Calif., affording a vista that includes the Pacific Ocean and, on a clear day, Catalina Island. “The house is like a giant eagle that has landed on this site, on top of this mountain,” says Ed Niles, the architect who […]

FrontRunners: Bali Sigh

For more than a decade, Beg­awan Giri ( has reigned as one of Bali’s best resorts, with its sublime Balinese architecture, sweeping Ayung River Valley views, and jungle spa pools. Now Como Hotels, of Parrot Cay fame, has transformed this gem into its flagship destination spa, one that promotes holistic health. The original Begawan architect, […]

Eliminating the Guest Work

In the year and a half since Steve Berkowitz became a member of Quintess, the 47-year-old Micro­soft executive has traveled with his family to an estate in Napa Valley, taken his college roommates to a ski chalet in Aspen, and visited a villa in Los Cabos, Mexico, with his wife and friends. But it was […]

Picking A Winner

On March 29, representatives from several destination clubs gathered in Las Vegas to begin establishing regulatory guidelines for their industry. The conference came at a time when the budding hospitality concept already was showing signs of retraction. “Between mid-2004 and mid-2005, the number [of destination clubs] jumped from maybe two or three up to a […]

Access Egypt

On a cloudless March morning in Egypt, several hundred men and women mill about the dusty Giza Plateau, oohing and aahing and craning their necks to take in the vastness of the shape that looms over them. A polyglot babble rises from the guides as they lead the way around the 3,000-foot perimeter of the […]

From Religion To Bicycle Riding

Keeping the Faith The first-draft itinerary for TCS Expe­ditions’ Great Faiths 2007 trip, which explores some of the world’s most sacred sites, spanned 40 days. While that duration was appealing because of its biblical implications, the Seattle tour company knew that it was untenable, and so it whittled down the journey. The inaugural trip, which […]

Journeys: A Higher Powder

As morning breaks, the blast from an avalanche-control charge serves as reveille. A few minutes pass, and then boom! The second explosion suggests that it has snowed all night. The view from the bedroom is of Lake of the Incas, frozen and surrounded by 19,000-foot peaks. Beneath the window, the chaise longues around the swimming […]

Smoke: Cigar of the Century

Zino Davidoff no doubt would have enjoyed smoking the meaty and spicy cigars that his namesake company made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. The limited-edition Diademas Finas and the even more exclusive Diademas 100, which Davidoff officially will introduce July 18 in Las Vegas at its St. Mark’s Square store in the […]

Dining: Tea, Plus Time

Aged teas, or pu-erhs, resemble fine wines in that both are fermented, aged in cellars, and highly collectible, with scarce pu-erhs such as the 1949 commanding $400 per ounce. But Rod Marcus detects a similarity to a different potable, or rather, his palate does. “[Pu-erhs are] more like good Scotch. You can taste the earth […]

Art: Deep Freeze

Tthe buddha is reincarnated daily in the Long Island City, N.Y., ice-sculpting workshop of Okamoto Studio, and on this Saturday in January, the task falls to Peter Sheesley. Having arranged two ice blocks in an upside-down T formation, Sheesley, a figurative painter who works part-time for Okamoto, uses a chain saw to carve them into […]

Spas: Back on Track

Last Fourth of July weekend, 64-year-old Larry Saliterman took a spill on his mountain bike, got up, brushed himself off, and then hopped back on and continued riding. Unaware that he had injured himself seriously, Saliterman remained active throughout the weekend, going in-line skating and completing Aspen’s annual five-mile footrace. “The day after the race, […]

Collectibles: More t­han Words

Andrew Hoyem believes that when books are concerned, style can enhance substance—that riveting tales and profound truths benefit from refined presentations. At Arion Press, his San Francisco publishing house, he employs the centuries-old letterpress method of printing because it imparts a three-dimensional quality to the ink, and the cotton paper that he prefers feels more […]

FrontRunners: Senses Of Place

After heading the kitchens of several Boston restaurants, most recently the Federalist at the XV Beacon hotel, chef David Daniels has left the mainland for Topper’s, the restaurant at the Wauwinet inn ( on Nan­tucket. “Topper’s is very similar to the Federalist in terms of quality, but it’s in a different setting that appeals to […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

The domaines of Burgundy bear little resemblance, on the whole, to the châteaux of Bordeaux, which preside over sweeping acres of vines that stretch into the distance. Even the untutored visitor can distinguish these orderly Bordelaise kingdoms from one another—a difficult feat in Burgundy, where the order imposed over many centuries was scattered by the […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Many of the latest cigar blends intimidate the occasional smoker with their heavy body and tongue-biting spiciness, but the Rocky Patel Reo offers a more accessible way for smokers to challenge their palates. The Reo is one of this year’s smoothest new smokes, providing a gratifyingly bold taste without the unrelenting peppery character exhibited by […]

Golf: Man on a Mission

As she watches my first tee shot soar long and right, the caddie musters in broken English a word every golfer dreads: “Mulligan!” My 22-year-old companion, uniformed in a red jumpsuit and pith helmet, is a four-year veteran in the all-female army of 2,400 caddies at Mission Hills, the world’s largest golf club. Located in […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Couture Cuffs

In jewelry, color is usually expressed in gems or enamel, which can be too heavy and fragile,” says New York designer Kara Ross, who spent more than a year experimenting with titanium for her latest collection. “Titanium is strong, yet simplistic in its appearance.” Ross exposes the lightweight and durable material to electrical charges to […]

Watches: Time Trials

The racetrack in northern Italy where Ferrari has tested each of its new Formula One cars for the last 34 years recently hosted another Ferrari debut: Ferrari Engineered by Panerai, a new line of sporting wristwatches. The collaboration between the Italian watchmaker and Ferrari, which two years ago dissolved its 10-year-long union with Switzerland’s Girard-Perregaux, […]

Jewelry: Brace Yourselves

John Hardy and other designers would like you to give them a hand, or more precisely, a wrist, so that they can help you overcome your aversions to wearing jewelry. Hardy, David Yurman, and Jacopo Sedazzari of Sauro are among the designers using titanium, ceramic, and carbon fiber—modern and masculine materials—to make sleek and solid […]

Wardrobe: High Gear

Patrick Noel Sance tried not to make a sound as he hid in a crevice high in the Andes, near the border between Peru and Bolivia. He had been leading a mountaineering expedition on that day in 1989, when members of the Maoist revolutionary group Shining Path raided his camp. For Sance and his half-dozen […]

FrontRunners: Ultrafine Living

During the late 1980s, explorers identified a rare breed of high-altitude mountain goat, known as Capra ibex sibirica, living in the far reaches of Mongolia, Turkistan, and Kazakhstan. The Capra fiber is so limited that farmers can harvest only about 450 pounds annually, which alone would yield no more than 100 suits. However, the Brussels […]

Style: Turning the Tie

On California’s Monterey coast, in a cavernous building constructed out of reclaimed barn wood, Myong Yang, a seamstress for Robert Talbott for the last 23 years, gently folds a kite-size length of silk around a bottle-shaped cardboard necktie pattern. Then, as she will do a hundred other times on this or any other workday, Yang […]

FrontRunners: Fasten Your Seat Belts

Some of the biggest thrills in Las Vegas now can be found miles from the Strip, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new Formula One racing school ( This is the only venue in the United States where nonprofessional drivers can pilot retired Formula One cars, including the 2001 Prost, the 1997 Arrows, and the […]

Autos: Performance without Pretense

Long viewed as the less flashy alternative to Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Audi nevertheless delivers plenty of sex appeal beneath deceptively conservative sheet metal. The company adheres to this ethos even at its high-performance S division, as evidenced by its latest offering, the S6. Lurking beneath the S6’s understated hood is a 5.2-liter V-10, a version […]

Contributors: Off to See the Sea

The accommodations, ame­nities, and destinations that Bruce Leonard and Jill Bobrow spotlight in this month’s feature on charter yachts, “Chartered Territories” (page 88), presented fresh experiences for even these two well-traveled writers. Leonard’s journey aboard Absinthe was his first yachting adventure, but, as someone who writes frequently about nature for other publications, he is familiar […]

From The Editors: Coming Down to Earth

It is as much a spectacle as Mirabella V, the world’s largest sloop, and it possesses a pedigree as intriguing as that of Christina O, the 325-foot motor yacht that once belonged to Aristotle Onassis. Furthermore, neither of those vessels nor any of the others included in “Chartered Territories” (page 88), a feature in this […]

Boating: Water World

When the owner of the first Boat House at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club enters his 7,900-square-foot main residence, he has two options: He can use the front door, or he can pilot his 36-foot Hinckley Picnic Boat inside.  The Boat House—the first of seven such properties—is one of the more spectacular features of a […]

First-Class Struggle

You settle into a mini-suite, secluded by privacy barriers and flanked by mahogany-trimmed consoles. After cocktails and a four-course meal—perhaps with a dinner guest sitting on a separate, fold-down seat—you watch one of more than 100 on-demand movies on a widescreen video unit, or take advantage of the high-speed Wi-Fi service. When you become sleepy, […]

Private Satisfactions

Adam Katz, the genial, effusive founder of the New York–based aircraft charter operation Talon Air, often pilots his planes himself. He also enjoys ferrying clients from place to place in his Robinson R44 helicopter, which he recently learned to pilot, and he constantly is dreaming up other amenities to offer them. For example, when you […]

Back Page: Down, But Not Out, in Front

As world travelers know, flying first-class on U.S. airlines, while far from intolerable, can seem threadbare and forlorn when compared to the service and accommodations that some international flights offer. In “First-Class Struggle” (page 114), Patrick Smith addresses the question of why U.S. airlines’ premium classes are inferior to those of their foreign counterparts and […]

Chartered Territories: On the Fly

Atop a nameless mountain in western British Columbia, surrounded by a cloud and struggling to keep my balance in knee-deep snow, I inspect my transceiver while our heli-skiing guide demonstrates how to probe for bodies in the event of an avalanche. Just minutes ago, helicopters lifted our group of 10 skiers and three guides from […]

Chartered Territories: Under the Tahitian Moon

A vessel the caliber of Charlatan is an anomaly in the South Pacific, which, unlike the Caribbean, suffers from a paucity of crewed luxury yachts. This is unfortunate when you consider that this region, including the islands of Tahiti that we visited on our charter, is as exotic today as it was when Captain Cook […]

Chartered Territories: Two from Antigua

We had a large group of friends who wanted to be together on a Caribbean cruise, but we also wanted the intimacy of a medium- to large-size yacht, not something as grand as Christina O. Our charter broker, Yachting Partners International, offered a tandem charter as a solution. With the 135-foot Seven Sins and the […]

Chartered Territories: O Stands for Opulence

Those who charter Christina O join a roster of passengers who have included John F. Kennedy, the Aga Khan, Winston Churchill, Maria Callas, Rudolph Nureyev, J. Paul Getty, Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, and King Farouk. Built in 1943 by Canadian Vickers as an Atlantic convoy escort, she was converted into a pleasure yacht by shipping […]

Chartered Territories: A Truly Tall Tale

As the world’s largest sloop, the 247-foot-long Mirabella V tends to draw attention to herself. In fact, her mast, rising nearly 300 feet from the deck, is so tall that pilots complained it was a distraction when they flew near the yacht’s anchorage in Prickly Bay, Grenada. This was going to be the point of […]

FrontRunners: Robb Report Motorcycling Concours d’Elegance

MOTO GP is formula one for motorcycles, a race series where the bikes regularly exceed 200 mph. When the series comes to Monterey, Calif.’s Laguna Seca in July, it will be joined by the inaugural Robb Report MotorCycling Concours d’Elegance (, an exhibit of vintage racing bikes. Dubbed Kings of Speed, the display will include […]

Everyday Enzo

Contrary to the recent, rampant speculation circulating in Internet chat rooms, Leonardo da Vinci did not sketch the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Credit for the shape instead goes to Frank Stephenson—Ferrari’s former head of design—in collaboration with the company’s longtime design partner, Pininfarina. But this does not mean that the late, great Italian artist and […]