Reader’s Choice

Overview

The world's leading connoisseurs select their favorite cars, watches, resorts, restaurants, fashion and much more. Plus, 2009 Ferrari California, the classic sports car returns as a cutting-edge hard top convertible. Also, Grand Openings: St. Regis Bali, The Europe Hotel and 3 spectacular new spas.

From This Issue

From the Editors: A Most Conspicuous Connoisseur

No figure yokes together with less violence (to revise Dr. Johnson’s phrase) the themes of this, our first Reader’s Choice issue, than William Randolph Hearst. The populist publisher had a canny instinct for anticipating which stories would arouse sufficient interest among the working-class readers of his penny papers to persuade them to part with their […]

Music: Luxe Luthier

“Every guitar has its own personality,” says luthier John Monteleone. “It’s my job to give it its own dynamic voice. Each one I make is an extension of my soul.” At 61, Monteleone is a master of his craft, and he is widely acknowledged as the successor to the eminent jazz-guitar luthiers John D’Angelico and […]

Watches: Elegant Endeavor

Bob Siragusa hesitated for several days before contacting well-known jewelry designer Michael Beaudry, who at the time was preparing to launch a new watchmaking venture. Siragusa, a veteran of the watch industry, was looking for a new position, but he was unconvinced that the Los Angeles–based jeweler wanted to create a timepiece that would have […]

Boating: Toy Box

When designing the 248-foot Anastasia, Sam Sorgiovanni started belowdecks and worked upward. “The owners are very active people, and they wanted to focus on water sports,” says the designer, whose firm is based in Fremantle, Australia. “So we essentially started with the tender garage and lazaret to accommodate a small navy of tenders and water […]

Golf: Africa Extreme

To play the Extreme 19th, a bonus hole at South Africa’s new Legend Golf & Safari Resort, you take a helicopter to the peak of a red-hued sandstone mountain. The tee box at the top affords a view of the 54,000-acre Entabeni Safari Conservancy—and the 1,200-foot vertical drop to the green. This spectacular par 3 […]

Sport: Custom Fit

On opening day at Core Performance Center, a new health club in Santa Monica, Calif., trainer Sarah Cahill apologized for the awkward pace she had asked me to maintain during an eight-minute treadmill test designed to measure cardiovascular fitness. “Tomorrow we’re moving forward with new protocol,” Cahill assured me. “We’ll calculate your exact pace beforehand […]

Dining: Sipping into Reverse

To the restaurant’s other diners, everything at our table no doubt appears in order. The crystal sparkles, the damask tablecloth is immaculate, and the sommelier hovers nearby. We look like just another happy couple about to enjoy a memorable evening at Daniel Boulud’s Restaurant Daniel, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. And indeed we are. However, […]

Spirits: Drink Fresh

Beer, wine, spirits—you name it, Michael Sherwood can brew, ferment, or distill it. (He also knows how to clear a forest, catch salmon, and write computer code.) Sherwood, a 55-year-old former logger, fisherman, and software developer, was the founding executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild in the 1990s. He now works in the cellar […]

Smoke: A New Twist

The unusual shape of the culebra invites conversation—or at least questions—about the cigar and exactly how one smokes it. The culebra is actually three cigars in one, a trio of long, thin panatelas that a torcedor twists together, like strands of a rope, while the tobacco is still moist and pliable. But we caution against […]

Art: All About Yves

Yves Saint Laurent turned fashion into art not only through his work as one of the 20th century’s greatest couturiers, but also by spending the earnings from his fashion empire to amass an exceptional art collection. He accomplished it all with his business partner, Pierre Bergé, who for many years was also his life partner. […]

Wardrobe: Rare Hair

When the Canadian Arctic begins to thaw in the spring, dozens of Inuvialuit, one of the region’s indigenous peoples, scour the tundra for the downy underwool known as qiviuk (pronounced kiv-ee-uck) that is shed by the native musk ox. More closely related to the goat than to the ox, this brawny bovid has survived in […]

Jewelry: Storied Treasures

A dark, cavernous main floor; a stark white salon festooned with ostrich feathers; illuminated cracked-glass walls; and kaleidoscopic light shows emanating from the windows at night are not features one associates with the typically more staid jewelry houses on New York’s Madison Avenue—particularly one as venerable as Parisian jeweler Mauboussin. But the 181-year-old company’s eye-catching five-story […]

Wheels: Back to Cali

Ferrari traditionally names its automobiles after members of the Ferrari family and Italian locales: the Dino, the Enzo, the Maranello, and the Modena, for example. The Italian sports car manufacturer rarely deviates from these naming conventions, except perhaps when it honors its long-standing love affair with California. In 1957, Ferrari created the now-classic 250 GT […]

The Robb Reader: Laurence Graff

At a London auction in December, Laurence Graff—the founder of Graff Diamonds International—paid about $25 million for the 300-year-old Wittelsbach diamond, a 35.56-carat grayish-blue stone once owned by King Philip IV of Spain. That it was Graff who ultimately acquired the stone surprised no one. The 70-year-old diamond dealer and art collector is among the […]

2009 Reader’s Choice: Covey of Classics

A small league of automobile purists waits all year to convene at Quail Lodge in Monterey County’s Carmel Valley for the annual Quail Rally. Then, for three exalted days each August, these 30 collectors—many of them loyal Robb Report readers—hurtle through the morning mist along some of California’s most sinuous roads, piloting cars that have […]

2009 Reader’s Choice: Collective Wisdom

Nick Stellino, a Los Angeles–based television chef, author, and marketing consultant, speaks with obvious relish about the “structure and flow” of timepieces, and compares them to evolving forms of architecture. “What I like to see,” he says, “is the signature of a human being rather than the industrial feeling one often finds in modern watches.” […]

2009 Reader’s Choice: Chosen Vintages

As Wolfgang Puck makes his customary evening rounds of the dining room at Spago in Beverly Hills, Calif., the members of our party glance up from the formidable palisade of crystal wine glasses before us. “Here comes Wolf,” someone says. “Do you think he’s coming over?” another asks. “Well, if he sees what we’ve got […]

2009 Reader’s Choice: First Picks

Swimming Pool: Hôtel du Cap Eden-Roc In 1914, the management at the Hôtel du Cap Eden-Roc had a saltwater swimming pool carved into a cliff at this resort on France’s Cap d’Antibes. Over the years, the body of water, like the hotel itself, attracted such luminaries as Rita Hayworth, Ernest Hemingway, and Sidney Poitier. Today […]