The Season’s Essentials


Our Ultimate Guide to Giving and Entertaining

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Seduced By Casa Nova

If, as Hotel Bauer proprietor Francesca Bortolotto Possati says, “the lobby of the Bauer is the living room of Venice,” then the new Casa Nova (+39.041.520.7022, is its secluded guesthouse. A five-minute walk from its older sibling, the converted 16th-century residence includes 19 guest rooms and suites ($260–$950) that evoke the Renaissance era—despite the […]

Collectibles: Model Citizen

On a sunny summer afternoon in Camden, Maine, artist Rob Eddy watches the pleasure boats glide by the town yacht club, where he is having lunch on a lawn near the clubhouse that overlooks the harbor. “Do you see that blue one there?” he asks, pointing to Anjacaa, a powder blue–hulled, 53-foot Palmer Johnson yacht […]

FrontRunners: Seeing The Light

As part of the recent $40 million overhaul of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel (, 949.240.2000), interior designer Pam Anderson moved the property’s formal crystal chandelier from the main lobby to the fitness room. She also covered the wood paneling in the lobby and hallways with white paint and replaced dated green window shutters in the […]

Appliances: Uncommon Cold

In 1945, two years after he built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wis., home, Westye Bakke launched the Sub-Zero Freezer Co. Sixty years later, the Madison-based kitchen appliances business, under the direction of Bakke’s grandson James, continues to advance the science and style of food preservation. Its new Pro 48 […]

Travel: Romancing the Stone

In the evening, on the moonlit terrace of the Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort’s Imperial Suite, your gaze becomes inextricably fixed upon the silvery slab of granite rising from the earth below. Indeed, the imposing outcropping has demanded attention since the Stone Age, when early inhabitants of what is now western Portugal performed their […]

Spas: Into Africa

When Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, tapped Rosalia Cranfield to serve as the director of the spa it was planning to open, she welcomed the opportunity to create “something private and beautiful that would also tell the healing story of South Africa,” she says.   Before unveiling the spa in November 2003, […]

Journeys: Legends of Langkawi

“Allow me to tell you about Langkawi,” requests my driver after he has deduced—perhaps because I have my face pressed against the window of his taxi—that I am a newcomer to his native isles. “We are a land of many legends.”   Outside, a band of women on scooters, their sarongs and head scarves flapping […]

From The Editors: Strange Food For Thought

The English have strange tastes. I offer as proof an episode I witnessed in July at St. John restaurant in Smithfield, which lies in the northwest section of London and has served as the scene for such diverse activities as jousting, public executions, the burning of heretics, and the boiling in oil of forgers; fittingly, […]

Contributors: Vintage Photos & Timely Observations

Robb Report readers should need no introduction to the work of photographer Randall Cordero, who operates Cordero Studios in Woodland Hills, Calif. His relationship with CurtCo Media, the magazine’s parent company, spans more than 15 years and continues with this issue’s annual “Holiday Host Guide”, for which he provided the images that accompany our wine, […]

FrontRunners: Trunk De Blancs

The new champagne trunk from the house of Krug (212.251.8436, promises to be the toast of itinerant imbibers. Each of the 30 limited edition, calfskin-wrapped, 3-by-2-by-1-foot walnut cases ($45,000), which Parisian leather goods maker Pinel & Pinel created for Krug, comes with three bottles of Krug Grande Cuvée and accessories that include a François […]

FrontRunners: Elements of an Epic

As the tools of toiling writers, the pen and bottle have enjoyed a long, and oftentimes fruitful, relationship. Perhaps in acknowledgment of this collaborative effort, penmaker Montblanc (800.995.4810, has composed a new collection of wine accessories. The Sommelier Corkscrew ($260) is the line’s centerpiece, a diminutive wine opener with an inlaid wood handle and […]

FrontRunners: Tea Timing

Peter Hewitt has journeyed great lengths for a cup, but the founder of Tea Forte (800. 721.1149, need only travel next door to harvest leaves for his line of teas. Before launching his Shanghai-based business last year, Hewitt spent months visiting teahouses throughout Japan. “During tea ceremony, everything slows down,” he says of Japanese […]

FrontRunners: Taking It Slow

David LeFevre did not make a big splash as the new executive chef at downtown Los Angeles’ Water Grill (213.891.0900). Instead, Charlie Trotter’s former executive sous chef eased into the role so he could earn the trust of the seafood restaurant’s longtime patrons and, says the amiable 33-year-old, of his staff. “I wanted to show them […]

Dining: Flooding the Market

In his own way, Michael Mascha is trying to turn water into wine. On his web site,, Mascha, a 47-year-old anthropologist from Los Angeles, discusses the hundreds of waters bottled throughout the world and how best to appreciate them, and he recently helped the Setai, a new hotel on South Beach in Miami, Fla., […]

Wine: The D.R. Is In

Flanked by her bosses at a table set for lunch, Celia Masyczek swirls her glass of 2002 D.R. Stephens Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Don and Trish Stephens observe as their winemaker raises the glass to her nose, inhales, and then takes a sip, her first of the vintage since its bottling. “You become so attached to […]

Spirits: Idol Of Islay

Although he has been a Friend of Laphroaig for more than 10 years, Harry Williams of Wolverhampton, England, made his first journey to the Islay-based distillery only last summer. With him, he carried a small, black plastic film canister filled with more than 40 metal disks—each one collected from the top of a Laphroaig bottle—which […]

2005 Holiday Host Guide: Wine: Tender Grapes

The pleasures of the table are many—as are the dangers. If excessive consumption or gout poses a physical threat to the well-being of both host and guest, then improper pairings may place their well-honed palates in peril. Our annual list of wines for the holidays eliminates most hazards from the bill of fare—except, of course, […]

2005 Holiday Host Guide: Bittersweet Dreams

There is no such thing as bad chocolate, but certainly some chocolates are better than others. For a guest looking for a distinctive thank-you gift or a host seeking an alternative to a wine-tasting party, the finer forms of chocolate are worth exploring—in particular, single-origin chocolates. Indeed, like wine, these treats can be complex and […]

2005 Holiday Host Guide: Perfect Pairings

COLD OPEN Ron Boyd, former executive chef of the Restaurant at Domaine Chandon, pairs his amuse bouche, chilled lobster with tarragon and shiso, with the Yountville, Calif., winery’s own étoile Rosé, a sparkling red blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier that has been aged for five years. “The flavors and texture in the […]

Back page: Many Are Casual, Few Are Elegant

Most of the time, says interior designer Michael Booth, a co-owner of design firm Babey Moulton Jue & Booth, he enjoys the crisp staccato sound of footsteps that echoes across the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Boston. It is the percussive signal of stiletto heels and pumps and wingtips and Gucci loafers moving across […]

2005 Holiday Host Guide: Set & Match

As these ensembles demonstrate,the juxtaposition of seemingly divergent elements—New World with Old World, classic with contemporary, wood with silver—can produce the most intriguing tableware. NEW ENGLAND MEETS OLD FRANCE The clean, simple lines of the Chino sterling flatware from Massachusetts silversmith Peter Erickson offset the intense patterns of Robert Haviland & C. Parlon’s porcelain Chateau […]

FrontRunners: Their Ame is True

Husband-and-wife team Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani have sizzled for 17 years in the kitchen at Terra, their James Beard award–winning restaurant in California’s Napa Valley. Now the chefs, who met in 1983 while working at Spago Beverly Hills, are increasing their culinary family with a second restaurant, Ame (415.284.4040), which opens in November at […]

Sport: The Art Of The Deal

When the Vietnamese woman on his right raises the pot by $400, David Sklansky folds his cards quietly and leans toward his student. “All of the players at this table are probably in the top 1,000 in the world,” the 57-year-old poker pro whispers, “except for Blue Shirt.”   Sklansky and I are sitting at […]

Golf: On Your Markers

Mitch Brinton’s new business is not overly concerned with being family-friendly. While other destination clubs battle for the affections of parents seeking to spend more quality time with their children, the Markers, a club Brinton cofounded last summer, caters to the individual obsessed with securing tee times. “Our best prospect is a guy who wants […]

FrontRunners: Regal Robes

After Savile Row loungewear maker Derek Rose (available through Nap Inc., 212.481.5000, acquired the late Duke of Windsor Edward VIII’s well-worn crimson and navy dressing gown at a Sotheby’s auction in 1998, the designer introduced a limited edition interpretation of the item with a silk tassel tie. This year, Rose launched a full line […]

FrontRunners: Indicative Design

The Indicator chronograph from Porsche Design (800.521.5152, underscores the extreme measures that watchmakers will take to incorporate a digital display into a purely mechanical timepiece. Although based on the stalwart Valjoux/ETA 7750 chronograph movement found in many watches, the Indicator includes a new base plate and three extra spring barrels to power the revolving […]

Watches: Under the Influence

Premium watch companies often resist advice, much less design input, from outside sources. But when Wempe recently suggested that the top-tier watch brands carried by the German watch and jewelry retailer create a special collection, the manufacturers listened.   Since it was established in 1878, Wempe has expanded from one to 25 stores across Germany […]

FrontRunners: Downhill Grace

Although its rhaeto-romanic name translates to “tough,” new Swiss manufacturer Zai (970.925.3203, produces skis that exhibit a gentle side. Former Völkl and Salomon designer Simon Jacomet introduced the Zai line last winter, and he claims that his skis, which are built by hand with high-tech materials such as Dyneema (a lightweight fiber used in […]

FrontRunners: Lockes And Loaded

The Lockes Diamantaires boutique (212.823.9511) in New York’s Time Warner Center is not designed to lure window shoppers. The discreet store, owned by leading diamond supplier Dynamic Diamond Corp., stows its cache of precious stones in cleverly designed desks rather than in glass display cases. Customers schedule appointments to peruse the selections and learn about […]

Wardrobe: Suit Smarts

Having spent nearly three decades establishing itself among the top manufacturers of machine-made suits, Pal Zileri began testing its mettle against the best hand-tailored clothing makers seven years ago when it introduced its Sartoriale collection. The venture initially involved procuring the finest Super wool, guanaco, and vicuña from the top fabric mills of Italy and […]

Jewelry: Restorative Power

For Nearly 25 Years, Beverly Hills jeweler Ricardo Basta has worked behind the scenes restoring and making masterpieces for Asprey and other prestigious jewelry houses. This year, the third-generation jeweler emerged from the shadows and took over his uncle’s store in Beverly Hills, Jewels by Bernier, which now features his own collection. “My jewelry is […]

Mod Squad

Rebellion is afoot in Switzerland. Rather than further venerating or even reinterpreting the well-worn motifs of the 18th century, modernist Swiss watch designers are creating their own icons using carbon fiber or exotic alloys and cases that are hard-edged and oversized. These timepieces feature dials that reveal stylized movement components, and some even incorporate the […]

Rainbow Ice

Traces of chemical elements in the earth create a full spectrum of colored diamonds—ranging from the more common shades of yellow and pink to the exceedingly rare blue and red. These elusive specimens have captivated collectors for centuries with their vivid brilliance, but today, values are skyrocketing as supplies grow even scarcer.   Featured in […]

Super Natural Beauties

A colored diamond is an astonishing anomaly; only one in a few hundred thousand diamonds might exhibit a shade of blue—from pale sky to deep violet. Rare confluences of natural phenomena—including the presence of traces of boron, nitrogen, or another chemical element during the diamonds’ formations millions of years ago—have yielded these stones in a […]

Rainbow Ice: Guidance Systems

The extraordinary value of a significant colored diamond makes expert advice an imperative when purchasing these relatively small gems. Whether buying from an auction house, diamond dealer, or retail jeweler, you should obtain a gemological certificate that verifies the stone is natural and untreated.   The value of a colored diamond depends primarily on the […]

Style: For Limited Release

A double-breasted vicuña topcoat hangs in the back room of the Gucci store on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, hidden from shoppers perusing the new collection. The $33,000 coat appeared in the Florentine design house’s fall 2005 runway show, but unlike the other garments on the catwalk, it never was intended for a mass audience; the company […]

Time: Escape Artists

Despite Swiss watch design’s dizzying rate of evolution in recent years, much of mechanical watch technology has remained stagnant. Even the dazzling new complications that represent radical departures from traditional mechanics rely on basic components that have changed little since the mid-18th century. However, a handful of progressive watch manufacturers are tinkering with these fundamental […]

Time: Splitting Hairs

The escape wheel is not the only critical regulating component in a watch, nor is it the most problematic for watch manufacturers. The hairspring—the spiral that suspends the balance wheel and controls the accuracy of its oscillations—has become the focus of intense development across the industry.   A Swatch Group–owned company, Nivarox, has held a […]

FrontRunners: Muscle-Bound Magnum

After their successful fortification of the Chrysler 300C, the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) engineers at DaimlerChrysler shifted their focus to the Dodge Magnum station wagon ( The brawny product of their invention, the 2006 Magnum SRT8 ($38,000), features enlarged bores that help raise the Hemi engine’s capacity to 6.1 liters and horsepower to 425. […]

Autos: Rising Sunset

At one time, a luxury automobile was distinguished more by the rarity of its appearance than its price. In the early part of the last century, owners of such cars often would purchase a chassis and engine from Cadillac, Rolls-Royce, or another trusted automotive engineering firm, then hire an independent coachbuilder—what in Italy is known […]

Aston Extreme

A driver judges a car, says Aston Martin chief program engineer David King, largely by how well it steers. King, then, will understand a preference for the new V8 Vantage over the DB9, even if the Vantage is, in essence, a smaller, less powerful, and considerably less expensive ($110,000 versus $157,000) version of the DB9. […]

Wheels: An Impressive Portfolio

 The audacious alloy vents along its front fenders, the 20-inch alloy wheels, the bulge flowing smartly down the middle of the hood, and the pair of ominous large-bore exhaust pipes poking out from below the rear bumper together suggest that Jaguar’s new Super V8 Portfolio is one fierce feline. This appearance is not a pose. […]

Boating: The World Is Not Enough

The residential cruise ship, a notion many had dismissed as the right idea at the wrong time, soon may become the fastest-growing sector of the luxury travel market, with the numbers of seagoing condominium complexes set to double by 2007—from one to two. Numbers aside, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ entry into the residential cruise […]

Aircraft: Fliers Club

Colorado energy company executive Alex Cranberg certainly is not the first frequent flier to complain about airplane food. But unlike most of these criticisms, his barbs are directed at the food served on private jets, not on airliners. “It’s just atrocious, generally speaking,” says Cranberg. “It’s $40 for a dried-out sandwich and a bunch of […]

Wings & Water: Charting a New Course

Prowling the deck of Star Clipper, Gary Robbins calls for volunteers to raise a sail on one of the 360-foot vessel’s four masts. Robbins’ round-lensed eyeglasses and brunet hair lend an owlish appearance to his face, but his voice is as powerful and authoritative as the roar of a lion. Like most of the rest […]

It’s All Greek to Them

When the family entered the Iraklion Archaeological Museum on Crete while vacationing one summer, they immediately fixated on the marble on the floor. Known as Red of Epidayros, the exquisite reddish brown stone laced with intricate chocolate veins would become a dominant design influence in the hillside estate they built two years ago in Newport […]

Smoke: Newman’s Own

Hannah Newman is said to have objected to her son’s rolling cigars in the family barn because it left the taste of tobacco in the preserves that she stored there. Nevertheless, “Hannah, the Boss,” as her family affectionately referred to her, helped jump-start J.C.’s business in 1895 by issuing an ultimatum to the local grocer […]

2005 Holiday Host Guide: The Big Bang

The invitations have been sent. The caterer and band have been selected. And long before the party plans were completed, arrangements were made for geysers of colored fire to erupt and blossoms of incandescence to open across the darkened sky, and for the display to culminate in a crescendo that presses the limits of the […]