The 2012 Ultimate Home


Art Deco dream, Jazz Age Paris inspires a 21st-Century Palace. Plus, prized Packards, multimillion-dollar models flaunt the automaker's art. Also, Grand Openings - new destinations in China, Florida, and California.

From This Issue

Aviation: Alternative Approach

Count XOJet among the private-aviation companies that appear to have moved past the economic crisis. Indeed, the San Francisco–based charter provider, which has been in business since 2006, seems to be thriving. XOJet reports that its revenues grew by 40 percent from 2010 to 2011. Last year, it increased its U.S. fleet size from 24 […]

Frontrunners: RM Auctions

Carlo Saltarelli has raced, test-ridden, and—through his dealership—sold Ducati motorcycles. He also has collected them, amassing a cache of 100 vintage and rare racing and road bikes over the last three decades. Those machines will be offered May 11 during RM Auctions’ Monaco sale (, a two-day event to be held at the principality’s Grimaldi […]

FrontRunners: Fourth and Longer

Vicem Yachts’ newest design bests the formerly largest yacht in the Turkish builder’s Classic Flybridge series by three feet of hull length and one passenger cabin. The 75-foot Vicem 75 Flybridge (, which has a starting price of about $4 million, can be configured with four staterooms (or three, like its 72-foot predecessor) and can […]

FrontRunners: Mother of Pearls

Elisa Browsh collected the one-of-kind cultured pearls featured in her Elyria Cat Street collection ( over the last three years, searching for unusual specimens to sell through her import business. Browsh saved the most remarkable examples for these jewelry designs, which are priced from $1,200 to about $12,000. The $5,500 Anatolia necklace shown at right […]

FrontRunners: Drop a Line

Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, which first found success in the mid-1800s manufacturing marine chronometers, celebrated its nautical heritage by collaborating with Italian pen maker Visconti on a recently released writing instrument. The barrel of the Visconti for Ulysse Nardin ( is crafted from royal-blue resin that matches the color that appears on many of the […]

FrontRunners: A Four-door with Flair

Porschephiles seeking to maximize their four-door fun will welcome the Porsche Panamera GTS (, which is due to arrive in the United States by April and is priced from $110,000. The all-wheel-drive GTS sedan is based on the Panamera 4S, but it sits lower and has a wider rear track, and its naturally aspirated 4.8-liter […]

FrontRunners: What Lies Beneath

A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar ( might be the German brand’s most discreet high-complication watch. With a hidden tourbillon cage, a large digital date display, and an inconspicuous month indicator on the dial’s perimeter, the watch is nearly a dead ringer for the simpler Lange 1. But the platinum version, priced […]

FrontRunners: Pedal with Panache

Gucci has collaborated with the world’s oldest bike maker to create the Bianchi by Gucci bicycle ( Riders can choose between the white steel, single-speed model for $6,200 and the matte black, carbon-fiber 11-speed for $14,000. Both come with leather saddles and leather handgrips and display the red-and-green Gucci crest on their frames. Matching accessories […]

FrontRunners: Wheels of Fortune

Cheese from Abruzzo, Italy, is rare enough in the United States, but the handmade pecorinos and aged ricottas imported by New Jersey’s Marcelli Formaggi (and sold through its Abruzzo Pantry retail operation, are true discoveries. Co-owner Bob Marcelli sources his cheeses from a cousin’s organic farm in Abruzzo. There the cheeses are made from […]

FrontRunners: Rest Assured

Skip the transatlantic crossing and pursue perfect sleep closer to home: Savoir Beds (, the London maker of tailor-made mattresses, has opened stores in New York’s SoHo neighborhood and Miami, and plans to open a third U.S. location, in Los Angeles, later this year. (Savoir beds have had a loyal following since 1905, when Richard […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Established in 1956, Pied­montese wine producer Michele Chiarlo is a relative newcomer in comparison to such notable neighbors as Giacomo Conterno, which was founded sometime in the 17th century. Yet its eponymous owner has championed the rigorous fruit selection and exacting cellar practices that yield the superior wines for which Piedmont is renowned today. Chiarlo […]

Wardrobe: Jean Therapy

Of all the wardrobe essentials, the perfect pair of jeans is, oddly, the most elusive. Few men understand that as well as Scott Morrison, a fashion entrepreneur who has established and sold two successful denim brands, Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn. Now Morrison has opened 3×1, a denim boutique in Manhattan that is dedicated […]

Spas: Getting Even

Tense flights, knotty security lines, nagging electronic devices: By the time travelers arrive at a destination, they are less in need of pampering than they are desperate for an antidote to travel itself. Georgi Akirov, an Israeli hotelier, has a vision for spas—a concept that provides relief and more, restoring the modern traveler in body, […]

Motorcycles: Just Your Type

Long, low, and a little rough around the edges, the Zero Engineering Type 9 soft tail is a stirring antidote to mass-produced motorcycles. Its design combines traditional bobber and chopper elements with discreet modern components.   Zero Engineering, a boutique Japanese manufacturer and custom builder that has been operating for two decades, constructs the bike’s […]

Collectibles: Rising with the Tide

Craig Sopin assumed the upcoming 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic would boost demand for the ocean liner’s memorabilia—even more than did the discovery of the wreck in 1985 or the release of the film Titanic in 1997. (Experts generally agree that the latter generated more interest in the ship than did the former.) […]

Home Electronics: Just Add Music

Like most audiophiles, Angel Guadalajara has always had a love of live music. But as an electronics and acoustic engineer, he has also been obsessed with faithfully reproducing the experience at home, an obsession that the Spaniard passed down to his son and business partner, Javier. “My father has a very deep passion to feel […]

Autos: Great Dane

Fast as the Zenvo ST1 is—”ridiculously fast,” says Jesper Jensen, cofounder of Zenvo Automotive, the Danish company that builds the 233 mph supercar—it could be even faster. But Jensen had other priorities when he and automotive engineer and business partner Troels Vollersten began developing the ST1 eight years ago. “Most important is the design,” says […]

Boating: In the Stars

John Paul Dejoria likes to hit the road in his 1957 Chevy Bel Air and ride the tracks in his private 1927 American Car and Foundry Company railcar. So when the owner of Paul Mitchell Hair Systems and the Patrón Spirits Company (see “The Robb Reader,” page 144) decided it was time for a boat, […]

Golf: Father of Pearl

At 86, golf architect Pete Dye is still in full swing. The energetic octogenarian has a half dozen new projects in Latin America alone, most in conjunction with his son Perry. The duo’s latest collaboration, the Black Pearl, opened last year as the cornerstone of Pristine Bay, a sparkling resort community on Honduras’s Roatán Island. […]

Spirits: Spirituous Revival

Records may stand for a period of time, but they never endure. This knowledge may have traveled southward with Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, who, in 1907, led an expedition from England to Antarctica aboard Nimrod, in hopes of being the first man to reach the South Pole. This attempt was his second: In 1901, he […]

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

A 15-minute drive up Collins Avenue from the lively scene in South Beach, Bal Harbour blossomed in the 1960s with the debut of the now-famous Bal Harbour Shops. The Shops complex remains the heart of this upscale, low-key community, which in January welcomed a suitably exclusive new neighbor.   Set just across the street from […]

Tamarind of London

Tamarind is the longest-running Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in London, having earned its first star in 2001. Now it finally has its first outpost—in Newport Beach, Calif. Navin Khanna, one of Tam­arind’s owners and a frequent visitor to New­port Beach, spent $3 million on the restaurant’s 145-seat interior, where raised booths, dark woods, and flashes of […]

Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa

Sipping white-jasmine tea in the Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa’s lounge, you might think nothing has changed in China. The lounge—housed in a more than 500-year-old Ming dynasty mansion on the shores of Don Qian Lake—evokes an ancient world with its historic setting and serene water views. Of course, China has changed drastically in […]

Packard’s Twin Peaks

When a 1932 Packard Twin Six custom convertible sold for $1.1 million last summer during RM Auctions’ St. John’s sale in Michigan, the car’s provenance no doubt influenced its price as much as its rarity did. The Twin Six was one of only two examples that Packard built, and it was delivered new to Al […]

The Robb Reader: John Paul DeJoria

Growing up in Los Angeles as a child of immigrants, John Paul DeJoria sold greeting cards and delivered newspapers to help support his family. After serving in the United States Navy, he worked several jobs—from driving a tow truck to pumping gas—before launching a hair-care business with his late friend Paul Mitchell. John Paul Mitchell […]

Leisure: Hot Spots

Although men may have smoked together since the first tobacco leaves were rolled and torched with fire, the proper cigar lounge was a 19th-century invention. Indeed, in spite of Queen Victoria’s disapproval of tobacco, it became a cherished ritual for like-minded gentlemen to bond over snifters and cigars in a well-appointed space. The tradition blazed […]

Serious Indulgence

Western Front | Of all the new properties considered by the editors for Robb Report’s 2012 Ultimate Home award, one exceptional residence—a 22,000-square-foot Italian-style limestone villa in Beverly Hills—was overwhelmingly determined to be most worthy of this year’s distinction. The creators of the seven-bedroom house, which was completed in October of last year, include a […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Etched in Time

These beer glasses from Saint-Louis ( recall the 425-year-old French manufacturer’s early-19th-century designs. Yet close inspection reveals that the Les Confidents series also represents a modern—even avant-garde—interpretation of the company’s traditional wares. The glasses explore not only the relationship between old and new, but also the interplay of softness and rigidity, as seen in the […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Baby Bluebird

1957 Ford Thunderbird Marketed by Ford as a “personal car,” the two-seat Thunderbird arrived at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show as a challenge to Chevrolet’s year-old sports car, the Corvette, offering a 292 cu in V-8 that one-upped the ’Vette’s anemic straight-6 Blue Flame. The first-generation T-Bird—model years 1955 through 1957—evolved by its final year […]

Endless Winter

World-record holder Mark Jones just made a rookie mistake. Already too far down a powdery chute, he attaches skins to the bottoms of his skis and begins to climb the slope he descended moments before. The 55-year-old guide moves quickly, steadily up the steep incline, his fluorescent snow pants swishing back and forth like a […]

Travel: The Fisher King

Though residents of Fisher Island Club will tell you otherwise, the cockatiels and macaws in the resort’s aviary are not squawking “My island for your boat.” That was, however, the deal cut by Carl Fisher in 1925, when he bartered his Florida private island for The Eagle, a 250-foot yacht owned by William Vanderbilt II—a […]