The Insider’s Las Vegas


A turbocharged tour of the Strip in Bugatti's $2 million Veyron roadster and Top Picks: ultimate hotel suites, unique eateries, great golf & more. Plus, rare handcrafted timepieces, brilliant jewelry from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & others. Also, Grand Openings: new destinations in Bali, Baja California, and India.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Ann Colgin

How long has wine been a part of your life? I was born in Waco, Texas, but my father was a lover of the great things in life. I remember driving to Louisiana in our baby-blue Cadillac with the big fins. We would go to restaurants—Galatoire’s and Antoine’s and all those traditional old places. My […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Car Shark

1970 Monteverdi Hai 450SS Swiss automobile manufacturer Peter Monteverdi introduced his mid-engine masterpiece, the Hai, at the 1970 Geneva Auto Show. He established his company in 1967 as a maker of refined, exclusive GT cars designed to cross the Continent, yet this low-slung two-seater—its name is German for “shark”—also took aim at supercar contemporaries like […]

Robb Design Portfolio: In Stitches

A 2,500-year-old art captures a photographer’s work. After missing a chance to purchase a silk embroidery in 1998, Michelle Lund, a granddaughter of Walt Disney, commissioned the most elaborate artwork ever attempted by the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute, which was founded in 1957 as a collective of China’s best artisans. The piece, titled Can’t See […]

FrontRunners: Spyder in the Grass

Dutch automaker Spyker Cars unveiled its latest convertible model in August at the 59th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Displayed on the show’s concept lawn, the first preproduction Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder ( wore a coat of shiny silver paint and a bright-orange semiautomatic ragtop, which retracts to reveal Spkyer’s handcrafted leather interior. The production […]

FrontRunners: DeWitt Minute Repeater

The DeWitt Minute Repeater Tourbillon GMT Antipode ( combines traditional high complication with utilitarian functions such as a second time-zone display. It is also a watch that might spend as much time in your hands as it does on your wrist. To see the second time zone on this double-sided watch—released by DeWitt in May at […]

FrontRunners: Très Bien

Blancpain, the Swiss watchmaker founded in 1735, has collaborated with 27-year-old Canadian pen maker Grayson Tighe once again to produce a line of writing instruments. The new Grayson Tighe Blancpain Edition Series 3 ( comprises a fountain pen ($5,200) with an 18-karat gold nib and a rollerball pen ($4,800), both made by Tighe in a […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

In many ways, Quinta do Vesuvio is the seat of fine winemaking in Portugal’s Douro Valley, the heart of one of the world’s oldest designated appellations, the Porto region, which was defined in 1756. Yet, despite its diverse soils and undulating hills with distinct microclimates, the property’s remote setting deterred prospective vintners until 1823, when […]

The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur

Contemporary design meets royal Rajasthan at the Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur, an 80-room resort on the banks of northwestern India’s Lake Pichola. Opened in October, the Leela affords views of the lake (and of the marble-walled Taj Lake Palace hotel in the middle of it) from every room. Corbel arches and grand domes accent the […]

Charlie Palmer

The reincarnation of Charlie Palmer’s Manhattan flagship restaurant, Aureole, includes a display of 3,500 wine bottles in a vaulted mezzanine above the bar. Palmer—who moved his 20-year-old bastion of fine dining from its original townhouse location into a new glass-encased space at One Bryant Park—selected the James Beard Foundation’s 2005 Rising Star Chef winner, Christopher […]

Alila Villas Uluwatu

In June—two months after the Bali provincial administration placed a temporary moratorium on permits for new hotel construction—Alila Villas Uluwatu opened on the island’s Bukit Peninsula. The resort comprises 84 spacious villas (made from local materials), three restaurants, and a spa with five treatment villas, all nestled into a cliff-top landscape of limestone and native […]

Capella Pedregal

Few places on Earth have as dense a concentration of first-rate resorts as Mexico’s Los Cabos corridor. This stretch at the tip of Baja California, which connects the towns of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, is home to the ultraromantic Las Ventanas al Paraíso, the enchanting cliff-top hideaway Esperanza, and the classic, […]

Collectibles: Bound in Tradition

At the conclusion of July’s G8 summit meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, the Italian government gave each of the heads of state in attendance a numbered copy of Antonio Canova: L’invenzione della bellezza (“The invention of beauty”). Commissioned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, the handmade books chronicle the life’s work of Canova (1757–1822), a […]

Watches: TAG, You’re It

Of the scores of concept watches introduced with great fanfare over the past few years, many have never actually functioned as advertised. The ambitious and unorthodox Monaco V4 prototype that TAG Heuer unveiled in 2004 is perhaps the most conspicuous of these. Collectors and industry watchers have waited impatiently for the company to bring this […]

Autos: Power Trip

Pedigree automobiles are blessed with personalities that define their motoring character better than any badge, grille, or beautifully tailored silhouette can. Jaguars and Bentleys are haughty. Lamborghinis are lusty. Mercedes-Benz builds plodders. Ferraris combine ferocity with a finely developed feminine side. Aston Martins are about noisy power with elegant coarseness and mildly irritable handling that […]

Jewelry: Wander Lust

When Louis Vuitton appointed Lorenz Bäumer artistic director of its fine-jewelry division late last year, the choice proved a serendipitous one. Although Bäumer’s reputation as one of the most influential independent jewelers won him the honor of creating the French fashion house’s first high-jewelry collection, he brought to the project personal experience that made him […]

Boating: Embracing Change

Less than a decade ago, many express cruisers designed by American companies had straight hull lines, reverse-facing radar arches, and interiors that resembled crawl spaces rather than spacious waterfront suites. Though these homegrown vessels performed well, they looked downright square when compared with sleeker and sexier imports from Italy and the United Kingdom. Today, at […]

Wine: Taking Route

As with the rich and mighty, with the red grape of Burgundy, vintners must exercise a little patience. The finicky and thin-skinned varietal is notorious for its susceptibility to the vagaries of disease and weather. Yet in spite of its temperamental tendencies, it is the most beloved fruit of the vine among enthusiasts and those […]

Golf: Shaping Up

Henry-Griffitts is widely credited with inventing—or at least advancing exponentially—the practice of custom-fitting clubs to individual players and their swing characteristics. Though long a favorite among professionals and low handicappers, the Henry-Griffitts brand has remained below the radar of more casual players. The low profile was fine with its founders—a pair of teaching pros who […]

Home: Wonder Walls

Upholstering a wall with small rectangular sheets of mother-of-pearl or with millions of shimmering glass beads might seem more extravagant than tasteful—but not to designer Maya Romanoff. The 68-year-old founder of the eponymous furnishings-and-surfacing-materials company views his unusual wall coverings as an art form. Romanoff’s latest dazzler is Ajiro Sunburst with Crystallized Swarovski Elements (starting […]

Journeys: Bermuda Buy Angle

On the night of January 16, 1939, the captain of the Greek cargo steamer Pelinaion decided to make an unscheduled stop at the island of Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. He and his crew were ferrying a full load of iron and manganese ore from West Africa to Baltimore, Md., and they needed to refuel […]

Wheels: Dutch Treat

At first glance, the Spyker C8 Aileron may inspire conflicting emotions among those with an affinity for modern supercars. Accustomed to the sleek but relatively unadorned appearance of the Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Diablo, they might consider the Aileron’s extroverted styling and abundance of “jewelry”—polished rings frame the prominent air intakes, and bright mesh coverings […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: French Class

Driving on Las Vegas Boulevard in the 2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport—the roadster version of the French automaker’s record-breaking supercar—I find it impossible to ignore the camera flashes, pointing fingers, and unsolicited remarks. As Butch Leitzinger (Bugatti’s official test pilot for North America) and I enter this final stretch of Robb Report’s Los Angeles–to–Las […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Suite Dreams

From basketball courts to bowling alleys, 20-person hot tubs to rotating beds, Las Vegas hotel suites are in a never-ending arms race of outrageous amenities. But the city’s finest accommodations are, at least in relative terms, a bit more discreet. Following are four of the best options for discriminating Vegas visitors. The three-bedroom duplex Apartments […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Grand Illusion

The secrets contained within the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts merit that the 40,000-square-foot warehouse just off the Las Vegas Strip is closed to the general public. On the museum’s first floor is the Hall of Masters, a space lined with costumes, props, posters, and photographs arranged by magician. Beginning downstairs with […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Come Dine with Me

Few renowned chefs about to open a restaurant under their own moniker would be enthusiastic about a last-minute renaming of the establishment. But Theo Schoenegger was. He had been lured away from the plum position of executive chef at Los Angeles’ Patina to create an Italian restaurant, tentatively named Theo’s, for Encore, Steve Wynn’s latest […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Sparkle and Shine

When a Michelin three-star French chef and a venerable Champagne house collaborate, you would expect the result to be sublime. The recently opened Krug Room at Restaurant Guy Savoy in the Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino does not disappoint in its marriage of these Gallic classics. An evening at the Krug Room begins […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Private Practice

Offering a rare respite on the Strip, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas is refreshingly free of frills—an atmosphere in line with this exclusive non-gaming hotel’s philosophy. The spa’s therapists are among the best in the city, as are its treatments, which include Raindrop, a massage that entails drops of essential oils being […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Slim City

The Canyon Ranch Grill at the Palazzo Resort might just be the healthiest place in Las Vegas. The restaurant, helmed by the Canyon Ranch company’s veteran chef James Boyer, uses largely organic ingredients; lists the calorie, fat, and fiber counts for each dish on the menu; and even makes its own secret-recipe, no-guilt sodas. And […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Talk of the Town

Nearly every new development in Las Vegas has a theme, but there is nothing contrived about CityCenter. If anything, this ambitious and highly anticipated project is simply intended as a modern city. The property—a 67-acre collection of glass-and-steel structures sandwiched between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotels—opened in stages from late 2009 through 2010. The […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Big Deal

Everyone knows about the World Series of Poker, the game’s most public stage, where main-event buy-ins begin at $10,000. But the poker world’s most competitive—and financially exclusive—forum is the Big Game at the Bellagio resort. Just ask Andy Beal, a banker who in 2004 lost an estimated $15 million in the Big Game. Said to […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: High-Speed Rollers

Although Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch is not in Las Vegas—the facility sits 60 miles west of the Strip—this automotive oasis is well worth the drive. The 193-acre property is the only private motorsports country club in the southwestern United States. Its exclusive driving-club facility, called Club Spring Mountain, features a challenging 3.5-mile track, 80 single- […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Best Bets: Write On

The 18 glass display cases fused into the facade of the boutique are prime real estate for penmakers. Every day numerous passersby outside the Wynn Las Vegas Tower Suites behold limited-edition specimens from such manufacturers as Krone, Faber-Castell, Montblanc, Omas, and David Oscarson. Many of the window-shoppers may not appreciate the display’s contents, but […]

Cape Crusader

It is a balmy June afternoon at Delaire, Laurence Graff’s lush, 100-acre vineyard property in Stellenbosch, on South Africa’s Western Cape. The grand opening is just a few days away, but the billionaire jeweler’s latest creation remains a work in progress. The driveway is muddy with landscaping projects, and, inside, chairs and tables are sheathed […]

Cape Crusader: In and Around Town

Cape Town, South Africa, is often described as the best-kept secret in the realm of travel. If it is a secret, however, it will soon be exposed. Next year, from June 11 through July 11, the world’s most-watched sporting event—the FIFA World Cup—will take place in 10 different venues across South Africa, and the TV […]

Insider’s Las Vegas: Just Desert

A third-generation Las Vegan planning to build a home for his wife, son, and daughter took inspiration from Nevada’s desert landscape. In doing so, he sidestepped the architectural zest of Sin City and created instead a calm, contemporary abode. The family’s new domicile—named Promontory for its location on the brow of the Red Rock Mountains—is […]

Smoke Dreams

The gloomy global economic environment has not deterred cigar enthusiasts from pursuing the perfect premium smoke. In fact, the glow of a good cigar, accompanied by a snifter of spirit, can brighten even the dourest day on Wall Street. This is true any time of year. But particularly during the holidays, the pleasures of hand-rolled […]

Return Engagement

Only a decade ago, it appeared that watchmakers skilled in the traditional arts of engraving and enameling would go the way of the dodo bird. At a time when consumers craved complications and mechanical wizardry, young watch designers expressed little interest in learning the painstaking techniques required to craft designs that many collectors of mechanical […]