The Ultimate Home 2009


Grand Openings: New hotels in Boston, Las Vegas, Arizona & Andalusia. Plus, Mercedes' AMG driving academy, taking on the world's most challenging track. Also, Cadillac's new CTS-V, the fastest production sedan on the street.

From This Issue

From the Editors: Architects of Fate

A house inevitably expresses the personality of its owner—for better or worse. This year’s Ultimate Home (see “Taking Shapes,” page 78), a dramatic yet welcoming space flooded with natural light, makes a case for the congenial character of its occupants. However, another ultimate Southern California address, 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, casts rather a […]

Jewelry: Music to the Eyes

“Jewelry should be like a melody,” says classical-cellist-turned-designer Anna Hu. “It should move gracefully with curvatures, dangling drops, and a beautiful finish.” That the 32-year-old’s two passions should inform one another is natural; yet Hu never deliberately chose to transfer her talents from string and bow to stone and precious metal. Rather, the career change […]

Dining: Amused Bouches

Standing at the edge of Tivoli Gardens—the 19th-century amusement park in Copenhagen that inspired Disneyland—one begins to understand why a recent U.S. study named Denmark the happiest country in the world. Happier still are those fortunate few who have the pleasure of being guests at the Gardens’ 13-suite Nimb hotel: Directly below them, on the […]

Spas: Making Sense

Every visit to a Sense spa begins with tea. At Rosewood Mayakobá, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coast, arriving guests drink chaya tea with lemon juice. Attendants at the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in Manhattan, offer spa-goers a strawberry-and-mint-infused concoction. And at CordeValle, a Rose­wood Resort in Northern California, a self-serve bar in the tea lounge […]

Travel: Floridian Flourish

As she hurries through pecky cypress–encased hallways at the Brazilian Court hotel, Leslie Schlesinger rattles off orders and queries to Leticia Bilotta: “Get that drape fixed!” “That cushion needs to be regraphed!” “Is it cold in here?” Bilotta, the hotel’s general manager, nods in agreement with Schlesinger, who owns the fabled property in Palm Beach, […]

Golf: Swinging to the Oldies

Without the bam of a Big Bertha behind it, my drive on the 602-yard, par-5 seventh hole at the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course falls 70 yards shorter than it normally would. My ball lands on the fairway, but it takes me two more strokes—one with the Spoon and the other with the Jigger—to get […]

Wine: Message in a Bottle

At an early age, Michael Mondavi learned from his grandfather Cesare to listen to vineyards. He recalls that he was about 12 years old when Cesare—who, with his sons Robert and Peter, purchased Napa Valley’s Charles Krug winery in 1943—stopped him during a walk through one of the vineyards, reached down to take up a […]

Boating: American Beauty

It would be easy to mistake a Lazzara express yacht for a European import. Beyond the Italian name, these boats have the same sleek hull lines, curvilinear superstructures, and aggressive bows as the latest offerings from European manufacturers like Riva, Azimut, and Sunseeker. “When customers hear our boats are designed in Florida, they don’t believe […]

Autos: V for Vendetta

Know your enemy. The age-old warfare strategy defined the development of Cadillac’s all-new CTS-V sport sedan. “The team that worked on this particular V-series model stayed focused on the BMW M5,” says Chris Berube, lead development engineer for the CTS-V. “We really wanted to make a car that put up better numbers than the M5.” […]

Home Electronics: Wizard if Aahs

When William Phelps’ rear-projection TV broke in the late 1970s, he figured he could fix it as well as anyone could, if not better. “The picture didn’t look as good as it did when the set was new,” recalls Phelps, who worked as a systems programmer for IBM for 30 years. “I asked the manufacturer […]

Art: Horse Sense

Born on the day of the 75th Kentucky Derby (the winning Thoroughbred was called Ponder), artist Deborah Butterfield has turned a love of horses into an artistic obsession. “That’s my formal excuse—the Kentucky Derby,” she says. “But truly, the first thing I saw that mattered to me was a horse. Suddenly there was something really […]

Antiques: You Must Remember This

Can Los Angeles—a youth-obsessed metropolis where erasing the signs of aging is a full-time job for many—love what is old? Judging from the past success of the Los Angeles Antiques Show, an annual Wednesday-through-Sunday event held at Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar, the answer is an unequivocal yes. “Los Angeles is a city of creative […]

Taking Shapes

Open Architecture | From the beginning of the 32-month design-and-build process for this 32,000-square-foot home in Palm Desert, Calif., the primary goal of the homeowners—a couple in their 70s who divide their time between Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and California’s Coachella Valley—was to create a structure that would meld into its mountainous surroundings. Prominently situated on […]

Lord of the ’Ring

Armco barriers, tarmac, candy cane–colored rumble strips, and towering oak trees rushed at me as I plunged the Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG into the Fuchsröhre, or Foxhole. I squeezed the gas pedal, and the car bellowed as it approached 130 mph. Gravity and a 518 hp V-8 engine combined to slingshot the car toward the […]

Underground Movements

In late 2002, the Swiss watch industry buzzed with rumors that ETA, a division of the Swatch Group and the supplier of movements to a host of companies, would soon restrict deliveries. Swatch chairman Nicolas Hayek publicly declared that such a move would encourage creativity and independence in the industry. At that time, however, executives […]

Men of the Cloth

Somewhere in the Altai Mountains of Outer Mongolia, Pier Luigi Loro Piana and an army of rifle-toting security guards have reached their destination. Their caravan of jeeps has traveled for 15 hours along dirt roads from the village of Dadal, just north of the country’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. It is an arduous drive, but Loro Piana, […]

Time: Enamel Magnetism

With the bang of a gavel at a 2002 Antiquorum sale in Geneva, a Patek Philippe platinum World Time watch sold for $4,026,524—the highest price paid for a vintage (pre-1990) wristwatch at auction. The model, which displays the times of 24 time zones, is distinguished by its bezel engraved with world locations. In the late […]

Home Entertainment: Central Intelligence

If it is not the valedictorian of the latest class of smart phones, then Apple’s iPhone is at least the most popular, and, accordingly, its capabilities are well publicized and well ?documented. Essentially, with its Internet and e-mail functions, the device enables you to remain connected to the world when you are away from your […]

The Robb Reader: David Linley

In 1985, when Viscount David Linley founded the London-based furniture-design firm that bears his name, he wanted to rattle some cages. “At that time, the industry was making things that could be thrown away; I wanted to make things that would be lasting,” he recently told Robb Report. Today, in addition to overseeing his firm, […]