Ultimate Villa Vacations


Private travel issue: Bali, Miami, Greece, St. Barts, Napa Valley & more. Plus, Africa by private jet, Audi's new R8 V-12 diesel and Britain's watchmaking boom.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Maltese Falcon

During an interview last fall with 60 Minutes, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins declined to put a price tag on the construction of his prized Maltese Falcon, the world’s largest, most technologically advanced clipper yacht. “It’s certainly less than $300 million,” he said coyly. In March, Perkins revealed the vessel’s actual value—or at least […]

FrontRunners: In the Swing

No one who has seen Jack Nicklaus stand over a putt would ever doubt the deliberate and considered nature of his game. Beginning next spring at the Bear Mountain Resort (www.bearmountain.ca) on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, golfers from novice to scratch will be able to emulate Nicklaus’ techniques, if not his skills, at the property’s […]

Wardrobe: Uncompromising Color

Domenico Vacca is a colorful individual: When he opened his signature store next door to Cipriani in Manhattan in May 2002, he aimed to offer American men the opportunity to own the same handmade, form-fitting suits and fluorescent-colored sportswear that have defined Italian style for decades. Unlike other U.S. retailers, who dilute the Italian idiom […]

Excellence Revisited: Crown Jewels

An eminent London diamond merchant since 1789, Backes & Strauss approaches the wristwatch as a piece of fine jewelry. Produced in collaboration with Geneva’s Franck Muller Watchland, which manufactures the movements and completes assembly, Backes & Strauss watches (+44.20.7839.8709, http://www.backesandstrauss?.com) sparkle with diamonds set in 18-karat-gold cases shaped to accentuate the multifaceted gems’ play of […]

Excellence Revisited: Motor Trend

While refurbishing stopwatches and dashboard rally timers in vintage sports cars, Manchester-trained watchmaker Ian Walsh, founder of IWI (Ian Walsh International) Watches, was impressed by their straightforward and sensible British design. With IWI (+44.1254.760974, http://www.iwiwatches.com), he applies the same nuts-and-bolts styling to wristwatches such as the B1 (left). Starting with a 2T-upgraded Swiss ETA 2824 […]

Excellence Revisited: Fly Boys

When brothers and professional aviators Nick and Giles English launched a collection of watches in memory of their RAF pilot father, Euan, in 2007, they insisted that their Bremont timepieces had to be as sturdy and precise as a fighter jet. Accordingly, their latest BC-S2 automatic chronometers (right), inspired by original World War II aircraft […]

Ashes to Ashtons: Taxing Concern

With its resiliency, its ability to bend without breaking, the Ometepe tobacco leaf is analogous to Nicaragua’s cigar industry, which has withstood many challenges in recent years. ?The vast number of U.S. companies doing business in Nicaragua today makes another embargo unlikely. Nevertheless, the United States does pose a prominent threat to the cigar industry. […]

Ashes to Ashtons: Nothing but Nicaraguan

Nicaragua’s nutrient-rich soil produces tobaccos for some of the world’s most flavorful cigars. Following are five of the best Nicaraguan puros—cigars made entirely from that country’s tobacco. 601 BlUE A box-pressed maduro crafted by José “Pepin” Garcia, the 601 Blue has a meaty flavor that is rich with chocolate and espresso overtones. The name of […]

Contributors: Time Travel

Those who follow the watch world closely may have noticed the reemergence of several of the British masters, among them Dent and Arnold & Son. In “Excellence Revisited” (page 78), American conceptual artist and art critic Jonathon Keats explores the renaissance of long-moribund British watchmaking brands and the horological traditions that made them great. “There’s […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Loto Winner

Salon-goers in 18th-century France frequently played loto, which most Americans know as bingo. But instead of cardboard sheets checked with alphanumeric grids, loto enthusiasts used decorated wooden boards such as the 12 examples pictured here. Made circa 1785, this jeu de loto set features depictions of Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, and other Roman emperors in some […]

FrontRunners: Cold Comforts

This summer, adventure cruise company Quark Expeditions (www.quarkexpeditions.com) is launching the Russian-built icebreaker 50 Years of Victory as a passenger ship that will carry as many as 128 guests to the North Pole. The 64-cabin vessel’s features—which include a library, gym, and indoor swimming pool—could help anyone warm up to the notion of cruising the […]

FrontRunners: Cage Dancer

Similar to other timepieces of its genre, the new Girard-Perregaux Bi-Axial Tourbillon (www.girard-perregaux?.com) offers balance and escapement rotation on more than one plane. The design increases accuracy while offering a captivating show in which the tourbillon cage performs a complex rotational dance. The $450,000 watch, introduced in April, also displays the balanced proportions and traditional […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Rough and Rumble

1947 Triumph 1800 Roadster. Shortly before the end of World War II, Standard Motor Co. acquired the Triumph brand in an attempt to compete with Jaguar, which had been purchasing engines from Standard before the war. The first Standard-built Triumphs, the 1800-series sedan and roadster, debuted in 1946. The roadster featured a curvaceous, 1930s-style aluminum […]

From the Editors: Worldly Retreats

Tyrants and tycoons must also have their hideaways. Those who run the world, after all, must occasionally have their vacations from it. As this month’s cover story (“Ultimate Villa Vacations,” page 89) reminds us, a villa in the country furnishes the ideal means by which those in public life may live, if only briefly, within […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Burgundy’s byzantine labeling conventions have their origins in Napoleonic law, which prohibited primogeniture, requiring instead that siblings inherit equally. Thus, single vineyards were divided and sold over time, so much so that many famous properties now have a number of producers operating within their perimeters. Only a handful of producers boast monopoles (vineyards owned by […]

FrontRunners: Air Apparent

The Gulfstream G650 (www.gulfstream.com) soon will supplant the G550 as the company’s—if not the world’s—top-of-the-line business jet. The new aircraft, which is scheduled to make its maiden flight next year, will offer the longest range, largest cabin (capable of accommodating as many as 18 passengers, depending on the configuration), and most advanced cockpit of any […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Avo Uvezian’s birthday has become a cause for celebration among cigar smokers. Uvezian, who founded Avo Cigars, has marked each of his birthdays since 2001 by creating a limited-edition cigar. The Avo L.E. 08 Tesoro (the word tesoro is Spanish for “treasure”) is sheathed in a wrapper that is grown under the cloudy skies of […]

Aviation: Bella Copters

For very practical reasons, aircraft interiors are made of light, durable materials that happen to be rather dull and utilitarian. As part of an ongoing collaboration with Aero Toy Store (ATS), an aviation company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina rejects the practical in favor of something much more fun. In […]

Boating: Water Rocket

During family gatherings at his hilltop vacation home on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, Stew Leonard, a 78-year-old Connecticut businessman, likes to take his guests boating. With four children and 13 grandchildren who, with assorted spouses, form a tribe of 23, Leonard needs a yacht to accommodate everyone. But large yachts have one drawback: […]

Autos: The Diesel Initiative

In recent years, no marque has won more Le Mans–series endurance races than Audi. The company also has successfully translated those weekend wins into sales with a production version of its Le Mans racecar. The R8 made the press swoon—it is Robb Report’s current Car of the Year and has received numerous other accolades—and demand […]

Golf: Hide and Sleek

Considering all his outward reverence for tradition and history, today’s golfer has few practical throwback options on the course. Yes, he can walk 18 holes, hire a caddie, wear a Hogan cap, or even attach kilties to his shoes. But rare is the gentleman who would forsake his Pro V1 for a Haskell or his […]

Travel: Liquid Assets

For his love of water, not wine, Diogo Vaz Guedes, founder of the Aquapura hotel group, selected Portugal’s Douro River Valley as the location for his firm’s first resort. Vaz Guedes believes water is essential for relaxation, and he plans to build hotels in settings where a river, lake, or ocean defines the vacation experience. […]

Wine: A Landmark Krug

The city of Reims has a heart of stone: its cathedral. This imposing structure for centuries received the ascending French kings, whose heads, by tradition, were crowned beneath its vast vaults. Today, of course, the retinues that pass under its rose windows are of the touristic rather than the royal kind, but the life’s blood […]

Dining: Altered Plates

More than just the menu is seasonal at Park Avenue Summer; the entire restaurant changes with the calendar. Since opening the Midtown Manhattan establishment a year ago, co-owner Michael Stillman has closed it for two days every three months and altered everything he and a crew of about 20 workers could: the menu; the servers’ […]

Jewelry: Pearl Visions

Last December, at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York, the auctioneer’s gavel came down on an astonishing bid of $82,000 for a pair of earrings made of baroque keshi pearls and diamonds, whose estimated value had been $18,000 to $22,000. Nothing about the relatively classic earrings, created by a little-known designer named Donna Vock, […]

Art: Far East Meets Upper East Side

Ultimately, the ceramics simply became too big. For more than 30 years, Joan Mirviss’ nine-room, pre–World War II apartment in Midtown Manhattan had served both as her home and as the Joan B Mirviss gallery of Japanese art. But last year she concluded that her business, specifically her inventory of contemporary ceramics, had outgrown the […]

Home: Taking It Outside

Bobby Dekeyser’s career in professional soccer ended in 1990 when, during a heated match, someone kicked him in the face—hard—with a cleated shoe. From his hospital bed, the injured goalie for Germany’s Bayern Munich team began sketching designs that would lay the groundwork for a new career as the founder of Dedon, one of the […]

Excellence Revisited

Britannia ruled the waves thanks to the finely jeweled bearings of the marine chronometer. This groundbreaking instrument, which London clockmaker John Harrison perfected in 1764 after 30 years of experimentation, allowed navigators to calculate accurately their longitudinal positions at sea. At that time, no other mechanism could guide navigation with such accuracy, and no nation […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Room and Boards

Four friends travel from Los Angeles to Bali, Indonesia, for a 10-day surfing trip. Providers. Air travel by New World Jet Corp. (201.288.8400, http://www.jetaviation.com) and Air Bali (www.airbali.com); villa developed by Elite Havens Group (+62.361.731.074, http://www.elitehavensbali.com) and available through BHM Villas (+62.361.730.668, http://www.bhmvillas.com). Getting There. A limousine sent by New ?World Jet Corp., the U.S. […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Taste of Napa

Three couples travel from New York City to St. Helena, Calif., for a weeklong culinary vacation in wine country. Providers. Air travel by Bombardier Flexjet (972.720.2725, http://www.flexjet.com); villa available through BeautifulPlaces (707.996.0266, http://www.beautiful-places.com). Getting There. A stretch limo sent by Bom­bardier Flexjet—a fractional and flight-card provider with a fleet of Bombardier business jets—carries the travelers […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: One for the Generations

An extended family—two grandparents, three couples, and four young children—travels from Chicago to Corfu, Greece, their base for a two-week yachting trip in the Greek islands. Providers. Air travel by Sentient Flight Group (781.763.0380, http://www.sentientflight.com); yacht charter by Camper & Nicholsons International (954.524.4250, http://www.cnconnect.com); villa available through Five Star Greece Ltd. (+44.20.8422.4885, http://www.fivestargreece.com). Getting There. […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Powder Rooms

Two families—four adults and three children—plus a nanny travel from Boston to Deer Valley, Utah, for a ski vacation. Providers. Air travel by XOJet (650.594.6300, http://www.xojet.com); villa available through Luxury Retreats (514.393.8844, http://www.luxuryretreats.com). Getting There. A stretch limo sent by XOJet—a private-aviation firm that combines a fractional-type business model with a charter operation—takes the families […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Caribbean Combo

A family of four from Greenwich, Conn., travels to the French West Indies island of St. Barts for a two-week vacation on land and at sea. Providers. Air travel by Marquis Jet (212.499.3790, http://www.marquisjet.com); yacht charter by Burgess Yachts (+44.20.7766.4300, http://www.burgessyachts.com); villa available through Wimco (401.849.8012, http://www.wimco.com). Getting There. “For this trip, we suggest the […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Wild Kingdom

Two families—four adults and five children—travel from Washington, D.C., to Costa Rica for a two-week eco-adventure and yachting retreat. Providers. Air travel by CitationShares (203.861.9667, http://www.citationshares.com); ?yacht charter by Edmiston & Co. (+44.20.7495.5151, http://www.edmistoncompany.com); villa available through LaCure Villas (416.968.2374, http://www.lacurevillas.com). Getting There. A stretch limo sent by flight-card provider CitationShares takes the families to […]

Journey to the Center of the Earth: Atlantic Crossing

TCS Expeditions (800.727.7477, www?.tcsexpeditions.com) will offer its own version of an Atlantic Rim journey in January. Departing from London, the Cape to Cape tour visits Madeira Island, Portugal; Burkina Faso; Namibia; Cape Town, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro; Buenos Aires; Cape Horn in Chile; Iguazú Falls in Brazil; and Panama City. Rates for the 23-day […]

Lofty Advice

Aviation consultants are a fairly new breed. Bill Quinn, a consultant based in Portsmouth, N.H., remembers that just a generation ago, people rarely used them. “Back then, a consultant was someone who was unemployed,” he observes wryly. “When a CEO decided to buy an airplane, he hired a pilot and said, ?‘Go buy an airplane!’ […]

Wheels: Ballroom Blitzkrieg

Mercedes-Benz never snoozes. When not adding to a seemingly endless and ever-morphing inventory of braw and often brutally powerful motorcars, it concentrates its energy on nipping and tucking the collection from the prior year. This summer, the highly successful CL and the sensual CLS, with barely a frown line or age wrinkle between them, will […]

Leisure: Ashes to Ashtons

The only way to get from Nicaragua’s capital of Managua to the town of Estelí, the production center of the country’s cigar industry, is to drive northward along the twisting, two-lane CA-1, the Central American stretch of the Pan-American Highway. Since the road was repaved following Hurricane Mitch, which ravaged the region in 1998, the […]

Sport of Kings: Making the Rounds in Morocco

Golf first came to Morocco in 1914, when Sultan Abdelaziz, who had ruled the country from 1894 to 1908, commissioned a pair of British golf architects, Henry Cotton and Frank Pennink, to design an 18-hole course at the foot of the Rif Mountains in Tangier. Neither designer saw the course completed, though, as Morocco was […]

One Last Thing…

The Item. This battle flag belonged to John Rodgers, a Maryland man who captained ships for the Union’s North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Rodgers’ squadron flew the flag in an 1861 battle in which Confederate soldiers rained cannonballs onto his ironclad from a bluff overlooking Virginia’s James River. Someone—most likely a female […]

FrontRunners: Towers of Power

The Spire (www.martinlogan.com)—a new, ultrathin, floor-standing speaker from MartinLogan—offers a dynamic range of sound that is virtually interference-free. The base cabinet of the $8,500-per-pair speaker contains a 200-watt amplifier and a 10-inch aluminum woofer capable of a 29 Hz low-end frequency. . . . German audio firm MBL has set its sights on the high-end […]

FrontRunners: Mean, Clean Machine

The Saleen S5S Raptor (www.saleen.com)—a 650 hp sports car that made its first public appearance at the New York International Auto Show in March—is still in the conceptual stages. However, “a savvy viewer would notice that the hardware was real,” says Paul Wilbur, president and CEO of Saleen Automotive, the Troy, Mich., carmaker that plans […]

Ultimate Villa Vacations: Showtime

A couple travels from Houston to Miami for a weeklong shopping and yachting trip during the annual Art Basel Miami Beach show in December. Providers. Air travel by Flight Options (877.?703.2348, http://www.flightoptions.com); yacht charter by Fraser Yachts Worldwide (954.463.0600, http://www.fraser?yachts.com); villa available through Villazzo (305.777.0146, www??.villazzo.com). Getting There. A sedan sent by private-aviation firm Flight […]

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Each time the king pauses for a breath, the man next to him says “jhoom” in a voice that could make Barry White sound like a soprano. The king’s own tones are soft and thoughtful, punctuated by gestures from his hands, both of which are adorned with enormous rings depicting two crocodiles that share the […]

Journeys: Sport of Kings

However strange and exotic the setting may be to Westerners, Morocco holds few if any untoward surprises for most golfers. The rules and customs—written and unwritten—follow the American paradigm. And though it is always best to make arrangements in advance, club managers will go out of their way to accommodate visit­ing Americans who drop in […]