The World’s 10 Great Escapes


Mercedes' new SLR sets out to unseat the gullwing.  Hidden resorts from Idaho to Autralia, India to Italy.  Also, fresh takes on a timeless tradition.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Retro Reverence

Releasing an all-tube, stereo amplifier seems like a curious way for a cutting-edge hi-fi company to mark its first quarter-century. The irony is lost on T+A (707.762. 0914,, a German company known for advanced solid-state and digital hardware. “The V 10 integrated tube amplifier is the perfect way of proving to music lovers that […]

Appliances: KitchenAid Evolution

In 1919, 11 years after creating the first commercial mixer, Hobart Manufacturing Co. built a home version featuring a unique mixing action that prompted one enthusiastic tester to exclaim, “It was the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had!” Such were the beginnings of Hobart’s KitchenAid trademark, which has become an archetype for kitchen equipment worldwide. […]

Furnishings: Urban Tribe

What Michael Jansen has learned most from the last decade of touring and working in Africa, Thailand, India, Egypt, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines is that “we are all a little overdone in our ‘urban-ity.’ Quite frankly,” says the American-born, India-based architect, hotel interior designer, and globe-trotter, “our technology and automobiles and Italian furniture design […]

Home Electronics: String Trio

Sonus Faber, the Italian company universally acknowledged for revolutionizing the shape of dynamic loudspeakers, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with not one, but two significant events. The first was the construction of a 12,000-square-foot factory in Vicenza. The building opened in September, in time to commence manufacture of the other anniversary marker, the Stradivari […]

Home Entertainment: Accidental Opulence

Mr. G, a New Jersey businessman who prefers to retain his anonymity, did not get the home theater that he wanted, and he could not be more pleased. He initially envisioned and requested something simple, not a project that the nation’s leading electronics installers would recognize as one of the best home theaters built in […]

FrontRunners: Gilded Cottage

When the elegant cottages began to rise along the rocky waterfront of Newport, R.I., during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, the owners—members of elite New York society—called in the finest interior designers of the time. In the game of one-upmanship between the Astors, the Whitneys, and the Vanderbilts, among others, no expense […]

Travel: Petit Pleasures

When Haze Richardson bought a 77-foot yacht with a friend in 1964, he had no intention of acquiring an island as well. But a leisurely, aimless journey aboard the Jacinta, a three-decades-old mahogany-and-oak schooner, brought Richardson to Petit St. Vincent, a 113-acre spot of land in the Grenadines that he purchased and ultimately transformed into […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Solitary Refinement

In our myriad journeys at home and abroad, we are at times apt to sacrifice prestige for privacy, grandeur for comfort, over-the-top indulgence for elegant restraint. The hideaway ideal exists to satiate this craving for solitude and simplicity, yet our criteria for this nonpareil vary as divergently as our tastes in automobiles or fine art. […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Ranthambhore Royalty

Like the maharajas of yore seated atop the weathered gray hides of their stately elephant transports, guests at Aman-i-Khás in Rajasthan, India, depart in custom open-top jeeps in search of the elusive tiger. The morning sun rises over the scrub forest as the expectant explorers, sipping hot chocolate in the backseat, prepare for their encounter […]

Exclusive Hideaways: On the Double

Although just a short drive and one-mile catamaran ride from Cairns International Airport, Double Island is best accessed by helicopter. The five-minute flight soars over the steep headlands of Australia’s northeast coast before hurtling across the tropical blue waters of Trinity Bay and setting down on this pristine private isle. Named for the two distinct […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Divine Restoration

The 12th-century hermit St. Gerlach would approve of his namesake hotel’s remove from the bustle of modern life. But the knight-turned-holy-man, who lived his last decade in a hollow tree, would surely be scandalized by its comforts.  Set on 12.4 acres in the Netherlands’ Geul Valley, Hotel Château St. Gerlach is a 97-room rustic retreat […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Southern Charmer

Cocktail hour is a time-honored tradition at the Lodge on Little St. Simons Island. Picnic tables sit below ghostly tendrils of Spanish moss on the front lawn. Guests shuck oysters and snack on fried green tomatoes, sipping spirits in the shadow of 100-year-old oaks. A fire crackles in the hearth of the adjacent lodge, which, […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Fire and Water

Mexico’s sixth highest peak—a dormant, often white-tipped volcano befittingly named El Nevado de Colima (snowy one of Colima)—provides a stunning backdrop to the lush forest and meticulously manicured grounds surrounding Mahakua-Hacienda de San Antonio. Still more spectacular is El Nevado’s active brother, Volcán del Fuego (volcano of fire), which offers up perpetual wisps of white […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Quiet on the Caribbean

Balmy breezes waft through a cottage’s louvered windows at the Caves in Negril, Jamaica, rustling mosquito netting draped over a king-size bed. Outside, turquoise water laps languidly against rocky cliffs, recalling the Caribbean before high-tech hotels vanquished the landscape and personal watercraft disturbed the calm. Perched atop a craggy cliff pocked with volcanic grottoes, the […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Eternal Springs

“How did you hear about us?” this is the question put to all who phone the Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, Calif. The answer often given is from a friend—or, even more often, from one of the ranch’s 85 Colonists, or residents, for whose guests the 20-acre central compound, which lies at the heart […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Bure-d Treasure

There are no roads, cars, or airports on Qamea. The island—the 12th largest in the heavily trafficked Fiji archipelago—comprises just a handful of rustic villages. Anchored along the northern perimeter of the 330-island nation—and accessible only by boat—it is void of solicitors, day-trippers, and, with one exception, resorts.  The Qamea Resort and Spa, the only […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Up on the Ranch

Teton Ridge Ranch accommodates no more people than can fit in its horse-drawn sleigh: 14. Typically, however, no more than 10 at a time enjoy this Tetonia, Idaho, retreat, which is said to be owned by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen (though ranch officials decline to comment on their boss’ identity). Teton Ridge is not far […]

Exclusive Hideaways: Essence of Italy

When the decadence and decay that are the charms of Venice have worn thin, adjacent towns of the Veneto Plain offer a quiet respite. Bassano del Grappa, a walled medieval city of 40,000 inhabitants—and birthplace of Italy’s preferred after-dinner drink—lies just 45 miles west of the Venice airport. Yet the town affords the finest of […]

Back Page: Seek and Hide

Our November 1994 feature “Caribbean Hideaways” may have inadvertently left some readers with the mistaken impression that lavishly appointed tropical vacation homes were the exclusive domain of celebrities, or that celebrities were the only people who sought the benefits of such retreats. The article allowed readers a peek inside the Mustique villas of Mick Jagger […]

Wine: A Very Private Reserve

Bill Harlan is a patient man. He has had to be, having pursued dual careers in real estate development and winemaking, neither of which dispenses immediate returns. After cofounding Pacific Union Co. in 1975, he and his partner, Peter Stocker, built the firm into one of the 20 largest commercial and residential property developers in […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Presentation Arms

Functional art is hardly a new concept. Consider the antique gun pictured here, a French flintlock fowling-piece (or bird-hunting gun) that dates to 1760. “It’s a piece of male jewelry, but a very practical one, which would have reflected the wealth and power of its owner,” says Peter Finer, the British antique arms and armor […]

FrontRunners: In the Name of the Father

In 1846, John Dewar, proprietor of a small liquor store in Perth, Scotland, pioneered the practice of blending Scotch whisky. In a quest for a more balanced, harmonious spirit than the single malts of his day, Dewar began distilling his own brand of Scotch, spurning established canons of the centuries-old craft by commingling select malt […]

FrontRunners: High-Def Home Movies

Your home movies can now appear as sharp as the action on HDNet, the network that broadcasts only in high definition (1080i). JVC’s GR-HD1 (800.526. 5308, is the first consumer video camcorder with which you can record, edit, play, and store widescreen home movies in high definition. The GR-HD1 ($3,500) records in high def […]

FrontRunners: High-Tech Antiquing

Roger Schrenk, an antiques dealer in Alexandria, Va., has created the Interactive Database of Decorative Arts, which offers buyers and dealers of new and antique furnishings a database of more than 5,000 images. Buyers click on photos of furniture details that match those of the chairs, tables, and sideboards that they seek, and they can […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar: March 2004

Provenance Vineyards 2001 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon For winemaker Tom Rinaldi, a wine’s beauty and integrity lie at its source. And the sources of Provenance Vineyards’ wines are impeccable: the Oakville, Carneros, and Rutherford regions of Napa Valley. The Cabernet vines have well-established roots and are mature, ensuring consistent and robust flavors. In the 2001 Rutherford, […]

FrontRunners: Doing Wells

Leisure is elevated to an art form this spring when the city of Indian Wells, Calif., augments its annual tennis classic with two promising premieres: the inaugural Desert Festival of Wine, Food & the Arts, and the debut of the new spa at the Miramonte Resort. Indian Wells will attract top-ranked professional tennis players to […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Perdomo Edición de Silvio no. 2 Torpedo For those who appreciate a little spice in their lives, the Edición de Silvio from Tabacalera Perdomo is not to be missed. Fermenting the Cuban-seed leaves in Spanish cedar and vintage oak casks creates the tangy, peppery flavor. Only 25,000 cigars, divided among three shapes, will be produced; […]

Smoke: Fresh Air

Helmut Bührle espouses some radical ideas. Contrary to almost every tobacconist and connoisseur in the United States, this German businessman believes that storing cigars in an airtight humidor is as ill-advised as leaving them on a bureau. “If the humidor or the cigar case is as airtight as a diving bell, the cigar lacks oxygen to […]

Dining: A Handsome Patina

Tempo is a word that comes to mind when savoring a meal in the building where the Los Angeles Philharmonic resides. Timing is as crucial to fine dining as it is to music, and the beige-suited servers at Patina, the city’s new temple of gastronomy, seem to know instinctively when to appear and when to […]

Sport: Goal-Oriented

The morning air is crisp as I ride toward the field with a mallet balanced on my shoulder, the smell of grass and the tranquil, rustic setting putting me at ease. I have come to La Eloisa estancia, an Argentine farm and polo estate in the village of Las Heras, located 50 miles from Buenos […]

FrontRunners: About Face

Chocolate croissant bread pudding is Olga Lorencin-Northrup’s secret to healthy skin. “Beauty always starts from the inside out,” explains the cofounder of Kinara Spa (310.657.9188,, “so sound nutrition comes first.” And at Kinara, nutrition begins with the owner’s favorite dessert topped with Tahitian vanilla bean custard sauce. The full-service spa on Los Angeles’ trendy […]

FrontRunners: Timely Fashion

The French fashion house Hermès (800.441.4488, wants the world to know that it is serious about watchmaking. The company spent more than four years developing its newest timepiece, the Dressage.   The watch’s mechanical self-winding movement with a 55-hour power reserve was created exclusively for Hermès by Vaucher Manufacture in Fleurier, Switzerland. The watch […]

FrontRunners: A Way with Gems

Tito Pedrini (212.888.3355, spent years procuring exceptional gems and jewelry for international clients while working for Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Now the blond-haired, blue-eyed Italian hunts for unique stones to showcase in his own eponymous jewelry collection.   Pedrini  favors unique colored gems and striking stone cuts over more traditional diamonds and sapphires. His inventive […]

FrontRunners: Scents of History

Dr. Giovanni di Massimo, an unassuming Florentine perfumer and apothecary, was sorting through the mess left in his ancient shop’s basement after the devastating 1966 flood when he unearthed a collection of antique manuscripts containing secret formulas.   While this tale may read like the opening of a mystery novel, it actually describes the origin […]

FrontRunners: Pocket Protector

Instruction booklets caution against carrying cell phones too close to the heart because of the radiation and electromagnetic fields that they may generate. But adhering to such warnings means sacrificing the convenience and security of stowing your phone in the handy breast pocket of your jacket. Italian fabric and sportswear maker Loro Piana (212.980.7961) has […]

Watches: In Flagrante

Sex is something not usually associated with fastidious watchmakers. Nevertheless, sex—in lurid, sometimes shockingly graphic detail—has a place in traditional Swiss watchmaking right alongside time-honored complications such as the chronograph. Erotic watches possess a similarly long history and level of mechanical sophistication, and their makers belong on a roster of prestigious manufacturers. The most typical […]

Health & Grooming: Breathing Lessons

If your notion of an ideal spa involves a calming massage, a relaxing sauna, or a soothing facial, think twice before entering New York’s Exhale Mind Body Spa. “We’re not about beauty and pampering,” insists Annbeth Eschbach, its founder and CEO. “Our treatments are transformational in nature—for both the mind and body.”   At its […]

Jewelry: Artistic Differences

Gallery is a term usually used in association with the fine arts of painting, photography, and sculpture. But at the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City, precious metals and gemstones are the artistic media.   “When we established the gallery in the ’70s, we put gold and gems in the hands of traditional artists […]

Wardrobe: Dutch Master

When Richard Kessler, chief executive of the Kessler Enterprises hotel group, placed the winning $3,000 bid on an Auke Hempenius wool suit at a recent March of Dimes auction in Orlando, he did not realize the outfit he secured for a third of its retail value might one day become a collector’s item. After all, […]

Feature: Independent Thinkers

The right accessories distinguish a man’s personal style and provide an opportunity for a little self-expression. Despite this important role, accessories can too easily be regarded as afterthoughts—supporting characters to the star power of fine tailored clothing or designer sportswear. Likewise, many of the most innovative accessories makers toil in relative obscurity, far from the […]

Symposium: Hands of Time

More than a craft, watchmaking is, for some, a compulsion. I learned this during a recent session with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master watchmaker Sylvain Golay (pictured below). I also learned that in the realm of fine watchmaking, one ill-timed sneeze can blow apart an entire afternoon’s work. Golay is one of the few people who can produce […]

Motorcycles: La Dolce Speeda

For many, the indelible image of the Vespa involves a shapely ingenue, her tresses flowing in the spring air, zipping through the roundabouts of a European capital aboard the charming two-wheeler. This perception contradicts the reality of the latest Vespa: the $4,900 Granturismo, the first new Vespa since 1996 and the largest, fastest, and most […]

Autos: Purely Porsche

Push can quickly come to shove in the Porsche 911 GT3. With its minimalist bent—no traction control, no Porsche Stability Management system—an aggressive stomp on the accelerator, especially during a turn in first gear, could encourage the rear-wheel-drive GT3 to swing sideways and sweep the street with its 18-inch rear tires. Indeed, the 911 Turbo, […]

Feature: Next Best Thing

In 1954, Mercedes-Benz rolled out a vehicle so unique and so revolutionary that it gained universal praise. Not only did the 300SL Gullwing capture the eyes and imagination of the general public, but the car also drew cheers from hard-core racers, auto enthusiasts, and engineers. Half a century of achievement and judgment has done nothing […]

FrontRunners: Celestial Cocoon

You are aloft at 39,000 feet in your own fully enclosed first-class suite, with a leather seat that converts to a flat bed and doors that can be closed for privacy. Emirates Airline (, has finished each of the 12 first-class suites on its A340-500 jets in leather and walnut and installed an advanced in-flight […]

Boating: Exotic Escapes

To the inexperienced traveler, chartering a yacht to cruise the coast of Chile sounds like a straightforward proposition. After all, purveyors of the finest vacations afloat pride themselves on offering one-of-a-kind experiences around the globe. In reality, booking charters for destinations other than the standard locales of New England, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean can […]

Wings & Water: Big Bad Bart

As she sidestepped shards of steel and gnarled clumps of wiring, Karen Bamford applauded herself for choosing blue jeans over a business suit on that day three years ago, in Victoria, British Columbia. The interior designer was tiptoeing through the hull of the CCGS Narwhal, a retired Canadian Coast Guard cutter that Florida businessman Arnie […]

FrontRunners: Spa-ing Partner

“In America, spas are goal-oriented—you go to lose weight or detoxify,” explains Umberto Angeloni, worldwide chairman of the Brioni clothing brand. “But in Europe, spas are about the wellness one gets from a massage, a fine meal, and a great glass of wine.”   Angeloni has incorporated many such insights into his new book, Seducing […]