Here, the articles our readers devoured this year.
Jesse Dacri/West Coast Customs/Facebook
It may be tempting to lump 2021 into the same category as 2020—that is, 12 months of a pandemic we’d rather forget entirely. The year certainly had its moments, though. With the arrival of vaccines, life began to return to a new kind of normal. Food and wine enthusiasts were able to head back to bars and restaurants that had emerged from the depths of hospitality hell with a new kind of strength. Travel took off again with an influx of private jets hitting the skies. Superyacht sales soared thanks to a new wave of billionaires. And the luxury market seemed to rebound against all odds. Then, of course, Omicron happened.
Robb Report, with a finger on the pulse of all things luxury, has been there through it all to bring you the relevant news alongside cocktail recipes and home tours because, evidently, it’s not over yet and we still need an escape. Justin Bieber’s custom Rolls-Royce Wraith continued to command our audience’s attention, as did Tom Brady’s luxe 77-foot flagship. Many readers wanted a glimpse inside Steven Seagal’s bulletproof mansion in Arizona or Nile Niami’s mini shopping mall-sized estate in LA. Others just wanted to peruse top-shelf whiskies or learn how to make a Gold Rush or Monte Carlo perfectly.
Below, you’ll find our 25 most-read stories of the past 12 months. May they serve as a reminder that 2021 wasn’t all bad.
25. New California Law Removes Thousands of Restaurants from Delivery Apps
Zhuo Cheng you/Unsplash
While many restaurants have depended on takeout to stay afloat during the pandemic, there’s long been an unease between these dining establishments and Silicon Valley food delivery apps. The most common bone of contention is the fees that many municipalities have capped during the pandemic. Yet, even before Covid-19, restaurants were irked by delivery app practice: listing their businesses without permission. A new California law that went into effect on January 1 has now barred Uber Eats, Seamless and more from putting a restaurant on their platform in the Golden State if it doesn’t have a stated agreement in place. Read the full article here.
24. This 433-Foot Megayacht Concept Has a Sea-Salt Pool That Disappears
Courtesy Designova Creative
Students of Latin will know the word “Crescere” means “to grow.” Which is exactly what this stunning concept megayacht—aptly named Crescere—is intended to do. Inspired by the vision of a greenery-loving American buyer who wanted soothing, cocoon-like spaces, US designer J. David Weiss imagined plant-filled, greenhouse-like glass walls spanning multiple decks. Read the full article here.
23. The 25 Most Expensive Homes in the World for Sale
Igal Harari – Israel Sotheby’s International Realty
Last year wasn’t exactly the best on record for the prime real estate marketplace, but even as a certain global pandemic extends further into its second year, things seem to be slowly bouncing back. Manhattan and other big cities made a rebound in 2021 as people slowly returned to in-office work, resulting in one of the Big Apple’s best years in terms of luxury sales in well over a decade. Some pandemic trends still persisted, though, like the slew of private islands that returned to the market, aiming to capitalize on buyers’ desire to have a paradisal escape in their back pocket in case of future global crises. Read the full article here.
22. How to Make a Monte Carlo, a Delicious Whiskey Cocktail With a Fanciful Backstory
Gecko Studio/Adobe Stock
Here’s what we’re told is true: At the dawn of the 16th century, a bright-eyed young Benedictine monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli moved from central Italy to a monastery in Fecamp, in Northern France. Unusually gifted in the alchemical arts, in the year 1510 he combined a couple dozen herbs and plants with honey and alcohol to create an elixir of long life—King Francis I, upon visiting the monastery, tasted the mixture and exclaimed “On my honor! I’ve never tasted anything better!” This recipe, believed lost in the chaos of the French Revolution, was luckily rediscovered in the 1860s by a man named Alexander Le Grand who just happened to sell alcohol professionally, and he began producing and marketing the ancient liqueur under the name Bénédictine. Read the full article here.
21. Most Japanese Homes Are Ephemeral, Lasting Just 22 Years—Here’s Why
The cherry blossom famously represents the fleeting nature of human life, a beauty meant to be admired, enjoyed and let go. But in Japan, the brief, bittersweet cycle of death and rebirth also applies—surprisingly—to houses. This unusual national ideology ends up nurturing bold new designs and a growing slate of award-winning architects, as evidenced by the annual Pritzker Architecture Prize. Japan ties the US with more winners than any other country: eight in total, from Kenzo Tange in 1987 to Arata Isozaki in 2019. Read the full article here.
20. The 21 Best Whiskies You Can Buy Right Now
Photo: Courtesy of Glenfiddich
People get hung up on the word “best,” especially when that word comes attached to a phrase like “21 Best Whiskies You Can Buy Right Now.” You can practically hear the protests already—“But if there are 21 of them, how can they all be ‘best?’” To these people we say politely (and with infinite patience): Pipe down. There are as many expressions of scotch as there are angels nipping at every whisky cask in the Hebrides and as there are snooty grammarians who want to take the fun out of the pursuit of incredible liquor. Read the full article here.
19. How to Make a Whiskey Smash, the Cocktail That Turns Bourbon Into a Refreshing Summer Drink
Photo: Carlo Alberto Orecchia
Ask any mental health professional: There’s a lot of ways to solve a problem. There’s compromise, for example, or negotiation. You could perhaps work around it, persuade through reason, or overpower via authoritative fiat. Or, you could take a page from the Incredible Hulk school of conflict resolution and use violence to smash your problem to bits. This is more or less how we get the Whiskey Smash, a solution to the persistent problem with Whiskey Sours. Read the full article here.
18. Anthenea’s Luxe Floating Condos Will Finally Hit the Seas in 2022
A luxe, eco-friendly floating oasis could be coming to a city near you—if Anthénea has anything to say about it, that is. After unveiling a pioneering prototype back in 2019, the French outfit has announced it will roll out its first dome-shaped apartments early next year. It’s been a long road for the fully autonomous pod known simply as Anthénea. Penned by French naval architect Jean-Michel Duacancelle, the original design was inspired by the villain’s lair from the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me. Read the full article here.
17. Meet ‘Enmer,’ the 75-Foot Explorer Yacht Made to Dominate Stormy Seas
It’s a boater’s worst nightmare. Howling 40-knot winds churning-up near-vertical 20-feet walls of frothing sea. Add to the maelstrom a vicious rip-tide, horizontal rain and menacing coal-black skies. Definitely not a good day for a cocktail cruise around the bay. This was the punishing sea-trial inflicted on the newly christened Enmer, a no-nonsense 75-foot XSV20 explorer yacht, before being delivered to her new owner, French billionaire and passionate yachtsman Jack Setton. Read the full article here.
16. Beauer’s 3X Travel Trailer Triples in Size With the Touch of a Button
Travel trailers have evolved a lot over the decades but they’re still big and often bulky, especially if you want one with space. But Beauer doesn’t think things have to be this way. The French company’s 3X model is an ultra-compact caravan that can expand to triple its size, according to Oddity Mall (via Motor1.com). That means that the trailer is small enough to pull behind a mid-size crossover, but more than roomy enough to comfortably sleep four adults when fully expanded. Read the full article here.
15. The Lamborghini 63 Is a Day Boat That Will Make Your Supercar Jealous
Courtesy Italian Sea Group
For supercar addicts, Lamborghini’s Raging Bull badge has a prestige value that surpasses just about every other automotive marque. Who can forget the iconic MiuraandCountach, for example, or fail to recognize the outrageously aggressive styling and high-pitched roar of a 12-cylinder Aventador when it looks like a blurred shadow passing on the highway? The company has long produced big-block marine engines for offshore powerboat racing, but in 2020, it announced a collaboration with Tecnomar, part of The Italian Sea Group, to transpose the Lamborghini spirit into a ferociously styled, high-speed motoryacht. Read the full article here.
14. How to Make a Gold Rush, a Good Bourbon Cocktail Made Great by a ‘Regal Shake’
It’s a central pillar of the self-esteem movement that there’s greatness inside everyone, it just needs to come out. This is a nice thought. But what to do when you’re faced with the reality that some person or thing isn’t actually reaching its potential? Is an intervention in order? Which brings me to the Gold Rush. As a drink, it’s a lot of things: It’s popular and it’s important and it’s pretty good. What it’s not is a great drink. At least not without a little help. Read the full article here.
13. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s LA Mansion Got a $6 Million Price Shave
Photo: Anthony Barcelo
You may already recognize this house from Chrissy Teigen’s social media posts and her cooking demos. But you might not have seen the entire spectacular eight-bedroom, nine-bath home. The place is nothing short of a design masterpiece, with only the best finishes and incredible attention to detail. This all makes sense, considering it’s owned by such stylish stars: Teigen and her musician husband, John Legend. Read the full article here.
12. The Stunning Rolls-Royce Boat Tail Just Made Its Global Debut in Italy
11. Johnny Depp’s Quirky French Village Hits the Market for $55 Million
Photo: Courtesy of Gibson Sotheby’s
When Johnny Depp first listed his French estate back in 2015 and 2016, the asking price wavered between $25 million and $63 million, according to Variety, and the place never sold. Now he’s now preparing to re-list the property for about $55.5 million, according to news reports. It’s possible the quirky actor, known for his role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, is reading the times right. After months of being cooped up in private residences, who wouldn’t want to own an estate like this: It’s actually an entire village, complete with a bistro, a wine cave, a skate park and several houses. Read the full article here.
10. Inside Country Star George Strait’s $7.5 Million Texas Mansion
Country crooner George Strait may have sung about all his exes living in Texas, but he can now also claim that some of those exes are homes. Most beloved among them is his newly listed San Antonio mansion, for which he and his wife, Norma, commissioned one of the Southwest’s most artistic architects to build. The 7,925-square-foot house sits on a hilltop surrounded by 12 very private acres and is priced at $7.5 million. Read the full article here.
9. One of the Last Gilded Age Mansions in NYC Lists for $52 Million
Brown Harris Stevens
History buffs, rejoice—you can now own a sought-after piece of New York’s architectural canon. Originally constructed in 1901, a Gilded Age mansion—one of the few that remains, as many were demolished by the 1920s—has just listed for $52 million on the Upper East Side. The 15,000-square-foot home is located on Fifth Avenue, directly across from Central Park and the Met. Read the full article here.
8. Meet the 443-Foot ‘Sunrise,’ the World’s Largest Open Sport Yacht
Courtesy Roberto Curto Design
Designing a 443-foot day boat sounds like an exercise in madness, or perhaps futility, if the designer ever hopes to find a buyer. But Italian designer Roberto Curto is used to breaking through established norms, even if what lies on the other side is more fantasy than working vessel. The Genoa studio’s newest project, Sunrise, might seem like one of those impossible dreams, if it didn’t look so damned beautiful. Read the full article here.
7. This ‘Lady Bug’ Bugatti Divo’s Epic Paint Job Took Two Years to Finish
Ettore Bugatti once said: “If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti.” One hypercar collector has taken that notion quite literally and pushed the French marque’s customization expertise to the nth degree to create a Divo like no other. The distinctive four-wheeler, which was christened Lady Bug, has a truly singular livery that takes cues from its creepy-crawly namesake. Read the full article here.
6. This 82-Foot Amphibious Catamaran Crawls Onto the Shore Like a Crab
Courtesy Lazzarini Design Studio
Why anchor your superyacht off that sugar-white St. Tropez beach, or Icelandic ice floe, when you could crawl right up on to it? That’s the thinking behind a bonkers new amphibious catamaran concept called Pagurus—Latin for crab—from the designers at Italian studio Lazzarini. Read the full article here.
5. This New Air Bike Can Fly at 250 MPH Over Buildings and Mountains
Courtesy Jetpack Aviation
Flying cars and flying people with jet packs are on the way, so why not flying motorcycles? Jetpack Aviation, which already makes vertical people propellers, just announced a successful test flight of its jet-driven flying motorcycle prototype. The projected performance is Easy Rider-worthy bad-ass, and best of all, the California company plans to produce two consumer versions for everyday users. Read the full article here.
4. Tom Brady Trades His New Wajer 55S Cruiser for a 77-Foot Flagship
Courtesy Wajer Yachts
There’s an affliction in boating called 2foot-itis, where a boater constantly yearns after a boat that is two feet longer than the current one. Tom Brady, being the American sports hero and heart-throb that he is, has a more extreme case—22foot-itis. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback said on a livestream webinar that he is trading his Wajer 55S to the much larger 77, which, the Dutch builder announced in April, would be its new flagship. The trade was made public, appropriately, during the NFL Draft announcements and after only five months of owning the first boat. Read the full article here.
3. Nile Niami Is Set to Put His Mansion on the Market for $340 Million
After more than eight years in planning and construction, the Los Angeles area’s most colossal home is finally ready for its official public debut. Famously known only as “The One,” the mini shopping mall-sized estate straddles one of the highest promontories in Bel Air, spanning about 100,000 square feet of total living space. By comparison, the White House weighs in at just under 55,000 square feet; the 115-room Hearst Castle makes do with a modest 68,500. Read the full article here.
2. Inside Steven Seagal’s $3.4 Million Bulletproof Mansion in Arizona
Photo: Engel & Völkers
Maybe playing a role in all those action flicks allows reality to blend with fiction just a smidge. When Patriot actor Steven Seagal built his custom home in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2001, he didn’t just make the 12-acre property secure behind a gate: He added bulletproof glass, and lots of it. Nearly every room in the house has a glass wall or skylights, all impenetrable. The place is now up for sale, listed for $3.395 million. Read the full article here.
1. Justin Bieber Gets a Custom Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by the 103EX Concept
Jesse Dacri/West Coast Customs/Facebook
What The Bieb wants, The Bieb gets. Three years ago, Justin Bieber texted the founder and CEO of West Coast Customs, Ryan Friedlinghaus, a video of a futuristic Rolls-Royce prototype and asked him if they could acquire said car. It wasn’t for sale, but the shop offered to build something like it instead. Now, the Canadian singer-songwriter has finally taken delivery of the one-off—and it looks like he’s downright elated with the shop’s work. Read the full article here.