No.39 WINTER 2011
7 R E H F R P H D Q D X W K R U L V H G V X S S O L H U R I & O L Y H & K U L V W L D Q ) X U Q L W X U H J R W R W K H E X V L Q H V V S D J H D W F O L Y H F R P
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INTRODUCING THE RALPH LAUREN AUTOMOTIVE WATCH STAI N LES S STE E L 4 5M M M O D E L . E LM BU RLWOO D D IAL . SAPPH I RE CRYSTAL C AS E BACK . MAN UAL W I N D I N G MAN U FAC TU RE M OVE M E NT. 15 6 CO M PO N E NTS , 4 5 - H OU R POWE R RES E RVE . SW I S S MAD E . N E W YO RK
B E VE RLY H I LLS
M I L AN
L AS VEGAS ST M O R IT Z
DALL AS TO K YO
CH I C AGO S HAN GHAI
BAL HARBOU R H O N G KO N G
R ALPH L AU RE NWATCH ES .CO M
LO N DO N MAC AU
PAR I S
S I N GAPO RE
C AN N ES
United under a “winged B”, Breitling and Bentley share the same concern for perfection. The same exacting standards of reliability, precision and authenticity.The same fusion of prestige and performance. In the Breitling workshops, just as in the Bentley factories in Crewe, cutting-edge technology works hand in hand with the noblest traditions. For devotees of fine mechanisms, Breitling has created a line of exceptional timepieces named Breitling for Bentley. While conveying the essence of aesthetic refinement, these wrist instruments are all equipped with high-performance “motors”, patiently assembled by watchmakers at the peak of their art... Time is the ultimate luxury.
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Contents: Issue 39
19 ISTRIA LESSON
William Hersey discovers the enchanting Croatian region of Istria in the equally enchanting new Continental GTC.
29 A CAR FOR ALL SEASONS
The Continental GTC is far more than a fair-weather friend, claims Nick Swallow.
71 GIFTED CRAFTSMEN
Charlotte Metcalf discovers Bentley’s luxury collection – just in time for the festive season.
75 FASHIONED IN BRITAIN
Alexander McQueen menswear is as distinctive, beautifully tailored and chic as its more famous women’s fashion range, notes Julia Marozzi.
32 THE HIGH LIFE
80 BENTLEY WORLD
34 FLIGHT TURBULENCE
92 ON THE ROAD
The Carlyle in New York is everything Nick Foulkes loves about luxury in one outstanding hotel. Rory Ross describes a world of upheaval and opportunity up in the jet stream.
39 LUXURY ONLINE AND EN ROUTE
A Mulsanne interior concept that unites advanced technology with sumptuous craftsmanship has John Francis intrigued.
From Arctic Ice driving to Polo in Hanover via some great parties… Avis Cardella meets husband and wife Bentley owners with definite views on colour. For information regarding any articles please refer to page 90.
42 CARTE BLANCHE FOR BENTLEY’S DESIGNERS Bentley’s design team devises a new Bond novel with an explosive secret within its covers. Nick Swallow turns the page…
47 THE TOAST OF RIOJA
Frank Gehry’s latest showcase is a stunning hotel in the Rioja region. Julia Marozzi is dazzled.
53 REMARKABLE VINTAGE
Neil Ridley joins the dauntless members of the Bentley Drivers Club for a tour of Cognac.
58 SPURRED TO EXCELLENCE
British furniture makers Linley and Bentley’s designers have created a delightful limited edition Flying Spur, reports Nick Foulkes.
64 A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Abercrombie & Kent founder Geoffrey Kent tells Nick Foulkes what makes the perfect luxury safari – and why he travels by Bentley.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible in Breeze. With Breeze main hide, Brunel secondary hide and Tamo Ash veneer. Shot on location in Croatia by Nick Dimbleby.
Editor julia marozzi
A former features editor, news editor and Weekend editor at the FT, Julia has worked in Toronto, Hong Kong, Montreal, Miami and London for a variety of national and international publications, including the South China Morning Post and the Sunday Times.
Contributors neil ridley
Neil Ridley is a food, drink and travel writer, contributing to and editing a number of publications, including Whisky Magazine and The Chap, as well as the irreverent whisky blog caskstrength.net, nominated for several online awards.
Charlotte Metcalf is a writer and film-maker. She’s yearned to own a Bentley ever since going for a spin aged six in her uncle’s Vintage Bentley but will settle for a Collectable Vintage Model this Christmas.
Welcome to the winter 2011 issue of Bentley magazine. Back in September, the massed ranks of the press strained for a closer view of the new Bentley Continental GTC as it was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Now you too can take a closer look at Bentley’s latest supercar-convertible as William Hersey explores the idyllic Croatian region of Istria in our drive story. Further afield, if you’ve ever contemplated a luxury African safari, you’ll certainly have heard of Abercrombie and Kent. Geoffrey Kent tells Nick Foulkes his fascinating life story, taking in an army career, international polo… and a succession of Bentley cars spanning a quarter of a century. With Neil Ridley’s tour of Cognac following the indefatigable members of the Bentley Drivers Club, Julia Marozzi’s visit to über-hot fashion brand Alexander McQueen and Nick Swallow’s intriguing preview of a new Bentley powertrain, there’s something for every reader, from gourmand to fashionista. Happy reading!
Will Hersey has broken down on the Champs Elysées, run out of petrol at Piccadilly Circus and once spent a whole afternoon trying to negotiate the Lisbon ring road, but continues to write about cars, travel and lifestyle.
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Istria lesson With its Italian influences, simple yet delicious gastronomy and sensational coastal scenery, the region of Istria in Croatia deserves closer study. And AS William Hersey discovers, the best way to explore is in a glorious new Continental GTC >
Istria lesson continued You could forgive Istria for feeling a little schizophrenic. The peninsula which makes up Croatia’s northwestern corner and which it shares with Italy and Slovenia to the north, has been conquered, controlled, swapped and occupied for centuries. In fact, it’s had no fewer than five different landlords in the 20th century alone. A consequence of its strategic position sandwiched at the heart of Europe perhaps? Or, as the Istrians might have you believe, a reflection on the desirability of its climate, coastline and simple approach to the good life. Or maybe, like me, they came for the food. This, after all, is Croatia’s gourmet heartland, where a day’s driving tour can showcase the full gamut of influences and flavours. It could be a good day to don some elasticated trousers. As a first-time visitor, it’s clear that Italy and Venice, just a moderately perilous gondola ride across the Adriatic, and ruler of Istria for five centuries, has had the biggest influence on the region, and that influence isn’t limited to the dinner table. Italian remains the second language and the rolling, forested hills that punctuate the landscape help explain why Istria got the nickname ‘New Tuscany’. Nowhere typifies this influence better than our base in the region, the medieval coastal village turned Croatia’s answer to Portofino, Rovinj. In summer, its polished cobblestones are awash with visitors who come to stroll, shop, sip miniature coffees, eat ice-cream and people watch. Where once only fishing boats could be seen from the shoreline, yachts, speed boats and giant pleasure cruisers now vie for space. We arrive at the town’s recently opened five-star hotel, the Monte Mulini, in warm autumn sunshine. It’s enough to make me rue not bringing
my swimming trunks, especially when I view the hotel infinity pool, but a sharp gust of late afternoon wind tells me it’s probably for the best that I don’t brave the water. The hotel reception brings to mind Frank Lloyd Wright’s cantilevered Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, nestled as it is into the hillside and descending down and down to the water’s edge. Accordingly, the whole hotel is upside down by traditional standards, with the reception at the top and the rooms below, something I fail to get a grip of throughout my stay. The open-plan reception area with its vast glass windows offers a panorama of sea, forest and mountain, framed like a giant fresco. It’s a teaser for the varied terrain we’ll be exploring tomorrow at the wheel of the new Bentley convertible, the Continental GTC. For now though, a more traditional travel experience – a ketch no less – awaits us in the harbour. After all, there’s no better way to take in a coastline than from the water itself. Rovinj was built by the Venetians, and it’s not hard to make the connection – from the town’s striking bell tower of St Euphemia Cathedral (built in 1654 and modelled on Venice’s St Mark’s bell tower) to the pastelcoloured façades. It’s behind one of these façades, in the weekend house of a Croatian businesswoman, that we’ve been invited by chef Tomislav Gretic to discover the local gastronomic reputation for ourselves. The essence of Istrian cooking, he tells us, is fresh local ingredients, served simply. And Istria is blessed on this front. Local fishermen land sole, sea bass and turbot, the hills team with wild herbs, asparagus and vegetables, while olive groves scatter the landscape.
Above left The Continental GTC dazzles in more ways than one under the warmth of the early autumn sun. Istria nestles between Italy and Slovenia, yet it has a character all its own.
as we edge through intermittent traffic on our way south, walkers canâ€™t resist a turn of the head. This area is not devoid of luxury cars but the sight of a new GTC, the sun sparkling off its 21-inch alloys, is a little different.
Istria lesson continued I watch him prepare a starter of pancetta, polenta cooked the traditional and slow way, arugula (rocket) and padovano-like local cheese. No frills, full of flavour. As it turns out, it would have done amply as a main, but proves to be just an amuse bouche to the lamb risotto and pan-fried sea bass that follow. Quality and quantity seems to be the Istrian way. It seems wise to shun a taxi for the 20-minute stroll home, in a token effort to work off some of the damage. The following morning, my curtains open to reveal a sky of cobalt blue. A good sign whatever the day has in store, but particularly satisfying when you have the keys to an open-top Bentley on your side table. The styling changes, though subtle, are clear on first sight, the sharper superformed panels creating a more toned and muscular effect. And that’s just while sitting in the car park. As we edge through intermittent traffic on our way south, walkers can’t resist a turn of the head. This area is not devoid of luxury cars but the sight of a new GTC, the sun sparkling off its 21-inch alloys, is a little different. The big draw of convertibles is how they work all the senses, sound included. On drives like this, I’ve learnt the hard way how important the day’s soundtrack can be and have since vowed never to leave myself in the unpredictable hands of the local jazz folk radio station again. So it seems a good time to get to grips with the GTC’s new touch-screen infotainment system – an important rite of passage for us both. Having just left Little Venice and on our way to Pula, known as Little Rome, I can see a theme developing. As you’d expect from the ‘Little’ theme, it doesn’t take long to get around Istria, the sea only ever 30 minutes away. We head south, via the pristine stone village of Vale, an early example of the rich Roman history that abounds throughout the region. If you weren’t immediately aware of this archaeological heritage, arriving in Pula will leave you in no doubt. In how many towns
do you get to park up bang next door to a 2,000-year-old colosseum? Even the original seating area in one portion is intact. It’s easy to imagine the crowds, the noise and the anticipation. Our guide, the improbably named Elvis, complete with wavy jet black hair and subtle swagger, fills us in on the smell too – lavender oil, produced locally and used in force to mask the stench of blood and sweat. Next to the Roman columns in the town square, the GTC’s statuesque radiator doesn’t look out of place with the grand location. After a midmorning cappuccino and an orange cake even a visiting emperor might have thumbed up in approval, we head north. How different does it feel to the coupé? It’s easy to see the making of a convertible as little more than sawing off the roof. The reality, of course, is very different. Firstly the car needs to be strengthened to keep it rooted on the road and avoid the juddering that can be a feature on some open-top driving. This GTC has the stiffest chassis on the road. The windscreen too sits at a lower angle and then there’s the small matter of accommodating the hood, requiring much reconfiguring around the rear wheel arches. From the Continental Supersports comes the 40:60 rear torque bias for the all-wheel drive system, which helps limit understeer and a new transmission offers gear changes twice as quick. As we take in the mountain roads and switchbacks this new agility and sharper turn-in starts to reveal itself.
Right Driving the new Continental GTC offers its own rare tactile and visual pleasures. Buzet hosts Istriaâ€™s largest truffle festival â€“ and holds the World Record for the largest truffle ever found.
Istria lesson continued We stop at the Hotel Flanona on the crest of the Ucka mountains for a majestic view east, even if I don’t have the right denomination of coins to unlock the telescope. It’s been at least an hour and a half since we last ate, so this being a gastronomic driving tour of sorts I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms. The mountain pass descends into our lunch spot, the well-known Bevanda restaurant in Opitija, positioned almost on top of the sea itself, where – no surprises – seafood dominates the menu. Driving through the 5-kilometre Ucka tunnel, the sound and power of the uprated W12 takes on an otherworldly quality. Emerging on the other side, we enter a region of hill towns and wine country. This part of Istria is also its wine region, flattening out as it does towards the sea, enabling over 5,000 hectares of vineyards. Bread is for the flesh and wine is for the soul, goes the Istrian saying, and the wine here is growing in reputation once more. Exports to the rest of the world are still very limited however, meaning you have to come here to try them. What this area’s better known for is truffles. The woods of the Mirna valley have proved a happy hunting ground for both black ‘summer’ truffles as well as the rarer and more highly valued white variety. At the hilltop village of Buzet, we meet Giancarlo Zigante, widely known as the King of Truffles, a man who made the Guinness Book of Records with a 1.3kg truffle he discovered with his dog Diana just 30km from here. He didn’t sell it though, he tells us, instead hosting a banquet for 100 people in celebration. It feels a commendable way to celebrate. It’s here in Buzet that Istria’s largest truffle festival takes place on the first weekend of November and the town’s shops are brimming with truffle-related merchandise. It makes me wonder if even the local toothpaste might have a few shavings.
Right The cockpit of the Continental GTC has been designed with grand touring in mind. The veneered stowage case on the centre console is perfect for keys or sunglasses. Even the door stowage pockets have a space designed for a bottle of water.
Istria lesson continued Leaving Buzet to the east, the road opens into long and empty straights, gently weaving through flat forest. This is where the effortless power and acceleration of the 567bhp (575PS) W12 comes into its own. Overtaking is immediate. Once you’ve made the decision to go, you suddenly find you’re already there. The long Roman road also provides an unexpected chance to witness the GTC’s braking credentials when a tractor pulls out without a glance. As the early evening wind starts to blow in and the sun shines weakly on the western horizon, it would normally seem a good time to put the hood up. But I resist and turn up the neck warmers instead. With only a few miles of our Istrian tour to run, I remember that it was in a convertible in the Lake District that I first ‘got’ the concept of touring. Drive a coupé through stunning scenery and there’s still a physical barrier, a sense of detachment. You still feel the need to stop and get out to look to the sky and feel the air on your face. In a convertible, of course, you’re there already, a part of the scenery, so the journey doubles as the destination. The only drawback? As I catch a glimpse of a red-faced man in the rear-view mirror, it always pays to pack the sun-cream Will Hersey is associate editor of Esquire Magazine and writes about cars, travel and lifestyle.
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A car for all seasons NiCK sWallOW DISCOVERS THAT THE CONTINENTAL GTC IS FAR MORE THAN A FAIR-WEATHER FRIEND > Language changes, inexorably and irreversibly. Even Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, writing to his favourite paper to complain about neologisms like OMG, ROFL, homevid or brain candy, uses the English language in a way that would be unintelligible to Doctor Johnson, the literary colossus who created the first-ever dictionary in 1755. But if we concede that there’s no point keeping obsolete words on life support, it seems a shame that we’ve lost the term ‘drophead coupé’ in favour of the now-universal ‘convertible’. Because while any convertible can offer wind-in-the-hair motoring when the sun shines, it takes a lot more application to make an open tourer that is also a proper, all-year-round coupé. Ask Bentley’s engineering team. For most folk, the idea of a convertible sports car conjures up thoughts of gentle, lavender-scented breezes along the Promenade des Anglais, or perhaps the rustling of palm leaves as one cruises along the Florida Keys. But for a Bentley test engineer the very best place to drive a soft-top Bentley is somewhere deep in the Arctic, with temperatures at minus 30ºC and a gale blasting fine particles of snow at the car with the intensity of a sand-blaster in a deep freeze. They’re just as insistent on testing the roof’s insulation in the relentless heat of a desert in midsummer, with temperatures nudging 50°C and the life-threatening risk of sunstroke, burns and heat exhaustion. So while other convertibles make do with a double or triple layer roof, the Bentley GTC has no fewer than four layers to deliver a level of insulation (whether from the cold or the heat) that’s equivalent to that of a metal roof. The fabric roof, with its
heated glass backlight, is constructed in four layers: twill weave outer fabric, synthetic rubber layer, felt lining and an inner lining fabric. It’s a specification that offers the ultimate in acoustic and thermal insulation, and is able to withstand the force of a blizzard without admitting a single draught or flake of snow. Back at Crewe, they give every completed Continental GTC something called the monsoon test, just in case you fancy taking yours for a brisk drive in torrential rain of fire-hose intensity. Not a drop of water is permitted inside the cabin to sully the hide-covered top roll or thick carpeting. The product of all this hard work is a convertible Bentley that you could happily own in northern Europe and drive every day of the year, including the depths of winter. Should you wish to do so, you’ll also find that the rear-biased all-wheel drive transmission of the Continental GTC delivers reassuring levels of grip and traction during the worst of the winter weather. Equally, when the thermometer is nudging 41ºC – the average temperature for July and August in Dubai – you can count on the Continental GTC’s combination of roof insulation, high-capacity air conditioning and optional seat ventilation system to keep you cool and relaxed, with your forehead free from the merest bead of perspiration. Whether you drive the Continental GTC in snowstorm or sandstorm, you’ll also find the level of refinement is indistinguishable from that of its coupé stablemate, the Continental GT. The windscreen, door glass and rear quarter light are all made of acoustic laminated glass; the wheel
Left Hood down, the Continental GTC looks lean, wide and handsome. The optional neck warmer wafts a warm current of air around the neck and face, making autumn and spring a tempting time for hood-down motoring.
A car for all seasons continued Right The Continental GTC’s four-layer hood isn’t simply watertight – it’s also hurricane, blizzard and monsoonproof. Noise insulation is outstanding – and with its all-wheel drive transmission the GTC is a practical choice for winter motoring.
arches and underbody are completely lined in acoustic material, which has the additional benefit of helping aerodynamic performance. Even the doorseals and front driveshaft have been redesigned to eliminate intrusive noise as far as possible, while the four layers of the roof offer superb acoustic insulation. Of course, the Continental GTC is not the only convertible in the world to claim year-round practicality. But it is unique in the uncompromising way it performs both its roles. Many convertibles look ill-proportioned with the hood up – but not the Continental GTC. Hood up, it’s a sleek Bentley coupé. Hood down, one’s perception of the proportions subtly change, drawing the eye to the low, clean and sharp lines that spear backwards from the front wheel arch towards the muscular rear haunch. At the back, the horizontal lamps emphasise the low, sporting stance and flank a ‘double horseshoe’ bootlid design with a neat spoiler on the trailing edge. And as evidence of the design team’s attention to detail, the bootlid is made of composite SMC, which is transparent to GPS and media signals and avoids the need for an ugly antenna. The Continental GTC concedes nothing to a metal-roof coupé in performance, either. It’s powered by the latest version of the Bentley W12, while the 40:60 front to rear torque split delivers just the right blend of sure-footed grip and engaging response. This combination of 575PS, all-wheel drive and Quickshift transmission sees 60mph come and go in just 4.5 seconds from rest, with 100mph flashing past just 6.4 seconds later. The Continental GTC’s chassis has been carefully tuned to deliver a smooth, supple ride in town, along with precision and control at higher speeds. Bespoke front and rear anti-roll bars, new hydraulic damper
settings and revised Continuous Damping Control modes were specially developed for its chassis. In practice, this means you’ll enjoy a silky-smooth ride cruising down the Croisette in Cannes, yet head inland and upwards to the snow-clad switchbacks of the Alpes Maritimes and the handling will be composed, rewarding and precise. It’s that duality of character again. Extreme cold? Searing heat? The Continental GTC passes both tests with flying colours. But what about those in-between days, the clear, sunny days of spring when there’s still a trace of winter’s chill lingering on the air? Or those days when the autumnal sun shines brightly but no longer has the power to warm us thoroughly? Choose the Continental GTC’s ingenious neck warmer feature and you won’t have to resign yourself to driving with the hood up on such occasions. Set into the back of the Continental GTC’s ‘cobra head’ seat there’s a discreet slot, through which a gentle stream of warm air emerges to envelop the neck, shoulders and top of the back, like an invisible scarf. On those in-between days it makes all the difference to your comfort, and the Bentley offers three fan speeds so you can get just the right degree of neck and shoulder-enveloping warmth for the conditions. It’s a long way from the old days of convertible driving, when you needed to wrap up warmly to enjoy anything other than midsummer weather with the hood down. But that’s the beauty of the Continental GTC; it really is a car for every season, all for the price of just one Bentley Nick Swallow is a freelance writer, automotive aﬁcionado and long-time admirer of Bentleys both past and present.
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The high life As understated as it is elegant, as charming as it is dazzling, The Carlyle in New York is everything Nick Foulkes loves about luxury in one outstanding hotel >
here may be finer sights in the world… but not many. I am talking about the view from room 3305 at The Carlyle hotel on New York’s Upper East Side. As hotel rooms go I have been in bigger: 3305 is not especially spacious, by the time you have got the desk, the bed, the armchair and the obligatory tennis court sized TV into the room, it is feeling decidedly on the snug side of cosy. (If you prefer your rooms palatial then book the Empire Suite.) But the view of the city around sunset, looking down the arrow-straight river of headlamps that is Madison Avenue, to the familiar cut-out sky-scraping skyline is one of the few things that still causes me, a jaded, middle-aged man who has seen the sun set (and indeed rise) in some pretty interesting places, to catch my breath. Bellman tipped and door closed I do a little caper that owes nothing in sentiment but perhaps a little in gleefulness to Christropher Walken’s famous jig in the King of New York. Yes, there are moments when it is really rather good to be alive and this is one of them. It is hard to explain why I love The Carlyle. After all, New York is not short of tall buildings with impressive views. I recently saw Ultrasuede, a documentary subtitled ‘in search of Halston’, by Whitney Sudler-Smith – it is brilliant and while its creator and presenter clearly loves the Halston myth of black polo necks, dark glasses and cigarette smoke, he is also acutely aware of the slightly preposterous nature of fashion. Anyway, at his apogee Halston had amazing offices way up the Olympic Tower, into which you could have fitted an almost infinite number of The Carlyle’s room 3305, however 3305 will always win by simple virtue of the fact that it is in The Carlyle. You see in a city of fast-paced, relentless modernity, The Carlyle is a beacon of unchanging elegance. I knew when I first stepped on the gleaming black marble of its Dorothy Draper-designed lobby a decade ago that I would love it here. In fact, as far as I am concerned, The Carlyle has done more for Anglo-American relations than any other single institution or individual.
In my years BC (Before Carlyle) I avoided going to Noo Yoik. I had visited once in the early 1980s and had been duly impressed by the ingenuity and restless entrepreneurialism of the city’s inhabitants who, so it seemed, could sell me every drug known to pharmacology and steal me any camera/watch/electrical appliance to order. However what impresses one as a callow youth is rather less endearing in later life and I am one of those people who salute the efforts of the New York mayoralty in cleaning the place up. Mr Giuliani may have made New York tolerable but, personally speaking, it was The Carlyle that made it loveable. The Carlyle is proper luxury: the sort that does not need to brag about celebrity chefs and ultra cool chill-out lounge bars with world-class ‘mixologists’ and big-name disc jockeys. Instead what it offers is a glimpse of a more gracious New York. Three dozen floors above the Upper East Side, a block from Central Park, you can imagine yourself in the New York of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In fact I was so impressed with my first stay here that I wrote a book about the place, which I have to confess was as much to get a chance to spend a little more quality time there as it was about getting in some practice at the keyboard. The Carlyle could not have opened at a worse time: right at the start of the Great Depression. Along with 740 Park Avenue, a massive marble and limestone fortress of duplex and triplex apartments, The Carlyle was one of the last and most lavish products of the frenzied boom years and it is one of the masterpieces of American Art Deco. Interestingly, the developer of 740 Park was an entrepreneur called James T. Lee, and his granddaughter, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, who would become famous as the first lady, Mrs Kennedy. And it was the Kennedys who made The Carlyle world famous, when, during the gilded years of Jack Kennedy’s Camelot, it became the de facto New York White House of JFK’s presidency. Of course by then the hotel was already a smart New York landmark, popular with stylish Brit
actors including David Niven and Ralph Richardson and had already received the seal of presidential approval from President Truman. Since then, there have been famous residents; The Carlyle is partly an apartment building, and has guests galore: presidents, prime ministers, princes, princesses, actresses, singers and so on. Diana Princess of Wales was a much cherished guest and at one time when she was at her most newsworthy she was smuggled into the hotel via a secret entrance: the fabled Carlyle tunnels, which were also how JFK’s female companions, including it is said Marilyn Monroe, came and went. These tunnels are a part of hotel legend. And talking of legends, over the years you might have found yourself sharing a lift with Paul Newman, Mick Jagger or Audrey Hepburn, and on Monday nights there is the chance that you will run into Woody Allen in the lobby – the famous film director plays with his band at the Café Carlyle, the hotel’s intimate supper club and live music venue. However it is not so much the guests that make a great hotel, as the people who work in it. I was lucky enough to come to know the hotel when it was still staffed by such legends as the late Mr Hector, dignity personified, who presided over the front desk and who once explained The Carlyle as being “located in the middle of a pocket of over-privilege”. It is a line that I have often repeated to try to explain the allure of The Carlyle, but your taxi driver will probably require more precise directions, in which case ask him to take you to the corner of Madison Avenue and 76th Street
Above Gloriously over-the-top Art Deco style, discreet yet impeccable service and views that redefine the word ‘breathtaking’… what’s not to love?
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Flight turbulence THE PRIVATE AVIATION INDUSTRY IS FACING INTERESTING TIMES – THRIVING IN EMERGING ECONOMIES, TROUBLED IN THE WEST. BUT AS RORY ROSS EXPLAINS, THAT PRESSURE IS STIMULATING SOME CREATIVE FRESH THINKING AMONG OPERATORS >
The world of private aviation is being buffeted by a number of different types of headwind, crosswind and tailwind, depending on which segment you look at. Some winds seemingly come from out of nowhere. Who would have anticipated, for example, that the Arab Spring would benefit jet charter companies thanks to the need for ‘emergency evacuations’? Who would have thought that demand by touring rock and roll bands is at an all time high? Take manufacturers. If you can afford to buy your own jet outright, it helps to know how manufacturers are coping with the toxic debt spiral. According to Honeywell Aerospace, who make electronic components for private jets, deliveries of new business jets in 2011 stood at ‘600–650’, down 15 per cent from 732 delivered in 2010. In dollar terms, this translates into a peak-to-trough decline of 33 per cent. That screams, ‘Buyer’s market!’ Looking ahead, global demand for private jets varies from region to region: climbing in Asia and the Middle East, declining in Latin America and flat in the USA. Meanwhile, in Europe, demand is in freefall. In aggregate, demand for new private jets in 2012 is expected to be ‘weak but positive’.
In terms of actual aeroplanes, the strongest market is for big, long-range jets. Over the next five years, medium to ultra-long-range jets will account for some 65 per cent of demand for new jets, says Honeywell. Manufacturers of jets that can fly 7,000 miles non stop, notably Gulfstream who make the G650 and Bombardier who make the Global Express, are selling to people rich enough not to care about the present financial turmoil. If you want to buy one of these jets, prepare to join a long queue of oligarchs, Arabs and the odd Chinese and Brazilian. In contrast, the market for light to medium-size jets looks more like a plane crash than a plane. It has swung wildly in favour of the buyer in recent years largely because this market is a function of credit markets. The leading manufacturer is Cessna, who surprised the market earlier this year when they launched two new jets, the M2 (A cute six-seater costing $4 million) and the Latitude. The Latitude, a mid-sized private jet costing $14.9 million, fills a gap that Cessna have spotted between the bestselling 8-seater XLS Plus and the Sovereign, a big jet costing $18 million. The Latitude gives plenty of room in the shoulder and leg: few mid-sized jets allow a grown man to stand fully erect, but the Latitude is one of them. The reason why the market was surprised by these two launches is that there is a massive oversupply of used jets sitting in hangars waiting for a buyer to offer a knockdown price. In this market, why on earth would anyone buy a new jet, whose value will plummet as soon as you fire her up? Much more sensible is to charter. This is where we turn to the operators. There have been no significant innovations among operators since the advent of NetJets ‘fractional ownership program’ in 1986. NetJets divides up the cost of jet-purchase among a number of owners. It turned the dream of private aviation into reality for more people than ever before. But you don’t need to be an aviation expert to know that ownership of any sort, fractional or outright, brings you up against the same problem: oversupply. Why buy a share in a jet when you have to finance the cost of running it while taking a big hit on depreciation? You have to do a lot of flying to justify the cost of owning even an eighth share in a jet. Fractional ownership gives rise to other issues apart from simply cost. Buying or selling a share can be a complicated process of contracts, lawyers and accountants. This is what discouraged Thomas Flohr, a charismatic Swiss entrepreneur. He founded VistaJet in 2002, but hit the big time in 2008 when VistaJet bought Skyjet International – six weeks before Lehmann Bros imploded. VistaJet offers clients a ‘three-page contract’ in which the client pays one quarter of an agreed quota of flying hours covering a three-year period and, despite the economic climate, VistaJet has doubled in size, making it the world’s second largest operator of private jets to NetJets. Unlike NetJets, VistaJet is growing thanks to demand from emerging economies which, says Flohr, ‘Are now doing business with each other:
Below Larger jets such as Cessna’s Citation Sovereign are still in demand for transcontinental travel, notably between emerging economies. It’s the smaller end of the private jet spectrum that is suffering, especially in the older markets.
Siberia with the Middle Eastern, China with Nigeria. Entrepreneurs from these economies need to travel as efficiently as possible. The commercial airline infrastructure is not up to it.’ VistaJet’s fleet of all-new Bombardier jets is owned outright by VistaJet itself, which allows Flohr to deliver a jet anywhere in the world at 24 hours’ notice, ready with new interiors designed by Flohr’s daughter Nina and excellent in-flight catering and service by superior air stewardesses. If the idea of owning and running a 30-strong fleet of long-range private jets sounds like playing with fireworks, you are probably right. Flohr, however, seems unfazed. “If you get your service right and the market continues to expand, I see a very long prosperous future. Every time I sell contracts worth 600 hours’ increase in flying time, I buy another aeroplane.” Flohr is looking to create a global brand by getting clients to pay upfront while providing a better, slicker service than the next operator. But in the strata beneath VistaJet, among the jets with shorter ranges, the market is losing altitude. In this sector, no one has yet come up with a business model than can sustainably ride the ups and downs. Or have they? One aspect that has often caught the eyes of would-be aviation entrepreneurs are ‘dead legs’. When you charter an aeroplane from A to B, you not only pay for the jet to fly you from A to B, but also for it to fly empty from B to A. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to sell the dead legs and halve the overall cost of the trip? Step forward Victor, the ‘private jetshare community’ which launched in August 2011. Victor is the brainchild of Clive Jackson, a child of the dot.com era who wraps tech savvy with a business brain. Via Victor, Jackson has created a “Transparent online booking system that allows you instantly to obtain and compare quotations for flights, and then book and pay online, while offering all the consumer protection that you need,” says Jackson. In effect, Victor supplants the traditional system of brokers who put clients in touch with operators for a 10 to 15 per cent fee (Victor charges 5 per cent).
I can’t see business users going for Victor. Their short-term requirements in routing and timing are too specific. I can, however, see Victor working for people who want to attend sports fixtures or who want to fly somewhere during a peak season when the commercial airlines are full and the airports are congested.
Flight turbulence continued The clever part of Victor is that it allows you – the charterer – to put up any spare capacity for sale to Victor’s ‘jetshare community’. So, let’s say you want to fly from London to Geneva one-way. You charter the jet via Victor. You look at the cabin configuration and see that the jet has two spare seats on your flight. You can put them up for sale via Victor. You keep 70 per cent of any sale proceeds; Victor takes the rest. The same goes for the dead leg: you can put it up for sale on the Victor website. The more people who buy seats on the dead leg, the cheaper each individual ticket becomes. By looking at the Victor website, you can see the available spare capacity and dead legs on the routes you want to fly and the dates you want to travel. If you want to go ahead and buy a seat, you can. I can’t see business users going for Victor. Their short-term requirements in routing and timing are too specific. I can, however, see Victor working for people who want to attend sports fixtures or who want to fly somewhere during a peak season when the commercial airlines are full and the airports are congested. “The vast majority of Victor’s members are in business,” says Jackson. “They are people at the top of their professions where time, efficiency and lifestyle are really important. We have all been there. We have all had travel nightmares. My members like the fact that I got off my backside and did something about it.” Jackson aims to reach 1,500 members within Victor’s first 12 months, a benchmark based on NetJets’ membership in Europe. “An increasing number of our members are dogs,” says Jackson. “We publish dog-friendly flights on which you can buy a seat for your pet. It can cost more to send your pet to the Mediterranean by air freight than by private jet.” Private aviation? It’s a dog’s life Freelance writer Rory Ross is a co-founder of AML Global, the jet fuel services company.
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Luxury online and en route THE Mulsanne interior concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show showcases advanced technology and Bentley craftsmanship. john francis logs onâ€Ś >
Whether you want to follow the markets, write a letter, send an email or simply relax with a movie, the Frankfurt Motor Show Mulsanne concept puts everything you need at your fingertips.
Luxury online and en route continued The board meeting overran by 10 minutes, but no matter. As you stride through the glass atrium of the company HQ, you spy your Mulsanne, its elegantly muscular lines unmistakable as it waits by the kerb. Settling into the sumptuous cabin that took Crewe’s craftsmen and women over 170 hours to create, you’ll have time to fire off a few emails, catch up with the markets and pick up the news headlines as your chauffeur expertly pilots the powerful Bentley through the teeming traffic. En route, you’ll be picking your daughter up from her ballet class. From past experience you know she’ll be desperate to catch up with all her Facebook contacts. Fortunately, she has her own separate iPad workstation and won’t be disturbing you – and you can always share a movie later. That’s the vision of online luxury unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show by Bentley’s design and interior infotainment teams. The Mulsanne features two Apple iPad workstations in the rear compartment, integrated into two powered picnic tables with wireless Bluetooth keyboards. As well as full internet access, the Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept also features a 15.6-inch High Definition LED drop-down monitor that can either show television or play videos accessed from the built-in DVD changer and Mac Mini located in the boot. The bespoke interior is finished in a distinctive yachting-style veneer of light and dark tones throughout the cabin. The specification also includes a Tibaldi for Bentley pen, sophisticated mood lighting and reading lights that can be controlled from the iPads. As a finishing touch, a bespoke bottle cooler with an illuminated, double-glazed frosted glass door is housed in the rear centre console. The beauty of any bespoke Bentley is the breadth of choice it offers the owner. With the Executive Interior Concept, you can choose between music, film, television, internet or telephone call. Or, of course, you can simply recline your seat, close your eyes and take a few moments to recharge your own mental batteries… Following overwhelmingly positive reaction at the Frankfurt motorshow, Bentley are planning, with CRD, limited production of up to fifty Mulsannes with the complete Executive Interior content as shown. Availability will be market dependent so please consult your Bentley dealer for details.
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Carte Blanche for Bentley’s designers NICK SWALLOW IS BLOWN AWAY BY THE LATEST LIMITED EDITION FROM BENTLEY’S DESIGN TEAM… A NEW BOND NOVEL WITH AN EXPLOSIVE SECRET WITHIN ITS PAGES >
CARTE BLANCHE Right Ah, Mr Boydell, we’ve been expecting you… Bentley designer Brett Boydell discusses the Carte Blanche limited edition with the Hodder & Stoughton team (white Persian cat not shown). Left Bentley-grade leather graces the cover.
Bond’s eye was caught by the unmistakable outline of a Continental GT, in the form of a polished aluminium sculpture on the mahogany desk. He moved to inspect it more closely, tracing the sleek lines of the 200mph grand tourer with his fingers. “Impressive, isn’t it?” M had entered the room, silently. Bond turned to face him, raising an eyebrow in mute interrogation. “Just a little something Q dreamed up,” continued M, “with a little help from the boys at Crewe. Care to see what’s inside?” As just 500 privileged collectors will soon discover, that polished aluminium form lifts to reveal a magnificent new book, bound in white leather and concealing a dramatic surprise within its pages. It’s a limited edition of the new Bond adventure, co-starring a Bentley Continental GT that’s as suave and powerful as 007 himself. And as the – ahem – less-than-convincing dialogue in the opening paragraph conveys, the design team at Bentley’s home in Crewe has been instrumental in its creation. The arrival of a new book for the Bond canon is always noteworthy, and Carte Blanche, commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications and published by Hodder & Stoughton, makes the 37th original Bond novel. Written by Jeffery Deaver, it gives us a 21st-century James Bond, born in 1979, a veteran of Afghanistan and a keen Bentley driver. To celebrate the publication of Deaver’s Bond epic, Hodder & Stoughton commissioned Bentley’s design team to create a special limited edition of 500 copies. The brief couldn’t have been more open. “The publishers gave us carte blanche…” explains Brett Boydell with a smile. He’s one of Bentley’s senior interior designers and responsible for many other Bentley design projects, including Bentley Branded Goods and the Mulliner accessory ranges. It was Brett’s design that was chosen by Hodder & Stoughton from a shortlist of seven to progress through to production. Despite the fact that many of the concept details had never been accomplished before in book form, the publisher’s production team, led by art director Alasdair Oliver, relished the challenge of making his concept a reality. The Carte Blanche Bentley-inspired cover, for example, is stamped out of aluminium which is then polished with the graphics subtly acid-etched upon it. The book itself is bound in pure white Nappa leather, with a single line of red stitching; both leather and stitching are authentic to Bentley upholstery. The title and author’s names are debossed into the front and elegantly foil-blocked on to the spine, while the text is printed in two colours, black and red, on sumptuous ivory paper, with endpapers of a matching red leather. The pages are expertly cut and trimmed to reflect the handcrafted techniques of the Crewe workshops. As with every detail of the special edition, the colours are taken from Bentley’s range. Crewe’s design team has a notable track record in limited edition James Bond books. Their design for a previous novel, Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks, featured a quilted hide cover. The book, when opened, revealed a scale model of Bond’s 1950s Continental die-cut into the pages. It was a runaway success; every copy was quickly snapped up by collectors of Bond memorabilia. Brett Boydell’s design for Carte Blanche contains a neat twist upon the earlier limited edition. Instead of a car within a book, he decided to create a
book within a car. “I liked the idea of flipping the logic on its head, a playful concept that will appeal to those in the know,” he explains. The cover isn’t a straightforward scale model of the Continental GT, however. “The novel is partly set in Dubai, so I was aiming at a sense of the Bentley emerging from the sand.” The result, even without the exquisite content, is an objet d’art in its own right. Brett’s choice of colour for the binding was more straightforward. “Carte Blanche… it had to be white,” he declares. “And because Bond both destroys and creates, the red of passion and of blood makes the perfect contrast with the purity of the white.” Open the book, turn the pages and the final secret is revealed. A bullet sits within the pages as if fired into them. It’s stamped with the unique limited edition number of the book. “I wanted to know if it was possible to shoot the book – actually to fire a bullet into the pages, complete with scorch marks,” explains Brett. One imagines a few eyebrows being raised at Hodder & Stoughton at that notion. In the end the unpredictability of highvelocity ammunition meant that there would have been no way of ensuring 500 identical results, with the bullet penetrating the precise distance required. So instead the buried bullet sits, pristine and unfired, within a die-cut space… and no scorching mars the printed words.
Buck for the outer casing is machined with the same attention to detail as a full-size Bentley body panel; aluminium casing is polished to a silken lustre. The finished book is full of delightful touches of craftsmanship.
Carte Blanche continued As any aficionado of the original James Bond novels knows, Ian Fleming’s eponymous hero was ever a Bentley driver. In Casino Royale, he owned a battleship grey 4 1/2 Litre ‘Blower’ Bentley convertible coupé. The Blower is written off in Moonraker, and at the end of that novel Bond takes delivery of a 1953 Mark VI with an open touring body. His next was revealed in Thunderball: a Mark II Continental fitted with a higher compression Mark IV engine. But Bond, like his enemies, moves with the times and the Continental GT in Jeffery Deaver’s novel has the kind of performance that a modern all-action hero requires. “As a car buff, and one who has had the privilege of driving both the Continental GT and the Supersports, I was delighted when I learned of the Bentley special edition of Carte Blanche” the author told Bentley Magazine recently. “As with the cars themselves, the special edition is a work of art. I don’t doubt that if James Bond were to buy an account of his own adventures, he would proudly own and display this version of the novel prominently in his flat.” Bond’s cars, of course, don’t always survive the ambushes and pursuits that are an integral part of his adventures. But at least in the limited edition Carte Blanche, he’d have a permanent reminder of his latest automotive passion The special edition of Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver is strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide at a price of £1,000 each. They are available worldwide through www.007carteblanchebentley.com Nick Swallow is a freelance writer, automotive aficionado and long-time admirer of Bentleys both past and present.
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MARQUES DE RISCAL
The toast of Rioja Frank Gehry’s latest architectural masterwork is a showcase for the Rioja region and the Marqués de Riscal vineyard. Julia Marozzi marvels at a hotel where function follows form to brilliant effect >
The toast of Rioja continued Frank Gehry is probably the most famous architect in the world. Not Gaudi, nor Le Corbusier nor even Frank Lloyd Wright can lay claim to his universal recognition – even if because he’s the only one to have made a guest appearance on The Simpsons. Gehry has infused his work with a playfulness that seems to take a page from children’s books, even when designing buildings of a very serious nature. Gehry’s buildings have been criticised for wasting structural resources, not adapting to their local climates or cultures and, in the case of his museums, eclipsing their contents. The buildings themselves can seem more of an artwork than the works inside. A writer for The Economist even went as far as calling him an ‘autoplagiarist.’ Perhaps stealing ideas from a crumpled-up piece of tinfoil is plagiarism. But with no fewer than 14 honorary doctorates under his belt he has been acknowledged as one of the great revolutionaries of the art world. Born in Toronto, Canada in 1929 (and originally named Frank Goldberg), Gehry worked in his father’s hardware store, playing with chain-link fencing and corrugated cardboard, the mundane materials that he would later elevate into architectural wonders. After working in several firms he set up his own practice in Los Angeles. His work is difficult to define because it transcends prevailing theories about how buildings could and should be constructed. He is iconoclastic, using new technologies, such as computer software and titanium, to create structures that are physically beyond anything previously thought possible. His work does not adhere to existing theories or movements, but captures the imagination with its free-wheeling energy and eye-catching shapes. His most famous building is arguably the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, made up of curved, interconnected shapes cased in bright titanium, giving the shimmering appearance of fish scales. At its core is a large, light-filled atrium, which has views of Bilbao’s estuary and the surrounding hills. Opened in 1997, it was deemed ‘the greatest building of our time’ by architect Philip Johnson, cost $100 million to build and paid for itself within just one year. It has been credited with kicking off a cultural and economic revival in the Basque country. His only hotel is another building in Spain, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, which seems to stream colourful, curling titanium ribbons over its central construction of sandstone blocks. Gehry called the building, which was completed in 2006, ‘a marvellous creature, with hair flying everywhere’. Residing within one of the oldest wineries in the Rioja region, the hotel offers guests a dose of avant-garde design to accompany their wine tasting and spa treatments. Located in north central Spain, the Rioja region is famed for its production of the eponymous wines. The Rioja Denominación de Origen Calificada is named for the province of La Rioja though the wines are actually produced in three northern Spanish provinces: La Rioja, Navarra and Álava. In the province of Álava, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal adds a touch of the ultra modern to the small, medieval village of Elciego. Founded in 1858, the winery has been transformed into a dazzling City of Wine complex, complete with a five-star hotel, spa, museum of viticulture and a wine shop.
Speaking of the inspiration behind the complexity of the building, Gehry has explained that his aim ‘was to incorporate the character of the region and its famous vintage within the building’s exterior – the multi-coloured ribbon-like titanium facade reflecting the pink hues of Rioja, the silver foil shielding the cork and the distinctive gold mesh which adorns some Marqués de Riscal bottles”. Images of the hotel strongly suggest that Gehry achieved his aims; the stunning hotel stands in marked contrast to the older buildings alongside it and yet the combination, while surreal and perhaps a little strange, does work and the buildings look like they belong together, distant cousins if you like. The 27,000 square foot, 43-room hotel shares signature characteristics with many of Gehry’s works, in particular the flowing curved lines seen in others of his architectural landmarks.
The best time to come? Summer, when you can enjoy a lunch on the terrace covered by the building’s titanium and stainless steel canopies. And the house wine? Marqués de Riscal, of course. The hotel celebrated its official Grand Opening Event with the special visit of the King of Spain, its Majesty Don Juan Carlos, and since then has continued to attract a world class guest-list. Nestled in the renowned Vinos de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal’s vineyard, the hotel’s spectacular shape and asymmetrical walls provide an elegant contrast to the historic wine cellars designed by the architect Ricardo Bellsola. The hotel’s rooms and suites, each unique and different in their shapes and offered views, are ‘thrown’ in two wings connected by a spectacular suspended footbridge. Gehry’s personal interior design vision is characterised by its forms, colours and materials, reflective of the building’s own characteristics. The leather and raw maple wood of the suites, the dark marble of the bathrooms, and furniture by Gehry (such as the Cloud lamps) and by other notable architects, including, Alvar Aalto, blend with advanced technology. State-of-the art BeoVision televisions by Bang & Olufsen, VOIP telephones and WiFi internet access in all areas of the hotel combine perfectly with avantgarde furniture, lamps and headboards, designed exclusively for the hotel. The hotel offers an informal Wine Bar and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views. Its cosy fireplace is perfect for guests who want to sample the thousands of wines from around the world found in the cellars or enjoy reading one of the 1,000 books of the library. Guests can also experience the entire process of wine production, from the most traditional to the newest and technologically most advanced processes.
MARQUES DE RISCAL
Previous page Gehry’s trademark flowing forms and dazzling titanium represent a bold break with traditional Spanish architecture, yet the result is utterly harmonious amid the sun-drenched vineyards of the Rioja region. Opposite far left Each of the hotel’s 43 rooms and suites are unique in layout. Opposite right Chefconsultant Francis Paniego offers the finest local produce with a contemporary twist.
The worlds of wine and gastronomy meet in the traditional Basque-Riojan cuisine of chef-consultant Francis Paniego, who in 2004 was the first Riojan chef to receive a Michelin star. His signature cuisine, a fusion of the family’s culinary tradition together with futuristic techniques and recipes, and is based on the finest local produce prepared with a contemporary twist – such as foie gras curd with red wine caviar and red pepper, or tomato tartar with Norway lobster and white garlic infusion. The Marqués de Riscal and Bistro 1860 restaurants represent the perfect pairing of tradition and the future. The former is reached through an exterior elevator, where aromas come wafting up from the wine cave below, holding eight million bottles. The elevator’s doors open to reveal an enormous refrigerated wine rack holding more than 200 wines from all over the world. On the left: a welcoming bar with unique views over Elciego, with an oversized window which frames, like a painting, the village’s Saint Andrés church. The restaurant’s design combines red walls, stainless steel ‘custard-cup’ lamps dropping down from sky-high ceilings and counters of copper and onyx stone. The Gehry style melds with the fine dressing and setting of the tables. Crockery designed for Riscal, Zwiesel wine glasses designed by Enrico Bernardo and Puiforcat cutlery. Bistro 1860 offers traditional, seasonal fresh market cuisine. Tastes are hearty and flavoursome, with pulse and vegetable stews, homemade meat balls, fresh fish and meat. Healthy recipes with seasonal produce feature in the easy-going and informal atmosphere. The restaurant offers stunning views of Elciego village with the Cantabria mountain range as a backdrop, together with a modern interior design that includes orange chairs by Verter Panton and oversized pictures of Gehry’s first sketches of this 21st-century chateau. The best time to come? Summer, when you can enjoy a lunch on the terrace covered by the building’s titanium and stainless steel canopies. And the house wine? Marqués de Riscal, of course: eight wines including reds, rosés, whites and the star of the moment, the Gehry Selection 2001, a limited edition created to celebrate the opening of the City of Wine. Worth highlighting are the winery’s historical vintages which, due to the age and fragility of the cork, are opened by cutting off the top of the bottle. From drinking it to bathing in it – well not quite, but almost. Visitors are invited to indulge in the wine therapies of The Vinothérapie® SPA Caudalie Marqués de Riscal, recognised in 2006 by Condé Nast Traveller as the Best European Spa, in 2007 with Wallpaper’s Best Design Award and Best Treatment Gala Spa Award and finally in 2008 included in the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List, winning the Best Non Urban Hotel Award.
The toast of Rioja continued The spa offers a broad selection of relaxing, energising, slimming and anti-ageing treatments and indulgences based on the grape’s and vine’s purest essences and other natural ingredients, such as honey. As with all Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts around the world, the Marqués de Riscal concierge will provide guests with the most enriching experiences to enjoy the beauty, culture and gastronomical uniqueness of the area, whether by bicycle, on horseback or by hot-air balloon. Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts are part of the Starwood Group, one of the leading hotel and leisure companies globally, with 1,058 properties in nearly 100 countries. A holiday in a hotel that is destined to be a part of architectural history is an occasion to treasure. Gehry’s impact has established new criteria and capabilities for the future. His work is ground breaking: First, he departs from the long-standing architectural tradition that form should follow function. Gehry’s work begins with form, and the function adapts to it – but does so in ingenious ways, such that the function is not only not compromised by the form, but is augmented by it. Second, Gehry establishes realistic cost estimates and sticks to them. This may not sound radical, but for building projects like the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, runaway budgets and overoptimism can result in incomplete structures, compromised designs and bad blood between architects and commissioners. Gehry is a celebrity architect and his buildings attract millions of visitors. People flock to the hotel for a drink or a tour in the way that visitors to the Louvre go to see the Mona Lisa. Gehry has created a new icon for the proud region of Rioja, singlehandedly making it a destination for those who want to see and stay in this new wonder of the Post-Modernist world Below Futuristic it may be, but the Gehrydesigned hotel came in on time and on budget.
For further information on The Luxury Collection or to book, please email reservations email@example.com, telephone +800 325 45454 (Europe) and +800 325 3589 (USA & Canada) or visit luxurycollection.com/marquesderiscal
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Remarkable vintage BENTLEY’S CONTINENTAL FLYING SPUR SPEED MEETS ITS FORBEARS, AS DRIVER neil ridley JOINS THE INTREPID MEMBERS OF THE BENTLEY DRIVERS CLUB FOR A TOUR OF COGNAC >
Remarkable vintage continued Whether it’s the undulating mountain passes of the Swiss Alps or the famous Nürburgring in Germany, the location for the greatest driving experience is a hotly contested subject. But having spent a day in the company of a dozen or so of the finest pre-war Bentleys and their remarkable owners, I’d say that the unspoilt country lanes of Jarnac, situated at the heart of the Cognac region, could easily rival either of the aforementioned, highly celebrated drives. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Bentley Drivers Club and to mark the occasion, 14 cars, all manufactured before 1930, took part in an exhilarating drive round the perfectly manicured vines of Domaines Hine, with the drivers keen to demonstrate the astonishing resilience of their classics while learning about the intricacies of Hine’s award-winning vintage Cognacs. To counterpoint the array of vintage machines on show was a brace of modern Bentleys: the sleek but brooding Continental Flying Spur Speed (my voiture de choix for the journey down from London) and the stately Mulsanne, which would rendez-vous with the party at Hine’s beautiful chateau, situated on the banks of the River Charente. The route I’d chosen for my passage through rural France would really allow me to enjoy the Flying Spur’s unrivalled refinements, as well as explore every inch of its uncompromising 600bhp, 12-cylinder engine on the
wonderfully maintained (and relatively traffic-free) French toll roads. It was also rather timely that on the very day I arrive in France, petrol heads the world over were on their return from the hallowed motor racing circuit of Le Mans, a venue where W.O. Bentley scored countless victories in the 1920s with his super-charged Speed Six design. An abundance of luxury marques, many luridly clad in pseudo-race trims throatily compete for supremacy on the A28, blissfully unaware that should I choose to be a little more heavy-footed in the Flying Spur, they would probably be left for dust. You see, rather like a fine wine, or indeed a vintage Cognac, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is more concerned with the overall thrill of the driving experience, its complexity and balance, rather than merely the aesthetics and sheer intensity of the package. The spacious interior is exquisitely decked out like a gentleman’s club chair, with soft red leather covering every conceivable surface. The Naim stereo system gives one the feeling that Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin are actually performing Histoire de Melody Nelson from the back seats and a built-in DVD player gives my companion a chance to watch back-to-back Jean-Luc Goddard movies before we finally cross the River Charente and enter the lush Grand Champagne area of Cognac, just before sundown.
Above left 14 Cricklewoodera 1920s Bentleys took part in the Tour of Cognac and it’s a point of honour for BDC members that their tours don’t feature a back-up vehicle. Right The quintessentially French experience of Cognac owes a lot to the British, especially one 18th-century citizen called Thomas Hine.
As drives go, the French countryside is woefully overlooked and despite our relative pace, we have thoroughly enjoyed every kilometre in the Flying Spur. The whole journey, despite being a shade under nine hours, has flown by. My tweed travel suit is still pristine and my outlook on the French road network surprisingly positive. As we meet up for breakfast croissants and coffee the following morning, I begin to get the sense of just how passionate the drivers’ club members are as they make last-minute adjustments to their cars before we all hit the undulating countryside together. The majority of members here are from the UK, some as far as Midlothian in Scotland, but clearly distance is the last thing on their minds. “Our club tours are, of course, based on a common interest in vintage Bentleys, but also the finer things in life, especially great food and drink,” smiles Nigel Bradshaw, in whose car (a late 1920s Bentley 4 1/2 Litre ) I have been invited to be a passenger for the tour of Cognac. As we speed by the regimented tiers of grapevines, which fill the surrounding countryside with their fragrant aroma, it strikes me that this trip is about celebrating the coming together of two great British institutions. The Hine family can actually trace their ancestry back to the southwest coast of England where, in the 18th century,
A tour-de-force of Cognac and Bentleys Three fine Hine Cognacs to savour after a wonderful jaunt in a Bentley Continental:
Hine VSOP – 40%
Remarkable vintage continued
This light and wonderfully balanced blend has a mixture of Grande and Petite Champagne Cognacs, the most highly sought-after areas in the Cognac region. Notes of elegant fresh citrus fruit mix with sweet marzipan, chopped nuts and floral aromas, giving a sweet, but complex, easy sipping Cognac.
Hine ‘Homage’ – 40%
Homage brings together some of the best Hine vintage cognacs from 1984, 1986 and 1987. It is aged in the UK rather than France, before being blended with some extra old Cognacs from Hine’s prestigious cellars in Jarnac. Intensely floral, velvety and long with hints of citrus fruit and orange peel, highly reminiscent of old cognacs aged in England. On the palate there are dominant notes of citrus fruits, followed by a hint of dried fruit and then mushrooms, which demonstrates ageing in very humid cellars. Wonderfully balanced and refined.
Hine Cigar Reserve – 40%
Created by Bernard Hine in collaboration with Nicholas Freeman, of fine cigar purveyors Hunters & Frankau, this rich, deep and spicy Cognac is the perfect pairing to a light or indeed more robust handmade Cuban cigar. Notes of polished wood, dried fruits and cracked leather mix with a sweet, rich unctuous mouthfeel of marzipan, fragrant pipe tobacco and spicy/ woody notes.
Thomas Hine, an English linen merchant and quite the Cognac connoisseur, decided to send his son (also called Thomas) to France to learn the language and the art of making the noble spirit itself. Today, some six generations later, under the tenure of Frenchman Bernard Hine, there is still a distinctly English feel to the company, despite its location in the sleepy town of Jarnac, the heart of Cognac production. “For us, making and selling Cognac is about blending the best grapes and selling the sheer pleasure of the experience – rather like driving a Bentley,” explains Bernard as we stop off at one of Hine’s best wineries, the cars all parked in formation alongside the vines. Amazingly, about 60 per cent of the original 3,000 Bentley cars made in the 1920s and 1930s are still running, which is testament to their unprecedented build quality. “We don’t travel with any sort of back-up vehicle,” explains Nigel. “We make any running repairs ourselves during the trip. In 1927, there really wasn’t a better built car.” One of the real gems on the tour is a 1930 Bentley Speed Six, once owned by Lt-Commander Smith-Langley of HMS Nelson and now in the capable hands of the immaculately attired Bob Hickman. “I’ve driven this car right across the world, so it’s had a damn good airing,” explains Bob over dinner in Hine’s prized vintage cellars. “It’s also this model that won the 1929 Le Mans race, beating Mercedes and rather upsetting quite a few German drivers in the process!” he chuckles. The Speed Six can still do an outstanding 110mph, which must feel truly terrifying, considering its open cockpit and flimsy lap seatbelts. “The fun you have with this car, compared to modern cars, really puts the fear of god into you,” points out Bob, just as three different Cognacs are brought out by the waiters. “It’s all the fun of the Cavalry Charge,” he laughs, “but with only 25 per cent of the danger.” The intrepid nature of the club has seen various members and their beloved (and highly reliable) cars travel right across the globe, including taking in the equally impressively built Grand Canyon and the vineyards and savannas of South Africa. In 2005, a number of pre-war classics also undertook the monumental drive across Australia from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean and neither the club, nor the cars show any signs of slowing down. I leave the final word to Nigel Bradshaw, as the cars pose for a final photograph on the banks of the River Charente, where scores of locals have turned out to wish the drivers well. “At the end of the day, these cars are working museums,” beams Nigel, “and are there to be driven, not just polished and observed.” May the spirit of Walter Owen Bentley continue to course through these intrepid drivers and their truly remarkable machines well into the new developments of the 21st century Neil Ridley is a writer on Food & Drink magazine.
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Spurred to excellence A collaborative project between celebrated British furniture makers Linley and the craftsmen of Crewe has created a covetable limited edition Flying Spur, reports Nick Foulkes >
in my egotistical way, i like to think that when the history of bentley in the early 21st century comes to be written i will at least enjoy a footnote or two. Some years ago when breitling owner teddy Schneider first thought he might like to become involved with bentley, i looked after him when he came to le mans and showed him around the pit lane, the circuit and acquainted him with the culturally significant aspects of this famous race, by which of course i mean the hawaiian tropic girls. it was lord linley who reminded me of my other claim to insertion in the annals of the winged ‘b’ when we met the other day at jack barclay. As we were looking over the new flying Spur that his eponymous luxury woodworking company has specced, he said: “of course, you do know that it was you who got me started with bentley.” And it is true that for years whenever we have met and the conversation has turned, as it usually does, towards cars, i would inevitably break into lyrical declamations about the benefits of driving a bentley. the comfort, the power, the torque, the excitement, the leather, the lambswool rugs, the wood, the britishness… i think it was the britishness that got him in the end. you see david linley is one of britain’s national treasures. Son of the late princess margaret and her photographer husband lord Snowdon, he is that rare thing: a member of the royal family who has what the rest of us recognise as a real job. his day job is chairman of christie’s, but he is better known for the exquisite woodwork made by his eponymous firm, work that is at once very contemporary but, in terms of quality and detail, very much the heir to the great names of british furniture: george Sheraton and thomases hepplewhite and chippendale. in the quarter century or so since he founded the company the linley name has become synonymous with museum-quality pieces of furniture: desks that look like stately homes, inlaid dining tables on which you could land your jet (linley has of course fitted out the odd aeroplane); and, as a cigar smoker, i have a particular weakness for his humidors, especially the one that is the centrepiece of the new limited series of bentley flying Spurs.
THE RESULTS, WHILE DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE, ARE QUITE SIMPLY STUNNING: THE INLAID HELIX PATTERN FURLS ALONG THE SANTOS ROSEWOOD OF THE WAIST-RAILS AND PICNIC TABLES, WHILE THE LONGITUDINAL STRIATED GRAINING THAT RUNS THE LENGTH OF THE FASCIA AND DOWN THE CENTRAL INSTRUMENT PANEL, CREATES WHAT THE BENTLEY TEAM DESCRIBE AS A WATERFALL EFFECT.
LINLEY Left The famous Linley helix inlay requires extreme precision – and a steady hand. Below The beautifully integrated humidor and straight grain of Santos Rosewood on fascia and console are among the features unique to this limited edition Bentley.
Spurred to excellence continued “I like to think that what this shows is the subtlety of British craftsmanship,” says David Linley. “I felt that by bringing the engineers and designers of two great British companies together and introducing the two cultures to each other we could create something remarkable, but I only wanted to work together if we could add to the excellence of these great cars; the whole concept was to take two very craft and skill based companies and to find an amalgamation of those skills.” My proselytising of the marque aside, it was Richard Charlesworth, Bentley’s Director of Royal and VIP Relations who was instrumental in bringing the collaboration about. “Richard is such a character,” says Linley with an affectionate smile. “He is Bentley personified and he could not have been nicer when I came to visit the factory. It was a fascinating day.” Linley is a very analogue personality and, a craftsman at heart, he knows that there is no substitute for handling materials and speaking to the people who use them to create an object, as beautiful as it is functional, whether a Bentley or a backgammon table. And having immersed himself in the wonderful world of luxury car-building for a day, he came away from Crewe profoundly impressed. “The idea to collaborate came about after that. Some of the Linley designers went up to Crewe and we hosted some of the Bentley design team at our headquarters in London.” Senior designer Brett Boydell was one of the visitors to the Linley showroom in Belgravia. “I went to meet with David in his showroom and we were able to soak up what made his design work and what Linley was all about.” This meeting was also an opportunity for the Bentley team to brief Linley’s designers on the limitations placed on their work by legal requirements. After all, it is not as if you have to crash test a dining table. “We chatted to him about what was possible and what we could and couldn’t do; we are always within the confines of legality. At the end of the day we have to be able to sell a car,” explains Boydell. “Their initial ideas included veneering and marquetry on the steering wheel, and in areas of the car that make life very difficult. Just changing the steering wheel could take years and cost millions of pounds, it’s potentially a very long process – difficult and expensive. Some of what was requested we could do, but some of it was just not feasible. We chatted with Linley’s designers and tried to work from their point of view as well. So I took that all on board, went away, and then came up with three or four designs that were then whittled down to two designs that we then took back to David.” Initially the idea had been to work on the Brooklands but that very limited run of special cars soon sold out and the new Mulsanne had not yet been released so instead Boydell’s mind turned to the Flying Spur and in particular an option for a central console running the length of the car. “I highlighted this console that runs all the way through the car as one of the areas where we could incorporate work from both sides. It was to be a focal point between the core skills in Linley and our core skills. I also picked up up on the helix in the Linley range; I thought that would be nice to implement in the cars.” The helical motif is a very literal expression of the usually rather nebulous term ‘brand DNA’. What the Bentley team were excited by was the new world of colour offered in the veneers at Linley. “I thought the colours of the veneers were gorgeous and totally different from what we offer in Bentley.” Nor was it just a menu of different colours: the grain was different. The rich and textured character of the traditional Bentley way with wood is achieved by the use of Burr Walnut, which is mirror matched on the main dashboard. Apart from the characteristic warmth of the material, its composition and intricate figuring create asymmetrical patterns making it much easier to work around compound curves, such as the declivity around such familiar points of cabin geography as the bull’s eye air vents. However the Bentley designers were very taken with the straight grains and, never people to make things easy for themselves, decided that they would try to use the straight grain of the Santos Rosewood.
Spurred to excellence continued The results, while difficult to achieve, are quite simply stunning: the inlaid helix pattern furls along the Santos Rosewood of the waist-rails and picnic tables, while the longitudinal striated graining that runs the length of the fascia and down the central instrument panel creates what the Bentley team describe with figurative flourish as a waterfall effect. However it is in the central console dividing the rear passenger seats that the Linley signature is most distinct; concealed inside the comfortable armrest is a beautiful Bombay Rosewood humidor, specially dimensioned to accommodate the contents of at least one box of Robustos, accompanied by an engine-turned Dunhill tallboy lighter and a Linley cigar cutter each snugly located in their own bespoke slots; the cup holder converted into a sculptural steel ashtray. As a cigar smoker I normally cannot wait to open the lid of any humidor I am shown, falling upon it with the impatience of a pirate presented with a treasure chest. However such was the arresting beauty of this box that, keen though I was to sample the Vuelta Abajo tobacco held within, I stopped to run my fingers over the gently domed lid with its decorative cross banding and delicate ebony stringing. And it is in that gentle double curvature that the ultimate expression of the collaboration between the two firms can be seen, as Brett Boydell explains. “When it came to the box itself, they came up with a beautiful design but initially the top of the box was flat. However we persuaded the
Linley team to experiment with a double curvature, which tends to make life very complicated; you have to get the veneers to stretch and form, which we have been doing for 20 years, so we worked with them on how to achieve it.” On older Bentleys, says Boydell, the wood veneers tend to be laid on flat surfaces. However, with the development of new techniques and investment in the sort of special machinery needed to work veneers around surfaces that would have defeated an earlier generation of craftsmen, the Bentley wood shop was able to work with Linley on bringing the domed lid from design to reality. And, when you do finally come to open that masterpiece of double curvature veneering, you can do so safe in the knowledge that a special strut will prevent sudden braking on the part of your driver from bringing it guillotining down on your digits. There is however just one piece of advice I would offer to the lucky owners of these cars as they take delivery of their new Linley Bentleys: ask for a few small samples of the veneers and give them to your cigar merchant. After all the trouble that Linley and Bentley have gone to, it would be such a pity if the cigars inside the humidor were not perfectly colour matched to fit with the veneers Nick Foulkes is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Finch’s Quarterly Review, luxury editor of GQ, a columnist in Country Life and editor of Vanity Fair’s ON TIME. His new book ‘Gentlemen & Blackguards – Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844’, is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
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A walk on the wild side A childhood in AfricA gAve geoffrey Kent his tAste for the wild â€“ but it wAs his Army cAreer thAt gAve him the edge when setting up his own sAfAri tour operAtion. NICK FOULKES meets A bentley owner with A tAlent for trAvel >
Below Geoffrey Kent has owned many exotic and appealing cars over the years, but for the past 24 years he’s been a confirmed Bentley owner. Right Abercrombie and Kent tours attract high achievers from all walks of life. Kent’s home includes a few choice mementoes of these enduring friendships.
A walk on the wild side continued Had Evelyn Waugh, Wilbur Smith and H. Rider Haggard got together to write a novel they would have probably come up with Geoffrey Kent’s life. Today Kent is the eponym of tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. In the years BK (Before Kent) safaris were macho affairs: aspirant Ernest Hemingways and Teddy Roosevelts would pack their elephant guns, put on their broad-brimmed hats trimmed with leopard skin bands and follow their white hunters into the bush for a month, from which – provided they had not been gored by a water buffalo or eaten by a lion – they would emerge dirty, tired and dusty. If today the safari is viewed as a luxuryunder-canvas experience – all en suite tents and fine dining under the stars, where shooting is done with cameras rather than rifles – then that is largely due to Kent. It was in the early ‘60s when he was just in his 20s that he founded his travel firm with only his parents, an old Bedford lorry and his mother’s silver Asprey ice bucket. But by then he had already had a lifetime experience of Africa.
Rather fittingly he had been born while his parents were on safari. His father was an officer in the King’s African rifles, while his mother, she of the silver ice bucket, whom he describes as ‘rather posh’, was a woman who would never dream of being seen without hat and gloves when leaving the family farm in the Kenyan Highlands for the capital Nairobi. This was the time of the Happy Valley set, White Mischief and the Muthaiga Country Club: Joss Errol was a family friend. Young Geoffrey was educated locally and, in those pre-health and safety days, was allowed to do pretty much as he pleased, roaming wide and killing water buffalo and crocodiles before he hit puberty. But by his teens a post-imperial shadow was cast over his African idyll: the Mau Mau rebellion. The wind of change had begun to whistle through the Kenyan Highlands as a campaign of violence was waged against the white settlers. “It started in 1955, when I would have been 13, and it went through to 1960–1961. We all had guns. I had a little .22. My mother would walk around the farm with a Beretta 32 and my father had a sten gun. We used to sit down to dinner with our guns at the table. Our next door neighbours were the Rucks and they were brutally murdered in their house: my sister and I were evacuated to Nairobi after that. It was an interesting time.” Indeed it could be said that Geoffrey Kent has specialised in having an interesting time. Financing himself through sales of tourist trinkets, curios from the Congo, elephant hair bracelets and the like, he started his lifelong love affair with the internal combustion engine. “In 1960 I drove a motorbike from Nairobi to Cape Town, which is how I started to love motorbikes. At the time I had two motorcycles. I had a Triumph Speed Twin and a Daimler Puch. I decided to take the Daimler Puch 250ccs; it was a two-stroke so much easier to fix than a four stroke and it broke down all the time and even fell in the Zambezi River.” Fearing what their son would do for an encore, his parents decided that he needed a little more structure in his life. “I got sent to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. My father sent me there; he felt I was out of control, in need of discipline. We were running around shooting crocodiles at the age of 13, our first buffalo, elephants. That’s how we grew up.”
“Abercrombie & Kent is very much a logistics company built along army lines. The exactness of how our trucks arrive and how our planes land, how we look in the uniforms: all that has singled us out from every other travel company in the world.”
After the freedom of Africa, Sandhurst was not the most agreeable of places, but he made the most of it. “At Sandhurst I had an MG – it had a leather strap around its bonnet. It was bright red. It was a fantastic colour. Then I graduated to an Austin Healey 3000 – elephant hair sales were good – which was the car of the moment. It was black with red seats. So cool, a beautiful car. Then I had to sell that because we were shipped out to Aden, then I was carless for some time.” However he was not without motorised transport. While assisting Britain in its withdrawal from Aden, he got about in Saladin armoured cars and a reconnaissance vehicle called the Ferret. There is one outside the Guards’ Museum in Birdcage Walk. “It looks like a small wheelbarrow! A large toy!” he says with a laugh. “But in those days it looked quite big. Aden was not fun. And from Aden I went to Bahrain, then Oman, then to General John Frost (the hero of Arnhem and A Bridge Too Far),” who was commanding the British forces in Libya. “In Libya we had tanks. My corporal’s tank was blown up by a mine laid by Rommel,” he says matter of factly, adding as an aside: “At that time I was training Gaddafi. He was a very clever man. He was a captain at that stage,” as indeed was Geoffrey Kent. But while Captain Gaddafi went on to a colonelcy, a dictatorship and a sticky end, Captain Kent was invalided out of the service and returned to Africa to run his fledgling travel business. “After I left the army I realised that we had to come up with a new product – you either went big game hunting or on photographic holidays, but in those days you went around in Chevrolet cars. So I came up with the idea of using army Bedford trucks bought at auction,” and with the help of his old engineer from the army he fixed them up and used them to bring refrigeration and other thitherto unheard-of luxuries to the African bush. “We invented the whole photographic safari with tents. We had electric lights, little electric generators, lights and loos ensuite in the tents. I was the first to have ice, refrigerators and en-suite bathrooms,” he says proudly and he is happy to credit his Army years for his enduring success. “Abercrombie & Kent is very much a logistics company built along army lines. The exactness of how our trucks arrive and how our planes land, how we look in the uniforms: all that has singled us out from every other travel company in the world.”
Below Geoffrey Kent sets himself high standards in everything he attempts. An Abercrombie & Kent team won the US Open Polo Championship in 1978 and again in 1981, with ‘G. Kent’ notable among the winning team.
A walk on the wild side continued However there are situations which defeat even the most precisely planned logistics. “One evening with Richard Burton we pulled into camp. I was getting him a drink at the bar in the mess tent, when there was a huge roar and lots of screaming. There were seven lionesses all over a buffalo in the middle of the camp fire. We always had a fire going and Richard Burton was out looking at it. I up-ended the table, all the crystal glass, all the porcelain flew off and we barricaded ourselves behind it, watching these lionesses eating the buffalo in the flames. He was like ‘wow, can we do that again sometime?’. He thought I’d set it up!” And it is the combined sense of luxury and drama that makes the Abercrombie & Kent experience so compelling. “We came across a 14-foot crocodile on a river bank on my last trip. Africa still hasn’t changed. Abercrombie & Kent can take people very safely into this amazing, very prehistoric time. Crocodiles are the most prehistoric beasts alive today. With our professional guides you can see an amazing scene. An African safari changes your life. Bill Gates came on one with us and it changed him.” And it is possible to see how the African Safari has changed Geoffrey Kent’s life as he traces the upward trajectory of his business through the cars he has driven. “When we started my car was a Toyota Crown and then I graduated to a Holden and then to an Opel Kapitan. Then I had my Toyota Land Cruiser which was much better than the Land Rover. I was so happy to get rid of that Land Rover. In 1972 I had my big break and I did a huge safari for David Rockefeller. I became Rockefeller’s guide – he’s now 90 and has done 37 trips with Abercrombie & Kent. David brought 100 bankers for the opening of an IMF conference in 1972 and I made enough money to buy my first brand new car, a Mercedes 280 S. I still own it: cream white, with black seats. I still have it in Nairobi. It only has 40,000 miles on the clock. It reminds me of my first big deal. Whenever I’m in Nairobi I take it for a spin. Next I bought an E-type Jaguar. “Then I went to America, where the company was really growing. I got another huge break, I bought myself a Jensen but it broke down all the time. Then in 1983–4 I bought a brand new drop-head dark blue Bentley with tan upholstery. I suppose the longest drive I ever
made in that car was from Vero Beach to the Florida Keys – the length of Florida. I did that quite a lot. I used to windsurf in the Keys. It’s a lovely drive. You stop off at Miami and at Joe’s Stone Crab. It’s very hippy, very laid back. “When I came to England in 1987 to captain the Prince of Wales’ polo team, I used to drive London to Cowdray twice a week, London to Windsor, London to Cirencester once a week. On a whim one day late in 1987 I was walking to meet a friend at The Cavalry club. I was living in Claridge’s and as I was walking past the showroom in Berkeley Square a gold Bentley caught my eye. I walked in having just done another big deal and bought it. It was a four door. Then from then on I’ve always had that. I traded that in ’89 for a green one, then I traded that one in for a blue one.” And while his business has kept him in Bentleys for more than a quarter of a century, there is a note of regret in his voice when he says that these days he often finds himself seated in the back catching up on emails and phone calls. “I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to, but every now and again I tell my driver to get out of my seat and get behind the wheel myself. They’re great cars, they’re very, very fast. They’re incredibly comfortable. They feel very safe and solid and yet they’re not a show-off car. Once you’ve had a Bentley it’s very hard to buy anything else. Very quiet, very powerful, very reliable.” As he speaks these words the unmistakable gleam of pleasure enters his eyes: as his experience has shown, driving a Bentley can be just as life-changing as taking an Abercrombie & Kent safari Nick Foulkes is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Finch’s Quarterly Review, luxury editor of GQ, a columnist in Country Life and editor of Vanity Fair’s ON TIME. His new book ‘Gentlemen & Blackguards – Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844’, is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
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Gifted craftsmen Bentley’s luxury collection covers a range of gifts from the near-unattainable to the delightfully simple. Each item displays perfectionist attention to detail, as Charlotte Metcalf discovers > There is something about looking at an object you will never own that makes it all the more excruciatingly desirable. I am looking at a Breitling for Bentley watch, one of a limited edition of 100 to be given to buyers of the new Continental Supersports Convertible Ice Speed Record. Just 100 of these radically styled cars, with speeds of up to 202mph (325km/h), are being made to celebrate the world ice speed record (205.48mph or 330.695km/h), achieved in February on the frozen Baltic Sea by Finland’s four-time World Rally Champion, Juha Kankkunen in a Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible. To complement the car, Bentley and Breitling have designed the covetable silver, black and red watch. It is gorgeously rugged with a resilient rubber strap, a carbonfibre dial (lighter carbon fibre rather than wood veneer is used in Bentley sportscar dashboards) and a knurling surround to echo the gearstick. Every watch has the serial number of the owner’s car engraved on its back. “It’s extremely sporty and unique,” says Mathieu Brunisholz of Breitling. “Everything about it reflects Bentley’s core principles, from the lightweight titanium case that represents the car’s high-speed performance to its own specially designed carbon-fibre box.” Wolfgang Duerheimer, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, sums up the watch as, “Highly exclusive. Highly sought. Pure Bentley and Breitling through and through.”
Below Destined to be highly sought after, just 100 Breitling for Bentley Ice Speed Record Chronographs will be produced. Each one is destined for owners of the Bentley Supersports ISR.
Gifted craftsmen continued The fact that all 100 of these superb timepieces are being given as presents and cannot be bought is indicative of Bentley’s dedication to exclusivity. Bentley understands that their owners want to feel in possession of a rare and invaluable treasure: my own uncle, Roger Hardy, owned a 1930 41/2-litre ‘Blower’ supercharged Vanden Plas tourer and never doubted it. Even as a little girl of seven, watching my uncle handle the car with pride and reverence, I recognised that this magnificent, noisy, dark green beast epitomised history, glamour and a level of quality quite beyond anything I knew. Some decades later in Bentley’s factory in Crewe, I have a Proustian moment that instantly recalls my childhood as I put my head through the door of a 1952 R-Type Continental and inhale. Inside the sleek, creamy curves of the car, the burgundy and walnut interior is darkened and softened by time and has that unmistakable Bentley aroma – the mysteriously intense, earthy, leathery reek of luxury and style. A dedicated style team has been based at Crewe since 1951 and this year celebrates 60 years of Bentley Style. Nigel Lofkin shows me round the factory and points out those stylised features that have continued to define Bentley as one of the world’s most sought-after cars. With passion, Nigel talks of the femininity in the curvature of the lights and weave of the grilles that combine so effortlessly with the masculine, more aggressive styling of the cobra-style
seats and dashboards. He caresses the smooth sweep of Bentley’s signature haunch and shows me how even the new ipod drawer in the flagship Mulsanne is exquisitely lined. He invites me to touch the signature chrome organ stops that open all Bentley air vents. “Customers love that tangible cool feel of them,” he enthuses. By the time we have sat down in Bentley’s comfortable sitting room to look at wood veneers and paint colours, I feel I have been through a sensory journey of colour, smell and texture rather than through a car factory. As part of their commemoration of 60 years of Style, Bentley has been working with new partners to add to their luxury gift collection, first launched in 2001 when Bentley returned to Le Mans (winning in 2003). “We wanted to create a fresh range of gifts that retain the iconic Bentley values and quality,” says Izabela Turlewicz, who works on the collection. “We’re still offering the miniature models, cufflinks and the classic cashmere and silk and so on but we’ve created some new gifts that have really caught the imagination. Particularly in demand is the elegant, streamlined Flying ‘B’ collection which comprises paperweight, wine stopper, letter opener and key chain.” With craftsmen at Ettinger of London, Bentley has also created a range of leather Christmas gifts: Blackberry, iphone and ipad cases, passport holders and cap key rings in red and black (in tune with the Breitling for Bentley watch) as well as wallets, card cases and photo-frames in the more classic black and tan. Continuing with the red and black theme, Bentley has also made a weekender leather bag – a black holdall with red straps and piping – and in partnership with Dents Pittards, Cabretta gloves for ladies and gents. Daniele Ceccomori of Bentley’s Styling Studio explains what Bentley seeks in a partner: “The Bentley Boys invented racing with style and following on from that our partners must understand Bentley’s historical values,” he says. “We seek craftsmanship, respect for tradition but with a futuristic vision and the seamless integration of technology with a romantic and elegant image. Any Bentley product is the expression of the ultimate and challenging marriage between dynamism and elegance.”
I ask at what point Bentley decides a product is good enough. “In design terms, the word ‘enough’ is not one we even contemplate!” he laughs. “The answer is really in the beginning, in how we choose our partners, trusting their values and their ability to reflect Bentley’s cars. Plus the materials used must always awaken a sensorial reaction.” That sensorial reaction is perhaps the key to understanding Bentley. The cars, and by extension the gifts, awaken our senses of touch and smell as well as sight. Just take the pale, silky Tamo Ash veneer with a pattern so delicately complex that it resembles a hologram viewed through water. “Like peanuts in a waterfall,” comments Nigel Lofkin, as I find myself stroking a small panel of it in the Bentley sitting room. Nigel takes me into the trim shop where he began 31 years ago and it’s here that I fully appreciate Bentley’s commitment to craftsmanship. “It can take 37 hours for someone to cross-stitch a leather seat,” Nigel says. We stop to talk to Ian Bailey who is hand-stitching a burnt orange leather Mulsanne steering wheel. “Don’t you need a thimble?” I ask, appalled, watching his fingers push the long, curved needle into the leather. Ian smiles and shows me the tiny holes already made – first they make the 500 indents with a household fork. “It’ll be about five hours and 15 minutes before I’ve finished here,” he says. Bentley knows no compromise when it comes to quality and the gifts bear the same tactile sumptuousness as the cars – the leather is butter soft, the cashmere whisper fine, the metal flawless. ‘Our philosophy is that everything that carries the Bentley wings also carries our reputation,’ states the introduction to the Bentley Collection catalogue. You can spend £35,000 on a sterling silver model of a 41/2-litre ‘Blower’ Bentley or just £12 on a Flying ‘B’ mug. Either way you will have bought something of quality and distinction, designed with flair that will give lasting pleasure. What more can anyone ask from a gift? Charlotte Metcalf is a freelance writer For more information on the Bentley Collection please visit www.bentleycollection.com For more information on Breitling for Bentley please visit www.breitlingforbentley.com
1. Ettinger of London iPad case in red or black leather 2. Anthony Holt 4 watch handcrafted super high gloss piano black valet box 3. Flying ‘B’ collection key ring and bottle stopper 4. Ettinger of London passport holders in red or black leather (range includes wallets and card holders)
5. Sterling silver wheel centre cufflinks 6. Pittards Cabretta gloves for ladies in red or black
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Fashioned in Britain The Alexander McQueen brand is known for its haute couture – including the ‘dress of the decade’ that took centre stage at the recent royal wedding. But as Julia Marozzi reports, its menswear range is drawing an increasingly appreciative following, too >
t was the dress of the year. It may even turn out to be the dress of the decade. And it gave form, in every stitch and pleat and lace detail, to the transformation of middle-class Kate Middleton into the royal Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. In antique lace, with a deep V neckline and corseted bodice, the wedding dress of the future queen was made by Sarah Burton, the long-time assistant to British fashion’s enfant terrible, Alexander McQueen, who died in 2010. The designer’s hallmarks of a strong but feminine silhouette, structured and enfolding, were softened in ivory and white satin gazar, with a train that ran to more than two metres. The skirt resembled ‘an opening flower’ with white satin arches and swirling folds. The train and bodice were decorated with delicate lace appliqué flowers, handcrafted using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. At the time, St James’s Palace said the bride chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the ‘beauty of its craftsmanship’ and its ‘respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing’. Up to two billion people watched the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William on Friday April 29, and marvelled at the Victorian-style corsetry of the bodice, the gentle padding at the hip; the veil, which fell to just below her waist, made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle and decorated with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers; the 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by rouleau loops down the back; the underskirt made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace; the lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt hand made by the Royal School of Needlework; the individual flowers hand cut from English lace and French Chantilly lace and hand engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a ‘unique and organic’ design. The dress played its part brilliantly in a pageant of history and royal dynastic succession and was seen by many thousands more people when it was put on display at Buckingham Palace from July 23 to October 2. But what many of those thousands who saw it in person or millions who watched the televised ceremony did not know is that Alexander McQueen also encompasses a menswear range, which is rapidly becoming the label of luxe for men who love tailoring, but who also occasionally want to set free their inner rock star. Men who want to cut more of a dash than an old-style City gent in a pin-striped suit. The headquarters of the eponymous designer is based in a flat-fronted building with grey frosted glass on a street in the artisanal Clerkenwell area of London, surrounded by bijou delicatessens, print shops, office furniture emporiums and cool hotels.
Around one-fifth of all the Alexander McQueen fashion house sales are accounted for by its menswear. From city gent to rock star, there’s something in the collection for every discerning male.
Fashioned in Britain continued The stuffed polar bear standing on its hind legs in the open-plan entrance testifies to McQueen’s love of taxidermy, while the interior itself looks like a set for a film about fashion – enthusiastic staff are sipping from bottles of Evian water and a friendly receptionist sits behind a steel and glass desk. There is a soft flow of people coming and going, all like extras in The Devil Wears Prada. White leather sofas, two black and white check bucket chairs, and metal steps leading to a galleried floor upstairs and ditto to the lower ground floor complete the scene. Posters adorn the
walls and boxes of files are stacked up near two young women gazing intently at computer screens. Another is reading a magazine surrounded by an assortment of garments hanging on a nearby rail. None of this seemingly casual but quietly purposeful setting prepares you for what lies on the lower floor. Descending the stairs you are confronted by a tableau of headless canvas dummies festooned in the most extravagant and theatrical of costumes. To call them gowns would be a disservice as it would be impossible to conceive of even the most glittering of occasions when they
could be worn. A masked ball perhaps. That could be the only suitable event. The small display resembles the glass case in the Kremlin museum which houses some of the French-style outfits worn by Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, with their vast panniered (hooped) gowns accompanied by tall wigs. Tightly boned bodices made these outfits extraordinarily cumbersome and heavy, with dress trains interlined and reinforced to support the great weight of the gold embroidery. The Alexander McQueen costumes are similarly architectural, some bodices
covered in small cracked pieces of ceramic that look like a Roman mosaic, skirts flaring out in layers and layers of tightly tufted tulle to the floor below. One purple off-the-shoulder dress was worn by Kate Moss on the cover of American Vogue’s September issue, while another assumes swooping and looped floor-sweeping shapes in a characteristic red and black check pattern. Quietly, in the background, stand rails of menswear – trousers, suits, jackets, both blouson and fitted. This is the untold story of the house, which accounts for 20 per cent of sales. Immediately after the death of Alexander, PPR, the parent company which owns the house, made a commitment to sustain it – a decision which so far has paid off handsomely after Sarah Burton was appointed creative director. The small team of menswear designers works with British cloth makers such as Hainsworth, which makes the scarlet and blue cloths worn by the Household Division for Trooping the Colour and also the Queen’s Guard outside Buckingham Palace. Anybody buying the mid-calf overcoat in scarlet from this winter’s menswear collection will be delighted to know that the same cloth was used in the regimental jacket Prince William wore to his wedding. The designers visit fabric fairs in Milan and Paris to get ideas of which colours and weaves are going to be on-trend in two years. There is a virtually infinite choice so it is up to the designers to find manufacturers who can weave a certain type of jacquard or make a particular type of heavy silk for a blouson jacket. The menswear collection, like Bentley in the world of luxury automotives, weaves impeccable craftsmanship with high technology. In the case of McQueen, the prints for which they are renowned are hand drawn by designers then generated
on computers and then transferred to material. They appear in overcoats to give an almost chain mail and rope-like appearance on a solid bolt of cloth, and on casual jackets to make the pale blue and aqua colours tremble like waterfalls down the silk. Designers are always testing new shapes and volumes. The tailoring side of the business must be convincing to people who value quality and craft. A camel coat in double-faced cashmere, an overcoat with detachable pony-skin lining, a Prince of Wales check jacket all reference aspects of Englishness that most men can relate to – Edwardian, military, classic, public school, Oliver Twist, rock star, country gent. It’s a broad range of roles for a chap to play, and the menswear collection caters to everybody from practical suit buyers in the City who want wearability and practicality to creative entrepreneurs who long for a black and white Spencer jacket with a nippedin waist and white flannel trousers. The contribution to the brand ensures the design house is booming – stores in London, Milan, New York, LA and Las Vegas are being joined by a new flagship in Beijing and further expansion across Asia. The strongest markets for menswear are the UK, the US and Japan, where there are a number of SIS (shop in shop) concepts. The younger line McQ is set to open at a central London location and a range of actors and singers like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jay Zee and Tinie Tempah have adopted the brand with gusto. Menswear is a slow burner but is gathering pace as the empire founded by Alexander McQueen in 1992 continues to expand. Its visibility is growing and its tailoring and formal and evening wear have caught the eye of the world’s leading men. Maybe soon we won’t be thinking about the dress of the year, but the suit of the year
A camel coat in double-faced cashmere, an overcoat with detachable pony-skin lining, a Prince of Wales check jacket all reference aspects of Englishness that most men can relate to – Edwardian, military, classic, public school, Oliver Twist, rock star, country gent.
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POWER ON ICE
bentley power on ice 2012 To celebrate the world record set earlier this year by Bentley when Juha Kankkunen, four-time World Rally Champion, took a Bentley Supersports Convertible to over 205mph on the frozen Baltic Sea, Bentley invites you and your guests to join us for Bentley Power on Ice 2012. Power on Ice, first introduced by Bentley in 2005, offers a truly remarkable driving experience where you can enjoy the exhilaration of Bentley power and all-wheel drive capability on mirror-smooth ice and really get to grips with its extraordinary winter performance. Power on Ice is set to run in three locations in 2012: America in January, Finland in February and China in March, taking in some of the most spectacular winter landscapes in the world. At each venue the Bentley team has created a unique ice driving experience, using tracks designed in collaboration with Juha Kankkunen. Over two action-packed days you can hone your driving skills close to the Arctic Circle, driving the latest Bentleys with our team of expert Bentley ice driving instructors. As you would expect from Bentley, there will be luxurious and stylish accommodation, gourmet food and, above all, great company. After all, everyone will be a Bentley driver! This exclusive experience will have limited availability
For further information go to www.bentleydriving.com or contact the Bentley Driving Team by telephone on +44 (0)1675 445945 or email at email@example.com.Pricing is subject to chosen venue and individual requirements, however it will be in line with the previous Bentley Power on Ice programme.
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The world of bentley The people, parties and places where Bentley makes the news.
Bentley Rally Sweden 2011 David Northey, step-grandson of W.O. Bentley, reports on a great north run with a difference The world of W.O. Bentley came vividly to life during a wonderful Nordic adventure for the enthusiasts of the Bentley Drivers Club. The Bentley Rally Sweden was organised by Swedes Sarah Smith and her father Ulf, a restorer of vintage Bentleys and organiser of many international W.O. Bentley rallies. Their efforts attracted 15 vintage Bentleys, built between 1924 and 1930, tracing a route from Malmö to Stockholm over 10 days of unseasonably fine weather. En route to Stockholm, the participants stayed in historic castles and manor houses, visited famous museums, enjoyed local culinary pleasures and displayed the true Bentley spirit by performing demonstration races in front of an invited crowd of some 400 guests. The partly banked, 1.1-kilometre long ‘trotting’ track at Erikssund, near Sweden’s oldest town, Sigtuna, was reminiscent of the Brooklands oval and the gravel surface of the early Le Mans circuit, where Bentley won the 24-hour race five times in the 1920s.
The ‘races’, sponsored by Erik’s Sauces, took the form of a number of heats, with side-by-side and pursuit formats ensuring maximum safety without loss of excitement. The deep-throated roar of the 8 and 61/2-litre engines, the throb of the 41/2-litre and the whine of the 41/2-litre Blowers’ superchargers, combined with the dusty trail of the cars’ progress round the track, made it an emotional experience for the drivers and onlookers alike. Throughout the entire rally, the support vehicles, which included a Bentley Brooklands, were never called into action. All 15 starters completed over 1,200 rally miles and a further 1,700 miles journeying to and from the start and finish, without the need for anything more than minor attention – a staggering total of 43,500 untroubled Bentley miles. It’s testimony to the high standards of reliability of these magnificent machines, designed and engineered by W.O. and his colleagues over 80 years ago.
the world of bentley
Getting to grips with Bentley power Bentley Driving programme visits Zhuhai As China continues its breathtaking rise as a global economic superpower, the successful entrepreneurs of this fascinating land are displaying a growing appreciation for the performance of Bentley’s grand tourers. Traditionally, the luxury car market in China has focused on four-door cars, but there’s an increasing awareness among successful Chinese business people of the driving rewards offered by a two-door Bentley such as the new Continental GT. Given the 200mph potential of the Continental GT and Continental Flying Spur, it’s hard to gain a true appreciation of their performance on public roads. So the Bentley Driving programme’s Chinese debut, at the Zhuhai circuit in southern China, proved to be a revelation for all participants; and as a direct result of its success more track events are being planned for China. Around 170 participants, including 105 customers and prospects, 28 journalists and 35 representatives of the Bentley China dealer network took to the circuit, driving in four Continental GTs and two Flying Spurs. The Bentleys’ blistering acceleration, dynamic performance and impressive margins of safety made a lasting impression on every guest.
a week to remember Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance For Bentley Motors and its guests, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance crowns a week-long celebration of automotive style, luxury and performance. During this year’s Quail Gathering Bentley enjoyed prime positioning in front of the Quail Lodge, displaying the new Continental GT, Continental Flying Spur Series 51 and Mulsanne, which guests were able to drive during the Garden Party at Quail Meadows. The Bentley Signature Party is one of the social highlights of Pebble Beach weekend. This year included a special preview of the new Continental GTC and a display of designer Philip Treacy’s bespoke hats, designed especially for the marque. During the Concours d’Elegance, Bentley guests were welcomed at Club XIX within The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The Continental Supersports Convertible ISR was displayed on the Concept Lawn, drawing the attention of many guests, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Concours itself was won this year by a meticulously restored C25 Voisin Aerodyne, built in 1934 as a vision of the future. ‘The future’ turned out to be faster, more efficient and far more beautiful, as the line up of 2012 Bentleys proved!
On tour Stateside New Continental GTC previewed in exclusive events across USA Bentley’s new generation convertible, the Continental GTC, combines lean, low and dramatic design with staggering performance potential. As the US is one of the most significant markets for Bentleys, with a strong demand for Bentley convertibles in the sunnier climes, Bentley USA and its dealers decided to give their customers a preview of the new open tourer before its official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Venues included Miami’s MAPS Studio, Los Angeles’ Pier 59, New York City’s Skylight West, the Chicago Illuminating Company and Studio 1019 in Dallas, Texas. As the events took place ahead of the global reveal, security was tight with only invited guests allowed to preview the new Continental GTC. Bentley USA reports unanimous approval – evidenced by the fact that a number of guests placed deposits on the spot.
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Touring in grand style New programme offers great driving, scenery and gastronomy
October saw the running of the first Bentley Grand Drive, a new programme designed to offer Bentley owners the opportunity to enjoy the performance and luxury of their grand tourers in suitably inspiring surroundings. On this inaugural tour, the guests were all customers of Bentley dealership JCT600 Leodis Court, based in Leeds, England. Without exception all were looking forward to exploiting the supercar performance of their Bentleys as well as the opportunity to relax in luxury after each dayâ€™s driving was over. Visiting some of the finest hotels, restaurants and vineyards in the world, the five-day journey through France and Switzerland included an exclusive dinner at Champagne Ruinart, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Breitling Chronometrie at La Chaux-deFonds and the chance to sample what the new Bentley Continental GT is really capable of at CheneviĂ¨res Race Track. Tradition, precision and performance, all in one memorable tour. The route was specifically designed to include the sort of roads for which Bentleys are designed and the participants of the first Grand Drive certainly enjoyed driving their cars through some of the most beautiful and evocative scenery in the world. For further information about the 2012 Bentley Grand Drives programme, please contact your dealer.
driving passion Bentley Almaty hosts President’s Cup tournament Beautiful weather greeted the competitors for the 12th President’s Cup golf tournament, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the republic of Kazakhstan. The tournament, which was held on October 15th, was sponsored by Bentley Almaty, happy in the knowledge that an appreciation of Bentley cars and a passion for the game of golf often go hand in hand. Over 120 golfers entered the tournament, with competitors from Kazakhstan, the CIS countries, Europe and America vying for overall victory. Bentley Almaty took the opportunity to introduce competitors and guests to a full Continental line-up, including the new Continental GT, Flying Spur Speed, Flying Spur and Supersports.
Private view for dealer’s guests Bentley Frankfurt hosts motor show private party The journalists had their quotes, the photographers had their shots ‘in the bag’… just a few hours after the official world première of the new Bentley Continental GTC at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 16th, Bentley Frankfurt’s dealer principal Albrecht Bach hosted an invitation-only party for the dealership’s guests on the Bentley stand. Naturally the new convertible Bentley was
the centre of attention, looking the epitome of cool elegance with its Breeze paintwork and interior of Tamo Ash, Porpoise and Breeze hides. Bentley designer Vitalis Enns was the dealership’s special guest for the evening and explained how Crewe’s interior and exterior design teams have managed to revise, refine and sharpen the iconic Continental GTC shape using advanced technology such as
superformed aluminium to create its distinctively crisp, clearly defined bodywork creases. Almost 200 guests accepted Bentley Frankfurt’s invitation to enjoy privileged access to a world première, jointly hosted by dealership staff and members of the Crewe team. After the formal part of his presentation was over, Vitalis was besieged by guests keen for further insights into the design process.
the world of bentley Aerial precision in Istanbul Bentley and Breitling have a lot in common, from a mutual desire to create beautiful artefacts to their relentless pursuit of engineering precision. So there was perfect synergy in the breathtaking aerial show in Istanbul on October 16th, when Bentley sponsored a display by the Breitling Jet Team. The occasion was the launch of the new Continental GT to invited guests of Bentley Istanbul, and the venue for the event was the Rahmi M. Koc Museum, the first major museum in Turkey dedicated to the history of transport, ındustry and communications. Breitling Jet Team is the world’s largest professional civilian flight team performing on jets. The precision, speed and synchronisation of their display left guests breathless – as did the sight of the latest Bentley supercar.
Horse Power for Hanover Bentley Hanover sponsors German Polo Championships You might think that the sport of polo is as German as red double decker buses, but there are some keen horsemen in Lower Saxony and they’ve taken to the sport with gusto. So too, has Bentley Hanover, which entered a team from the Polo Club Sylt in the recent German Polo Championships at Maspe. The four-man team did the Bentley wings proud, winning all three games in the first weekend of the tournament. Sadly the weather turned decidedly uncooperative for the second weekend, and torrential rain forced the final to be curtailed in favour of a penalty shoot-out, in which the Bentley team took an eventual third place. As Tobias Kamps of Bentley Hanover put it, “Polo is a typical British sport – and we represent a piece of England in the heart of Hanover.”
Bentley Paris celebrates new Continental GTC Paris, the global capital of fashion and savoir vivre, hosted the French première of the new Continental GTC in style with an exclusive evening at Bentley Paris. 500 Bentley owners and guests joined dealership president Jean Paul Deresse and his wife on October 6th, 2011 to admire Bentley’s latest high-performance convertible. Among the VIP attendees were the mayor of Neuilly, industrialist Olivier Dassault, the jeweller Morabito, Monsieur Guerlain, Sidney Toledano, the wife of the President of Dior and Hermine de Clermont-Tonnerre, all of whom joined the applause when the car was uncovered. For this event the spacious showroom had been transformed into a lounge, where delicious culinary surprises created by the team of Le Nôtre and the music of DJ Harvey had everyone in the mood to celebrate. The new GTC, meanwhile, also made its début at the second Paris Auto Salon.
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Acknowledgments: Issue 39
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Although there are too many to name individually, our sincerest thanks and appreciation go to all who have contributed in Bentley magazine. To our readers, we hope that you will enjoy this issue of Bentley magazine. We have listed below the contact details for products and services mentioned within this issue.
Front cover Photographer: Nick Dimbleby Location: Croatia Car: Bentley Continental GT Convertible Exterior paint: Breeze Interior colours: Main hide – Breeze, Secondary hide – Brunel Veneer: Tamo Ash
The high life www.thecarlyle.com
China Bentley Motors China, Volkswagen (China) Investment Company Limited, Volkswagen Group Centre, Building 2, No. 3A, Xi Liu Jie, Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District Beijing 100027, PRC.
Australia Bentley Motors Australia, The Lakes Business Park 6 Lord Street, Botany NSW 2019, PO Box 2316 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012.
Korea Bentley Motors Korea, 3F, Shinyoung Bldg., 68-5 Cheongdam-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Korea 135-100 Republic of Korea.
EDITORIAL TEAM James Pillar: Director of Marketing Communications Julia Marozzi: Editor Irene Mateides: FMS Publishing
WRITERS AND CONTRIBUTIONS William Hersey, Nick Swallow, Nick Foulkes, Rory Ross, Julia Marozzi, Neil Ridley, Charlotte Metcalf, Avis Cardella Sub Editor: Nick Swallow
PHOTOGRAPHY AND ILLUSTRATION Nick Dimbleby, The Carlyle, Cessna, David Banks, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Alexander McQueen, Getty Images, Sharon and Jon Yasner
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Spurred to excellence Fashioned in Britain www.alexandermcqueen.com
Acknowledgments Adam Fresco, Nick Dimbleby, Caroline Robinson, Nick Swallow, Jamie Beck, Sharon and Jon Yasner, Barry Dunstall, Myriam Coudoux, Susan Churchill.
Competition prize winner Congratulations to Mr Edward Thomas from Denbighshire, Wales, who is the winner of our Bentley 37 prize draw Bentley Art, winning a unique framed artwork. In this issue readers will find details on how to win a 5-night stay at a Luxury Collection Hotel in Spain. Good luck!
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on the road Sharon and Jon Yasner discuss their penchant for show-worthy – and snow-worthy – Bentleys.
Above His and hers: the Yasners may not always be in accord when it comes to colour schemes, but they are unanimous about their ideal specification: it has to be convertible, all-wheel drive and have a Bentley winged ‘B’ above the radiator.
y wife Sharon and I have been Bentley drivers since 2005 when we first bought a used Bentley. Since, we have owned eight Bentley automobiles in total. Right now we’re thinking about the 2012 GTCs and, believe it or not, our biggest issue is picking our colours. We like to have something different. We have owned some great-looking cars over the years. One that is very memorable is a GTC that originally had been customised for a music artist’s girlfriend on the West Coast. Cars usually take about three months to be customised. Unfortunately, by the time the car was ready, this music artist’s girlfriend was no longer his girlfriend and this magnificent GTC was on the market. The dealer called me because he knew I might be interested in the special paint job. This included a fascia in gunmetal grey, a red claret hood, hot red glow interior with black stitching and Piano Black veneer. He had the car sent over to the East Coast and sure enough, the moment I saw it I had to have it. I loved it, but Sharon loved it more and so she took it! Another time, we were going to buy two new convertibles, and the dealer was sitting with me in the showroom looking very unhappy as I finalised my colour choices. For Sharon we picked an Umbrian Red exterior with a red convertible top and light ash wood veneer. My car was light green metallic with light ash wood veneer. “I see this all the time,” said the dealer. “People pick these different colour combinations and then they don’t like it when they get it.” I had to reassure him that I’d be happy with my choices. When the cars showed up at the dealership, they were beautiful, and everyone wanted them! We’ve been invited by two film production companies – Movie Time Cars and Cars For Films – to register our cars for use in films and television. Our Bentleys have recently appeared in two American television series: Law and Order Criminal Intent and Royal Pains. One time, one of the show’s producers called and asked if a body could fit in the trunk of the car. It had to be one of the most unusual requests we’d ever had as Bentley owners! I drive a lot; I use my car every day. Sharon likes to say that I have breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner in my car. I drive about 25,000 miles a year in rain, sleet and even blizzards. Sharon, on the other hand, likes to ‘baby’ her car. She doesn’t like to take it out in bad weather. Last year, there was a very bad snowstorm here on the East Coast, and there is a stretch of road coming out of Newark, New Jersey, on the Interstate 280, with a very steep hill. When it snows, nobody can manage to get up this hill. So there I was with my GTC at the bottom, determined to get to the top. The first thing I did was raise the car’s chassis, and then off I went. All the other cars were stopped at various points on the road. It was like navigating a ski slalom. It took some skill to manoeuvre. But when I got to the top I could have sworn I heard my car laughing at all the others! As told by Avis Cardella
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Published on Jan 15, 2012