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CONTENTS:feb09 16/02/2009 09:03 Page 13


29 High Partnership 48 Private Islands for Purchase 96 Beverly Both Ways: The New SLS 157 Top 10: Car Racing

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42 Joy and ParmigianitĂ


50 Caviar Dreams 61 One Step Beyond 88 Perfect by Design 107 Motive-ated Woman 123 One of a Kind 134 Walking On Air

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34 Business Essentials 87 Perfection in Motion 113 Business and Pleasure in Miami 142 Checking In with Albert Herrera

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CONTENTS:feb09 16/02/2009 09:04 Page 19


66 36 Hours 71 What Dreams May Come 83 What’s Hot Now: Miami 148 South of the Border

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ED NOTE 100TCUS8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:17 Page 22

The Editor’s Note


wish you a belated welcome to 2009, with a hope

that everyone has a prosperous, healthy, and joyous new year. To say it has been difficult to keep tabs on everything going on across the global landscape would be a tremendous understate-

ment. It has been difficult to keep a straight head with the constant barrage of financial misery that most media outlets have adopted as their de facto faces, and I have found it necessary to not push aside the things that make us smile. If not for family, friends, pleasures and indulgences, what else is there to help us continue as bon vivants in the sea of negativity? And please, do one thing for me. Do not let any newspaper, magazine, television talking head, or agenda-trotting blogger make you feel guilty about spending and enjoying the things that you have become accustomed to. Giving is always good, but within that, even when others may be facing strife, we still need to give to ourselves – and now it’s a national imperative. Now more than ever, it is necessary to praise people, places, and things that embrace the classic spirit of luxury, decadence, and good taste. They exist not to be shown off or put on display, but for the people that enjoy them, and for the places that they make better. With that said, we revisit two of America’s most famous playgrounds, Miami, and Los Angeles. Miami has been a haven for the fun-loving since the days when Jackie Gleason ruled the scene, and it continues to provide those who grace its white sand beaches every Winter season with abundant choices. Most notably, the refurbished Fontainebleau Hotel. This grand classic has under-

We also take a look at one of the most luxurious safari lodges in South

gone a transformation that puts it right back in its rightful place as a focal

Africa, the prince of the first family of caviar, and visit with Mr. Julien

point of fun in the sunny city. We also take a look at some of the newer

Tornare, President of Vacheron Constantin North America. Each of these

properties, such as the New York transplant Gansevoort South, and soon

places and people remind us that it is okay to enjoy and spend in the face

to open W. Each provides its own personality, and distinct flavor, but there

of adversity, as long as it is done with our own better interests in mind, and

is one common thread – guest enjoyment. When it is all said and done,

not to prove a point. But of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less from our

that is all we can ask for.

valuable readers. I hope you enjoy the issue, and look forward to providing

Los Angeles is the second US destination highlighted in this 100Thousand Club edition, and again we are looking through the prism of a new

you enjoyment throughout the rest of the year. Salutations,

hotel, SLS at Beverly Hills, in partnership with Starwood. Sam Nazarian (SBE founder) and Philippe Starck (global designer and trendsetter) have collaborated to create a place that blends the nostalgia of old Hollywood with the current demands and requisites of today’s global traveller. I had the opportunity to view the property with both men before its opening, and you will not be disappointed.

Harlan Davis, Editor-in-Chief

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CONTRIBUTORS:feb09 13/02/2009 14:15 Page 24

CONTR IBU T ORS Kate Winick A lifelong interest in travel, fashion, and luxury goods, combined with a passion for writing and interviewing, brought Kate to the 100 Thousand Club to cover the best of the best for all three editions of the magazine. She has also written for Trump Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and other lifestyle publications.

Natalie Brandweiner Though Natalie began her career as a business writer, interviewing executives from a variety of industries, and still contributes to several business magazines, her understanding of the needs and desires of high-profile people give her unique insight into creating maps, lists, and feature stories that will grab her reader’s attention.

Josh Sailor After working in production for the better part of his professional career, Josh eventually caved into his passion for photography, and hasn’t looked back since. Based in New York, his portfolio is as diverse as his experiences, and he creates fabulous shots of people, installations, and beautiful places around the world.

Ekaterina Petitjean Growing up in Russia, Katya has a worldly perspective that is invaluable to the 100Thousand Club’s global perspective. Her work in a variety of areas keeps the magazine on the cutting edge in terms of fashion, events, people, and places.

Norimichi Inoguchi Norimichi is a skilled photographer who focuses on images using movement and water. He is intrigued by the interaction of water and fashion, and incorporates his eye for movement into unique still-lifes. He holds a BFA in photography and was first in his class at the International Center of Photography.

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CREDITS:feb09 17/02/2009 09:07 Page 26




Advertising, Marketing, and Client Services T: 212.920.8181 Executive Director: ELIZABETH STUART Account Executives SOPHIA IOANNIDIS, LYNN O'SHAUGHNESSY, KARILEY MORE, SARA SHAHBAZIAN, JENNA STARK, JESSICA LANZARONE Finance Director: JAMIE CANTILLON Director of HR and Personnel: OWEN WILSON Production Manager: ROBERT SIMMS Production Coordinator: HANNAH DUFFIE Circulation Manager: SEAN RICHARDS Subscription Enquiries T: +1 212.920.8181 General Enquiries Letters to the Editor

Printer Emirates Printing Press L.L.C. P.O. Box 5106, Dubai, United Arab Emirates T: +9714 3475550. E: 100 Thousand Club (Vol. 3, Issue 1, Q1 2009) is published four times a year by GDS Publishing. All rights reserved. GDS Publishing, Inc. 33 Whitehall Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA. Legal Information The advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. We are not to be held accountable for unsolicited manuscripts, transparencies or photographs. All material within this magazine is © 2009 100Thousand Club. Head Office GDS International Queen Square House, 18-21 Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4NH, UK. T: +44 117 921 4000. F: +44 117 926 7444. E:




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Page 29

Frank Nuovo is holding court in Vertu’s bouti! que in New York City’s renowned Plaza Hotel,

F High which after a redesign is now home to a select number of luxury shops. The look of the store is

sleek without being overly futuristic, and show! cases the phones like jewels. The lead designer

of Vertu phones, he has worked for the company since 1998; prior to that he was the lead desig!

ner at Nokia for much of the ‘90s, influencing mobile phone style and functionality forever

more. He is here to introduce the latest from the ultra!high!end company, a hot new collaboration

with Ferrari that puts the power and style of the Italian icon into the palm of your hand.





Page 30

How did the idea for the Ferrari collabora! tion come about? At Vertu, the original Ascent line was in! spired by fast European sports cars (there’s a spot for a Ferrari waiting in my garage, next to a beautifully restored ’52 Bentley) and this phone in particular is tied to my roots and dre! ams of Italy, where my family is from. It’s not just sexy and beautiful cars; it’s a legacy of per! formance. What was the design process like? I took time to sit down with Ferrato Coco, lead designer of Ferrari, to get to know the heart and soul of Ferrari. It’s a racecar, it’s a perfor! mance car, it’s not for polishing little bits of chrome. I actually carved the cavalito myself, out

What we did for the stores was left to an

brand like Ferrari would want to work with us,

of one solid piece—it’s actually coming out thro!

agency, which I communicated with at all stages

and this was exactly the kind of project I envi!

ugh the case, it’s not glued on.

of the process. I will be very involved in the re!

sioned. I feel that I brought ease of use and pop

newal of the stores, but the continuity in design

culture to the phone—I brought fashion to tech.

How much of the focus is on design and how much of it is on functionality?

has always been there. The logo was my first project. With the de!

Do you see more partnerships like this in

In general, design is driven by the needs of

sign of the Vertu, the V logo happened first.

the phone. With Vertu, we’ve been very speci!

The look was based on outstretched arms, it

The Boucheron alignment is a very good

fic—this is a phone—but that will evolve over

didn’t stand for anything. Then we found the

one, but its very ‘them’ in the sense that the

time. We want to apply more proven technolo!

name, which we wanted to be something short,

phones are bejeweled in their style and they use

gies that are easy to use. I’ve been in the unique

and easy to remember. When we found out what

the phone as a canvas for their expression.

position of having been able to handhold the

it meant [“vertu” is French for “quality”] it was

We’re very much a part of the watch industry,

evolution of mobile communications throughout

just serendipity.

really—we’re sold in watch and jewelry stores.

How did this project fit into your vision of

to be done carefully so it benefits both of us.

Vertu as a company?

There are some nicer premium fashion phones

Alignments such as Ferrari are rare; it has

the years. How do you see your role as a designer evol!

the future?

ving? Are you involved in designing the re!

Although I came from a mass!market brand,

tail stores or do you focus on other aspects?

I dreamed of a project that was so unique, a

but they’re not really luxury, there is nothing like these. !

Vertu continues as a hallmark of high design and functionality for luxury phones

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PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:23 Page 34

Business Essentials

PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:24 Page 35

CARRYING ON For a new twist on an old favorite, Samsonite collaborated with designer Alexander McQueen to revamp their perenially popular luggage staples with an edgy twist. While the textures, colors, and shapes are all-new, the indestructible quality that Samsonite owners depend on remains the same, making this a smart bet for stylish luggage for years to come.

PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:24 Page 36

Business Essentials

FANCY FEET Founded in 1829 in London, John Lobb has been bootmaker to the rich, famous, royal, and stylish since the Edwardian era. Each handmade shoe is a work of art, requiring several skilled craftsmen to build them from start to finish. Although one pair will last a lifetime, we bet that you won’t wait that long before going back for more.

PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:24 Page 37

BULLISH BAUBLES Jac Zagoory’s handcrafted designs make a personal statement like no other desk accessory. We like the Bull stapler and remover, but the range of pen rests, card holders, and other functional items express a wide range of personality.

PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:25 Page 38

Business Essentials

PRODUCTS US8:feb09 13/02/2009 14:25 Page 39

SUIT YOURSELF The first weapon in a man’s style arsenal is his shirt—shouldn’t something you wear every day make you look as good as possible? That is the goal of Turnbull and Asser, who for more than 100 years has sworn by personal service and custom tailoring as the hallmarks of every shirt they produce, from readymade to bespoke.



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Private Island 100TCUS8:10jan



Page 48

Private Islands

Pierre Island, Bahamas As offered by Vladi Private Islands USD 8,000,000 Situated near Harbour Island, just north of Eleuthera, the island hosts breathtaking 360-degree views of Three Islands Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and Harbour Island. Pierre Island itself is a mere 15 minutes from Harbour Island, but with 16 acres of rich greenery, exotic wildlife and over 150 coconut trees, there will be little desire to leave this private space. Located on the island is a main house and guesthouse, and with a substantial dock to be found on the south side, it provides you with an exclusive yet accessible retreat.

Coroa dos Ovos Island, Brazil As offered on USD 8,000,0000 Teeming with tropical plantation and an exquisite collection of rare and exotic wildlife, this island exemplifies all that is exclusive. Coroa dos Ovos, or otherwise known as the Island of Cambridgeton, is to be found in the Amazonian part of the Maranhao State in Brazil, and hosts an extraordinary 12 miles of luscious, white sand beaches. The island boasts an exquisite selection of views no matter which direction you are facing, be it the continent or the Atlantic Ocean. With such a picturesque setting, the trip connecting the island with the nearest city, Guimaraesis, is a dream.

Private Island 100TCUS8:10jan



Page 49

Muandhhuvaa Island, Maldives

Narara Island, Fiji

As offered by Vladi Private Islands

As offered by Vladi Private Islands

USD 8,500,000

Price upon request

If privacy is your top priority for island buying, Muandhhuvaa Island is the

One of the many private islands located within Fiji’s premier

perfect match. Located amidst a group of uninhabited islands, it provides

island resort localities, Narara Island is situated off the south-

11.36 acres of peace and tranquillity from all civilisations. Muandhhuvaa it-

ern coast of Naviti, a larger island within the same group. In-

self is a roundish island in a square-shaped lagoon, accessible via a natural

corporated within the 112.69 acres of land are three very

entrance. However, with the nearest airport only 58km away, there is al-

private and tranquil beaches, giving you the perfect setting in

ways the option to retreat to the Maldives to appease any desire of return-

which to soak in the modest average island temperature of

ing to a faster pace of living.

25-27 °C. The island is accessible via helicopter, seaplane or boat and Nadi International Airport is just a scenic 15-20 minute flight to the island. The magnificence of the island is to be found in its expanses of space, making even the claustrophobic spoilt for choice.

St Thomas Island, Greece As offered on EUR €15,000,000 St Thomas Island is a recent addition to the island market and is not predicted to stay so for long. Part of the Diapori chain in the Saronicas Gulf, Greece, an area synonymous with mythological beauty and natural serenity, the 300-acre island proves to be one of the most attractive islands in the world. It is accessible from Corinth by water taxi and is just 40 minutes from busy Athens, prefect for an exclusive retreat. If a slice of tradition is what you’re looking for, the near town of Korfos, a quiet resort village, provides a taste of Greece from the glistening coast.

PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 50

W Caviar: Taste Luxury everywhere

derstand why you have to work your way up— ‘My dad owns the company, why do I have to do this? Blah blah blah’—but now I do. When I see someone not doing the stickers just right, or when they say we can’t get something in that we need, I say, I know we can, because I have done it a million times. It gives me a big advantage.” His other advantage is the lineage of service that he was raised in, and when he talks about his work, he has a presence and a command far beyond his years. “The history is very heavy, the background is very heavy. My

When your name is synonymous with a brand

grandfather started the company in 1920 and

that embodies class, decadence, and luxury,

my father still runs it. My father is very strict,

and you’ve been perfecting your palate and

and my mother is very beautiful, but she

your ability to detect the nuances of caviar

trained me for years too, how to work in the

since you were old enough to walk, is there any

boutique and talk to people. She taught me

chance you would become an accountant?

that you can talk to everyone—everyone is just

“No, not really,” laughs Alexandre Petrossian,

a person, two legs, two arms, two eyes, a nose,

whose degree may be in numbers but whose

whether they are a businessman or a famous

heart has always been in the family business,

actor, everyone is a person. When you feel

Petrossian caviar. “I was always in love with

comfortable around them, they will feel com-

the company. I started working when I was

fortable around you. And in this case, you have

about ten or twelve, doing everything from putting stickers on the tins to taking deliveries— we’ve all sliced salmon, packed cans, everything—and put so many stickers on, the skin on your fingers comes off!” The handsome young scion of this legendary family, just 26 years old, sits comfortably in his pinstriped suit in a quiet corner table of the Art Deco palace that is Petrossian in New York, but he takes seriously the responsibility of maintaining and growing the business. “When you’re a kid, you don’t un-


100 Thousand Club

Interview by Kate Winick

PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 51


13/2/09 13:38:41


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PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 54

the knowledge, you can teach—usually they

where!’” says Alexandre. They carefully posi-

The wholesale operation began in the

are the ones who everyone wants to learn from,

tioned their product, attending gourmet food

basement of the retail store, then grew into a

so now they start watching and learn.”

shows, introducing their caviar, which was met

small factory, and finally moved into a large,

The story of how Melkoum and Mouchegh

with an initially cold reception, until Cesár

new factory outside of Paris. “We didn’t want to

Petrossian brought caviar to Western Europe

Ritz, the proprietor of the Ritz in Paris, was

lose our old ways, though. So many companies,

is a tale of perseverance, hard work, and very

convinced to offer caviar at his hotel. It caught

they get a shiny new factory, they want to be in

savvy marketing. When the Armenian broth-

on quickly after that, and they carefully main-

the new place to make things more efficient,

ers arrived in Paris in 1920 as a part of a larger

tained control of their product to insure its suc-

do things differently—we do what we do with

exodus after the Bolshvik Revolution, they dis-

cess. “They had to introduce it as a luxury

love, because each time we sell something, it

covered that caviar, long a part of the Russian

product, and then a very exclusive luxury

has our name on it. It’s not about making it

diet, had no presence in France. “They used

product, until finally they created it as the ul-

more efficient. It’s wonderful to see someone

to serve sturgeon, but throw the caviar into an-

timate luxury product,” says Alexandre, ex-

throw a piece of wood in the smoker, a little

imal feed. One fisherman they spoke to, he

plaining the dramatic evolution of their

metal thing, you know, an actual smoker? So

said, ‘I hate caviar! Always caviar, every-

success in just a few generations.

many places use these big things, with pipes

PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 55

full of smoke to flavor the fish—that is not how

ican caviar, for instance, it comes in from

avoid pushing any cosmetic standards for their

we do it, and yet we produce a very consistent

Sacramento. From some, we know it has to be

product, because they know, after years in the


sold faster, they are all kept between three and

business, that things change. They retain their

Consistency in quality is the trick in

six months, but maybe this one, we taste and

role as authorities; they know when caviar is

caviar, and the Petrossians have perfected

we know it has to be just three. After that, we

good and when it is not, and to promote an ar-

their methods, though like all good tradesmen,

can do a really nice selection, not just based on

tificial standard of judging quality disregards

Alexandre is careful to keep his secrets. “With

‘Oh, this one has big, beautiful eggs,’ because

the connoisseurship of their house. This is the

caviar, it’s like taking care of a little, little

who knows, maybe in five years, all the eggs

only moment when Alexandre’s insistence that

baby. It arrives in a big tin, a 1.8 kilo tin. We

will be small but they will still be delicious.”

they are “just fishermen” seems remotely pos-

have to open it, try it, because we want to sell

This is a point he returns to several times,

sible—that at the heart of this gilded temple

it at its peak, to make sure there will be no bit-

and it is an almost unconscious recognition of

to luxury is the fisherman’s intuitive under-

terness, just a clean seafood taste. We turn the

the power their brand has to significantly

standing of the flux of nature—that the sea

tin to cycle the oil, to mix it and keep the taste

change the caviar market. The influence of the

provides its bounty as it chooses, not as we

consistent throughout the tin. With our Amer-

Petrossian family in caviar is such that they

would have it.

PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 56

Alexandre’s title is Vice President, “but I

don’t just have one person say ‘hey, this is my

up, he’ll call and tell me ‘it’s fine, we can fix it

don’t like saying that, because everyone thinks

idea,’ and then that’s what we do. We like to

this way, don’t worry.’”

they know what that means. I like ‘caviar spe-

suck out the creativity and share it with every-

His father’s presence in the company is

cialist.’ Half the day I am downtown at our fa-

one.” The collaborative process is not just pro-

still the dominant one, and while he has ceded

cility there, trying caviar—it’s a good job! I try

fessional, which would be a nearly impossible

his son to New York, Armen Petrossian is

to be at the restaurant for at least lunch or din-

feat in such a tight-knit group. “I’m on the

working hard to ensure his company’s future.

ner, so people can see its not just a name, and

phone with my dad every day just to check in,

There are strong feelings surrounding the over-

I try to be here at least a couple of nights a

even if it’s nothing in particular going on. It’s

fishing of beluga and other sturgeon to supply

week as well. The really good thing about

very open, I know his cell is always on and I

the world’s caviar, and the elder Mr. Petrossian

working here is that we work as a team. We

can call him at any time, even if I wake him

has spent a great deal of time in Russia work-

PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:21 Page 57

ing for his cause. “I have not personally been to Russia,” says Alexandre, “but my father goes often. There is no Russian caviar legally in the United States right now, and it is a big issue for us. Each time you buy a tin of caviar a percentage goes back to the hatchery—so by banning the sale of it, you’re not saving the fish, you’re killing it. And you’ll never control the black market,” where tins of caviar, while not cheap, can go for significantly less than their legitimate counterparts. “My father advocates control and regulation of sturgeon fishing in all the Caspian Sea countries—he advocates for responsibility. He is fighting to have baby sturgeons put back in the sea and protected so they can grow. Our goal is not to take all the fish; it’s to grow the stock so that we can sell it for a long time without affecting the population. He’s founded so many groups to overlap and protect each other, to form a little bubble around the fish. He was just given an award, the Legion d’Honneur, for his work. We consider ourselves fisherman—we sell fish, after all.”


ne of the other priorities in re-

cent years, since the ban on beluga, has been cultivating other sources of caviar. Petrossian has

been promoting its excellent Iranian caviar, as

“I was always in love with the company. I started working when I was about ten or twelve, doing everything from putting stickers on the tins to taking deliveries” Alexandre Petrossian

well as building the market for farmed caviar, beginning with a partnership with Sterling Farms in California about ten years ago. “We really began the trend of farm-raised; before that no one would touch it. The people there are very good at raising the fish and taking care of them, and taking the caviar out is our game. We share our knowledge, and since it began, we’ve really created a great thing.” Alexandre’s focus is always on building and maintaining their customer base as well as their product, and he is constantly aware of who is coming and going. The clientele is as upscale as ever (as we sat, the manager recounted an afternoon earlier in the week when two ladies

100 Thousand Club


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PETROSSIAN US:feb09 13/02/2009 14:22 Page 59

in their 80s made a lunch out of two tins and a

trict? Since arriving in New York in 2004,

everyone oohs and aahs and you are the best

bottle of vodka, for an $8,000 check) and

speaking no English, he’s developed a network

host in the world. It’s funny to see how people

Alexandre remarked that the customer is ac-

of friends through work and play that keep him

react to a tin of caviar than how they react to

tually getting younger. “We’ll never say no to

in New York nearly full-time, with short trips to

something you spent half a day cooking, which

someone who wants to try it; if you are buying

Paris to indulge his passions for custom shoes

is gone in a second.” He’s committed more

caviar, you are always welcome to sample from

and watches. As he watches his cooks work

than ever to the quality of his caviar, and feels

your tin. There are those who grew up with our

right next to his office all day, he’s developed

that it has primed him to experience all sorts of

caviar, who had it every Christmas or New Years—it’s a tradition, and they usually buy the same kind their parents bought. Then there are the 30 and 40 year olds who have good jobs, and if you really want to buy something expensive, you will buy caviar. For newer customers, farm-raised is easier to enjoy, it’s not as robust—a more accessible taste. It’s also

“It took me at least 15 years, in a private course with my dad to learn everything. He taught me the secrets, the temperatures—I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you”

new things. “It took me at least 15 years, in a private course with my dad to learn everything,” he says, laughing. “He taught me the secrets, the temperatures—I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. It was a gift he gave me, a gift before he sent me to the United States. But it’s also in the blood, I think; I have a good palate. I had parents who forced us to

less expensive, and allows you to develop an

an interest in developing his knowledge of the

try things, they didn’t let us be picky. ‘Don’t

appreciation. The more you eat it, the more

restaurant beyond the front of the house, and

die without knowing what it tastes like,’ they

you’ll like it.”

plans to take classes at the French Culinary

would say.” And with the love and attention

So what is next for this young man, who di-

Institute as well as in his own kitchen. But he

Alexandre puts into creating his caviar, he en-

vides his time between his restaurant, his Soho

knows better than anyone that he’s already got

sures that many parents will be passing his

apartment, and his friends downtown in Man-

the greatest culinary trick of all up his sleeve,

legacy onto their children with that same in-

hattan’s chic, international Meatpacking Dis-

half-joking that, “if you put out a tin of caviar,

sistence for years to come. n

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One Step Beyond “Welcome to a parallel universe.”


hose words appeared at the end of Leonardo DiCaprio’s glam-action movie “The Beach,” and they inspired Emmanuel Burgio to invoke the theme of the film in the name of

his company, Blue Parallel: a travel concierge service that takes you beyond the realm of the familiar into a new world. But this isn’t a Hollywood movie; this is the dream come to life. Born in Holland to an Austrian mother and an Ital-

there to see the sights, in the style to which they were accustomed, and which he knew how to provide.

ian and French father who had been raised in Tunisia,

The company began in 2002 based out of the United States, arranging weekend

Emmanuel was born with an international perspective.

escapes to Machu Picchu, and is now a full-service bespoke travel company, arranging

His family moved to Cannes when he was 10 where

trips throughout Latin America that are tailored to the taste of each individual guest.

he grew up in the whirl of southern France, and then

From eco-tourism to world heritage sites to extreme adventure trips, his service lets

to Washington D.C. when he was studying in London.

busy people see the world their way, balancing their interests with his local knowledge

Seeking the next step, he ended up working in the in-

to show his clients the hidden gems of the world, opening doors that are closed to

vestment banking division at Credit Suisse, where his

others. After starting the company, he returned to Peru, building relationships with

facility with languages and head for business made him

locals and expanding the company, which is currently based in Buenos Aires, Ar-

successful, but failed to stimulate his true interests. “I

gentina. The groundwork that he laid then still underlies the unique ability of Blue

felt that it was a time of my life to expand my mind…I

Parallel to combines adventure, exploration, and discovery with true luxury. As time

had an urge to take a year off, buy a backpack and just

went on, Emmanuel has been able to develop even more relationships, with local art-

travel and go with the flow. The idea was to go back.

ists, athletes and other figures that add a personal element to his tours. For example,

Banking was educating me, but not in the direction I

visitors who wish to take in a Brazilian soccer game, an exciting prospect in and of

wanted to go.” He left New York City for the world

itself, can watch the game and afterwards tour the Maracanã Stadium and meet the

beyond, and as he traveled, he experienced the wonders

team in the company of Marcelo Gonçalves Costa Lopes, a member of Brazil’s 1998

of the world. “There were places that really inspired

World Cup team.

me—the mountains of Patagonia, Mogadishu, Fraser

Blue Parallel’s resources extend far beyond sports, of course, to arts, entertain-

Island in Australia. I thought, people ought to see these

ment, shopping, and even politics. Emmanuel recalled a group of six couples that

things.” He found his time in South America particu-

decided to forego traditional vacations and do something different. Every year they

larly exciting, and decided to devote his time to bringing

go on an investment mission-cum-vacation, visiting somewhere new to learn about the

his former colleagues and other luxury travel customers

local economy and culture and seek out new business opportunities. On the trip Em-

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13/2/09 13:52:21

manuel arranged, the group visited Brazil, Argentina,

in the international press to a Travel Channel special on the “trip of a lifetime,” orga-

Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and Panama, meeting politicians,

nized for the network to show them what Blue Parallel could do. But perhaps the big-

business owners, and industry leaders and gaining a

gest testament to the ever-growing resources of the company is their collaboration with

greater understanding of business processes in the

businessman and photographer Robert Haas on his book, “Through the Eyes of the

region. They left with a much deeper perspective on the

Condor.” Done in collaboration with National Geographic, the book is a series of aerial

emerging markets and many contacts with which they

portraits of Latin America, the first of its kind to capture so much of the continent and

looked forward to doing business.

so many sights unique to the region.


Haas first encountered Blue Parallel in a magazine article. “He went to the den-

ome trips, of course, don’t go quite as smooth-

tist’s office, was sitting in the waiting room flipping through something, and then out of

ly—but the planning is always beneficial for

the blue called me as soon as he walked out.” Haas and National Geographic hired the

Blue Parallel as a young, growing business. “Say you wanted to go shopping,” posits Em-

manuel, “Blue Parallel can arrange for shops to stay open, antiques dealers to guide you, and recommend new places if you don’t find what you want. It’s a small world in Latin America,” he says, and his contacts have

I felt that it was a time of my life to expand my mind…I had an urge to take a year off, buy a backpack and just travel and go with the flow. The idea was to go back. Banking was educating me, but not in the direction I wanted to go.

company to manage all the logistical details involved in putting together the book, from booking hotels and meals in isolated locations, to researching restrictions for taking the windows and doors off the helicopter

only expanded since his very first assignment in the retail sector. “They came from Connecticut and gave us a list of the furnishings they were looking for, and we arranged a personal shopper to take them from store to store to meet with dealers and shopkeepers and make sure they got the best possible products.” The couple ended up furnishing nearly their entire house with antiques from their trip, proving the effectiveness of this approach. Sometimes, the process backfires, but Emmanuel takes this as further evidence that the help they provide is necessary for a certain kind of consumer. “I remember we had one guest, this tourist type, you know? Big Hawaiian shirt, silly sandals and shorts, and he said he wanted to buy some antiques,” he says, easily recalling the details. “He arrived on a Sunday, and nothing in Latin America is open on a Sunday, but we arranged for one of the best shops in Buenos Aires to be open, run by this older, conservative gentleman, who came in very early, wearing his lovely pressed suit. The guest showed up and was trying to bargain with him by telling him his products were of low quality, called them fakes, and this man was getting angrier and angrier, so insulted by his behavior, and finally threw him out of the store!” he says, laughing a little breathlessly. “The guest went on to have a nice trip, but some people just can’t arrange that kind of thing for themselves,” which is where Blue Parallel comes in. This personal attention has drawn attention to the company from all over the world, from numerous articles


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(“It’s different everywhere!” says Emmanuel) and the

to the Galapagos, but now people are seeing Quito has a lot to offer on its own. The

collaboration on the project lasted nearly two and a

Andes are beautiful, the horses, the mountains, the condors, they are all very much

half years. Emmanuel says he found the experience

worth seeing,” says Emmanuel, “Another area is the northwest of Argentina. Patagonia

“very intense but very rewarding—the culture of Latin

has great branding, but the northwest part wasn’t really on the map for travelers.”

America can be somewhat impermeable, it’s not easy to

While he says quite cheerfully, “I love Patagonia,” there are other regions Em-

manage on your own. Anticipation of the needs of the

manuel is excited about for various

high-end client is our specialty, and it’s hard to get that

reasons, from beautiful beaches to

quality of experience on your own. It’s our relationships

historical sites. The island of Fernando

and connections that allow us to do such unique things.”

de Naranja, “which I think is the best

The group worked so well together, and the final project

beach ever,” is located off the coast of

came out so spectacularly well, that Blue Parallel has

Brazil is a protected area, hosting only

agreed to bring their planning expertise to the next proj-

a few hundred guests a night to keep the island pristine. “Three of the top beaches in

ect, which is currently being shot in the Arctic Circle.

Brazil are located on that island, and the scuba, snorkeling, surfing, it’s all incredible.

I remember we had one guest, this tourist type, you know? Big Hawaiian shirt, silly sandals and shorts, and he said he wanted to buy some antiques

The main focus of the company is still in the ever-

It specializes in higher-end lodges, and it’s a really private and unique paradise.” He

expanding world of Latin America and South America,

also recently traveled to Guatemala, after getting several requests for more trips there,

even as their interests elsewhere expand. Their niche has

and was extremely excited by what he saw. “There are many native tribes still active

only deepened as more people who have visited the major

there and it lends a cultural depth to the experience; the ruins of Tikal are some of the

attractions start looking for more under the radar destina-

finest Mayan ruins left.”

tions that are just beginning to come into the spotlight. For instance, “people used to stop in Quito on the way


hen asked how he responds to requests from guests—he is the expert, after all—he replies simply that there are different types of travelers, all of whom his staff are trained to accommodate. “Some of them know what they want and have a good idea of what they’d

like to see, so we might just make a few suggestions to spice it up. Otherwise, looking at the season and dates of their trip, if they don’t have a good itinerary, we will work with them until they get what they want, even if it isn’t what they think they wanted.” The requests they get are not only in terms of dates and destinations; Emmanuel is positioned to see new trends in the luxury travel industry. One in particular that he’s noticed within his clientele is families traveling together, in multiple generations. “We run simultaneous programs, so the grandparents can go fly-fishing, while the parents go rafting, and the kids go horseback riding in the mountains.” In general, as many other travel experts have noted as well, people are asking to stay in smaller places and higher-end lodges, for more of a private home experience. “Overall, people are looking for their special experience, something different, a memory or a story to bring home,” he says. “We bring scholars into play, arranging dinners with experts, so you won’t just go see a tribal dance, you’ll have dinner with an anthropologist who can explain their culture, and you’ll see the nature all around you and then have a scientist explain the local ecology.” He helps his guests develop a deeper appreciation for what they’re seeing, so they gain not just another photo album, but a new context for their world. As the company looks to the future, he still feels his central mission, which has always been to connect people with places in a way that is really life changing, wherever in the world that may be. “I think my goal has never been to be the biggest, but to be the best at what we do. We develop on a progressive basis. Travelers want to go with us beyond South America, to expand on to different continents, and we do hope to eventually expand into a global presence. The vision for the company hasn’t changed, just the scope.” ■

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Day One: Arrive at the Hotel Palace Berlin, one of the city’s most exceptional places to stay, indulge in a home away from home experience. Whether the reasoning for your stay be business or pleasure, the hotel boasts a vast array of rooms to suit every taste – from modern Deluxe-rooms to Oriental style décor to Laura Ashley style tastes, the expansive choice is certainly a reason to stay at Hotel Palace Berlin. For a heightened sense of luxury, treat yourself to a stay at one of the Hotel’s Senior Suites. With a separate dining area, sitting room and bathroom, the setting provides all you need for entertaining, whilst providing you with the perfect space in which to relax. The Presidential suite is the Hotel Palaces’ most luxurious stay. The 200sq metres of stylish decadence and advanced entertainment technology really give you that home away from home feel Hotel Palace prides itself on. A dining room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms, hosting a whirlpool bath and marble décor, are inclusive within the suite to ensure the most indulgent of stays. Relax in the spacious living room, exemplary of the standard Hotel Palace believe to be necessary for luxury- a marble fireplace, subdued lighting and regal Old English furniture provide everything needed for the perfect hotel experience.

8pm: After your arrival, indulge in the hotel’s Michelin star rated Hugo Gourmet Restaurant, located within the property. Situated on the 14th floor, the restaurant provides 360 degree paramount views in a breathtaking Mediterranean setting. Haute cuisine is provided by chef Thomas Kammeier and the atmospheric setting of minimalist chic provides an experience just as delectable as the dishes. After dinner, head to the Marlene bar to finish your evening with the delights of a vast array of sumptuous cocktails and pleasant conversation. A popular place for Berlin’s high society and hotel visitors alike, you’ll be sure to find interesting characters with which to pass the night away.

Day Two: After indulging in the hotel’s vast array of delectable breakfast dishes, take a gentle stroll down Numberger Street to begin a day of historical exploration. A city teeming with beautiful monuments and significant landmarks, the city’s attractions prove to be a popular setting for film producers the world over. A brief five-minute walk from Hotel Palace will bring you to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church- this famous landmark bearing historical bruises and serving as a symbol of the destruction of the war. Although little is now left of the building, the beauty of the crumbled steeple still seeps through the wall’s cracks into metropolitan 21st century Berlin.

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Continue the afternoon’s breathtaking views with a visit to the Perganom museum, located in Mitte Berlin. The museum is part of Museum Island, an island in the Spree river in the centre of the city and is surrounded by several other internationally renowned museums. Opened in 1930, the Perganom museum displays the many beautiful artefacts of Babylon, Uruk, Priene and Egypt- archaeological treasures excavated under German supervision. It is here you can taste the beauty of BC historicism, and really see the richness of German history prior to its significant world wars.

12pm: Head to Sasaya, Berlin’s notoriously appetizing sushi restaurant for some much needed lunch following the morning’s activities. Popular with both Berliners and Japanese, the setting provides a truly authentic experience- along with bench seats and a sushi bar there’s an area for floor sitting for those really wanting a Japanese cultural experience. Prepare to book an advanced table, as tales of the delectable Kaiten sushi leave crowds of hungry diners spilling onto the street outside.

3pm: Return to Hotel Palace Berlin for an afternoon of relaxation and rejuvenation in the luxurious Palace-SPA. A Mediterranean atmosphere of ambiance provides you with the prefect tranquillity to digest the mornings’ explorations and relax away from the business of Berlin’s metropolis. There are a wide range of treatments available

and with a choice of saunas, relaxation rooms, whirlpool and solarium, be prepared for absolute indulgence of well-being. For those with a desire of rejuvenation, the fitness area is fully equipped to meet such needs with the newest and most advanced technology in the field.

8pm: For a taste of authentic German cuisine, head to the long running establishment Florian for dinner. Situated in


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Charlottenburg,the menu is inspired by the German regions of Swabia and Bavaria and hosts a menu subject to change daily. After 11pm there is always a constant promise of marjoram and pork Nuremberg sausages on a bed of sauerkraut with a side of mustard and horseradish available. Florian really is the place to eat to ensure a truly German experience.

11pm: Renowned for its night life, Berlin is the epicentre for those night owls with a desire to ooze the last moments of the night away with delectable cocktails and trendy music. Recently developed into a trendy yet unique mix of nightclub and seventies style restaurant, Kurvenstar offers its customers a choice of international cuisine combined with a true Berlin party atmosphere with its choice of entertainment – from the latest hip hop vibes to funky house tunes by exclusive German DJ’s, its clientèle boasts to be a kaleidoscope of people, spanning a colourful spectrum of both young and old.

Depart 8am: Enjoy a final buffet breakfast at Hotel Palace Berlin before checking out. Berlin’s two international airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, provide flights to destinations the world over. So relax and soak up your last views of Berlin’s metropolitan skyline as you depart from this historical city.

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Working in perfect synergy, a pride of lions

human life interrupting the landscape is the

with fresh juice and hot towels who reinforce the

slowly meanders across the dirt road. Glowing

open-sided Range Rover waiting to take you to

feeling of care and attention. While the meal

gold and red in the late afternoon sun, the leader

the property. The leaders of this pride, Greg and

service is impeccable, the room maintenance is

of the pack surveys his family and begins his

Rianna Lederle, who supervise a staff whose

truly uncanny. It was almost comical to leave the

slow amble into the bush. He casually observes

presence manages to be warm and friendly while

villa for the main pool at the central lodge, turn

the group of females and cubs who travel in his

their work remains invisible – and pride is an

back for more sunscreen five minutes later, and

wake, and yawns as he surveys the bush. The

apt word in more ways than one. Several staff

find your discarded clothes folded on an arm-

kings of the jungle are thrillingly present here,

members tell the story of accompanying Kirk to

chair and the neatly rolled towel you had

almost too perfect in their grace and power to be

meet with the village chief to get his recommen-

plucked off a fluffy stack replaced, and no staff

real, and yet there they are, napping in the

dations as to whom he should hire for his staff.

member in sight.

shade, pouncing on their elders, coolly surveying

The stack of resumes produced by the chief

You hear him before you see him. A rustle in

their surroundings. And then, at the approach of

yielded a group of hospitality novices that were

the grass, the tips wave softly and suddenly the

a jeep, the lion roars. It echoes, reverberating on

trained impeccably, with deference to their

large, dark shape is visible. The sun is setting,

a deep, primal frequency that triggers something

needs and that of their community. Since the

glasses are clinking, but all conversation falls

ancient in everyone who hears it – that abiding

property first broke ground 2 and a half years

silent, studying the spaces in between the trees.

awe of nature.

ago, not a single staff member has left, and their

Too small for an elephant, too far from water for

Working in perfect synergy the staff at

devotion to the place shows in every imaginable

a hippo – could it be? Your guide waits for a lit-

Molori, one of the most luxurious resorts in South

dimension. The entire staff greets you upon your

tle more of the animal to emerge, and once the

Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, create a world

arrival with a welcome song and a round of cold

face is clearly visible, with two horns, a square

for their guests that is truly magical. As your

drinks, but it is the pair who rises every morning

lip, he points – there it is! The most rare of all

plane lands on the runway, the only sign of

to greet your return from a predawn game drive

wonderful things in South Africa: the black rhino.

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You hear him before you see him. It starts

looking the landscape, casually understating his

ily rather than a resort. “I want people to walk

as a whisper, then a whir, and then suddenly the

dogged perseverance and high standards that

into this place as if they were walking into their

helicopter appears overhead, headed for the

make the property everything it is.

own home. There’s nothing they can’t touch,

landing pad just inside the gate. The black four-

“Molori means ‘my dream’ because when I

everything makes sense, and everything they

seater is just one of a fleet of aircraft that owner

was a little boy, my teachers always used to write

could ever think to want, we’ve already thought

Kirk Lazarus uses to travel between his homes

on my report card that I was a dreamer. I’m

of it for them.” From the signature Molori hang-

and properties in Russia, South Africa, and Aus-

thinking of buying a yacht called ‘I Told You

over cure in the bathroom drawer (which actually

tralia, making sure that everything is on track for

So’,” says the native South African, half-joking.

works – we tested it on several occasions) and

all of his friends, employees, and visitors. Kirk’s

His roots in the country gave him an innate un-

the preprogrammed iPods waiting in Bose sound

property portfolio did not stem from a desire to

derstanding of how to do business in the bush.

systems to spill sound all the way out to your pri-

be in the hospitality industry. Rather, his prop-

From the very first stage, when he bought the

vate pool, to the fully stocked wine cellar and

erties are a collection of private homes: specifi-

land from a local chief and worked with local

humidor, his plan has succeeded on a grand

cally, his homes. His attention to detail is

builders and artisans to create the look of Molori,

scale; your every need and want is given equal

superb, honed over years of appreciating natural

he demonstrated that his property would be of

care and attention.

and man-made beauty all over the world, and of

the community, not apart from him, and he has

Kirk’s business interests are deep and broad

experiencing the best and worst of high-end re-

naturally developed a new community within the

around the world, but include many investments

sorts from the other side. “Some properties out

staff village that is just over the hill from Molori.

in the Russian oil industry. He is a fluent Russ-

here will have black water coming out of the taps

He talks excitedly of plans to build a school

ian speaker and has done business there for

or things like that, and their excuse is well, it’s

within the village, as more of his staff get married

many years, also putting down roots in his com-

the bush. I don’t think that’s any excuse,” he

and have children, and of staff days and pranks

munity in St. Petersburg, where he is currently

says over a cigar on the hardwood deck over-

that makes Molori feel like a home with a fam-

building a synagogue and a kindergarten in his

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Page 74

neighborhood. Having lived among Russians and traveled with them for many years, it is no surprise that word of Molori has traveled fast through his social circle, and many of his gusts since opening have been Russian. “Russians like the resort because I really understand what they want in terms of service,” he says, explaining that discerning and wealthy consumers the world over have been impressed with Molori, but that Russians tend to be particularly discerning about their treatment and are great communicators of their experiences – if their standards slacken, their core of Russian customers won’t be shy about letting him know, he says. He is currently developing a property on the beach in Capetown, the first of its kind in scale, as well as properties in Port Douglas, Australia, and New Zealand. To keep his edge sharp, he often visits and stays at other resorts in the area, and has taken the best idea from all of them, as well as applying his own intuition, for his property. These are all his houses, and they are full of the objects, furniture, and décor that he has picked up in his travels, contributing to the feel that you are merely in a friend’s incredibly chic home, instead of a hotel. Many guests prefer to rent the entire property at a time, allowing them total privacy to enjoy the comforts of their adopted residence. The vivid, graphic stripes and rounded shape of the zebra, rolling in herds down the hill towards the watering hole, is as whimsical and comical a sight as exists in the harsh landscape of the bush. Unexpectedly stocky and sturdy close up, they move silently through trees and brush, until they are close enough that you can see the brown shadow that traces their black stripes down over their rounded bellies. Their big dark eyes and open faces study you quietly, ears flicking, until the scent of water becomes too much to resist, and their little hooves stir up a cloud of dust as they canter towards refreshment. Huddled together, their stripes blend into a single mass of stripes and curves, running into each other in their collective reflection.


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The vivid, graphic stripes and rounded

Caribbean resort style: walls and French doors

genuinely impressive, bringing a level of taste

shape of the zebra-hide desk chair is the perfect

that open out onto the view, spacious bathrooms

and sophistication rarely seen outside of design

example of the perfection of Molori’s décor. A

unique to every suite, outdoor showers and

magazines to every corner of the space, from a

simple, classic shape is transformed by the con-

white-upholstered daybeds turning the hard-

formal living and dining room to the bathroom to

trasting stripes and the unexpected, humorous

wood decks into outdoors rooms. Every surface,

the office, sleek Mac laptop already included.

inclusion of the zebra’s own mane, projecting

every piece, is finished, but not necessarily

More cutting edge in its décor, crystal chande-

perkily from the seat back. Innovative without

smooth and sterilized: rather than going to full-

liers and velvet-upholstered armchairs sit com-

being precious, the design scheme is the bass

on modern, the walls are roughly textured and

fortably side-by-side with a metal-framed

line to the visual symphony of Molori, always re-

the concrete floor is inlaid with patterned rocks,

outdoors bed and a bright red airy circular chair

inforcing the harmony of the larger idea. There

in a light neutral palette that mixes easily with a

made of knotted high-tension elastics.

is not a corner of any room that has not been

white leather Fendi lounge and clear Lucite

Aside from the suites themselves, there are

touched, decorated, and designed to please the

lamps from Kartell. Their aesthetic has proved

numerous common areas that are secluded yet

eye, and yet there is never a feeling that any old

so popular with guests that it is now possible to

functional. While many guests choose to rent the

thing had been brought in just to fill up a corner.

order, through the property, any of the pieces

entire property for the duration of their stay, as

The design is deliberate, and effective.

seen in the rooms or common spaces.

Molori will only accommodate up to 10 guests at

When the interiors were first being de-

There are two presidential suites, Metsi and

a time, those who find themselves sharing the

signed, Kirk expressed a desire for a new kind of

Molelo, two superior suites, Ngwedi and Lesedi,

property have ample opportunities to enjoy care-

hunting lodge. The traditional image conjured

and one superior family suite, Sephiri, all in sep-

fully engineered solitude, something the staff

by those words is one of dark wood and leather

arate villas ranged side by side that share a

easily facilitates. The main lodge is, of course,

and mounted heads, a masculine but not neces-

panoramic view of the game reserve, and exterior

accessible to all, and the spacious facility en-

sarily inviting space. Molori takes the best as-

colors and hand-thatched roofs to blend them

compasses an open living room and bar, two for-

pects of this look and combines them with a

seamlessly into the hills beyond. The presiden-

mal dining rooms, an elevated covered deck just

lighter touch, mixing in elements of the classic

tial suites, both around 600 square meters, are

a short flight up, on a level with the main office

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Page 77

and the library, housing the property’s only tele-

bush are, the fact is inescapable: nothing is too

flavors, including the best renditions of colonial-

vision, an expansive collection of National Geo-

beautiful to eat. The little springboks stand

era dishes (often unpalatable to foreigners who

graphic back issues, and a well stocked humidor.

poised, nibbling on small shoots of grass, travel-

lack the seasoning of nostalgia) that one could

The airy white daybeds that appear in each suite

ing in a vigilant pair up to an invisible territorial

ever hope for. In the early days of the resort,

also make many appearances elsewhere around

line, where an identical pair eyes them carefully.

when it became apparent that fresh produce

the property, including next to the main lodge’s

They traverse the boundary, marking as they go,

would be hard to come by without involving mul-

two pools and a hot tub, and on several secluded

until they catch on the wind the scent of some-

tiple airplanes and vehicles, Molori’s dedicated

sky decks farther up the hill above the villas.

thing dangerous. Off they go, in leaps and

management set out and discovered an elderly

Speaking of the sky—one of the gems of the

bounds, muscles bunching and nostrils flared,

couple in the area who had turned their slice of

property is the planetarium, a stone outbuilding

the natural state for South Africa’s national ani-

desert into an Edenic paradise—and after the

with a retractable roof, housing four of the largest

mal – who can still be, at the end of the day, just

application of a small amount of charm, the cou-

beanbag chairs imaginable and one of the largest

someone’s dinner.

ple agreed to show them how it was done. Now

privately owned telescopes in the country. Greg

No matter how lovely, how charming, how

fruits and vegetables are a central part of the

is as familiar with the stars as he is with the land,

perfectly formed the presentation on your plate,

healthy yet luxurious cuisine here, creating five-

and on a clear night before dinner, it is a pleas-

the fact is inescapable: when it tastes this good,

star fare that is resort-worthy without being crip-

ure to get up close and personal with a glass of

nothing is too beautiful to eat. Chef Willie Mal-

plingly rich.

wine and Mars, Venus and the man in the moon.

herbe is one of the many hidden treasures at

The freshness of all the ingredients is a tes-

No matter how lovely, how charming, how

Molori. His versatile, French-trained style

tament to the chef’s stringent standards—prawn

perfectly formed the smaller creatures of the

makes incredible use of local ingredients and

curries and spiced grilled squid are as delicious

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Page 78

here as they are on the coast, and a talented use of light sauces and seasonings keep the dishes from being overwhelming. Selection is key—a filet of organic Chalmar beef is a superlative piece of meat, as were the salmon and tuna steaks. As ever, at Molori, ambiance and customization is key in creating a memorable experience; the resort often engineers it so guests never dine in the same space twice, and Willie checks in with his guests at breakfast to see what they might be in the mood for at dinner. Make sure to go beyond the formal sit-down meals – the staff barbecue meal became such an underground hit with guests that they now offer their taste of springbok loin and slowroasted chicken on an elegant, white-cloth setting in the barbecue pit, and the feast of barbecue served in the boma, a traditional gathering space, is a triumph of local ingredients and cuisine, including more and better sausage than is necessary or healthy, and an oxtail stew that will make you wonder why you ever bothered with oxtail before this one. The food is of course complemented by beverage, provided with a smile and an infectious laugh by Isaac, the bartender who had never tasted a beer before assuming his position at Molori, but is now a talented and original mixologist, creating his own cocktails as well as all the old standards. Chef Willie is also experienced with selecting wine pairings, and the cellar from which he draws is both deep and broad, representing the absolute best of South African wines as well as some of the finest vintages from around the world – we enjoyed a particularly wonderful 2002 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes with his homemade orange and Campari berry sorbet. What a baby elephant lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and serious personality. These ghosts of the bush appear suddenly, silently, and then surround you, stripping bushes from the ground, nonchalantly chewing a tree branch, and trumpeting and blowing at each other in a casual whirl of activity, until the reason for all the noise

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Page 81

peeks his soft trunk out from behind his mother’s

Russians, rest assured that you will receive the

To experience Molori in the Madikwe Game

leg. Still the size of a St. Bernard, still ears the

effect you are looking for. Treatments are avail-

Reserve is to immerse yourself in a culture that

size of dinner plates, but still a baby, to be pam-

able in one of two treatment rooms, your room or

still values many of the things modern civiliza-

pered. Long trunks shoo him out of the road,

on your private deck, but we suggest the outdoor

tion has chosen to disregard: patience, quiet ob-

under a shady tree and then finally, under his

massage table, draped in flowers and mosquito

servation, and the meditative stillness of simply

mother’s belly, where he relaxes, leaning against

netting and surrounded by miles of grassland

existing in the morning sun. The game drives are

her leg, at perfect ease.

and birdsong for a truly absorbing experience.

an exercise in appreciation – visitors may expect

What the spa at Molori lacks in size, it

All products are Dermalogica, and the name of

to be disappointed if they don’t spot their Big

makes up for in charm and serious expertise.

the game here is service – personalized treat-

Five, but in the bush, there is no such thing as

The small but fantastic facility is a full-scale rep-

ments, performed with dedication and great en-

nothing. The small birds, the trees, the soil, the

resentation of Molori’s focus on customization,

ergy. While you can book one of the specific

mountains, are all there waiting to be explored

privacy, and luxury. A workout area, filled with

treatments on the menu, a better bet is to simply

and appreciated. The wise traveler will simply

all the necessary equipment, adjoins the hard-

show up and let the technician guide you, as they

let the experience wash over him, appreciating

wood deck that hosts an outdoor area for private

specialize in blending products and tailoring

the talent of the trackers and guides leading the

yoga and pilates sessions and a white-cotton-

treatments to suit each individual. The land-

way and the sheer thrilling amount of life every-

swathed daybed. Before or after your scheduled

scape suffuses the entire spa with a sense of

where. Visiting the bush is the experience of

treatments, or anytime during your stay, the

peace and timelessness – so much so that you

feeling totally vulnerable and yet completely safe

steam room and plunge pool are available, cali-

shouldn’t be surprised if your masseuse adds an

– as visiting Molori allows you to experience the

brated to the owner’s specifications – and as this

extra half-hour just to make she she’s worked out

world at its most natural without sacrificing any

is a man who does much of his business with

every last knot.

creature comforts. !

“Visiting Molori allows you to experience the world at its most natural without sacrificing any creature comforts”

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MIAMI:feb09 13/02/2009 14:18 Page 83

Miami: What’s hot now Top, 1Bleu, Below, Executive Chef Mark Militello


o step off a plane in Miami

new playgrounds of today’s high living nota-

feels irresistibly good. There’s

bles like you.

something about the balmy air

For starters, the historic Fountainebleau on

combined with a timeless his-

Collins Avenue is newly renovated and re-

tory of beachside elegance that

opened in mid-2008 boasting over 1500 rooms

satisfies leisure and business travelers alike

each with a 20-inch iMac, nightclubs, restau-

when they make their way to this far-south

rants, and a spa. Poolside loungers are going to

American hot spot. Miami is a place that has

want a private cabana so that you can have your

been a hallmark of good living for decades –

own piece of shady seclusion. You could spend

from young 20-something celebrities shacking

months at the new Fountainebleau and never

up on South Beach to the sophisticated aristo-

run out of things to do, but with its central loca-

crats settled in the penthouses on Fisher Is-

tion, the Fountainebleau is a good focal point

land, Miami is the place for everyone.

for a Miami trip if you want to explore the city.

Most private planes to Miami actually land

If you like the idea of old Miami glamour

in Boca Raton, Palm Beach, or Fort Laud-

turned new again, The Raleigh Hotel, also sit-

erdale so as to avoid Miami International. But

uated on Collins Avenue, is a second newly

less access and Kiehl’s amenities. Pick up a

once your car service brings you into the heart

updated piece of Miami history. Hotelier

cold scented towel and hit the pool, where you

of this sun-drenched cosmopolitan city, expect

André Balazs decided to re-vision this classic

can see and be seen, or book a shuttle service

to see some old-turned-new treasures. Many of

and its penthouse, with almost 2,000 square

so that you can experience a private indul-

the hotels and restaurants of today’s Miami are

feet of oceanfront terrace, is to die for. The

gence at The Standard Spa, the Raleigh

being redone and revived, so that the haunts

Raleigh’s rooms offer all the enjoyment of the

Hotel’s spa located at another one of Balazs’

of yesterday’s Miami elite are becoming the

hotel’s 1940’s art deco style, but expect wire-

hotels, The Standard on Belle Isle.

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MIAMI:feb09 13/02/2009 14:19 Page 84

Rubbing elbows with history is the hallmark of many timeless Miami accommodations, but there are a few new hotels that are helping create this year’s fresh definition of Miami style as well. Gansevoort South, a new luxury hotel with spa and residences, has been continuing the tradition of Miami chic since March of 2008 and is a strong addition to the South Beach scene. We love the rooftop pool and the Gandia Blasco furnishings in the terrace areas. At night, head back up to the rooftop to socialize and have cocktails. The Mandarin Oriental

For the newest of the new, we’re excited about the W South Beach Hotel that is going to open its doors this May. In the tradition of W excellence, the W South Beach boasts an interior designed by power duo Yabu Pushelberg and completes the experience with gardens, scenic views, and a “Whatever/Whenever® ” service that promises to make your every wish come true no matter how outrageous (The website suggests flying in your favorite bagels from New York or filling your bathtub with hot chocolate). While you’re in Miami, don’t miss the abundant shopping the city affords to its most high-end visitors. If you want a little bit of everything, we like Aventura Mall, which is now renovated and has been receiving buzz recently for its upscale offerings, including a fully stocked Henri Bendel. Pick up your new beach bag at Kate Spade, or get a new pair of True Religion Jeans for your night out in Miami. Aventura also hosts several restaurants, and for a lunchtime shopping break be sure to look at Ocean Prime or The Grill on the Alley, two recent dining additions to the Miami staple that is Aventura. If you want to enjoy the Miami weather while you shop, the outdoor Bal Harbour is where you will still find all your favorites in a Florida Keys setting. Bal Harbour has added some new choices to its laundry list of upscale labels including Dian von Furstenberg, Fendi, and Giorgio Armani. This coming spring, head

MIAMI:feb09 13/02/2009 14:19 Page 85

This image & insert, Gansevoort South

to Bal Harbour for their biggest event of the season – the March 7th Destination Fashion 2009 show that will benefit the Buoniconti Fund. Michael Kors will be showcasing his exclusive Fall 2009 collection, so the event in itself is definitely a worth a little trip to this iconic Miami shopping destination. For dining in Miami, if you appreciate fine wine then we suggest Azul, the restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It’s a Mediterranean-Asian mix, so for appetizers you will choose from options like an octopus salad with roasted garlic hummus and Kalamata olives or fresh Japanese Hamachi, but the wine offerings are really what sets Azul apart. The wine menu is always changing, but right now Azul Wine Director Cynthia Betancourt suggests trying the Hansel Pinot Nior from Sonoma. Two blue restaurants must mean culinary perfection in Miami, because the next winner on our list is 1Bleu, the signature dining experience in The Regent Bal Harbour hotel. 1Bleu is under the culinary direction of Chef Mark Militello, heralded as an innovator in South Florida cuisine and named as one of the top ten chefs in America in 1990 by Food and Wine magazine. Chef Militello is known for focusing on local cuisine, so expect an expansive fresh seafood raw bar and offerings like stone crab claws and lobster. To take a break from seafood, we love Philippe in Miami Beach. This upscale Chinese restaurant is hallmarked by its red and black modern décor, and its first branch is already an established presence in New York City. Chef Philippe Chow has now brought his work to Miami and plans to soon expand to Las Vegas. At Philippe, try shark fin soup and then pick out a few entrees for the table. Or, call ahead and try the Peking Duck, acclaimed by New York Magazine and Zagat. Of course, an evening in Miami only starts with dinner. Plan on sampling the rich nightlife while you’re in town, especially in

This image & insert, Azul, Chef Clay Conley

MIAMI:feb09 13/02/2009 14:19 Page 86

stiletto-wearing, bronzed South Beach. To start

ity to have a fulfilled day and night without

The four different areas at Skybar all have a

out, grab drinks at Cozy, a piano bar in the

ever leaving hotel property. Once you’ve had

distinct feel, but try the Redroom Garden,

South of Fifth district. On weekends at Cozy,

drinks upstairs by the rooftop pool, head down-

where you’ll be able to sip your cocktail out-

enjoy live music and sample a signature desert

stairs to Louis Bar-Lounge, noted Miami

doors in the warm Miami air but feel like

before you head to South Beach. Cozy is

nightlife group Opium’s newest hit on the

you’re somewhere in the Orient. If you love

marked by a comfortable atmosphere and has

Miami Beach. Louis is one of South Beach’s

rum, you have to try Skybar’s Rumbar, with 75

a jazz feel that might just end up keeping you

newest spots, and it’s notoriously sexy and

different rums on hand so you sample every va-

at this casually trendy spot until its 4 a.m. clos-

hard to get in to. We know you won’t have a

riety of your favorite liquor. For a real Miami-

ing time.


feeling nightlife experience, Skybar is the

If you’re staying at the Gansevoort South,

Another favorite in Miami is the Skybar, a

one of the ultimate joys of the hotel is the abil-

hot spot set in South Beach’s Shore Club hotel.

place to go. And if you’re a Miami regular, you’ve already been coming here for years. n

All images, The Raleigh Hotel


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Perfection in Motion With recent enhancements such as a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound DBS audio system, the Aston Martin DBS holds its reputation as the definitive luxury sports car.


here are sports cars, and then

master Bang & Olufsen. In a world where au-

part of the car, creating an ambience which

there’s the Aston Martin DBS.

tomobile partnerships are more often than not

embraces both design and performance. The

Perhaps best known in North

inconsequential or uninspired, this particular

sound is crisp and clear at all volumes, mak-

America as the iconic Bond

pairing seemed destined to make beautiful

ing the audio system the perfect match for the

car (seen in the Daniel Craig

music together. After all, the two companies

Aston Martin.

007 thrillers Casino Royal and Quantum of

possess a similar pioneering gene, renown for

When the system is turned on, two small

Solace), the DBS is a stunning synthesis of de-

their innovation, design & technology. And

twin acoustic lens speakers emerge silently

sign and engineering artistry. In fact, this

then there’s their shared craftsman-driven,

and swiftly, adding a touch of theatre and tech-

British thoroughbred is incapable of escaping

perfectionist culture – hard to find in today’s

nological panache. While the design may be

unnoticed, that is if you’re lucky enough to

age of mass production.

minimalist, the emotional appeal of experi-

have one pass you on the road – a true meas-

The new BeoSound system, designed

encing the 510-horsepower DBS with its new

specifically for the DBS, is being touted as one

BeoSound audio system is larger than words.

With its hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine,

of the finest in-car audio systems on the mar-

And for those who wish there be no distraction

custom crafted interior and unrivalled han-

ket. Aston Martin engineers and Bang &

from their symphonic driving pleasure, Aston

dling, many DBS enthusiasts would argue that

Olufsen ‘acoustineers’ worked in close har-

Martin has also recently added a new

there’s little room for improvement. Then

mony to design the custom audio system. Thir-

‘Touchtronic 2’ six-speed automatic transmis-

again, Aston Martin is not exactly a company

teen speakers – each with its own dedicated

sion option.

known for resting on its laurels. When looking

amplifier channel – in ten locations are seam-

to perfect the DBS audio system, the British

lessly integrated into the DBS’ sleek cabin in-

might say. n

automaker joined forces with Danish sound

terior. The result is a system that is an integral

ure of its limited-production exclusivity.

High performance meets high fidelity, you

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TIA CIBANI:feb09 16/02/2009 08:38 Page 88

Perfect by Design

TIA CIBANI:feb09 16/02/2009 08:38 Page 89


How do you go from being a Canadian fashion label known for its sportswear to an international darling of the fashion world, worn by celebrities, socialites, and fashionistas in the know? You hire the very chic Tia Cibani to bring her smart, artsy aesthetic to your line and let her creativity take wing. Cibani is herself a Canadian, from Vancouver. She says very naturally, “I was always drawn to clothes and art and design. My mother was a serious fashion plate and I was always playing in her closet. I feel like I stumbled on it, in a way, but my father was in children’s wear so it felt very natural to me to work in a fashion oriented environment.” She was educated for some time at Parsons School of Design in New York, but the company then known as Ports International came calling, and it changed the course of her career forever. “Before I had even finished school, an opportunity to go work in China came up, which I thought would be a cool for six months or so, and I ended up staying 10 years.” The current collection that she works on, Ports 1961, is an offshoot of the original company that the owner founded to incorporate a more diverse perspective that would appeal to a luxury customer. And who is that customer? Says Cibani, “She’s not an age, she’s a state of mind, shed global, urban, loves it all, embraces it, but doesn’t want to let go of romance and luxury just because of a fast-paced urban lifestyle. She wants special daywear—that’s what I create. It’s not precious, it’s about enjoying the everyday. The pieces have little touches that make them personal and refined, little couture touches, yet made of durable fabric. Its meant to function.” Cibani is of course, to a certain degree, that very woman. When we pointed out the obvious similarities between herself and her customer, she admits, laughing, “Ports is the global village—mixing and matching and combining everything—that’s who I am, right down to my toes.” The length of her experience living in different places is a constant inspiration, and an asset in a variety of unanticipated ways, including the simplest things like the quality of fabric and production. “My resources that I’ve built in China in 10 years is what has helped me to make a different statement that sets me apart from other designers. Your Rolodex is built over time and energy and relationships, and my time has definitely helped. China, though, can be very frustrating because of their closed

economy and culture.” She recognizes that her base in Asia is different from most of the fashion crowd, but doesn’t see it as a disadvantage. “Going there from the creative culture of Paris and London is hard, but there’s an efficiency and a turnaround time in creating things that is so great. You will see results quickly, and I would always spend my time in China when I was creating, so I could see changes right away, instead of waiting for weeks to see samples if I were in New York.” Her creative process requires

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so much travel and so many variables that to be able to simplify the nuts and bolts of creating the collection is a much-needed simplification. As to her inspiration, she says, “I usually start with a place, and then of course the people, which is what makes the place. I zero in on a specific person or kind of person, or sometimes a time period. From that is born a color palette, and then textures that would make sense within that palette, and from there its just about silhouette. It’s very easy for me, like one-two-three. I work with my team to research art and customs and fashions and it really falls into place. We sketch, research trimmings, and apply them with the theme in mind.” This year, however, she traveled in time as well as in space, and in memory and nostalgia as well, as her current Spring 2009 collection came back home to Canada. “In spite of all the big grand journeying, this season I felt like coming to where my heart feels is home. It focuses on the Pacific Northwest through the art of Emily Karr, and on the shape of the totem pole; it’s very long and lean with horizontal interest. For me this particular collection felt more natural than any other I’ve done; it was so familiar to me.” Her other familiar home now is New York City, where her fashion world and her personal interests can collide. “I try to stay in New York as much as I can, but I’m between New York and China. I still have a studio and a design team there, and I bring them here, I go there, etc. I also go to Paris for the fabric shows, Milan for other sourcing,” she explains, but all this travel means that when Tia Cibani is home, she really tries to stay home. “When I’m here, I stay in Chelsea. This is my hood. My home is here, my office is here, my store is opening in the meatpacking district—I’m very local, but then I’m very global. I love the vibe here, the eclectic nature, the art, the gay community, and the families. I think the High Line project is quite special, it’s evolving so quickly

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TIA CIBANI:feb09 16/02/2009 08:39 Page 92

Tia and Fiona Cibani in the Ports 1961 Design Room


and I really see the improvements; it’s draw-

inspiring she finds her current environment,

him.” Her concept is less a design conceit

ing so much attention here. Its nice to see in

however, there is always that itch: “I used to

than a mood and a feeling imbued by the ar-

the last five years how much has changed. I

travel for fun more, before I started this proj-

chitecture. “I wanted it to be cozy and wel-

love the Chelsea market, the Red Cat, the

ect that is themed on travel. I love Asia, Viet-

coming, like a big closet, the ultimate closet,

Meatpacking district in general. It’s got a

nam—I would take the Ha-long Ginger junk

and any girl could walk in and feel comfy.”

wonderful sort of European flavor.” Cibani

trip if I could take a vacation right now.”

The construction itself had been a bit of an

does downplay somewhat her place in the

Unfortunately, a vacation doesn’t look

ordeal, she says. “We decided to challenge

New York and LA social whirl. She maintains

likely anytime in the near future—not with so

ourselves and take a big old 150 year old

a presence all over New York, meeting and

many exciting changes coming for the young

building--it was really falling apart, you don’t

greeting the celebrities and socialites who

designer and her brand. The Ports 1961 New

see that from the outside--but once we started

wear her clothes, as well as spending time

York flagship store is slated to open in Janu-

digging we saw the construction needed was

with many well-photographed friends (who of

ary, and Tia has been very involved with ar-

more than we expected, but we went forward.

course are often clients) all over town. This

chitect Michael Gabellini in every aspect of

We were excited by the idea of being in a his-

cosmopolitan gloss only adds to the cachet of

the design. “I feel like I’ve given birth to it.

toric old townhouse and maintaining the his-

her collection, and her understated, inspired

We’ve already opened an LA store around the

tory of it.”

designs are a party-girl staple. No matter how

concept and it has been great working with

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Even as New York City and the rest of the

TIA CIBANI:feb09 16/02/2009 08:39 Page 93

world continues to reel and recover from the

would like to focus on the US right now and

good for the brand to build an image with a

dip in the economy that has affected so many

really make this our home, we really

ready-to-wear collection but you can really

aspects of everyday life, further plans for the

launched out of New York. I think it’s impor-

make money in the accessories. With the

brand are germinating, but slowly. “This eco-

tant to win over the tastemakers of New York

spirit we’ve built, I think we can create an ex-

nomic climate is hard, it’s hard to envision a

and Los Angeles.”

citing collection.” Her personal and profes-

future, but at the same time I did have an in-

As for her more personal goals, her prior-

sional development has been directed and

tention to open two stores and then work to-

ities are that of the consummate professional.

fostered by a number of people, but she says

wards the middle. I’d like to grow our retail

“I would like to have my design team here

that her greatest mentor has been the CEO of

side as much as our wholesale business, I

with me. I’d like to develop more into acces-

her company. “He’s been my business pro-

think it’s important to make our statement

sories. We started as ready-to-wear and that’s

fessor,” she jokes. “Seeing my father in his

and our concept in our own space.” On the

been our strength, but I’d like to grow into re-

own retail stores and working there, I under-

international front, always an important con-

ally reliable accessories, good bags we can

stand what it is to wait for customers, to cre-

sideration for such an international brand,

deliver season after season,” she says. “Per-

ate events, to get customers in the door. A lot

she says “I think Japan and India are impor-

sonally, I’d like a little more quiet time, not to

of designers need help with that, but I’ve also

tant markets to consider. We do have stores

eat-sleep-drink my work quite as much, but I

had a great mentor in Alfred Chan; he’s

in Asia, in Hong Kong and China, but I

think we can definitely improve. I think it’s

taught me everything I know in terms of busi-

100 Thousand Club


“Vacation in the luxury home you deserve” Luxury Villa Rentals. Concierge Services MAUI, HAWAII

Luxurious Destinations E-mail:

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Phone: 1-866-955-1515

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13/2/09 10:23:35

TIA CIBANI:feb09 16/02/2009 08:39 Page 95

ness. He says, ‘Listen to me and you will be a very well-rounded designer.’” Her understanding of the business side has fundamentally affected her understanding of the creation of a fashion line, from her direct involvement with selecting her textile mills and factories, to her hands-on role in creating the stores that will help brand the company and ensure its future in the retail world. Her talent as a designer is undeniable, and she says it is enhanced, not tempered, by her understanding of the practical considerations of creation. The other half of her process, of course, is that which she discusses at length—inspirations and collaborations. No one exists in a vacuum, and since her days at Parsons, Cibani has benefitted from seeing the work of other fashion greats. Currently, she names the YSL line as one of her favorites, due to the talent of lead designer Stefano Pilati. Alber Elbaz, of the house of Lanvin is, “sent from heaven. He’s a beautiful soul with so much creativity.” The fashion milieu in general is hugely influential to those who are a part of it, as well as those who observe it, and the insider view of the industry is quite stimulating. “When I run into my other peers, like at the fabric shows, it’s so exciting see that we’re all here. We walk through the same halls, the same mills, and its wonderful to see how we all interpret it.” From those fabled halls of couture in Milan and Paris, to the garment district in New York, to the factories of Hong Kong, this is the world that Tia Cibania was born into, and one that she is transcending, to bring her own vision to the world, a goal that is as much intellectual as it is business. Like those for whom she designs, she takes her wardrobe and her personality around the world, sharing her passion with those around her even as they enrich her life, a job that is not, at its core, a job. “That’s what it’s all about in the end,” she says “living the life that you enjoy.” n

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Beverly Both Ways

The New SLS 100 Thousand Club


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Page 99


os Angeles is a place where exists an ongoing compromise. There are two distinct worlds inhabited by the people who power the engine

that make the city – and inherently the culture – the consistently exciting, ego-driven, flavour of the week, and sometimes frustrating bastion of activity that it is. On one evening, it is quite possible to slink into a wave of slinky dresses, Christian Louboutins, and grapefruit, cherry, and watermelon infusions at Skybar, sitting atop West Hollywood’s Mondrian Hotel. It is also possible an hour later to grab your car from the valet and head down Sunset to the famed and storied Hotel Bel-Air, whose star sightings lean more towards the understated, privacy hungry glitterati of yesteryear. Both have magnificent charms and please the senses, yet one could not even fathom being mistaken for the other. Today’s Hollywood is one that screams paparazzi, velvet ropes, and Page Six sightings. Sleek lines, refurbished warehouse clubs, and cocktails with colors that span the rainbow. Old Hollywood reeks of discretion. Speakeasy lounges, soft lighting, gourmet staples, and bespoke suits. Among the myriad of hotels in the City of Angels, there are some that speak to the old, some that speak to the new. Some that speak to the young, some that speak to the old – although the old seem to be looking younger and younger,

SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, a new Star-

and it’s definitely not the water. But where

wood Hotels & Resorts Wordlwide, Inc. ven-

to go if there is a yearning to drink in a bit of

ture with SBE, opened at the end of 2008

the elegance and timelessness of the aura

with expectations that spanned from coast to

that is the Hotel Bel-Air, but with a bit of the

coast. And rightly so. If there were ever an

cache, excitement, and see and be seen that

all-star lineup of collaborators, SLS is the

is something like the Mondrian. Until re-

pinnacle for which all others will be meas-

cently, there was no such option. Fortunately

ured. Philippe Starck is a name that any de-

now, there is.

sign conscious observer, or worldly traveller

SBE founder Sam Nazarian and the infamous Philippe Starck

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Page 101

Some samplings from the kitchens of this new Beverly Hills hotspot

immediately recognizes. And not only rec-

old-world Sahara in Las Vegas, with plans of

ognizes, but also looks forward to revelling

a transformation.

in whatever building or venture has been

These two gentlemen, for all intensive pur-

blessed most recently with his magical and

poses, are the facilitators behind SLS, and

whimsical touch. He has ventured into a

on my visit just a few weeks before its official

contract with SBE CEO Sam Nazarian –

opening, I had the opportunity to take a look

owner of Hyde, S Bar, and Foxtail among

at the property with both of them. As striking

many other Los Angeles hot spots – that

and intriguing as both Sam and Philippe are,

keeps him designing only SBE North Amer-

the first impression of the property is equally

ican properties for the next fifteen years.

as attention grabbing, and perhaps even

SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills is the first lucky

more so. The lobby of the property that

child to receive his gift. Sam Nazarian is a

Philippe has put together seamlessly com-

worthy addition to the all-star lineup in his

bines the aforementioned old with the new.

own right, as he has taken SBE to an incred-

An eclectic mix of furniture, books, and dec-

ible level in just a short period of time. Be-

orative pieces forms a series of open inter-

yond the LA hotspots and production wing

connected rooms that could be the setting for

of the company, he recently purchased the

either Sinatra or Jay-Z. With Philippe, there

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Phillipe’s style are both traditional and eclectic, elegant and warm

is never a stone unturned, and while one could take a look at the furnishings, woods, textures, and lighting and feel a bit overwhelmed initially, there is quite simply a brilliance to the madness of the man. Boutique hotels have been the trend for such an extended period of time that they can no longer be considered a trend, but the reasoning behind this is quite simple. They are cozy, they are comfortable, and they are intimate. Large properties located in sprawling cities such as LA tend to feel a bit sterile. It is more difficult to create a sense of purpose, place, and culture when dealing with hundreds of thousands of square feet. Make no mistake – from the outside, SLS is not much too look at. The old Parker Meridian building, constructed in 1991, is located on a busy intersection of La Cienega, and its current incarnation contains 297 rooms – hardly a boutique property. But the feel inside of SLS is one that reeks of intimacy, privacy, and sophistication. At the same time, it manages to remain elegantly grand while simultaneously giving off an impression of style and modern chic. One would feel just as comfortable over a business lunch in one of the subdued library-esque nooks, as they would sipping martinis in stilettos. In many ways, this is not only attributed to Starck’s eye, but Sam’s influence. The contrast between the two men is one that is obviously apparent. Sam – a towering figure well over six feet – is adorned in a dark suit, speaks in soft tones, and walks that charming line between puppyishly shy, and quietly confident and observant.


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Philippe on the other hand, well… Philippe

cheap. His pedigree with SBE has been well

is overwhelming – in a good way. The colors

documented. His venues and ventures go on

he wears, the pace at which he speaks, the

to great success (his Foxtail in West Holly-

alertness with which his eyes dart around a

wood was the setting for our cover shoot for

room. They dart around so quickly that you

the Q4 2008 100Thousand Club). Sam is one

might actually think he is aloof. Please, do

of those individuals who has the inherent

not make this assumption. One with the de-

ability to work with people of all back-

sign prowess of Mr. Starck notices every de-

grounds, talents, and ideals. Even just

tail, and invents some along the way.

through a first impression, it is quite clear

“Look here,” “I do not like that,” “This is not an area I’d like to shoot.” These are

holds a project together.

the types of quick comments that you start

With a project as immense and yet as

to receive from Philippe only moments after

detailed as SLS, it takes a combination of

meeting him. The interesting part is, you

the two types of personalities and skill sets

know exactly what he is talking about. It is

to let the project reach its full potential.

said that great artists are never truly satis-

Alas, that is what Sam and Philippe have

fied with their work. This is true of musi-

done with SLS. From the beautiful pool

cians, painters, writers, and the like.

deck that rivals any I have seen across the

Designers may be the most discerning of the

United States, to the elegant yet modern

bunch. Watching Philippe walk through the

rooms, to José Andrés’s The Bazaar – the

lobby of the property – which he had proba-

hotel’s eating mecca – it is quite clear that

bly done hundreds of times before – you

one of these men could not have completed

could still see him making mental notes and

the project without the other. Luckily for us,

carefully adjusting things in his mind.

we’ll reap the benefits. That drive down

Sam could easily be pegged as a gentle giant, however that moniker is too trite and


that in most situations he is the glue that

100 Thousand Club

Sunset from the Mondrian to Bel-Air is no longer necessary. !

Chef José Andrés slices into a feast above, while the service and decor of SLS will leave little to be desired (below, left and right)

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Woman On a warm fall afternoon aboard the yacht Utopia III the whisper of bare feet on burnished teak decks and the quiet music of clinking champagne glasses is broken suddenly by a warm, welcoming laugh and a million dollar smile, as Loren Ridinger bounds out of the central salon of her floating oasis to greet her arriving guests. “Welcome aboard!” she laughs, “have you SEEN what we’re doing in here!?” The plush interior of the yacht is decorated with makeup, models, and more makeup – the full line of Motive Cosmetics, the latest venture from

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Loren’s direct-sales company, Market America.

magic touch with a crowd is both delightfully gen-

chise model, which allows individuals to build

As Loren ushers her guests from model to model,

uine and finely tuned – Loren Ridinger is no so-

their business at a pace that works for them. From

each wearing different day and night looks, her

cialite dabbling in the makeup business, but

a family affair in a Greensboro basement (Loren

enthusiasm and energy outsparkle the diamond

rather a high-powered businesswoman heading

and J.R.’s daughter Amber was born the same

hoops in her ears.

up a multi-million dollar company, supporting

year as their start-up) this year’s Market America

The ultimate girl’s girl, Loren presents the

charitable causes, raising a family and serving as

conference will have Loren addressing a crowd of

“Rock Star,” the “Starlet,” and the “Ethereal

a role model for millions of women all over the

25,000 about the opportunities that their rapidly

Girl” with equal aplomb, unhesitatingly recom-

United States. The end of summer in New York

growing company has to offer.

mending powders and glosses to achieve the looks

means a return back down to their home base in

We caught up with Loren at her home in

displayed on the black-clad models decked out

Florida, to prepare for a new year of product

Miami Beach, the legendary Casa de Sueno,

in Motives t-shirts, reflecting the different looks

launches, business expansion, and rallying the

where the Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Mercedes

and lifestyle of their stylish creative director and

troops at Market America’s annual conference in

Mclaren SLR in the driveway were dwarfed only

her friends. Colleagues and models mix and min-

Miami. Market America, which Loren and her

by Utopia III relaxing at her dock in the backyard,

gle as a psychic performs readings (based on lip-

husband, J. R. Ridinger, founded in their twen-

already lit and set for dinner on the bay. The or-

stick prints ¬– a charming personalized touch)

ties out of their home in North Carolina, has ex-

nate interior of the house is a decorator’s dream,

and makeup flies, transforming a boatload of over-

panded to become one of the largest direct sales

a heavily layered mix of antiques, photographs,

tired journalists into beaming beauty queens. Her

companies in the world, based on their Unfran-

smooth colored marble and rich upholstered fab-

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Page 109

Loren Rindiner with Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria

rics designed to impress, but the mood in the

years of experience in the sales and beauty busi-

kitchen is jovial as Loren emerges from a crew of

ness as Loren, whose early career experience man-

friends and colleagues to sink into the plush

aging a cosmetics company stayed with her, driving

couches in her library for a chat. The Motives line

her to develop a comprehensive understanding of

is experiencing a huge shift as well as an expan-

her line from packaging to sales pitches. “The

sion, as new packaging, colors, products and min-

touch of a product is so important – I never thought

eral formulas all make their debut in February of

about it all that much before. I’m good at the

2009 – and the new developments have got every-

process, but also at color, at making sure people

one talking.

can use it. It needs to be easy. Most people can’t

“I was my own guinea pig for 6 straight days,”

replicate looks by professionals, so every color is

she says, recalling the development of the new

handpicked, you make sure everything goes to-

line. “I brought in 12 of my girlfriends every day

gether.” Making the collection accessible is a key

and tried on everything, and picked out what was

word that she returns to several times, and it en-

the best. It was fun but it’s a lot of work, and all

sures that her market can keep growing beyond its

those girls together everyday? It’s worse than a

current success. “Even people who don’t buy

baby shower!” The process was not only fun, it was

makeup have a little. It makes people comfortable.

highly educational, even for someone with as many

I really believe we’ll double it by next year.”

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they just play [with the makeup] and get used to it. We have 1800 trainees right now who are training others in the US and Canada, and there’s also an international presence.” To get a sense of how large that presence is, Motives did about $12 million in business last year, compared to $600 million from Market America overall, numbers that have encouraged her in the expansion process. “We launched Taiwan 9 months ago, and we’re doing 200 trainings a quarter. We hired a new head trainer and launched in Hong Kong in last month.” Additionally, she confides, “we had our biggest week ever last week. Cosmetics are safe in a recession generally, so we’re in a good place. Women are going to need that Plan B. What better way to empower them than to make women look beautiful and make some money?” This theme of encouraging her fellow women is something she comes back to time and time again; “empowering women by making other women look beautiful.” Motives is truly a project motivated not just by profits, but by passion. “It’s my baby. I’m so fortunate to have a lot of women involved who appreciate helping others. We’re super-successful, I know that, but I also know it’s hard out there. Woman can have a business at home this way, they can take care of their kids and make some extra money at the same time.” Loren herself is the mother of fifteen-year-old Amber, whose calls and texts during our conversation attest to both the demands and rewards of motherhood she knows her representatives feel as well – the two are extremely close, even since Amber’s move to New York City, and her daughter is kept apprised of all the latest developments on the makeup front in her home. Though the products aren’t age-sensitive, they’ve been skewCosmetics are safe in a recession generally, so we’re in a good place. Women are going to need that Plan B. What better way to empower them than to make women look beautiful and make some money?


100 Thousand Club

The line has been in existence long enough

ing towards a younger audience, attracting cus-

for Loren to see results from her approach, as her

tomers away from department store lines. “We’re

30,000 reps currently selling Motives have been

comparable to Prescriptives, through the custom

reporting back to her as she redevelops the line –

blend and color matching program,” she says, re-

and of course, she expects that number of sales-

ferring to the ability of Motives representatives to

people to increase after her speech prior to the

custom-blend foundations, bronzers, and blushes

new products launch at Market America’s annual

for their individual clients, “but it’s also like

conference here in Miami. “For these women,

Smashbox; we have REALLY great colors, but




Page 111

sophisticated, beautiful colors.” She’s proved the

pect much from it, but it’s been really fun. Peo-

tion is honoring Amber for the work she has done

worth of her products to stand up to bigger names

ple started asking me for advice and I started

for their charity as a youth representative, and

through her own broad social network of

thinking I really needed to get hands on. They

many of her own charity events benefit Ms.

tastemakers, many of whom were involved in the

want to hear what’s going on with me. I share that

Lopez’s foundation, including a recent launch of

initial testing and have become converts to the

with them and other things develop from it.”

the new Henri Bendel at the Aventura Mall, “It’s

line. “I picked the best colors of all the major

Her desire to make an impact goes beyond

crazy that my name gets people excited, but it

just helping those within the scope of her busi-

works for me if it gives back. Bendels is charity

It’s this combination of pure business savvy

ness opportunities – she is active in a variety of

that works. I would be selfish if I didn’t do that.”

and women’s intuition that has made Motives so

charitable endeavors, in a variety of capacities. “I

While her name also excites some more

popular with both its consumers and its salespeo-

get the most amazing letters that are so inspiring.

social and fashionable groups (Loren has been

uct.” Television isn’t the sales format she’s in-

I want to change people – it ties me in to the foun-

a Vogue ambassador for the past five years, as

terested in, though; Loren is harnessing the

dation. I want to give people an opportunity. No

well as hosting events for designers like Chloe

power of the internet on behalf of her business.

one gives that to most people.” What with the time

and Louis Vuitton, who wrapped her house in

“We’ve had our techs control carefully the ad-

developing her own opportunities requires, one

their signature logo print) she takes her posi-

justment on screen to true the colors, and we

might reasonably ask how she finds the time to do

tion as a role model very seriously. Market

have a great website, very accessible. I do every-

so much outside work, and her answer is simply

America as a company is largely built on

thing online, I think it’s a cool way to do it. The

that when work is what you’re passionate about,

Loren and J.R.’s incredible personal story,

reps buy it wholesale, there’s no packaging to

you want to do it all the time. “I put my heart and

which continues to attract people from around

keep the costs low, and they price it for their cus-

soul into it, it’s everything I do. Me and Jennifer

the world. She draws strength from spiritual

tomers.” She’s also maintaining her online pres-

have the same thing –we sit on the floor with sto-

sources like Kabbalah, as well as her family



ryboards and work.” Jennifer, of course, is her

and friends, but the speed and energy with, is growing quickly, and

best friend Jennifer Lopez, a similarly huge fig-

which she tackles life is all her own. “My life

her fans love it for the inside look it gives them

ure on the Miami scene and part of a close-knit

has always been about a great family, but I was

at Loren’s life, and the fashion and beauty tips

group of celebrity pals that support each other

always driven. I met this great guy, but he was

and deals she offers them. “I write every night

personally as well as professionally. Loren men-

even poorer than I was. People don’t have faith

at like, 2am!” she laughs, saying, “I didn’t ex-

tions with pride that the Jennifer Lopez Founda-

in us for nothing.” !

brands and then some,” she jokes.

ple – Loren knows better than anyone how her product will sell. “For me, I always say, you go to a new restaurant or you see a movie or something, and the best part is telling 10 friends about it. Women love to talk and share our experiences. It’s a way to capture that. We keep track of that and we pay them.” It provides a simple transition for women into the workforce, especially for those who want part-time work – including Loren’s friends. “There’s the wife of a big club owner here in Miami, her husband is a well-known, successful guy, and she’s started selling Motives. She told me, ‘I’m making my own money¬ – $300 to $600 a week!’ and she’s really excited about it.” The Motives sales model is designed to empower the women who sell it with knowledge and the freedom to build their own clientele. “We’re more of a QVC or Amazon than a Mary Kay or Avon, because we educate you about the prod-





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Business and Pleasure in Miami


he buzz in the Miami Beach

This was the scene at the main convention

Convention Center is rising as

center space, which housed several themed

the clock ticks ever closer to

subgroups, although all are united in their mis-

noon on December 3rd. Journal-

sion to display the best of contemporary art.

ists, VIPs, art-world weirdos,

The central show comprised more than 250

and celebrities mix and mingle through the cor-

galleries from around the world, selling works

porate-sponsored champagne lounges, chatter-

both old and new. Indeed, this year’s uncertain

ing eagerly about the week to come and catching

economic climate seemed to be the reason that

up with old friends, as well as some early buzz

works from many tried-and-true names, includ-

from the night before. Early highlights include

ing icons like Keith Haring and Andy Warhol,

Takashi Murakami appearing at the Raleigh

and present-day powerhouses Damien Hirst,

penthouse in a plush costume of his own design,

Cindy Sherman and Matthew Prince, were resur-

as well as Naomi Campbell’s dramatically late

facing, as some collectors shed lesser works and

entrance to a retrospective of her best photos. Fi-

buyers sought the most value for their dollars

nally, the doors open, and a riot of silk scarves,

and euros. There were also themes within

cashmere sport coats and sky-high Louboutins

themes – Barack Obama-inspired portraits were

spill into what is, for the moment, the heart of

noticeably plentiful, as were financial crisis-

the art world – Art Basel Miami Beach.

themed pieces and installations.

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Art Supernova was more of the same, with 20 galleries from around the world joining in collaborative exhibitions of new and emerging artists

There was plenty of new blood in the Art

Soto), as well as a few thematic group exhibi-

Nova section of the exhibition, though, with 58

tions. This year’s Vernissage was arguably the

galleries presenting work from some of the

quietest in recent memory – collectors had time

most exciting young artists today, including

to browse, discuss, and even bargain, while

Dash Snow’s infamous newsprint collages, and

spectators were able to spend time with gallerists

a stunning, ceiling-height square chandelier

who in past years might have shooed them away

work called “Cube Light” by Ai Weiwei, who

in favor of paying customers.

was already drawing buzz at the festival for her

But, there was still plenty of action around

ceramic bubbles public art installation on Wat-

Miami. As the event has grown bigger over the

son Island. Art Supernova was more of the

years, the satellite festivals and parallel pro-

same, with 20 galleries from around the world

gramming have also increased in both number

joining in collaborative exhibitions of new and

and size. The central festival sponsors several

emerging artists, the interconnected gallery

other locations around town, including some

spaces presenting a mélange of paper, video,

breathtaking public projects. Highlights this

books, and performance art. Finally, the heavy-

year included Olaf Breuning’s gigantic reclin-

weights came out to play at Art Kabinett,

ing woman on the beach behind the Sagamore

where 17 galleries showed off their curatorial

hotel and Miami native COOPER’s “Dark

chops presenting exhibitions themed around a

Fountain,” a darkly glittering flow of water that

single artist (including historic figures like Meret

stands in stark contrast to the bright Miami

Oppenheim, Marcel Duchamp, and Jesus Rafael

sunshine. Many of the other projects were site-

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Page 116

specific in some way: Tadashi Kamawata and

pong tables welcoming in the crowd. The Sta-

Ana Linnemann installed huts in palm trees

tion was a three-storey exhibition housed in a

and set another seemingly normal palm tree

Midtown Miami building. It flowed from a re-

spinning at two-minute intervals, playing with

tail concept to an office space to a duplex

our perception of our surroundings. The Art

apartment and boasted a significant roster of

Positions exhibition is a perennial favorite,

artists in their nonprofit exhibition, co-curated

bringing 20 young galleries to converted ship-

by Nate Lowman and Shamim M. Momim, he of

ping containers on the beach at Collins Park

the most recent few Whitney Biennials in New

and allowing them to transform the interior.

York. This is the show the Biennial has always

The crowd favorite by far was Raul de Nieves

wanted to be – edgy, urban, thematic through-

“I Scream You Scream We All Scream For Ice

out, and open to the public day and night to

Cream,” an ice cream party taking place in-

allow viewers to experience the show in all its

side a giant fiberglass banana split sundae.

possibilities. The O.H.W.O.W. “creative com-

The independent satellite fairs drew at-

pound” can’t rightly be called an art festival, nor

tention from critics and scenesters alike,

is it specific to Art Basel, but its ongoing goal, to

spreading the Art Basel excitement far beyond

synthesize the establishment art world of New

South Beach. The NADA Art Fair, run by the

York with the youth and energy of Miami for the

New Art Dealers Alliance, delivered on its

benefit of all experimental art, is commendable.

promise to showcase the best new work from

Aaron Bondaroff and Al Moran, whose collabo-

88 emerging galleries from all over the world.

rations with the international art world are a con-

The young, frequently performance-oriented

stantly stimulating presence in Miami, head this

works inside were complemented by the re-

creative community, and led the Art Basel exhi-

laxed mood outside, with hammocks and ping-

bition It Ain’t Fair, which included over 30

100 Thousand Club

There was still plenty of action around Miami. As the event has grown bigger over the years, the satellite festivals and parallel programming have also increased in both number and size

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artists in a film series, a curated exhibition, and a nightclub hosting indie acts like The Gossip and Spank Rock. Of all these, Design Miami is by far the largest and most established. It has become as significant an event in the world of design as ABMB has become in the art world, spawning other mini-festivals in the commercial space it commandeers across the bridge

“The O.H.W.O.W. “creative compound” can’t rightly be called an art festival, nor is it specific to Art Basel, but its ongoing goal, to synthesize the establishment art world of New York with the youth and energy of Miami”

from South Beach. Bridge, Green, Art Miami, Photo Miami, Scope, and Red Dot have all joined in here. Some, like Pulse, even play host

trailer sponsored by Sara Meltzer Gallery. When

her new book at his Raleigh Hotel. As usual this

to other art fairs themselves, such as the Japan-

she wasn’t outside her home base at the Sag-

was the center for Art Basel activities, including

ese art fair GEISAI! The reduced number of

amore she drove from event to event, selling

the annual Moet & Chandon-sponsored paint-

buyers meant an up-close-and-personal experi-

miniaturized bracelet charms of her back cata-

ball fight Art War, and an opening-night concert

ence at these venues in the early days of the fes-

log. Elsewhere, pop-up shops and store open-

by The Gossip, hosted by Jeffrey Deitch.

tival, but as the crowds poured in and the parties

ings, including art-world favorite Marni,

Even as the world’s culturati searched for

heated up, the mood turned jovial once again.

abounded even now. The new Mondrian hotel

hope in Washington and change on Wall Street

As always, there was a full complement of

drew Jeff Koons, Russell Simmons, and Marcel

(and in their pockets – Silvia Fendi’s new fur-

new hotels, shops, and parties centered as usual

Wanders, and the Gansevoort South and the

niture was just too good to resist) they were

on the Collins Avenue strip, even if budget cuts

Fontainebleau welcomed in an excited new

able to focus on the brighter, more beautiful

dictated more shrimp and less sushi than years

crowd. Andre Balazs invited Marc Newsom to

side of life. After all, that is what Miami and

past. Jude Tallichet set up shop in an Airstream

premiere a new watch and Kelly Klein to launch

Art Basel is all about. !

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Join the Club... Online. Every single limited edition issue of the 100Thousand Club is available at Take a visit for more exclusive information on our partners. Your exclusive online resource for all things luxury.

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One of a kind

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growth of Vacheron Constantin here, from his perspective, is limited by

watch company is one of the


only one thing—the extremely limited and quality-controlled process

iconic Swiss watch produc-

of production at their factory.

ers, but one of their native

Their efforts in the last few years have been mainly directed to-

sons has taken on the role of

wards developing direct relationships with their customers. “We will

advocating for the Americans in this close-

do things like host a collector’s dinner to connect with our end custom-

knit world. As the President of Vacheron

ers, where we show them the products and talk about their collections.

Constantin North America, Julien Tornare is

The best advertising for a product like ours is word of mouth. When a

essentially in charge of all of the brand’s ac-

customer is buying one of our watches, he is registered, we send letters

tivities in the western hemisphere out of his

and gifts and really try to keep a good relationship with those people.”

home base in New York City, and his years

This targeted approach has been extremely effective, and they receive

with the company have made him an expert

so many requests for these events from both private customers and

on luxury watches in general and Vacheron

their retail partners who host the events that they have to limit them-

Constantin watches in particular. For the

selves to just a few a year in markets where they are looking to develop.

past four years, he has focused on increas-

In order to keep up with the demand for more information, they have

ing brand awareness, developing customer

created an online lounge (, a forum of discussion for

relations and liasing with the head office,

the brand. “When you buy an expensive watch you don’t buy it to tell

where he spent the previous five years. The

time, you buy it for the emotional connection. People really buy it for

100 Thousand Club

Julien Tornare US.indd 124

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the experience. When I talk to our customers, I hear they’ve bought X-

entirely in Geneva, where it has been for well

numbers of certain cars, but they get nothing from that that is personal.

over 200 years, and Julien frequently returns

People who spend this much money, they are even more susceptible to

to his hometown to collaborate with headquar-

small touches.”

ters. “The whole design process takes place

His background in finance and business contributed to his success

in Geneva, but our brand is inviting its big-

in his current position, but the watch industry ended up being his true

gest markets, including Hong Kong, Russia,

calling. “I was born in Geneva, I’m Swiss, and in Switzerland you have

Italy, and of course the US, to contribute to

the banks, the watch companies, and the chocolate companies. It’s

product developments.”

basically through some people I knew I found out more about watches.

The Quai d’Ille (Kay De Lille) is one of

I tried banking and I didn’t enjoy it, I missed the production and the

these major developments—for the first time

beauty of the object you are selling.” The heart of the company is still

you can fully customize your watch. “We went into that not only because it was trendy, but because in the beginning every watch was different. People now want more and different and so we felt we should offer them the ability to customize.” The priority is to stay always on the high end, respecting the history of the brand, but customizing it for the individual’s preferences, using a process that is truly revolutionary. “It took about four years to be able to do it, to make the parts customizable. There is a very limited network of retailers who will be able to sell the watch. They have a laptop in their store, with a touch screen, where you will be able to design your watch. We have trained the retailers to use this and each time we set up the equipment we spend half a day there to show how it works. It’s very user friendly and intuitive and so far we haven’t had any problems. When you select your watch the order goes directly to headquarters in Geneva, and you receive it in 10-12 weeks. You can personalize everything, to create the watch for yourself or someone else.” The staff members in these boutiques are there to reassure those who may be nervous about purchasing a watch costing tens of thousands of dollars over the internet, and customers can of course revise their the product as many times as they like before ordering. “We let them take their time. We want them to be really happy with their watch. The other thing that is amazing, you can see that we don’t have any dial on the

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watch, it’s glass and polymer and we use security printing to make sure the watch cannot be counterfeited. My CEO in Geneva met the worldwide expert in security printing and found out how the banknote printing works and decided to incorporate it.” So in some respects, your personalized watch has gotten even more personal, ensuring that not only is it one-of-a-kind, it will stay that way for the duration. He currently wears one of the test watches, the full titanium day-date, and in a way, it provides him with his own private version of market research among his circle. “It’s interesting to wear it, to see the reactions and comments from friends. I’m amazed by the watch as much as they are. When we introduced it in Geneva in April, we had a full standing ovation. I’ve never seen that before. That was a great feeling for me, having worked for years.” The way a watch can be customized is fairly complex when it is being done as thoroughly as it is here. “Normally, a watch case is a full piece of metal. Ours is seven components, so everything can be customized to different materials, shanks, bezel, etc. Other people offer to change the strap, the face, but never anything like this. We have six basic watches with up to 400 options total. Our movement is a totally inhouse movement, highly technical, and it’s never been done with a watch like this.” “The collectors right now, what they want more and more is something different,” Julien says. Many brands try to cater to this by going the route of the limited edition, which is the first step, but, says Julien, “we wanted to go much further than that. There are so many things in life that people are buying. The collectors have so many beautiful watches, but here they have the feeling they are part of the process, and they love the belonging feeling. He tells of one collector who ordered three pieces up front, one for himself and one for each of his sons, because ‘I want to tell


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them I practically made it myself,’” quoted Julien, laughing warmly.

of invitations and I could be out all the time.

“Our buyers have a lot of money, sure, but a lot of nice things. They’re

I live on the Upper East Side but I am often in

not the showy people; if they are new money they are money with a

the West Village or Meatpacking District to

lot of taste, a lot of culture, they want something they will keep for

meet interesting people, artists, trendsetters,

a long time and preserve. We have a lot of entrepreneurs, lawyers,

on the weekend. There are such great restau-

hopefully still people from finance,” he jokes. “They definitely have

rants all over, but I love Le Berdardin, I love

a cultural background in common. If you don’t know about watches

fish. Eric Ripert is a big fan of our brand. I

you may not notice ours is an expensive watch, but they have passion

try to change neighborhoods to get a different

for handmade products. They know the difference from a machine-

atmosphere. Traveling as much as I do, when

made watch. Often they collect other things, including cars, fine wine,

I can stay in the city I love it. My socializing

and artwork.”

in New York is mostly professional, but you

Worldwide, these special buyers are located mainly in China,

meet so many people with so many different

Russia, and the Middle East, specifically Dubai, as well as in the

backgrounds, I like to save space for my own

United States, and they have had fantastic results, quadrupling their

time.” In addition to watches, he professes

business in the last five years. “Originally the watch culture here

to be a collector of fine wines, although he

was lesser, but the culture is developing quickly, even if there are

left his car collection in Switzerland when

some unstable circumstances right now, our business is growing very

he came to New York. “I’m learning about American wine, I know more about French

“Our buyers have a lot of money, sure, but a lot of nice things. They’re not the showy people; if they are new money they are money with a lot of taste, a lot of culture, they want something they will keep for a long time and preserve.”

and Italian, but every time I’ve been in California I’ve done some tastings.” Julien feels that personally and professionally, there is still a great deal of development to come for him. “I’m very happy with what we’ve accomplished and we’ve done a lot with this team. However, because of the potential there is a big segment we need to reach, so at least for the next four or five years there is a lot for me to do in this position. Something new is happening every day. I’ve seen the products that are coming out over the next 4 years and I’ve given a lot of input

fast…it’s very challenging but it’s all about educating, which is a very

to make sure that the watches are good…

different job than my colleagues in a mature market, where the brand

the retailers have responded to say that that

is already known. We just talk-talk-talk, let them know why it’s ex-

communication has improved the watches. If

pensive. A watch costs as much as a Ferrari because our craftsmen

you don’t have the right products, you don’t

spend 3,000 hours on it.”

do business. It’s not by chance that we’re

While Julien’s job is extremely busy, it is not without its personal

the first to launch this new line that you can

rewards. “I’ve met amazing people in four years, who I never would

customize…I push a lot and fight a lot to get

have met in Europe, and that’s something I enjoy particularly in my

the brand in the right direction,” he says. His

job. Making the presentations, with 253 years of history behind our

pride in his work is palpable, only reinforcing

brand, its an amazing thing, it’s the part I enjoy the most. I spend a

his message of Vacheron Constantin’s com-

lot of time in the field, I’m meeting a lot of people.” His role interact-

mitment to continuing their legacy of luxury

ing with the movers and shakers of the world, who are the clientele

watch making and client satisfaction, any-

for his watches, have made him a figure on the scene in New York.

where in the world with those who appreciate

“When you live in New York you can go out every night; I have a pile

their craft desire. n

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he story of Geox’s invention is an entrepreneurial story that is almost too good to be true. In the early 1990s, Mario Moretti Polegato was working in the family business, making wines, when he went to Reno, Ne-

vada for a conference. Between meetings, he went out walking in the desert, in an old pair of sneakers, the brand of which he assiduously declines to name. He felt overheated in the harsh sun, and stopped to use a pocketknife to cut holes in the soles of his shoes. The improvement struck him as so good that he brought the sneakers home and set about developing the membrane that would be the foundation of his company. This is the innovation that sets Geox apart, as envisioned by their founder and perfected by their engineers: “The secret is the membrane insole—many small channels that let vapor out. These channels are 700 times smaller than a drop of water, so moisture can get out but it cannot come back in.” The insole is patented in 100 countries, but the company remains based in Venice, where it started 14 years ago. It’s now the leading shoe company in Italy, and regularly in second-place worldwide, based on their business plan comprising technology, fashion, and price, which is in the high mid-range, making in achievable yet uncompromising luxury. “It was a revolution to have this kind of success. On the one hand, it’s the technology, and on the other, it’s Geox’s style— Italian style. Everyone knows Italian quality and style.”

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A As we sit in Geox’s newest Miami boutique, in

the upscale shopping area on Lincoln Road in South Beach, any questions about whether there is a market for this kind of technology quickly fade. Not only is the humid South Florida weather a good reminder that people need to look stylish in all sorts of conditions, Mario points to Florida as an important mar-


ket because “it’s an international center. Most

modern athletic gear is familiar with mois-

section is merely the minimalist adult displays

of the shoppers here already know Geox be-

ture-wicking fabric, which lines the interior

in Technicolor, a convention which has been

cause it’s very popular in Italy, France, all over

of the jacket, and channels vapors to tiny

adopted by so many imitators, it is subtly

Europe.” And while this week may have been

holes in the back of the jacket, but Italian

thrilling to encounter the original.

more diverse than others, with the interna-

style applies here too – it must be beautiful

The company has been extremely suc-

tional art world descending upon Miami for Art

as well as practical, and what is actually a

cessful in positioning their products all over

Basel, looking out the open front doors onto

ventilation point appears to be nothing more

the world – Mr. Polegato estimates that “1 in

Lincoln Road, the jetset is always out in force

than a styling accent.

10 people in Europe own Geox shoes, and we

in Miami, and both the Lincoln Road and

Geox makes that style accessible to all

produced 23 million pairs in the last year

Aventura Mall stores have been very success-

people, for all occasions. More than any other

alone.” The flagship store in the Americas is

ful. Mr. Polegato himself is the best advertise-

single-brand store, Geox carries a truly full

in New York City, a sleek, modern bi-level on

ment for his products, a trim man staying cool

range of shoes – from dress to casual, for men,

Madison Avenue, but Geox maintains a pres-

in the Miami heat, his classic Italian good

women, and children. Geox began its retail life

ence in all major cities in the US – anywhere

looks complemented by a custom-tailored suit

as a source for children’s shoes and clothing, a

business is conducted, anywhere that draws a

incorporating his own technology. Though not

market that had not at that point been touched

sophisticated crowd. “Technology is needed for

in production yet, Mr. Polegato simply smiles

by adult quality designs. The company proved

everyone,” says Mr. Polegato. “Geox has a real

when asked if that is the next step for their

its reliability to parents, providing a built in

message – everybody needs quality leather

newest technological find.

and trusting audience when adult shoes started

and quality style.” Geox’s designers follow in-

The idea of breathable technology has ex-

rolling into the store. The design of the stores

ternational fashion and we make sure that their

tended to apparel, and it appears all over the

are free-flowing, yet clearly sectioned, so a

designs are comparable.

store – a subtle, stylized swoop of tone-on-tone

man browsing for dress shoes is partitioned off

In these troubling economic times, Geox is

fabric around the neck and shoulders that

from noisier young shoppers without ever hav-

thinking strategically about maintaining and

hides a system as ingenious as the one in the

ing to walk past something that is unappeal-

growing their business. “The economic situation

soles of their shoes. Anyone familiar with

ingly childlike. If anything, the children’s

is bad for retail, but particularly fashion, how-

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Geox’s designers follow international fashion and we make sure that their designs are comparable

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ever, our price can be maintained.” His business

city, every few days for much of the year. “In

special projects managers are devoted to visit-

sense is certainly something to be admired, and

Italy, I receive guests of the company, I’m ded-

ing countries all over the world to understand

he has always shown a keen instinct for innova-

icated 100% to my business. In the beginning,

local fashion.” They are currently in 68 coun-

tion, grounded in an unshakable faith in his prod-

I was the inventor – I started it all. Now it’s dif-

tries, and the goal is to be in the leading posi-

uct. “When I first got the patent, I searched for a

ferent. We’re very efficient in research. There

tion country by country before further

partner to make the shoes, but no one wanted me.

are 15 engineers specializing in human heat

expansion. For instance, Geox has 65 stores in

I started it myself in Italy with five young people

movement working in research and develop-

Russia, and are all over the UAE/Middle East,

from my village. We now have 30,000 employ-

ment, and we have many new patents to protect

with multiple stores in every major city. “There

ees.” He tells this story with a practiced but

our position.” In addition to developing new

we sell mostly sandals. They like to breathe.

proud demeanor, and indeed several business

technology, they’re also conscious to make sure

We have 10 stores in Dubai alone, including

schools and universities have hosted him as a

that their signature style is appropriate for all

one in the mall with the ski slope, which I like

lecturer to present his case history.

of their very diverse audiences. “There are dif-

very much.”

Lecturing is just one of the things that

ferent tastes country by country in terms of

The expansion has been continually trend-

takes up his time these days. “Every day I

style—we have different lasts, and there are

ing upwards since the company was founded,

move, visit my team, visit the store, and talk

special collections for Russia and Canada that

and their success has been as good for Mr.

with customers,” and then he’s off to another

never appear in Florida or even New York. Our

Polegato as for his well-shoed customer. In De-

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Page 141

cemer of 2004, Geox listed 29% of their shares

throughout Italy for the symbols of his success.

in an IPO on the Milan stock exchange. Mr.

He collects vintage Moto Guzzi motorcycles and

Polegato retains a 71% ownership stake, and

a variety of high-end Italian sportscars, including

the company’s share price has increased by

two Lamborghinis and a Ferrai 260 Modena Spi-

30% since the listing. All this expansion has

der. He’s also quite invested in horsepower of an-

been good for the company, and good for Mr.

other kind – his five Arabian racehorses,

Polegato – he was named to the Forbes Bil-

including one named Geox, making regular ap-

lionaires list in 2007. However new he was to

pearances at tracks around the world, and every

the shoe business, Mr. Polegato had been de-

year he organizes fox hunting at his home.

veloping his business sense long before he struck out on his own.

He spends so much time traveling that being at the villa is a treat in and of itself, with such a

When telling the story of his inspiration for

fast-paced lifestyle. “My travel is mostly busi-

Geox, Mr. Polegato noted emphatically that he

ness travel, and my vacations are in the Med – I

still considers himself “a winemaker, not an

don’t like to use the plane for long distances

engineer or a stylist,” and his first passion was

when I don’t have to. The Med has very wonder-

for his first job, at Villa Sandi wines, his family’s

ful places and I always have many friends

vineyard, which is partnered with wine giant

there.” But vacations are far from top priority for

Robert Mondavi in the US, and is run by his

this busy executive, who this very evening, after

younger brother Giancarlo. Villa Sandi is also the

a quick cocktail hour spin on a friend’s yacht is

name of the family home, a stunning example of

off to Mexico City to visit yet another store. “My

Palladian architecture that was built in 1622, and

dream is to become one of the biggest shoemak-

houses much of the family on its grounds. He still

ers, and it’s a possibility to realize this dream.

retains many interests and passions outside his

It’s a great opportunity. We’re investing in our fu-

all-consuming focus on Geox, and is well known

ture and our customers.” !




Page 142

By Albert M. Herrera, Vice President, Hotels & Resorts, Virtuoso


am a self!diagnosed luxury hotel junkie.

ment to the test, one needs look no further

There's nothing quite like the high that

than the little desk often quietly tucked into

results from an unexpected "wow"

the lobby where miracles seem to be made on

that's been personally tailored and de!

a daily basis behind a small plaque that reads

livered in a beyond bustling metropolis or an


especially far!flung corner of the world. While

But who are these genies whose sharp in!

my standards may be exceptionally high be!

tuition, vast networks of contacts and meticu!

cause of the number of hotels with stunning

lous attention to detail make them seem like

design and amenities I visit each year, I think

the Wizard(s) of Oz on any given day? They

most consumers would agree that true luxury

are indeed all human and they all thrive on

always comes down to one thing: service.

providing truly astounding service of all types.

The concept of luxury travel and the hotel

The concierge names that are perhaps most

experience that affluent consumers seek has

noteworthy from my experience are Colin

certainly evolved over the years and continues

Short, Frank Laino, Fred Bigler and Aldo

to redefine itself, but what remains constant

Bullo. Those who are lucky enough to know

among standout properties is their spirited en!

them personally are guaranteed to take their

thusiasm and singular passion for delivering an

experience witin these respective cities to the

unparalleled experience with an unwavering

next level. Here are a few reasons why you

commitment to service. To put this commit!

might want to join them.




Page 143

The Stafford

The Lanesborough


Colin Short, The Lanesborough (London, England)

Frank Laino, The Stafford (London, England)

Colin is known has often been referred to as "the

He's connected, he's efficient, and, Lord knows,

concierge who can." He embodies the indispensable

he can certainly deliver. After 25 years as a conci!

link that the role of concierge provides to the local

erge, Frank Laino is known for delivering tickets to

destination and is committed to upholding the hig!

sold!out West End shows with a personal review and

hest standards of the profession. As The Lanesboro!

a smile and has repeatedly topped "best of" lists in

ugh's head concierge, Colin has an enviable black

the industry.

book and his catch phrase says it all: "Leave it to

"A lot of concierge work is common sense and

me." Short started at The Lanesborough in 1984.

local knowledge, but becoming a really good one

Since then he's filled innumerable and far!reaching

takes years of handling different situations, odd re!

requests. As one guest once put it, "If you ask for a

quests, and wild goose chases," he says.

giraffe he'll deliver one for you the next day … but

Some of the most outrageous requests Frank has

that somehow isn't the bit that makes him special. He

received – and of course fulfilled – include arranging

simply has the contacts that other concierges do not

to have a red London bus shipped to the United Sta!

have." Indeed, when it comes to being at the beck

tes, having a tailor on Savile Row make a coat for a

and call of discriminating guests, it's all about con!

dog, and finding the one place in England that offers

nections, connections, connections. And, after ne!

Tai Chi lessons on horseback. He can also arrange

arly 25 years of building relationships and

private tours to Stonehenge and various London mu!

committing guest needs to memory, you just don't

seums and on more than one occasion (through his

get any better connected than Colin, which is undo!

contacts at Dunhill) has created customized male

ubtedly why he won the 'Concierge of the Year'

emergency kits including toiletries, wardrobe items

award for 2008.

and immediate alterations.



Page 144

The Ritz!Carlton

Hotel Londra Palace


Aldo Bullo, Hotel Londra Palace (Venice, Italy)

Frederick Bigler, The Ritz!Carlton New York, Central Park

Aldo has been working for 50 years at the Londra Pa!

In a city where connections are most vital, Fred

lace and is still going! Having started at the hotel as a por!

is king. When it comes to organizing anything from

ter when he was 15 years old and moved up to Concierge

a balloon ride over Central Park on short notice or

in 1975, no one knows Venice like Aldo, who is without a

a back of the house tour of the Met, Fred excels and

doubt the holder of 'golden keys' for making dreams come

takes great pleasure in blowing guests' minds to the

true, especially during the city's most magical events where

max. He has been Chef Concierge at The Ritz!Carl!

it pays to be linked to an 'insider', such as the annual star!

ton New York, Central Park, since it opened in

studded film festival in August and the legendary Masque!

2002, and some of his most unusual requests have

rade Ball for Carnival.

included finding armored vehicles for the wives of the Sultan of Brunei to go shopping along Fifth Ave! nue; get well cards, carob treats and bone!shaped

Albert M Herrera joined Virtuoso in July 2004 as Managing

pillows for four!legged guests; and creating a week

Director of the company's Hotel & Resort Program. A 20

of "Charlie's Angels" for three women celebrating

year career with working for some of the world's leading

their 40th birthdays – complete with slipping a cas!

hotel groups across several continents, Albert has innate un!

sette each morning under their doors at the hotel

derstanding of the luxury market, passion for travel and en!

with whispered instructions about the day's upco!

viable network of industry contacts built over the years.

ming adventures.

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ar from the mega-resorts and all-

there is a fabulous destination waiting for you on

showers, teak flooring, private hot tubs, and all

inclusive packages, there is an-

the Mexican Riviera.

the comforts of home. Newly added in 2007

other kind of Mexican getaway that

One of the major draws to this region is the

were three luxury residences, beachfront

captures both the magic and

El Tamarindo golf course, an 18-hole champi-

houses accommodating up to eight people in

beauty of this country and the spirit of its cul-

onship course set in a natural preserve spread-

four bedrooms, spacious living areas, private

ture with uncompromised luxury and dignity.

ing over 2000 square acres. Landscaped with

swimming pools, and outdoor dining, lounging,

Though similarly situated, along beaches and

local plants and showcasing the views of the

and jacuzzi areas — complete with maid and

nestled in mountains, they are a world away in

rocky coastline, the course is designed to wel-

butler service, on demand. The design of the re-

their experience, giving those who think they

come golfers of all skill levels, with near-per-

sort ensures that you can enjoy the beauty of

know what it means to vacation in Mexico

fect conditions year round. The course is

your surroundings in absolute serenity, with pri-

cause for a second look.

available to the public by reservation, but if

vate dining options in a variety of unexpected

Unlike the oversized properties on Mex-

golf is what draws you here, why not enjoy the

and beautiful locations, or make an appearance

ico’s Atlantic side, the Pacific Coast is home to

same natural beauty of the preserve for every

at the restaurants on property, La Higuera, next

smaller, more upscale, and infinitely more pri-

aspect of your stay? The El Tamarindo Beach

to the infinity pool, or Hole 9, perched high on a

vate resorts, with elegant styling and thoughtful

& Golf Resort sits on the Bay of Tenacatita and

hill halfway along the golf course.

amenities. Puerto Vallarta is commonly held to

has three private beaches to call their own,

For a more rustic hideaway than mani-

be the entry-level destination for this region, and

nearly two miles of oceanfront. Guests are

cured greens and sand traps, take a look at the

those who have walked its cobblestoned streets

housed in 29 perfect casitas, split between the

long sandy beaches at the Cuixmala estate,

often come back for more. Whether you’re a sea-

oceanfront, the forest and the garden. These

thought of by those who are in the know about

soned traveler to Mexico, or a first-time visitor,

freestanding houses are built with marble

the best of Mexico as one of this region’s hid-

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Page 151

den gems. The resort is all about ‘eco-luxury,’

The cozy casitas and guest bungalows in

For those who come to Puerto Vallarta and

so you feel like you have fallen in to some kind

the forest are perfect warm-weather getaways,

just can’t seem to leave, the upcoming Los

of amazing tropical safari. During the day, go

but by far the best experience on property is

Veneros community is a promising treat in the

diving in Chamela Bay and see bright fish and

the estate’s private house, La Loma, where you

Puerto Vallarta real estate market for those

rays gliding through the water, and then turn

can soak in the gorgeous Mexican sunset from

looking for a second home or for a new, more

around that night and tag along on a round of

the outdoor jacuzzi off the master suite, while

sundrenched hometown. Pick out a three or

Cuixmala’s turtle protection program where

the house chef prepares dinner and your pri-

four bedroom condo – be sure to look into the

you will return baby turtles to the ocean by

vate butler supplies the frosty margaritas. For

ones that will include private pools so you can

hand. Or, simply take a walk around the Cuix-

dining, if you are the type that loves getting

keep up a fantastic Mexico glow in total seren-

mala grounds and look out for their wonders

groceries at Whole Foods, Cuixmala’s cuisine

ity. Los Veneros is being built in three phases,

on land – Cuixmala’s resort is home to deer,

will take you to an entirely new level of organic

but you can go ahead and pick out your slice of

crocodiles, zebra, and pretty little gazelle-type

bliss. Most of the food there is grown on loca-

paradise ahead of time to make sure that your

creatures called blackbucks. Every stay at

tion or at the family’s El Jabali ranch in the

Mexican dream condominium is completely

Cuixmala is personalized, so don’t plan on

Mexican highlands. Spend your morning with

perfect. Los Veneros plans to make service the

booking online. Instead, Cuixmala will have

a fresh cup of organic coffee and in the after-

hallmark of their residents’ and guests’ expe-

you work with an assistant so you can focus

noons pick up a spread of organic cheeses to

rience. Expect on-call reservations, private

your vacation on activities like hiking and

pair with a glass of white wine. Work it off with

tours, dry cleaning and shopping services, and

snorkeling if you are with children or on lazy

private yoga lessons in your suite, or don’t and

when complete, Los Veneros is going to offer

beachfront picnics and in-suite massages if

head back out to your plush white chaise on

what you might expect in a pleasantly refined

you are on a romantic getaway.

the pristine Cuixmala beach.

beach community. Think extensive spa, gour-

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met restaurants, and a boutique hotel you can

Like Los Veneros, the Mandalay will cater to the

one of a fleet of exclusive luxury boats you can

house your guests on property. Plan on parking

needs of those who are accustomed to the best

access. For tennis players, the Mandalay’s VIP

your yacht at the Puerto Vallarta marina, five

in life. Don’t worry about getting older – the

Tennis Club is choice for exclusive court time

minutes from Los Veneros, and during the day

Mandaly is going to offer a Wellness Center

and personalized lessons.

diving or snorkeling in the crystal waters of

under acclaimed anti-aging physician Dr. Hum-

Returning to the ultimate in Mexican Pa-

Puerto Vallarta. Or, stay out of the water and

berto Alcalde R.M. D. so you can draw up a per-

cific-coast vacations, if you are looking for a

pick up a round of golf on several of the no-

sonalized fitness and nutrition program and try

change of pace in Mexico that still offers un-

table courses nearby.

out the most innovative anti-aging treatments,

paralleled seclusion, like that at the Cuixmala

Also, just a few steps from the Puerto Val-

like hydro and ozone therapies. Additionally,

estate, but lets you see a different side of the

larta marina, take a look at the Mandalay Golf

the residences will feature 24-hour room service

country, your ideal destination is Hacienda de

Resort and Spa, another up and coming devel-

and a pre-arrival shopping service so your fa-

San Antonio, nestled next to a Colima volcano

opment in this area that promises to combine

vorite tequila can be waiting on your granite

just south of the Cuixmala resort. At the Ha-

the freshness of the indoors with the tranquility

counter top when you walk in the door of your

cienda, choose from one of 22 private suites or

of nature. Combining Mexican and Indonesian

penthouse. If you are thinking about the Man-

three grand suites, each with antique furnish-

accents, the Mandalay will open this year and

dalay as a new or second home, plan on picking

ings and its own personality. From charming

you will love being close to the authentic dining,

up a Yacht Membership so that you and your

fireplaces where you can warm your feet in the

shopping, and life of the Puerto Vallarta marina.

guests can enjoy all the Pacific has to offer in

cool Mexican night air to picturesque hammocks

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Page 155

where you can read a good book during the af-

guests who come to this ultimate highland get-

also take off-the-menu requests for specific

ternoons, the amenities at the mountain escape

away and because the Hacienda is secluded, plan

dishes. Guests at El Careyes like to explore

of Hacienda de San Antonio are known to offer a

on flying in to the private airstrip so you don’t have

down the beach and many grab lunch or after-

unique experience that you can’t really get at any

to bother with extra transportation; however, if you

noon snacks at small beachside restaurants in

major Mexican hotel chain. Plan on spending at

so wish, the Hacienda will also coordinate trans-

the area. Think battered fish or fresh guac at a

least one afternoon on one of the Hacienda’s pool-

portation to and from Colima Airport.

beachside stand you stumble on. Many activi-

side beds that fit two. The hotel is personalized

Elsewhere, for a combination of individu-

ties at El Careyes are centered on the ocean –

and quaint, and staff are extremely friendly and

ality and beachfront relaxation, try El Careyes

kayaking, snorkeling and whale watching in

accommodating. In an atmosphere like this, you

Beach Resort, located in Costa Careyes just

the spring are favorites at El Careyes. Or if you

are probably going to get to know people’s names.

south of Puerto Vallarta. At El Careyes, skip

need to take a few hours away from the Mexi-

If you think of yourself as an outdoors type, days

the 19 standard rooms and indulge in a Junior

can sun, catch a movie in the 35-seated movie

at Hacienda de San Antonio are going to be very

Ocean Front Suite where you can lounge on

theater on property. Like Cuixmala, guests at

appealing – options include horseback riding or

your private ocean front terrace by day and dip

El Careyes can arrange to be part of a baby sea

day trips to the volcano, and organic dinners are

into your private Jacuzzi or plunge pool at

turtle release. El Careyes appeals to those in-

offered every evening at different places in the

night. If you’re really looking for the ultimate

dividuals who know they want the best of re-

hotel. If you are looking for a private dinner,

El Careyes experience, try the Careyes Suite,

laxation and aren’t looking for activities every

lunch, and breakfast, the staff at Hacienda de San

which offers a romantic overlook of the Pacific

moment – it is a perfect romantic or best

Antonio will bring you your fresh fish tacos to your

from its small balcony. The dining options at

friends getaway that could even satisfy any

suite or wherever you are on the hotel grounds. A

El Careyes are centered on the property’s La

seasoned Mexico traveler’s appetite.

private picnic in the lush Hacienda gardens or

Lantana restaurant, which serves breakfast,

If you are ready to create your own individ-

poolside is also a meal option of choice for many

lunch and dinner to guests. The chefs here will

ualized escape in Mexico, to the north of Puerto




Page 156

Vallarta in Cabo San Lucas sits the Esperanza Residences, the Esperanza Resort’s new private residence initiative with homes starting at 2 million. The city of Los Cabos is a favorite on the Baja Peninsula, and the area is known for its beautiful location on the Sea of Cortez. Nestled comfortably around the largest infinity pool in Los Cabos, the 36 Esperanza homes will combine the charm of old-world Mexico with the refinements of modern living. Expect secluded terraces and private attention from Esperanza’s chefs. Esperanza has sold out of their first round of available residences, but register through their website so that you can get ready for round two. If Los Cabos was your favorite spring break spot in college, you might want to consider this new side of the area that is springing up in luxury residences like those at the Esperanza. Our final choice for luxury vacationing in Mexico is Los Alcobas, a new boutique hotel in Mexico City’s chic Polanco neighborhood. If you prefer access to a true city experience of Mexico, imagine yourself coming back from a day in Mexico City, pulling off your Chanel python gladiators and stepping into a world of lush comfort. Unwind in the residences’ spa bathrooms that feature rain showers and whirlpool tubs, or settle in for a treatment at the Aurora Spa. Sleek rooms at Los Alcobas will appeal to business and leisure travelers alike. Designers Yabu and Pulshelberg, who have designed for the W and Four Seasons, are the visionaries behind this new frontrunner in Mexico City high-class. For dining, Los Alcobas offers Nemi, gourmet Chef Michael Mina’s newest undertaking. The hotel will only have 35 rooms so booking early is going to be priority for those who want to plan a trip to the capital. Although for many it’s the Mexican sand and sun that draw them to the country, Mexico City has a good offering of elegant and exclusive attractions. Find yourself at the D.O. or Aguila y Sol restaurants also in Polanco, or spend an evening in the city’s La Condensa district, which houses some of the best clubs and bars in town. !

TOP 10 CAR RACES:feb09 13/02/2009 14:28 Page 157

24 Hours Le Mans One of the oldest in age, this highly prestigious car race was created in 1923 near the town of Le Mans, in France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, the race focuses not only on the speed ability of each car but also on the manufacturer’s deliverance of a car that demonstrates motoring beauty. The race demand for car reliability has led to the development of exotic supercars, which has trickled down to produce those technological innovations seen in sporty road cars today.

American Le Mans Series Created against the backdrop of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ALMS is a race consisting of endurance and sprint racing across the US and Canada. There are four classes for the teams to be compete in: LMP1 and LMP2 for Le Mans Prototypes and GT1 and GT2 for Grand Touring Cars. Georgian businessman, Dan Panoz, created the first season in 1999 and factory teams consist of no less elegance than the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the boasting of manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche in LMP and Cevrolet and Aston Martin in GT.

Dakar Rally Otherwise known as the ‘Paris to Dakar rally’, this annual race consists of off-road automobiles and is open to both amateur and professional entries. Beautifully set in off-road tracks from Paris to Dakar, drivers can expect to enjoy breathtaking surroundings of dunes, mud, camel grass and rocks, among others. With BMW motorcycles finishing in top positions, along with Rolls Royce deeming high in the car class, the manufacturers certainly produce a class of beauty to match the racetrack.

FIA GT Championship

TOP 10

A car-racing event initially created to run throughout Europe, the FIA GT Championship, founded by the Stephane Ratel Organization, is known to visit other continents, most recently

Asia. It holds two categories of GT cars, GT1 and GT2, and

with better aerodynamics, larger brakes and wider tires, it

boasts even higher innovation than the technologically innovative road cars upon which they are based.

Indianapolis 500 This 500-mile race, otherwise known as the ‘Indy 500’, is billed as the greatest of spectacle racing. As one of the oldest sporting events, it is considered one of the three most significant motor racing events in the world and it is thought that more than 250,000 people are in attendance. The notoriety of the race has made it the subject of several films and it is never far away from a reference in the media.

RACING EVENTS Start your engines, these are ten you’d be foolish to let pass you by

TOP 10 CAR RACES:feb09 13/02/2009 14:29 Page 158

F1 Championship Monaco Deemed the height of luxury racing, the Monaco Grand Prix has been host

ing, as it is the first event to kick of the year’s races in the US. The man-

to one of the most prestigious races in the world since its creation in 1929.

ufacturers are of the very high end, with Ferrari, Porsche and Lexus

Held on the narrow streets of the French Riviera City, the race is one of

boasting victorious wins.

skill and has produced notorious racers of fame, such as five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio. Accrediting distinction not only for the race,

Goodwood Festival of Speed

the Monaco Grand Prix is notorious for attracting all that is glitzy and

Located within the United Kingdom and established by the present Earl

glamourous in the life of high-end racing, from sponsors such as Mercedes

of March, the FoS is a hill climb, taking place each year on the grounds

to the hosted Grand Prix party itself.

of Goodwood in West Sussex. Despite the date of the race clashing with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1993, Lord March still received a crowd of

Gumball 3000

30,000 on his own grounds. Not just a racing event, guests can expect

A race with no home, this annual 3000 mile international rally takes

to see a display of some of the most beautiful cars from the last 100 years

place on public roads and holds the prize above all other races for its am-

and taste a breathtaking throwback to the past with its very own, tongue-

biguity. With no official timing or checkpoints, many competitors often

in-cheek soapbox race.

find themselves with speeding fines from officials. The race attracts the likes of many in the celebrity world with its wild parties that start the

Super GT

race off; Kate Moss and Guy Ritchie are to be named as only a few of

Originated in Japan, successive rule changes expanded the location of

those found to be in regular attendance.

the race to China and Malaysia; it was authorized directly by the FIA and therefore cannot expand outside of three countries if it is to remain ‘na-

Rolex 24 at Daytona

tional’. The series is promoted by the GT-association and is focused on

A 24-hour sports car race of endurance, it is held annually at Daytona

keeping the race competitive and clean. In order to avoid one-team dom-

International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. With Rolex as its

ination, JGTC impose strict limits on car power and are known for their

sponsor, it certainly affirms the presence of luxury within sports car rac-

heavy use of weight penalties. n

F1 Championship Monaco

Dakar Rally

Super GT

Indianapolis 500

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As we showcased Mr. Nazarian and Mr. Starck on the front cover with their sterling new SLS at Beverly Hills, we felt it necessary to pay homage to those faces and smiles that made us fall in love with the allure of Beverly Hills in the first place. Alas, it isn’t the quaint village of stars and their families it once was, but that doesn't mean we can’t live vicariously. Pictured above are Frances Albert Sinatra and the lovely Grace Kelly in a convertible on the set of High Society on January 19, 1956. Oh... to be a fly on the dashboard. We hope you enjoyed this issue. Please feel free to email us all you comments, concerns, questions and praises at letters at


Take sanctuary beside the Pacific F O R R E S E RVAT I O N S C A L L Y O U R T R AV E L C O N S U LTA N T, C O N TA C T F O U R S E A S O N S AT 1 - 8 0 0 - 3 3 2 - 3 4 4 2 I N T H E U . S . O R E - M A I L R E S E RVAT I O N S . C O S @ F O U R S E A S O N S . C O M W W W. F O U R S E A S O N S . C O M / C O S TA R I C A

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Top Luxury Lifestyle  

AAM : Joy and Parmigianità. An interview about Andrea Ampelio Meli, Italian luxury artist and his report to art, luxury, Parma and Parmigian...