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t h e o f f i c i a l m a g a z i n e o f b e n t l e y m o t o r s _ W INTER 2o12 _ I ssue 43

t h e o f f i c i a l m a g a z i n e o f b e n t l e y m o t o r s _ W INTER 2o12 _ I ssue 43














winter 2o12

Regulars 17

 entley world_ From concours d’elegance to luxury par excellence, b around the world’s Bentley dealers.


BENTLEY OWNER _ Alexandra Felts meets Thomas Klocke, a publisher with a passion for luxury in all its forms.


 ompetition: OASIS OF LUXURY_ The eco-friendly Al Maha resort and c spa immerses its guests in the spirit of the deser t, relates Julia Marozzi.


ELE GANCE AFOOT_ Nick Foulkes celebrates the slipper, indispensable component of a gentleman’s wardrobe.


 ON T HE ROAD_ A Bentley fan for more than 40 years, salon owner Daniel Galvin believes the best is yet to come. As told to Avis Cardella.

Features  FOR DONKERWOLKE_ Nargess Shahmanesh Banks profiles new Bentley D design chief Luc Donkerwolke, a key player in Bentley’s future.



GREEN_ Helen Kirwan-Taylor finds a fresh and uplifting spirit in Bentley’s new signature colour.

contents winter 2012 issue 43




S  EASON OF SPEED_ An autumnal blast in a Continental GT Speed invigorates Jake Townsend.


V  ISIONARY CONVERSATIONS_ Jeremy Har t meets Silvio Denz, far-sighted owner of the legendary Lalique Crystal brand.


OB JECTS OF DESIRE_ According to Natalie Theo, the Bentley Collection has a festive gift for every taste.


T  HRILLS & CHILLS _ Power on Ice 2013 in Finland is the highlight of the Bentley extreme driving calendar. You could be there…


G RANDEST OF TOURS_ Maureen Cassidy-Geiger follows Prince Friedrich Christian from Dresden to Naples, two centuries later.



B  ACK ON TRACK_ As Rob Widdows explains, the Continental Speed GT3 concept revives a Bentley racing tradition.

For information regarding any article please refer to page 14.

Welcome bentley magazine Issue 43 ~ winter 2o12

How do you define luxury? And how do you celebrate bespoke craftsmanship in a time of massive technological change? That’s a question that fascinates us at Bentley, and you may find one answer in our flagship, the Mulsanne. Within its cabin you can recline on flawless, aromatic, hand-stitched leather, while using voice commands to instruct the navigation system to rendez-vous with a friend or colleague using contact details stored in your mobile phone. That’s the essence of luxury – special, yet relevant to its time. Silvio Denz enjoyed the Mulsanne, but from the driving seat, not the rear compartment. Silvio is the owner of the legendary Lalique brand and he’s this month’s subject in our regular Visionary Conversations feature, where we introduce our readers to the creative thinkers who will shape the world of tomorrow. For Silvio Denz, luxury is anything that goes beyond the basic needs of our lives, and he sees it playing an increasingly pivotal role around the world. You’ll find Silvio’s incisive thoughts on page 64. Speed too is a luxury. Literally so, in the case of the new Continental GT Speed, featured on page 59. It’s the fastest production Bentley ever, capable of 205mph and 0–60mph in just 4.0 seconds. It has been warmly received; Octane magazine noted that it adds ‘pace, racier looks and even more aural excitement’ to the Continental GT, while EVO’s writer took one for a night drive on a derestricted autobahn and the author wrote: ‘As I had to take a slight curve at 202mph it felt imperious and utterly at home thundering through the night. A proper Bentley in every sense.’ 

Auto Express noted that ‘the big Brit newcomer now has serious supercar-rivalling credentials’ – but it’s more than a supercar. A GT Speed is fast when the opportunity arises, but refined and poised at any speed. In short, it’s a Bentley grand tourer. And that’s true luxury. A further accolade has come from Auto Zeitung, one of Europe’s leading car magazines. The Auto Zeitung readers, more than 100,000 of them, voted the Continental GT Convertible as the best imported luxury convertible – once again reinforcing Bentley’s position as the world’s leading luxury car maker.

Wolfgang Schreiber Chairman & CEO, Bentley Motors Limited

Wolfgang Schreiber winter 2012 issue 43

David Beckham. A global icon who insists on perfection. Precision and style. A legend forged by accomplishments. On his wrist is the Breitling Transocean Chronograph Unitime, the ultimate traveler’s watch. Manufacture Breitling Caliber B05, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, endorsed by a 5-year Breitling warranty. High-performance selfwinding chronograph. Universal time function enabling permanent readings of the time in all 24 timezones thanks to a patented mechanism and an ultra-user-friendly crown-operated correction system. Comfort and elegance for first-class travelers. Signed Breitling.



El Toro Patented Perpetual Calendar. Self-winding movement. 18 ct rose gold case with ceramic bezel. Water-resistant to 100 m. Also available on leather strap.

For a catalog, call 561 988 8600 - email: or U LY S S E N A R D I N S W I T Z E R L A N D - + 4 1 3 2 9 3 0 7 4 0 0 W W W . U LY S S E - N A R D I N . C O M

Acknowledgments: Iss ue 4 3 Publisher: Wolfgang Glabus

Helen Kirwan-Taylor

Maureen Cassidy-Geiger

Helen Kirwan-Taylor is an American freelance journalist living in Notting Hill. She has two children, a husband and a dog all of whom would quite happily live in a Bentley. Especially if it were in ‘living green’. She is now experimenting with door colours having learning that there are roughly two million combinations of colour combinations a fact that does not amuse her family or her painter.

Before being rescued by the prince, Maureen Cassidy-Geiger had the dubious distinction of being one of the world’s greatest living authorities on 18th century Meissen porcelain, though her scholarly reach extends well beyond pots to the history of collecting, travel, festival culture and food. A budding car enthusiast with dual American and Irish citizenship, Maureen is homeless since selling her house in Bedford, NY in September and filed her story from the American Academy in Rome.

Editor: Julia Marozzi A former features editor, news editor and Weekend editor at the FT, Julia has worked in Toronto, Hong Kong, Montreal, Miami and London for a variety of national and international publications, including the South China Morning Post and the Sunday Times. Julia’s favourite current Bentley is the new Continental GT Convertible V8, although she has an undying affection for the Flying Spur. Her driving can best be described as high-spirited.

Bentley magazine is the official magazine for owners, enthusiasts, supporters and friends of Bentley Motors Limited. Bentley magazine is published quarterly by FMS Publishing on behalf of Bentley Motors Limited.


Bentley Motors Limited, Pyms Lane, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 3PL, UK Email:

Writers & Contributions


The Americas: Bentley Motors Inc, 3 Copley Place, Suite 3701, Boston, MA 02116, USA. Tel: +1 617 488 8500 Fax: +1 617 488 8550

Alexandra Felts, Nargess Shahmanesh Banks, Richard Lofthouse, Julia Marozzi, Jake Townsend, Helen Kirwan-Taylor, Jeremy Hart, Natalie Theo, Nick Foulkes, Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, Rob Widdows, Avis Cardella. Sub Editor: Nick Swallow. Proof Reader: Susan Churchill. PHOTOGRAPHY & ILLUSTRATION

Unter den Linden 21, D-10117 Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 30 2092 1500 Fax: +49 30 2092 1505

Mark Fagelson, John Walder Photography, Duohtavuohta, Getty Images, Andy Spyra, Klaus Lorke, David Banks, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012, Frank Rothe, Franco Origlia, Nick Dimbleby.

Dubai: Bentley Motors Limited,

FMS Publishing

Europe: Bentley Motors Limited,


Wolfgang Glabus: Communications Director Bentley Motors Julia Marozzi: Editor Irene Mateides: Co-proprietor FMS Publishing

c/o Gulf Business Centre, Crowne Plaza Offices, Sheikh Zayed Road, PO Box 62425, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 43 11 71 23 Fax: +971 43 29 10 98

Japan: Bentley Motors Japan, 1-12-32

Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6031, Japan.

China: Bentley Motors China,

Volkswagen (China) Investment Company Limited, Volkswagen Group Centre, Building 2, No. 3A, Xi Liu Jie, Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100027, PRC.

Australia: Bentley Motors Australia,

The Lakes Business Park 6 Lord Street, Botany, NSW 2019, PO Box 2316, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012.

Korea: Bentley Motors Korea,

3F, Shinyoung Bldg., 68-5 Cheongdam-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Korea 135-100, Republic of Korea.


Nigel Fulcher: Managing Director Irene Mateides: Publishing Director Mark Welby: Creative Director Kathryn Giornali: Project Manager James Randall and the design team Mark Gentry, Mark Lacey and the production team. Advertising Enquiries

For all advertising enquiries please contact: Advertising Manager Alisa Stamenkovic Tel: +44 (0)207 399 9582 Mobile: +44 (0)7890 194364 email: North America Advertising Manager Todd Koss Tel: +1 978 824 2811 Mobile: + 1 603 682 3731 email:  Contract publishing enquiries

For all contract publishing enquiries please call Nigel Fulcher on +44 (0)1920 444 889 or email: All other enquiries

FMS Publishing, New Barn, Fanhams Grange, Fanhams Hall Road, Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 7PW, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)1920 467 492 Print

Printed in England by Buxton Press.

FMS is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association

Jake Townsend Jake Townsend is a brand communications strategist and advisor for industry and government, as well as an automotive, travel and diplomacy writer. He is the author of 12 books, and the former West Coast editor of Wallpaper*. Additionally, he teaches this discipline at the University of Southern California School of Public Diplomacy. After driving the GT Speed through the Alps, he wonders how he’ll ever be able to get behind the wheel of another car – but hopes to make do with the Mulsanne.

Although there are too many to name individually, our sincerest thanks and appreciation go to all who have contributed in Bentley magazine. To our readers, we hope that you will enjoy this issue of Bentley magazine. We have listed below the contact details for products and services mentioned within this issue. Front cover

Bentley Continental GT Speed in Apple Green with beluga hide and carbon fibre interior. Shot on location in Bavaria, Germany. Photographer: Nick Dimbleby. E x c l u s i v e b e a c hf r o n t l i v i n g 

H e a v e n ly s p i ri t

Copyright: Bentley Motors Limited Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor Bentley Motors Limited nor any of its subsidiary or affiliated companies can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher. All material has been published in good faith as having been supplied for publication. Information correct at time of going to press. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Bentley Motors Limited. Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders of material used in this publication. If any copyright holder has been overlooked, we should be pleased to make any necessary arrangements.

Oa s i s o f lu x u ry

Visionary conversations

A p p e a l i n g p ro s p e c t s

O b j e c t s of d e s i r e T h ri l l s a n d c h i l l s O n t h e roa d Acknowledgments

Thomas Klocke, Oscar Belville, Lisa Hancock, Louisa Maidwell, Carolyn Meunier, Celia Welham, Maureen Cassidy-Geiger. Competition prize winner

Congratulations to Mr Rodger Dudding from London, England, who is the winner of our Bentley 41 prize draw Experience India. In this issue readers will find details on how to win a romantic stay at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa with Bentley Magazine readers’ free prize draw. Good luck!

Bentley Motors Limited does not officially endorse any advertising material or editorials for third party products included within this publication. Care is taken to ensure advertisers follow advertising codes of practice and are of good standing, but neither the publisher nor Bentley Motors Limited can be held responsible for any errors. The names ‘Bentley’, ‘Arnage’, ‘Azure’, ‘Continental GT’, ‘Continental Flying Spur’, ‘Mulliner’ the ‘B-in-wings’ device and product names are registered trademarks. Bentley Motors Limited VAT number GB 279230739 Registered in England under number 992897

If you do not wish to receive this magazine in future then please Email: You will need to provide your full name and address for us to amend our records. Bentley magazine is available by subscription. For further information, please contact Bentley Motors Limited on +44 (0)1270 535 032

The cover price of the magazine is £12.00

Products with a Mixed Sources label support the development of responsible forest management worldwide. The wood comes from FSC certified well-managed forests, company controlled sources and/or post-consumer reclaimed material. Controlled wood is not FSC certified, but is controlled by the company to exclude: a) Wood from forest areas where traditional or civil rights are violated b) Wood from forests where high conservation values are threatened c) Wood from genetically modified (GM) trees d) Illegally harvested wood e) Wood from natural forests which have been harvested for the purpose of converting the land to plantations or other non-forest use

From taking over the Family vineyard to developing a global wine brand. The journey to wealth is often an inspiring one, full of surprising twists and turns. It is rarely easy, but ultimately it is immensely rewarding. To many of those who embark on it, the experience is unique. We understand, which is why we are able to foster close working relationships with all our Private Banking clients. We believe it is the best way to ensure you make the most of your wealth, and enjoy the journey. to begin a unique journey with us, email

Investment Expertise 達 Personal Banking 達 Financial Advice Lloyds TSB Private Banking Limited. Registered office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2019697. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority under number 122626.

p e o p l e pa rt i e s






Luxury at Almaty’s new mall 19 October 2012

Almaty’s status as a global luxury destination was underscored in October 2012 by the opening of the Esentai Mall, where many of the world’s most sought-after luxury brands are opening new stores. Hosts Bentley, Almaty and the Esentai Mall welcomed 1,000 guests from Kazakhstan, Russia, UK, UAE and India to a Grand Opening, with the added attraction of a new Bentley Continental GT V8 for automobile enthusiasts. Party-goers were entertained by an aerial ballet before enjoying a fashion show, while the formal opening was conducted by supermodel Eva Herzigova and Burak Oymen, co-founder of mall developers Capital Partners. The VIP party also included a champagne and cocktail reception, accompanied by delicacies from renowned international chef, Tom Wolfe.

palm beach_usa

bentley world people, parties & places

Lapping up the Performance 10 October 2012

Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida was the venue for another hugely successful Bentley Driving Event, featuring the new Continental GT V8. The advanced twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 develops 507PS (500HP) at a magnificent sounding 6,000rpm, providing participants with that unmistakable ‘goosebump’ feeling as they accelerated fiercely up through the Bentley’s eight-speed transmission. Of course, with cylinder deactivation under light loads the new V8 also sets high standards for its power to emissions ratio – but it’s safe to say that few of Bentley’s guests were thinking of economy as they got to grips with the exhilarating 2-mile, 11-turn circuit.

Rhapsody in Blue 8 – 9 September 2012

The Blue Mountains, to the west of Sydney, and the Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel, Lilianfels, provided the setting for a very special Bentley Driving Event in September 2012. To celebrate the recent refurbish programme at Lilianfels, Bentley and Starwood took a group of media guests, customers and Starwood Elite guest members into the eucalyptuscovered Blue Mountains to experience the pleasures of Bentley driving. Spectacular roads combined with the spring sunshine and the welcome of a luxurious hotel make for a fabulous weekend. It was even warm enough in the early Australian spring for the Continental GT Convertibles to have their hoods down for the drive back to Sydney.




World knokke zoute_belgium

Zoute Grand Prix 4 – 7 October 2012

With its art galleries, casino, bars and upscale restaurants, the Belgian sea resort of Knokke Zoute has been called the St Tropez of the North – and anywhere that luxury, exclusivity and style are in fashion means that beautiful cars can’t be far behind. October 2012 saw the picturesque town packed by valuable and sought-after cars from both past and present. Automotive achievements of all kinds were celebrated in the Zoute Rally for classic cars built between 1920 and 1965 and the more up-to-the-moment GT Tour, with the added attraction of a Concours d’Elegance for lovers of hand-crafted coachwork. Bentley Belgium participated in all three events, entering a 1957 Continental S1 in the Zoute Rally, a Continental GT V8 in the GT Tour and an ultra-rare Continental Flying Star shooting brake, by Touring Superleggera, in the Concours d’Elegance.

Shanghai drives a different beat 9 June 2012


A simmering summer night in Shanghai, China’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city, was witness to an exciting launch party thrown in honour of Bentley’s new Continental GT V8. The launch was based on the theme ‘Drive to a Different Beat’ and attracted Bentley enthusiasts from across the nation, including well-known TV presenters and figures from the world of fashion. The reveal ceremony reached a climax when Chew Fu, one of the world’s top remix DJs, stepped on stage to play a theme song dedicated to the new Bentley. Mr Kingston Chang, General Manager of Bentley China, then unveiled the new Bentley Continental GT V8 to warm applause. The new 4.0 litre V8 grand tourer was flanked on stage by the W12-engined Continental GT and Continental GT Convertible, together with the performancefocused Continental Supersports and Continental Supersports ISR. Following the launch party in Shanghai, the Bentley Continental GT V8 made a further public appearance at the first anniversary of the inauguration of Bentley’s Wenzhou Showroom, followed by launch parties in other cities, including Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Beijing.



An Extraordinary Journey 2012 Bentley Driving Program in China


Bentley’s popular test driving activities resumed in June 2012, with the first stop in Erdos, followed by Chengdu, Zhuhai and Shanghai, and the last stop in Beijing in August. Guests included more than 300 friends from the media and over 1,000 guests from 22 cities covered by the dealer’s network, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. The new Continental GT V8 was at the forefront of 2012’s test driving activities, giving customers a taste of true Bentley performance with a dynamic test driving experience on the track. The legendary 1930s 4 ½ Litre supercharged ‘Blower’ Bentley and a Bentley 8 Litre also gave guests a taste of old-style ‘Bentley Boy’ excitement.

Flying B shines in Chengdu 31 August 2012


Bentley Workshop opens September 2012

abu dhabi_uae

Media guests were given a tour of the world’s biggest Bentley workshop when it officially opened in Dubai. Al Habtoor Motors, Bentley Motors’ long-standing dealer for the UAE, has invested over AED 300 million in the new 3 millon sq ft site, of which 189,000 sq ft is dedicated to Bentley. The workshop has 190 vehicle bays and 250 customer and visitor car parking spaces, and will allow technicians to perform maintenance on up to 40 vehicles simultaneously.

New Showroom for UAE SEPTEMBER 2012

Al Habtoor Motors celebrated the opening of their newest Bentley Emirates showroom in the UAE, cementing their position as one of the most successful car retailers in the Middle East. The new showroom is situated along the Corniche in one of Abu Dhabi’s most prominent automotive showroom locations. Media guests, customers and His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, were invited to tour the new showroom and see two Middle East debuts from Bentley, namely the concept EXP 9 F and the Mulsanne Executive Interior Specification, which is now available to order in the Middle East.

bentley world people, parties & places

Established in 2007, Bentley Chengdu in southwest China has achieved impressive growth over the past five years. Plenty to celebrate then – and the 15th China (Chengdu) International Automobile Exhibition was the perfect place and time to do so. At the show the dealership displayed the Bentley Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition, a limited edition to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Also showcased were the new Continental GT V8; the China-only special edition Continental Flying Spur Speed China; the four-seater Continental Flying Spur; and the Continental GT W12 Mulliner Edition.



World fort lauderdale_usa

Making waves at Fort Lauderdale 25 – 29 October 2012

Undeterred by the weather brought by Hurricane Sandy, Fraser Yachts celebrated its 65th Anniversary at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show with a Hallmark Continental GT Speed on display alongside the Luxury Yachts dock area. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the world’s biggest boat show in terms of exhibit space sold with more than 3 million sq ft on land and in the water. It is known for its collections of superyachts of 80 feet and longer. More than 200 of the vessels, some of which exceed 200 feet in length, are on display each year in the water.


Munich loves Speed 26 October 2012

Attractively illuminated by a row of torches, a stunning line-up of Bentley’s motoring masterpieces made an inspiring welcome for guests at the evening première of the all-new GT Speed in Munich. Live soul music and an artistic performance on a vertical cloth built the tension until the Continental yellow sports coupé was unveiled to loud applause.


Bentley Munich’s General Manager Wolfgang Oswald introduced the fastest production Bentley of all time as well as the precious Breitling watches that were presented throughout the showroom. And even the farewell turned into pure delight as each guest took home some delicious Bentley Munich cupcakes.

Mulsanne stops traffic at St Regis 19 September, 2012

The St Regis Hotel in Manhattan has been a byword for impeccable service since 1904. With the opening of the new Bentley Suite, two brands famed for their exclusivity have now joined forces to offer New York visitors the ultimate in city luxury stopovers, including the use of the hotel’s bespoke Bentley Mulsanne. To celebrate the unveiling of the Bentley Suite, St Regis New York unveiled its new Mulsanne at the Bentley & Butler Block Party on E55th Street in the heart of Manhattan. Even by New York standards this was a showstopper – an entire street, closed to traffic and lined with Bentleys.

new york_usa



EVENTS Aspen Fashion Week 10 – 13 March 2013_Aspen, Color ado

Take the opportunity for a winter driving adventure while visiting Aspen during Fashion Week. Let Bentley’s expert instructors tempt you away from the fashion house runways for a thrilling all-wheel drive experience on snow and ice. Call +1 800 777 6923 for more information.

Alpine Grand Tour

Qatar Motor Show

S i x d e st i n ati o n s _4 Jan – 28 Feb 2013

January 28 – 31 2013

The 2013 Bentley Alpine Grand Tour takes in six destinations across three countries, each offering a luxurious and unique alpine experience as part of an exceptional driving event. Join us for one or two destinations – or tackle the whole tour! Please register your interest at or visit

Qatar Motor Show is the most important motoring event in the Middle East, attracting 90,000 car lovers and trade professionals. This year’s Bentley stand will feature the new Continental GT Speed. For more information please email janice.hinson@ or call +44 (0)1270 535318.

New York Auto Show 29 March – 7 April 2013_New York

The show’s organisers promise ‘more sneak peeks, more brand new ‘13 & ‘14 production models and more concept vehicles than ever before’. Show venue is the Jacob Javits Center. Call +1 800 777 6923 for more information.

Power on Ice

North American International Auto Show

February 2013_f inl and

Driving a high-performance Bentley on frozen lakes in the Arctic regions of Finland will leave you with a lifetime’s memories. To register your interest for Bentley Power on Ice 2013 please visit

14 – 27 January 2013_Detroit, Michigan


One of the world’s most significant motor shows, held at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. Bentley will be welcoming guests and owners to the stand as usual. Call +1 800 777 6923 for more information.

Middle East GT Speed 20 – 24 January 2013

The GT speed is the fastest production Bentley ever – and to mark its launch in the Middle East region a series of exclusive launch events and customer drives will be held in January, centred around Dubai and Qatar. For more information please email janice.hinson@ or call +44 (0)1270 535318.

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 8 – 10 March, 2013_Amelia Island, Florida

Held at the Ritz-Carlton and the Golf Club of Amelia Island, the annual Concours d’Elegance at Amelia Island is the East Coast’s elegant answer to Pebble Beach – and some prefer its more intimate atmosphere. Call +1 800 777 6923 for more information.

Read the full feature on pages 80-81.

©2012 - The Franck Muller Group, All rights reserved




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bentley owner thomas klocke


Thomas Klocke

Alexandra Felts meets Thomas Klocke, who has founded a thriving publishing business on the pursuit of luxurious places, experiences and artefacts

Words alexandra feltS

bentley owner


ooking for that out-of-this-world boutique hotel? A ski resort only the select few know about? A musthave yacht? You will find the answers to these questions in Bielefeld. Granted, this sedate town in the German region of Westphalia is not at the cutting edge like Berlin or stylish like Hamburg. But when you walk into the publishing house founded by Thomas Klocke and his wife Martina 28 years ago, you definitely find yourself in the lap of luxury. Over the years, this lively and elegant couple have created magazines that present the best in everything, be it exclusive hotels, spas, country homes, exquisite watches or stunning cars. In other words, the Klockes are experts for all the good things in life.

Why Bielefeld, one wonders, when most publishers of upmarket magazines choose large, vibrant cities? “I was born and raised here,” Thomas Klocke laughs, “I am like one of those East-Westphalian oaks – we don’t like to be transplanted.” Returning to this town after visiting exclusive holiday destinations, eating in gourmet restaurants, checking out golf courses and marinas helps him retain a sense of being grounded and balanced in the somewhat heady five-star business. “Just the same, my wife and I are probably quite exotic animals in this very normal environment.” It all began in 1984, when Thomas Klocke, then a student of architecture, was looking for a way to support his studies – and his love of cars. He discovered a little magazine which simply contained the menus of leading restaurants. He liked the idea and A la Carte was born. Within just a few years Thomas and Martina Klocke had added eleven German cities and regions to the culinary roster. Today, A la Carte is a leading publication with a circulation of 40,000 copies, presenting gourmet destinations on a monthly basis, dished up on fine paper, with spicy texts and mouth-watering photography. After visiting the world’s largest tourist fair in Berlin, the ITB, the Klockes started Hideaways in 1996, a lavish travel magazine with German and English texts side by side.

bentley owner thomas klocke


“We live the things we publish. By other standards, our way of doing things might seem expensive, but our readers appreciate that we are authentic .�

below For Klocke, Bentley’s Continental GT epitomises British savoir vivre, offering both high performance and relaxed everyday driving. It’s the ideal complement to his busy and discerning lifestyle.


It has since spawned special editions dedicated to golf, beauty and the finest hotel suites. After that, the creative couple launched Country Style, featuring beautiful homes in places like Tuscany, Provence, Mallorca and Germany. High Life, a sumptuous magazine for gentlemen, and Yachting for maritime aficionados complete the glamorous portfolio. Presently, the publishing house puts out 36 magazines a year along with books that condense this luxury universe between hard covers. Thomas Klocke has always been a hands-on publisher. “My wife and I started out with a tiny team. I remember even pasting the layouts myself.” Now he works with a 30-strong group, sending in-house writers and photographers on assignment to places such as the Maldives or Bora Bora. “We retain the rights to these exclusives, which are another source of income.” The Klockes have also partnered with various hotels to create videos that can be viewed on the website. “I’m especially proud of the Hideaways iPad and iPhone apps we’ve created.” The app was recently even used by Apple for the new iPad campaign. “We’ve become one of the largest developers in this area. Our travel applications are among the top-sellers.” An amazing success story in an increasingly cutthroat and cost-cutting business. Thomas Klocke has a seemingly simple recipe: “We live the things we publish. By other standards, our way of doing things might seem expensive, but our readers appreciate that we are authentic.”

Juggling magazines, books, websites, apps, a country home on the outskirts of Bielefeld, a yacht in Mallorca and many, many business trips might keep a couple busy. But the Klockes have found time to start their own restaurant as well. Tomatissimo, considered the best restaurant in town, is located in a quiet Bielefeld suburb and serves Mediterranean fare prepared by the cheerful chef Bernhard Grubmüller in a contemporary, relaxed atmosphere. The best way to get there is, obviously, in style. Thomas Klocke is delighted with his new Continental GT. “The Bentley was love at first sight,” he says, caressing the leather and the panels as the engine turns over. His first was a Continental Speed. He admits to graduating to the marque over the years: “I enjoy fast cars, and here I finally have the combination of high performance and relaxed everyday driving.” He’s even tested it at Bentley’s Power on Ice event in Finland. Despite being outfitted in understated Venusian Grey with a Dark Bourbon interior, the Continental GT coupé is a sleek and unusual presence purring through the surrounding villages. “Actually, there are about three Bentleys in Bielefeld,” he corrects. “There’s a dealership in Hannover, but Tamsen in Hamburg is a friend, so they take care of us.”

bentley owner thomas klocke

The car is not only his very own private Hideaway enjoyed by his wife and their small Havanese Lucy (“a travel-sized breed of dog”), but an example of the kind of dedicated effort and craftsmanship that also goes into creating an exclusive brand of publications for discerning readers. “Most of our subscribers have been with us from the beginning. But offering Hideaways in Lufthansa First Class and in selected hotels – as well as creating a Russian edition – has helped expand our base enormously.” Since that first visit to the travel fair in Berlin that launched the travel magazine, the Klockes now regularly host the most exclusive and sought-after event at the ITB. “We personally check out new places, but because we have built a reputation we are usually also the first to know about upcoming projects.” Gliding along at the wheel of the Continental GT, the publisher pauses and smiles. “You have to be open and curious in this business in order to learn and judge.” The Bentley itself has even been a source of inspiration. “I’ve come to truly appreciate British savoir vivre.” Among the good things in life Thomas Klocke enjoys are bespoke suits from Savile Row, shoes by John Lobb, his favourite watch is the Mastersplit by Graham and his iPad case was manufactured by Smythson.

However, exploring the world on the lookout for extravagant and exciting new places and then translating them into alluring features that let others dream is hard work. He is usually at the office by seven in the morning, leaving it twelve hours later. “This is what I wanted – the freedom to make my choices.” Martina and Thomas Klocke usually try to eat at the Tomatissimo once a week. It was – like so much in their life – a choice they never regretted. “We were sitting by Lake Como drinking wine and thought this would be a great idea. No Michelin stars, just good cooking.” They bought and refurbished the old restaurant, brought in a young team that has remained loyal these 14 years. Sitting across from the couple, sampling an array of Italian dishes, it is immediately apparent why this marriage has worked so well over the years. The Klockes are partners in their publishing company, sharing interests and sharing risks. Martina is responsible for the magazine Country Style and organises the fashion shoots for High Life. “We’re the man and wife that just can’t stop talking during dinner, exchanging ideas.” Her husband agrees.



“We’ve decided that our silver wedding anniversary is really gold – two times 25 equals 50 years.” But even the highpowered Klocke duo must need a vacation from time to time? “People probably think we lead this extravagant life where nothing is ever good enough. We are never away from our comfortable home longer than ten days and – this may come as a surprise – we don’t expect perfection.” Luxury, they point out, can be found in small things. A certain touch, a personal flourish that dares to differ from the glamorous mainstream can be the signature of refinement. Authenticity is an important word in the Klocke vocabulary. “Of course, we are always being asked about destinations we personally recommend.” One such special place, for example, is the Priesteregg resort, a mountain village of chalets, tucked away in the Austrian Alps, remote and yet close to the excellent ski runs of Saalbach-Hinterglemm. “Everything in these traditionally built lodges is handmade and chosen with care by the young couple that created this venue. And in the mornings you hear the staff tiptoeing into the main room to stoke the fireplace and prepare your breakfast. Memorable.” Possibly as memorable as the Viennese Schnitzel Thomas Klocke likes to prepare in his spare time – a traditional dish that is an art form unto itself and rarely as satisfying when ordered in a restaurant. All the good things in life are being covered in the Klocke Verlag publications. Is there room for more? “We are always coming up with new ideas,” they laugh, “but to do it well and maintain the level of excellence, we really need to focus on what we have established.”

Alexandra Felts is an American automotive writer based in Munich, Germany. She writes in German and English for various news agencies, online magazines about cars, the people that move them, design and fashion.

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glamorous mainstream can be the signature of refinement


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Sale & Purchase | Charter | Technical Consultancy | Management

New Bentley design chief Luc Donkerwolke succeeds Dirk van Braeckel, inheriting a portfolio which includes the Continental GT and Mulsanne. But as Nargess Shahmanesh Banks relates, Luc has a strong track record of his own – and a compelling vision for Bentley’s future

Meet Luc Donkerwolke, 34

a man driven to design

BENTLEY DESIGN Luc Donkerwolke


Words Nargess Shahmanesh Banks


uc Donckerwolke talks quick and fast in unbroken sentences. The Belgian designer is animated, weaving one chapter of his fantastical life into another, pausing only when the subject of Bentley design comes up, at which point he looks tentatively at our table and his eyebrows knot as he responds with great consideration. “I will not contradict what has happened. I will have an evolution as Bentley doesn’t need a revolution,” he muses as we meet in the company’s headquarters in Crewe. “It is about respecting the values, but from a design perspective we have to have Bentley moving forward.” He explains: “Bentley is all about not having to work hard to get the performance side. It is an adventure to drive a Bentley but not an exhausting one, rather a rewarding one. A Lamborghini has to challenge you. When you get into a Bentley it says ‘see’ you deserve this’. It is a completely different approach.” Directing Bentley design is a dream job for any car designer. Yet having made the move from SEAT in Spain to Volkswagen in Germany only a year ago, Donckerwolke wasn’t quite expecting to move to England so soon. “I had to tell my wife we are not going to be buying the curtains for our new house in Berlin,” he beams, describing the 1923 Bauhaus building by Richard Neutra, the last house the Austrian architect designed before leaving for Palm Springs to work with Frank Lloyd Wright. This afternoon he is looking at a potential house in nearby Chester – a Mexican-inspired design from the 1960s with plenty of glass that overlooks the River Dee. Donckerwolke is a rare breed amongst car designers in that he has achieved so much in his 47 years, yet is charmingly modest about it. He calls himself the ‘lonesome designer’ who, by virtue of being an outsider, landed projects that have earned him cult status amongst car designers. This is the man who sketched the avant-garde Audi A2 and breathed new life into Lamborghini with the Murciélago. Now he is busy creating a virtual storyboard for Bentley. He confesses that it is a learning process: “You don’t come arrogantly to a brand like this and say you’re going to change things,” he says softly. “I spent all summer learning, reading books, looking at car models, talking to people. It’s about understanding the principle values, the company’s journey, its routes.” Donckerwolke knows that he needs to forget all he has learnt that doesn’t apply to Bentley. “It is about learning to play with different values. This chameleon syndrome I’ve had in me since I was a kid is going to help a lot,” he smiles. He is referring to a lifetime spent on the move. Born in Peru, his father – a Belgian diplomat – moved the family around Central and South America and later Rwanda, where the young Donckerwolke added Swahili to his already rich linguistic repertoire. “I had to start a new school every year, but it seemed to work. It was exciting finding new friends and I was never a bad student.” The road from global nomad to car design was a circuitous one. Aged 18, Donckerwolke moved to Brussels to study engineering, but he yearned to be a designer. On graduation, whilst bed ridden for six months with a critical illness in Bolivia, he learnt of an ideal transportation design course in Switzerland. On recovery, he flew back to Europe and enrolled at Art Centre

BENTLEY DESIGN Luc Donkerwolke

37 Luc Donckerwolke jokes that he came to car design as a cartoonist. “A cartoon tries to catch the character with two or three lines. When you’re designing something you are looking for those few lines that make the whole character.” He hasn’t sketched for a while now, as he is putting all his energy into the new Bentley role. “There is an old Belgium/French style, like Tintin, which is part of my culture, even if I am a Belgian from the colonies,” he jokes. Donckerwolke is also a great admirer of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, yet says he loves traditional architecture. “On the one hand you have visionaries who are changing history, on the other the evolutions that reflect the mentality of the people – I like this contrast.”

“Nobody needs a luxury product so the essence is that you cannot live without it. This is the same if it’s a fantastic wine, painting or a Bentley . They are all compatible but at the same time

we have to be the first one they have to have.”


Europe in Vevey. “You don’t decide to become a designer,” he talks of his passion. “It is a bit like a race driver or a tennis player; if you haven’t been drawing cars all your life, and there is nothing else in your head, then you will not get to become a good car designer.” Donckerwolke’s career has largely been within the Volkswagen Group. He sites Skoda as one of the most poignant periods of his early career. It was 1994 and the Iron Curtain had been lifted: “They were very exciting times,” he says. “The best thing that can happen is for you to work with people who are proud of the brand – this is something I discovered at Audi and Skoda. This is why they are successful.” He had been with Audi for two years and, despite colleagues warning this would constitute career suicide, his manager Dirk van Braeckel, the former Director of Bentley design, convinced Donckerwolke to join him in Prague. “Skoda engineers knew they could do a good job, which in turn made me perform.” VW had just acquired a majority stake in the Czech company. “Skoda needed to be different but not be lower than the other brands. So we put a big chrome grille on the cars, which was unheard of for a cheap brand.” This simple design decision elevated the brand and led to its current success. Mission accomplished, Donckerwolke was shipped back to Audi, where he designed the A2 and the R8 racecar: “my passport for Lamborghini,” he says with visible relish. He was now the designer for special projects: “I wasn’t involved in the mainstream projects. Most of my colleagues were linear designers who wanted to stay with single projects so they could go home at four. I never went home.” The Audi A2 was a pioneering product, but perhaps too avant-garde for its time. Donckerwolke agrees, adding: “but it taught me much that I took on my journey to Lamborghini.” It was at the Italian sports car maker that Donckerwolke shone and where, between 1998 and 2005, he settled the longest. VW had just purchased Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini – and it had high hopes for this troubled marque. Lamborghini didn’t have a design centre then – ‘styling’, as it was called, was carried out elsewhere and the engineers at Sant’Agata somehow incorporated this into the cars. “You had this supercar company in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields. In the canteen the ‘mama’ would cook the plate of the day – incredible pasta,” he recalls. “They introduced me to Valentino Balboni, the head of testing and a hero, who looked like an Italian race driver – three-day beard, big sunglasses, racing jacket. He looked at me and said ‘ah you’re going to design the engine cover’,” Donckerwolke delivers in a convincing Italian accent. Yet ‘the young Belgian designer’, his nickname in Sant’Agata which followed him until his hair turned silver, certainly made his mark there.

At Lamborghini he created a team and built a design studio on site. He sketched cars like the flagship Murciélago and smaller ‘baby Lambo’ Gallardo that helped return the company to its former glory. “I was having a kid’s dream, designing Lamborghinis,” he enthuses. Donckerwolke is very candid when talking of his time at SEAT, clearly not happy times. His next mission was to perform a similar magic at VW’s Spanish arm. “I said I’m not a manager,” but head of VW Group design Walter de Silva felt it was time to put aside the sketch pad and learn to manage. In hindsight he agrees that the job at SEAT and later at VW, where he overlooked all the marques, were part of the journey to Bentley. Now his first mission at Bentley is to put together a team (he calls the ‘dream team’) and build a new design studio on the Crewe site to entice even more creativity. “It is building a team, a centre and new vision – it all works together.” For him Bentley isn’t competing with other carmakers but with Wally yachts, Falcon jets and other luxury brands. “Our customers have these products, but we need to make sure we’re the product they need to have.” Bentleys must arouse emotion: “Nobody needs a luxury product so the essence is that you cannot live without it. This is the same if it’s a fantastic wine, painting or a Bentley. They are all compatible but at the same time we have to be the first one they have to have.” At this stage Donckerwolke won’t attempt to design a car until he has firmly understood the profile of the customer, the people who drive the cars. “I’m absorbing and learning like a kid with new toys.” He admits that there are challenges ahead: “People are now getting into Bentleys not because they grew up in families where the cars were driven. So we have to be stronger than ever with our values.” Donckerwolke is very clear about his ultimate vision for the marque: “You have to be culturally mature to be able to love our products – it requires a certain maturity. It is the difference between a Château Margaux and a basic beverage,” he ponders. “It is all about the process that makes you enjoy. My vision is to design cars that get the best out of you but at the same time force you to respect them.”

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks is an independent writer for a number of publications including Wallpaper, Esquire and Brownbook, with an eye for what links cars, design and architecture. Visit her blog Design Talks

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Beachfront Living Shoal Bay East, Anguilla, is one of the last unspoilt refuges in the Caribbean sea with perfect white sand, azure blue waters and outstanding natural beauty. Zemi Beach offers a unique chance to be part of this island paradise


Zemi Beach Resort and Spa are currently in the midst of celebrations due to the completion of the first four homes located within the development on the stunning beachfront of Shoal Bay East, voted ‘Best Beach in the World’ by the Discovery Channel. Offering 28 stunning two and three-bedroom penthouses and beachfront residences priced between $2million and $3million, the innovative residential resort and spa is firmly on track for completion in June 2015. Anguilla is a Leeward Island, located just a mile or two from Saint Martin, which includes the Dutch territory of St Maarten. Great for shopping, casinos, bright lights and private jets, St Maarten is well known as the playground of the world’s magnates and tycoons. So while this paradise is very much a peaceful, private hideaway, you are always just a 15-minute boat ride from a different flavour of the Caribbean. The residential development is the brainchild of The Goldstein Family, a byword for quality and trust in the field of property development for the last 55 years. The properties range from 2,500sq ft to 3,800sq ft, and all offer spectacular panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding area. Residents and renters at the boutique resort will have access to unrivalled, first-class facilities including on-site restaurants, bars and lounges, infinity pools, a luxury spa, a juice bar, a state-of-theart fitness centre and an outdoor yoga terrace. Trust Hospitality will also run a 24-hour concierge service offering a bespoke iPad application for Zemi Beach. This will enable owners to book restaurants and spa appointments from the comfort of their home or off-site premises and provide them with a pre-order system to stock their residences with their favourite groceries on arrival. An added bonus to home ownership at the innovative Zemi Beach includes the opportunity for residents to place their home into a rental programme when not in use. It is run by award-winning hotel and resort management company Trust Hospitality, providing a hassle-free, year-round income

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CHAPTER ONE® Three of the world’s most renowned master watchmakers have collaborated on a world-first combination of complications featuring a one-minute tourbillon, mono-push chronograph, retrograde date indicator, retrograde GMT indicator, day of the week indication on roller, and patented precise moon phase indication on roller in a fully integrated mechanical movement. Shown in 18K red gold and limited to 11 pieces.

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HEAVENLY SPIRIT Six generations of Hine. Creators of sublime Cognac

promotional feature heavenly spirit


“Once you’ve had a Bentley,” say owners, “it’s very difficult to buy anything else.” Once you’ve discovered it, you can’t go back. Without even trying, we’ve summarised the entire world of fine cognac: the jewel is Hine. Nestled on the banks of the stately Charente river, Hine is discovered only by bypassing populous Cognac and heading north-east towards the ancient, hidden village of Jarnac. Once you arrive, you behold an unmistakably aristocratic mansion and 250 years of heritage and art. Hine has always created fine cognac as an artist approaches a work of fine art, the timeless maxim being ‘Produce little, but make it perfect’.

This helps to explain why, of all the great cognac producers, only Hine possesses the Royal Warrant as a supplier to HM Queen Elizabeth II. Another point of difference is the symbol of Hine, a stag inclining its head. Tradition has it that the stag – perhaps a white hart – is from Dorset in south-west England, where Hine’s modern patron and founder, Thomas Hine, grew up amidst the early days of the French revolution. He left England for France aged just 16 and subsequently married the daughter of a famous negociant. By the time of his death in 1822, Thomas Hine had formed the company of today. Then, as now, while the slender creature of Thomas’ imagination is French, it remains mindful of an English connection.

previous page Hine insists on using oaks sourced from the forest of Tronçais to make casks that impart a gentler and less dominant flavour to the maturing spirit. right Pinnacle of Hine’s range is Triomphe, first created in 1888 to celebrate the triumph of winemakers over the devastating phylloxera pests. Today as then, Triomphe combines the finest, oldest vintages.


If you think this sort of historical detail has no bearing on the taste and sheer brilliance of Hine cognac, you’d be utterly mistaken. Hine is the only cognac producer that since the 18th century has shipped individual vintages to England. This so-called early-landed cognac (because it is landed in cask, years before maturity) is laid down deep in British cellars governed by climatic conditions fundamentally different from those in Jarnac. Cooler and damper, the English cellars produce a cognac that shares the unmistakable characteristics of Hine: tall, floral and exhibiting huge finesse and poise. But compared to the racier acidity and Latin temperament of the Jarnac-aged eaux de vie, early-landed fits like a favourite chair and doesn’t declare itself all at once. Slightly less oxidation and a bit more fruit. Like an aristocrat if we’re honest. The impossible riddle of choosing between early-landed and Jarnac-aged for the same vintage – a magnificent year such as 1987 – is very easily solved. Buy both and enjoy them. Only a great vintage can produce a great vintage cognac, and some remain undeclared. Beyond lies the magnificent art of the cellar master, in this case Eric Forget. What he has achieved stands on six generations of the Hine family, still presided over by Bernard Hine. Declining the chance to offer any cognac to market below the VSOP level, this means that even the humblest cognac in the range, H by Hine, wildly exceeds conventional ageing requirements, a bit like Bentleys and speed limits. But the art of ageing makes no difference if the initial wine is inferior. This brings us back to the basics of success, which are time honoured and yet exceedingly difficult. First, Hine use only grapes taken from the inner sanctum of the cognac region. Forget Bois Ordinaries; forget Bon Bois; forget Fins Bois and forget even the Borderies. These are the outlying regions, pictured as concentric, if ragged, circles on a map. Right at the centre, hugging the chalky soil that directly resembles

the region of champagne, there is Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Right at the centre of Grande Champagne at the highest elevation of the prettiest valley, there lies Domaines Hine. Once the grapes are pressed and fermented and distilled, the ageing process is once again different at Hine. Instead of using robust Limousin oak casks, Hine sources, at great difficulty and expense, the more finely grained Tronçais oak, which, lightly toasted instead of charred, promotes rather than defines the wine. The resulting balance is without compare and immediately perceptible to the nose and mouth: look for a floral character, delicate and fruity, comparable to a fine wine and never, ever, hiding behind the oak. If we were to go straight to the heart of the matter, we’d pick Hine Triomphe. It was first made in 1888 by Thomas Edouard Hine to celebrate the triumph of winemakers and scientists over the phylloxera crisis that had nearly wiped out an entire industry. Only the finest, oldest vintages were used, resulting in a blend of cognacs in which the average age is 50 years – an absolute peak in every sense, as it remains today. Still rich but delicate and pale, Triomphe exudes dried fig, apricot, honey and candied plums. It recapitulates traits found in Hine Rare VSOP and echoes the near relative Antique XO Premier Cru, but finally it is on its own, up there in the clouds. As with all things truly great, there is for this cognac no competitor








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A Desert Experience

at one with nature

oasis of luxury

The Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, immerses its guests in the unique and unforgettable spirit of the desert. As Julia Marozzi relates, it also represents a visionary fusion of luxury with conservation


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Words julia marozzi

Each private swimming pool spills out into a never-ending vista of dramatic desert and mountain views while the private deck

provides a secluded area for spending time, relaxing or as an intimate spot for ‘à deux’ dining


here is a scene in The English Patient, based on Michael Ondaatje’s disturbing and beautiful novel, that is possibly one of the most romantic ever filmed. Trapped in a sandstorm, Ralph Fiennes as Count Almásy instructs Katharine Clifton, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, on the intricacies of the wind howling outside. “Let me tell you about wind,” he murmurs, listing winds from Morocco and Tunis, and the red wind which marines called the ‘sea of darkness’ as it blows red sand as far as the south coast of England, in showers so dense they are mistaken for blood. She laughs. It has never, never rained blood in the south of England. She has a house there. Almásy says it is all true, Herodotus writes about it. And he writes about a wind, the samoon, which a nation thought “so evil they marched out against it in full battle dress, their swords raised”. His hand, once held upright above her head, has dropped into a curve against the side of her temple, slowly patting her hair as she gazes away from him, his desire palpable. The tempest which rages outside has been stirred up inside, the atmosphere seems suffocating as drifting sand piles up around the two of them. As fans of the film know, the two become obsessed and entangled in this haunting and harrowing tale of four damaged lives at the end of the Second World War. The images of desert linger long after the cinema lights have gone down.

Sand blows from beginning to end, desert dunes and dips provide the backdrop for camp fires, tall tales and burning aeroplanes. Memories of passion, betrayal and rescue illuminate the screen. Romance is rife in virtually every scene, the atmosphere is dense with longing. Deserts can inspire passion, a quest for adventure and a yearning for magical moments. If there’s one place to truly celebrate love it is at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa just 45 minutes from Dubai airport. The design of Al Maha – Arabic for the Arabian oryx desert antelope – showcases the heritage and architecture of the Bedouins. It combines the best of nature with the very best in man-made comfort. The aim is to offer guests an escape, an experience of a unique and romantic environment, a lifestyle of complete luxury, the ability to get away from it all. Its surroundings are as breathtaking as you would expect, its service without peer and the location designed to create the most memorable romantic experience – for a wedding, anniversary or honeymoon. Though the desert landscape can be harsh and lonely, Al Maha remakes it into a secluded haven of tranquillity, where guests have complete privacy. Surrounded by some of the region’s most spectacular scenery, rich with protected wildlife and filled with the experience of traditional Bedouin pastimes, Al Maha offers a sophisticated yet simple and serene experience. Recreating a Bedouin encampment spread across the vast dunes, this ultra-luxurious resort offers 42 individual suites, furnished with original, unique and rare collections of regional artwork and antiques, each adding to the ‘feel’ of the past. Extras such as binoculars and an easel are kept in each suite, should anybody with an artistic flair be inspired by the rich animal and floral life outside. Each private swimming pool spills out into a never-ending vista of dramatic desert and mountain views while the private deck provides a secluded area for spending time, relaxing or as an intimate spot for ‘a deux’ dining. Couples can unwind with a romantic meal to suit any taste, served in the suite or on the deck. What is sure to heighten the resort experience is to eat amid the dunes in the heart of the desert – not quite The Desert Song, but almost. That operetta, with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel, was inspired by the 1925 uprising of the Riffs, Berber fighters who took on the Spanish and French in an effort to win independence. It was also inspired by stories of Lawrence of Arabia. Many tales romanticising Arab North Africa were in vogue at the time, including the adventure novel Beau Geste and the silent film The Son of the Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino.

Al Maha spurs such romantic thoughts – of a hero who adopts a mild-mannered disguise to keep his true identity a secret. He loves a beautiful and spirited girl, who loves his hero persona but does not know his real personality, which he keeps hidden. Of course, in the end the milksop is revealed as a daring fighter, his true personality unmasked – and he and the heroine live happily ever after. While not all guests will see themselves as dashing heroes or heroines, they are sure to be thrilled by the charm and mystery of Al Maha. Feel the surge of adrenalin as you put your Arabian horse through its paces whilst taking in the infinite beauty of the desert landscape. A four-wheel drive Desert Safari can quickly transport you to some of the more isolated parts of desert outside of the reserve or enjoy the guided nature walks discovering numerous species of flora and fauna, led by their experienced Field Guides. Couples who celebrate a special occasion at Al Maha can also indulge at the Timeless Spa. The spa includes five beautiful massage rooms overlooking private gardens and dunes, and offers complete face and body treatments designed to enhance relaxation in the tranquil setting. Al Maha has received a host of international accolades and remains one of the region’s most awarded resorts, another reason why it’s the number one choice to celebrate a truly special occasion. It is the showcase property of The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, and its creation was firmly aimed at competing internationally with the world’s leading resorts. Building Al Maha also entailed a hugely successful effort to establish a major nature reserve in the Arabian Desert. The site chosen for this secluded sanctuary ensured that it would offer the widest possible variety of flora and natural landscapes, and since it opened its success has put Dubai at the forefront of conservation. A world away from the fast-growing city, Al Maha and its reserve have spearheaded the reintroduction of a wide range of indigenous wildlife species, many of them endangered, pioneered through co-operation with government, veterinary and private organisations. Planning, design and construction took just 18 months, in a collaboration between architects Schuster Pechtold & Partners and Arabtec, the main contractors. The original concept was an evolution of ideas from HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VicePresident and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, a keen supporter of conservation in the Emirates and an avid lover of desert tradition.

previous page Seclusion, relaxation and fresh perspectives on a unique eco-system are all part of the magic of Al Maha. competition oasis of luxury

this page Each of the 42 private suites is furnished with original artworks and antiques, conjuring up an ambience of relaxed opulence.


The conservation reserve has laid down tough new standards for dune safaris and desert camps , providing a location where visitors can

see free-roaming wildlife in a totally natural environment


Al Maha’s original 25 square kilometre nature reserve was expanded to 225 square kilometres (5 per cent of Dubai’s total land area) in 2004 – the largest protected land area under conservation management in the Gulf, and the only one of its kind in the Middle East. Since its opening in 1999, Al Maha has led the regions’ conservation efforts. It has set up large-scale rehabilitation programmes, including the propagation of more than 6,000 indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses and the reintroduction of the region’s first free-roaming herds of endangered oryx. Moreover, Al Maha aims to be an ever-growing haven of protection for the region’s large and small mammals, and the bird species of Arabia. Arne Silvis, general manager of Al Maha, said: “The subtle balance between luxury and the preservation of the natural environment forms the core of our vision, and its success has been internationally acknowledged – with awards which range from The World Legacy Award from National Geographic to the Arab Cities Award for Architecture, and Best Environmental Design, well before environmental issues were seen as critically important.” Out of Al Maha’s success the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) was formed, with the resort being the centerpiece. The DDCR operates as a National Park, and legal registration and amendments to local laws on management practices were passed under Ruler’s Decree in February 2004. Al Maha, and the reserve around it, forms the core of the DDCR, but the resort

remains exclusively for the use of Al Maha guests. The land area under wildlife management has been expanded from the original 25 square kilometres set aside for Al Maha and is the only location in the country where visitors can experience the desert and its wildlife. Threatened indigenous wildlife species have been breeding successfully for 13 years and animals are now being allowed to spread out from Al Maha into the wider reserve. To keep this level of progress in the field of land conservation, permanently protecting this percentage of land, the conservation reserve has laid down tough new standards for dune safaris and desert camps, providing a location where visitors can see freeroaming wildlife in a totally natural environment. A maximum daily limit has been placed on numbers and just four selected Safari Operators have been granted concessions to enter. Standards have been set for camps, best practice guidelines for desert tours, and guide training programmes are being implemented. In 2003, a total of 300,000 people visited the area, but this is now limited to 150,000 a year, the acceptable carrying capacity for the reserve in its current format. Some indigenous camel farms remain within the reserve, providing another heritage attraction for visitors. Camel rides lure visitors and provide a truly unique experience. I have ridden camels in Tunisia and in Kenya, on safari, and I can attest that they are stubborn, idiosyncratic animals which carry you higher from the earth than any horse I have ever ridden. Their gait is loping on a walk but they can swiftly move into a huge striding gallop when they take off.

From one indigenous wildlife species to another – the falcon, one of the enduring symbols of the region. Of critical importance to the survival of nomadic Bedouin people, falconry remains an integral part of Emirati culture, dating back more than 2,000 years and recognised as the sport of nobility. See a display of these majestic birds at dawn, or sunset for a remarkable exhibition of speed and agility as each Guide discusses the breed and character of their birds. Your Field Guide will also be happy to give you a lesson in the ancient art of archery, which features heavily in the heritage of Middle Eastern and Bedouin culture. Donning the protective glove and arm guard, things usually get quite competitive, so it is well worth taking time to wield and master this age-old weapon that captures the skill and patience of a bygone era

For further information on Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa or to book, please email, telephone +971 4 832 9900 or visit luxurycollection. com/almaha


living green Helen Kirwan-Taylor explores the sense and the symbolism behind Bentley’s new signature colour, which conjures up the marque’s British sporting pedigree and adds a contemporary twist

bentley living green


Words helen kirwan-taylor


The vitality of nature,

with a hint of racing heritage

“Green in general is an upmarket colour that signifies ambition and aspiration . It’s for people who work

hard. Living green is also about harmony, relaxation and gives us a sense of wholeness .”

In terms of the spectrum, green is half way between yellow and blue. Maybe that’s why – as anyone who has ever decorated a house already knows – it works with everything. Then there’s the symbolism of green. In the 14th century French documents described ‘vert’ (green) as a symbol of jolliness and youth and also of beauty. Dark green can have more sinister implications (green-eyed monster, and poison) but when mixed with white and yellow, it transforms into something completely different. The author and philosopher Alice Bailey looked at colours through her system called the Seven Rays. The third Ray is the colour green. “This energy carries an underlying impulse towards both mental and physical activity. A clear intellect and an ability to plan are its characteristics and a capacity for abstract thinking and intelligent organising are this Ray’s especial gifts. Its influence works particularly through economics and industry,” she writes. In Hinduism green represents the fourth Chakra. Green in Europe and the US suggests prosperity (the dollar Bill is, of course, green). More recently, Green parties have grown all over the world (they chose the word green because it suggests nature, health and growth).

bentley living green

fter ninety some years of Racing Green, Bentley has turned over a new leaf (no pun intended). Last year the company made the bold decision to replace Racing Green with Living Green as its new corporate accent colour. Those who need to take a deep breath can do so now, but trust me when I say the decision was not taken lightly – they tried thousands of combinations before settling on this one. “We want to use our history as lineage but not heritage,” explains Andrew Roberts, Head of Brand Communications at Bentley in Crewe. “We have to be forward looking.” Branding can hit you over the head (McDonalds) or make a subtle suggestion. Upon entering the Bentley headquarters in Crewe, I did think that everything looked bright and cheerful (this is the first impression I had of the lobby but then again it was a sunny day). What I did notice was that the bright green used in the leather stitching of the front desk (the same colour appears on the lining of the receptionist’s and gift shop attendant’s suits) and for the words on the wall was not the dark heritage green of yesteryear but this brand new reflective Living Green. It’s discreet yet very noticeable. “Reflective colours let you know there is a celebration,” says Dr David Cowell, a colour psychologist based in Wiltshire, “and green is the colour of growth.” The product of many years of development took less than a second for my brain to take in. British racing (and Bentley) have always been associated with Racing Green (as the Italians have always been associated with red and the French with blue). The decision to change the brand’s colour marks a new beginning for Bentley. “We stayed with green because it is an important colour around the world and it is associated with luxury brands,” says Roberts, “but Bentley has a challenge to be contemporary and not too tied to our heritage.” This green with a ‘twist’ will not frighten away existing customers but it subtly informs the world that things are changing in Crewe. “Living Green,” says Roberts “is dynamic and forward looking. It exemplifies the post-modern luxury car driver who is not flamboyant but not old school. He or she may be in the entertainment or creative industries and has a progressive outlook. He or she is also more likely to be in their forties than in their fifties.”

“Economics is (now) about emotion and psychology,” says Professor Robert Shiller at Yale. The same can be said about Branding. Just look at the Orange in Hermès or the Red in Prada: though subtle, both suggest energy and with that, vitality and youth. Green is at once energising and calming. No complex adjustment is necessary when green hits the eye, making it restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is also the colour of balance. In Europe and the United States it is associated with good health. Green is also part of our evolutionary chemistry. When young children from different nations were asked to select which landscape they preferred from a selection of standardised landscape photographs there was a strong preference for savannas with trees – all suggesting that green is a colour deeply rooted in our psyche. Green is, of course, the colour of grass as well as emeralds and jade.


Green in nature symbolises slow and strong . It appeals to people

who are not flashy but effective. It shows that they have constant values in their life


Then there’s the Irish green worn by the Irish on St Patrick’s Day Parades in America to evoke the ‘Emerald Isle,’ of their native country and the lucky four-leaf clover. Green inspired a film by the voice-over artist and Word Jazz performer Ken Nordine . “Green is smack in the middle of the spectrum. … Each one has a different IQ. … There is green that is here and there, a green that has something to say, that has integrity. … A green to be seen with, that is vibrant and alive,” he writes. Advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) means we can increasingly read our moods and study our responses. “They experimented with colours on prisoners in the United States,” says Cowell. “ When they put prisoners in pink-painted cells they absolutely hated it. They then tried it in areas that teenagers loiter and found it put them off, so they left.” Cowell uses colours in personality testing. People who like green he found to be solid citizens. “Green in nature symbolises slow and strong. It appeals to people who are not flashy but effective. It shows that they have constant values in their life. Green mixed with red means they are faster, a bit edgier. Blue and green combinations represent someone who is quiet and strong.” Most importantly green signifies growth. “Living Green (the sort of shade Bentley has introduced) mixes in yellow and white which makes it reflective, which we know to be joyous,” he says. “ Green in general is an upmarket colour that signifies ambition and aspiration. It’s for people who work hard. Living Green, moreover, is also about harmony, relaxation and gives us a sense of wholeness. It’s a joyous colour. It reinforces the idea of strength through joy.” We don’t consciously always know why we are drawn to certain colours though we all know the effects they have on us (we sigh in sheer relief on the motorway when we leave the

city and see the first expanse of green pastures and skies). We know that the relaxation response is triggered by the sight of nature, which is why meditation teachers often suggest visualising fields and open valleys. Artist Barbara Nicholls experiments widely with colours in her own work (which she shows in London and Berlin). “Colour is a subject that fascinates artists of all kinds,” she says. “Scriabin, for example, tried to denote the sound of colours. As far as art history goes, living green came into play when artists started painting outside in daylight. Previously it was mostly in dark studios. The Impressionists put the lights on, so to speak.” Nicholls thinks Bentley’s new Living Green is optimistic. “It conjures up an experience like working through fields on a spring day,” she says. It also brings up cultural associations. “You see a lot of green used within corporations. This suggests establishment and respect,” she says. Presently, the greenery outside my window is dark bluish and reminds me that winter is coming. Living Green is what pops up in my garden in early spring to alert me that long days and sunshine are on the way. What’s not to like?

Helen Kirwan-Taylor is an American freelance journalist and creative consultant based in Notting Hill, London. She is presently repainting her front door Living Green.



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continental gt speed SeaSon of Speed


WoRds JaKe TownSend

SEASON OF SPEED greeting autumn’s glory,

in a continental gt speed

above & left The Hotel Intercontinental Berchtesgaden is set amid spectacular alpine scenery while offering world-class standards of luxury and service. Its restaurant, Le Ciel, recently won the accolade of a Michelin star. right The Continental GT Speed is the fastest production Bentley, with a top speed of 205 miles an hour. The derestricted autobahns of Germany are among the few places where its full potential can be exercised on public roads.


uring these, the first days of autumn, as trees burst into glowing orbs of red and gold, and the air begins to give just the slightest hint of the cooler months to come, I always plan my escape – and it’s always in a car. Even if it’s only for a short while, as those first warm clothes are taken from hibernation and I’ve said my goodbyes to summer, there is no better prospect than taking just a few days to speed through the countryside in the driver’s seat. When one learns that the car will be a Bentley, and that the Bentley will be the new Continental GT Speed – the company’s fastest production car to date, born of nearly a century’s worth of innovation and engineering, and imbued with the human touch that comes only with the attention of the many hands that work in concert to create the car – one is more than just slightly eager to get key fob in hand.

Though my brief sojourn would take me from the bustling, cosmopolitan centre of Germany’s third largest city, Munich, on to the legendary autobahn and finally to the verdant winding mountain lanes of the Berchtesgaden Alps, my journey would begin in another, albeit unexpected place: Bentley Motors factory in Crewe, where I would seek to find that intangible quality that makes Bentley the finest luxury car in the world. A passion for automobiles goes far beyond form and line, power and fluidity. For those who see a car not just as mode of transport but as metaphor, as an idea, there is no purer expression of human achievement in the material world than exemplified in the cars, built by the human hand, one at a time, at Bentley. It is here that I find myself, squinting in the morning sun, as the last gasp of the evening mist disappears from the bricks of this bustling 400-acre facility. Made up of a series of mainly one-story buildings, some of them tens of thousands of square feet, these understated facades belie the extraordinary activity taking place within. Visiting the Bentley factory is a must for anyone who seeks to understand just exactly what it takes to create these special machines.

It is one thing to hear the phrase ‘hand built’, and quite another to witness it unfolding before you in the intricate concert of man and machine, where in place of automation are thousands of skilled coachbuilders, craftspeople, cabinetmakers – and even coppersmiths – who do literally piece together each car by hand. Watching the cars travel down the assembly line, each one timed down to the second, as the cars take form, it is exceedingly evident why Bentley inspires such profound loyalty and unending passion. Like a home designed just for you, or a bespoke suit whose fit is so entirely personal as to be akin to a second skin, a Bentley, whether a Mulsanne or a Continental GT Speed, is a work of art imbued by individual craftspeople with the soul of a brand unlike any other. After watching the cars come together, stitch by stitch, weld by weld, I embark on the second half of this journey into the heart of a car, and into the centre of one of Europe’s great cities. There, before me, seeming to glow in the sunlight filtering through the expansive glass and steel canopy stretched like a sail above a vast courtyard that serves as the striking entrance to Munich airport, sits the new Continental GT Speed.

In the car, windows closed, world sealed away behind glass, it is that familiar deep growl of the engine, finely tuned, unmistakably Bentley , yet barely

concealing the enormity of power mere inches from my fingertips continental gt speed season of speed

This particular car, which would serve as my second home during my stay in Munich and its environs, is painted a crisp, bewitching Apple Green; a colour which serves to accentuate the familiar muscular grace that gives a Continental GT the appearance of a thoroughbred whose entire life is dedicated to those fleeting moments when it is let loose and allowed to run free at full bore. This car looks like freedom and power as realised in metal and glass. Anyone who has had the experience of driving a Bentley, and particularly the now-classic Continental GT range, knows what it means to feel at one with an automobile. As if designed only for you, a Continental GT exemplifies the most pleasurable of contradictions: at once colossal in power and balletic in style, the car has no equal – its measure only against previous incarnations of itself. This, the newest, and perhaps most extraordinary version of the Continental GT line, the GT Speed is in many ways a culmination of the brand itself. Even sitting motionless in this filtered, crystalline sunlight, this hand-built machine, painted in this most unexpected colour, looks as if it is barely able to keep from launching, rocket-like, onto

the autobahn that winds and snakes its way from here to points unknown. Bags stowed in the boot and travels’ fog quickly fading, I slide into the driver’s seat and bring the car to life. In the car, windows closed, world sealed away behind glass, it is that familiar deep growl of the engine, finely tuned, unmistakably Bentley, yet barely concealing the enormity of power mere inches from my fingertips that sets the heart racing in a way that no other automobile has the power to do. And though from my current vantage point I can readily see my ultimate destination in the Alps that ring Munich like a strand of rough, oversized diamonds, my first stop is the city’s centre where guests await, friends have gathered and palaces have been procured for a short stay in anticipation of a long, wonderful alpine drive. Munich is a study in contradictions: though it is one of the most sophisticated – and prosperous – cities in Europe, with a lovely and well-heeled populace to match, it is also home to Germany’s most celebrated public party: Oktoberfest. Munich may feature some of the most desirable shopping in the region, be the centre of the German tech and publishing industries, and be home to a long

list of Michelin-starred restaurants, quaint cafés and more urbane bars and clubs than any one person could tackle in a single trip; the city charms with its hidden contrasts. At once high and low, understated and ribald, it is readily apparent why Munich has been named one of the world’s most livable cities. I pull the Continental GT Speed from its temporary resting place beneath this crown of glass and steel, and ease the car onto the autobahn, taking note of the ever-changing speed limits on the contemporary autobahn. No longer is it possible to drive full bore into the distance, as speed limits vary between fast, very fast and supercars only. Fortunately, I was among an elite crowd of one; the GT Speed is undoubtedly in a class by itself. A so-called ‘supercar’ cannot simply be defined by the upper limits of its engine; in fact, extraordinary top speed should be incidental to what lies within. Though the GT Speed’s top speed happens to be an extraordinary 205mph, propelled by a 625PS (616bhp) W12 engine and eight-speed transmission that feels as if it has the power to intuit both the driver’s desire and future conditions of both road and traffic, it is the grace with which the car achieves that speed that is most striking.


In the brief moments when traffic parts to reveal a small, open stretch of unregulated autobahn , gas is applied, and the beauty of the alpine scenery

is reduced to a verdant blur


Intent on experiencing the waning daylight hours of this first day, I manage to nimbly wind my way through Munich’s city centre, Altstadt, which is anchored by Marienplatz, and is immediately recognisable by an almost electric feeling of life and action in the air. Bisected by the Isar river, much of Munich’s daily life takes place in the Western half of the city. My base for this brief stay is the venerable Hotel Beyerischer Hof, which has the feel of a stately, if very large, manor that happens to be kitted out with a lovely spa and indoor pool, and a staff that seems to anticipate guests’ needs before nary a query is made. After a quick lunch on the hotel’s roof and an even faster splash in the indoor pool, arrangements are made to meet friends and to experience the delights of the Bavarian capital. The city is easily navigable: centred around the main square, the Marienplatz, which is fed by a series of smaller streets, some closed to traffic, that radiate out towards the various neighbourhoods that form Munich’s urban fabric, getting your bearings is rather easy. Though it is a city with efficient public transport and is easily accessible on foot, the allure of the GT Speed, secreted away in the hotel

garage, is too much to resist. I decide to see Munich from the luxury of an entirely bespoke interior, enveloped in that heady scent of leather and wood that serves to engage what is said to be our most ancient of the senses, and the one that most deeply ties experience to memory. Deftly winding my way through the city’s narrow streets, it becomes immediately apparent that, despite its status as one of the fastest production cars in the world, the GT Speed maintains that delicate dance between raw power and rail-like agility – a necessity for urban driving. After stopping at Dallmayr, the 300-year-old purveyor of fine foods that is said to have introduced the sale of bananas to Western Europe and still provides delectables to contemporary royal courts around the world, including that of Thailand, it was off to the Kaufingerstraße, where one would be hard pressed not to find at least a gift or two for those waiting back home. As we head toward the storied Neuhausen neighbourhood, known for its luxury residences, the astonishing Nymphenburg Palace rises on the horizon. Built as the summer home of Elector Ferdinand Maria and his consort, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, and later the residence of King

Ludwig I, this still-occupied royal home at first appears to be a rather austere example of palace architecture – it isn’t until one ventures inside that its secrets are revealed. Resplendent in a riot of ornament, the palace interior is one of Europe’s finest examples of Baroque design and features a room known as the ‘gallery of beauties’, King Ludwig’s paean to the many women in his life, including the infamous Lola Montez, who was said to be the cause of the revolution of 1848, when Ludwig I abdicated for love. After dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant Tantris, where expertly choreographed ballet service revealed course after decadent course of globally-inspired dishes with a decidedly Asian influence, it was back to the hotel for just a few hours of rest before I would discover the true nature of the car. With the first light of morning, I leave Munich far behind, watching it recede in the rearview as I merge onto the autobahn and simply drive. Make no mistake: though the GT Speed is among the most graceful cars on the road, and possessing a fluidity of line and an artistry of form that is the unmistakable mark of a Bentley, this is a very powerful automobile. In the brief moments

continental gt speed season of speed

when traffic parts to reveal a small, open stretch of unregulated autobahn, gas is applied and the beauty of the alpine scenery is reduced to a verdant blur. It is striking to experience the ease with which the car flows between its eight gears, between lanes, between cars – and at speeds that would cause even its nearest competitor to shudder. Winding my way deeper into the Berchtesgaden Alps, gone are the urban charms of Munich, replaced by the equally delightful Bavarian villages that give these alpine environs a fairytalelike quality. The deep emerald forest, beginning to fade into Autumn’s glow, rise ever-higher into snow-capped peaks that have captivated the imagination of those seeking alpine reverie. Then a quick stop for coffee and traditional Bavarian pretzels at Tatzlwurm, one of the many mountain cafés that dot these alpine lanes, whose typically Bavarian decor and dirndl-clad waitresses make the experience feel somehow timeless, as if places like this could have existed in the same form in any decade in the last 100 years. Though the view over a picturesque little valley, complete with stream and waterfall, was lovely – it was off to my next destination.

Sitting, like some alien craft, more than 3,000 feet above sea level on Eckerbichl mountain, and surrounded by seemingly endless expanses of untouched mountainous forest in all directions, the Hotel Intercontinental Berchtesgaden is among the most striking alpine hotels that I have ever seen. After a dinner at yet another Michelin starred restaurant – this one, Le Ciel, conveniently located in the bottom floor of the hotel – another day ends after spending hours speeding between some of the most alluring scenery in the region. As the dawn wakes and the sun begins to stream through the room-sized plate glass walls that make up what seems to be the entirety of my mountainfacing room, I pull back curtains to reveal the magnificence of the location. Before me a deep, emerald valley, and above, the looming peak of Mount Watzmann, whose sunlit grandeur positively begs for Wagner at full volume. Determined to experience this locale in its full, robust spirit, I venture down to the hotel pool. I dive in and swim towards what seems to be a wall of glass that separates two portions of this pool, one outside and one indoors. Now swimming within just a foot or so of the clear partition, the glass wall suddenly, silently, fluidly slides open of its own volition,

sensing my presence and beckoning me to swim into the cool, crisp morning mountain air. The glass door closes, spaceship-like, behind me, leaving me floating in the utter silence of the early morning. The sense of exhilaration is total: enveloped in the warmth of the pool, senses overwhelmed by the cool expanse of this alpine splendor, there have been few experiences that have equal match in my travels. Coupled with the anticipation of another unfettered drive back to Munich, this experience has been among the most complete, and pleasing to all six senses, that I have had. As is the nature of every respite, the reverie must come to an end, though fortunately the GT Speed provides that welcome, luxurious buffer between respite and responsibility. In this short experience, intended to escape life’s pressures, I found the heart of a car, beating and alive, imbued with soul by the human hand and embodied in a powerful, sculptural machine called the GT Speed

Jake Townsend is a brand communications strategist and advisor, as well as an author who writes about cars, travel and diplomacy.


Silvio Denz:

visionary conversations 64

From the Art Deco bonnet mascots of the 1920s to a cutting-edge iPod sound dock, the ethereal beauty of Lalique Crystal turns glass into a precious material. Jeremy Hart meets Silvio Denz, its clear-thinking owner

visionary conversations silvio denz

“I purchased Lalique in February 2008 because I considered Lalique to be one of the remaining French luxury brands with a great history and tradition,” Denz explains as the mould is closed and excess liquid, already now sticky, is scraped away. Denz is slim, comfortable in a handmade blue suit. It is the end of summer and he carries the glow of a man who managed to run his luxury empire from his Cannes villa during August. He has property in France, London and Switzerland, and uses whichever home suits as launch pad for what is an almost incessant working whirlwind round his business portfolio, which includes Château Faugères in Bordeaux, one of the few St Emilion Grands Crus Classés. “Lalique started as a hobby. I loved the work of René Lalique and started collecting pieces almost 20 years ago. What he achieved with crystal was amazing,” Denz says, the mould clamped shut. “His creations ranged from illuminated hood ornaments for cars like Bentley to the magnificent Art Deco interior of great ocean liners such as the Normandie.


Words Jeremy Hart

It is as if a sliver-clad giant is perched on the lip of a massive volcano with a long swizzle stick, dipping the end in the molten lava and ladling it out like fiery bright orange honey. Except the giant is really only a large Frenchman, sporting the kind of fire-retardant shiny suit in which you see airport firefighters. The volcano is a furnace the size of a Bentley. The lava is not lava but molten glass. But the process is remarkably similar. Scooped from the furnace like luminescent treacle, the liquid glass is about to become one of the most sought-after products in the world of luxury interiors – Lalique Crystal. The volcano analogy is not so far-fetched. Glass does form naturally – take Obsidian, created by intense heat melting rock that then cools rapidly. Obsidian is black and so too is the crystal pouring from the 1 metre scoop into a waiting mould. Time is crucial. In a matter of seconds the liquid glass will solidify. The large men, and two co-workers, do not dally. Neither do they hurry. They are working with a fiery concoction of diligently sourced molten Belgian sand. Watching this process, as he does almost every week on his regular visits to the Lalique workshops in the remote Vosges Mountains near Strasbourg, is Swiss luxury visionary Silvio Denz. Denz owns Lalique.


“It was a natural progression from collector to owner, I guess. I loved what René Lalique created and my plan is to use that inspiration, how he created not just objects but whole interiors, in a modern and innovative way. We want to build Lalique into a global lifestyle brand.” Like many luxury names, balancing the traditional with the avant-garde is hard. The production processes at the workshop on the Franco-German border in Alsace have not changed drastically since René Lalique oversaw the creation of his designs in the 1920s. Now, as for almost 100 years, dozens of individually skilled hands add layers of craftsmanship to the creation of each product. It is not a process a machine in a factory could emulate. Man’s delicate and deliberate touch cannot be mimicked. From the burly chap scooping up kilos of molten glass to the demure lady whose fingers guide the brush signing the famous words ‘Lalique, Paris’, luxury is about the human touch. The innovation part comes with the imaginative new ways Denz is marrying Lalique with some of the most exciting companies and creative forces in the world. He wants heritage and innovation to influence each other. “We are working with important brands such as Bentley, Steinway and personalities such as [legendary French musician] Jean-Michel Jarre to create new products where we combine our knowledge together with the knowledge of our partners,” Denz explains. “We are also talking to artists and architects to use their vision and our skills.” As Denz’s words evaporate into the heat, the steel mould is ready to be prised open. It’s like removing a glass cake out of a thick steel tin. Two men, wearing industrial oven gloves, knock open the casket, revealing an intricately carved, shiny black round tower of crystal. Denz explains what it is. “It is part of the AeroSystem One by Lalique, an amazing metre-tall iPod dock created by Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a marriage of our craftsmanship and his audio technology. We will be showing it at an event at our boutique in Paris.” Before the high-profile Parisian unveiling, the hefty glass tower will be shot-blasted to give it the hallmark Lalique matt highlights and then mounted on the Jarre Technologies chassis. The similarities to the production of a car are not lost on Denz, who takes us to see another product of his expanding brand relationships. “Bentley and Lalique have a very similar history. Both companies were created and founded about 100 years ago. René Lalique made some of his most dramatic and exciting hood ornaments for Bentley and we are working with the engineers at Crewe on some very exciting Lalique elements for Bentleys in the near future,” he says, picking up what looks like a miniature version of a crystal Flying B hood ornament. “This is the stopper of the new Bentley by Lalique fragrance. We’ve captured the elegance of a Bentley car and we’ve captured the elegance of Lalique.”

Denz has been to Bentley a number of times . He sees Bentley as

A model for the future of not only Lalique but luxury in general. History is important to luxury brands ,

he thinks, but the need to evolve using new technology is crucial to their relevance

visionary conversations silvio denz



above For over 100 years the name Lalique has been synonymous with the highest standards of artistry and craftsmanship in glass. Today, Denz is exploring new ways of expressing luxury through this delicate medium. Opposite Silvio Denz and Jean-Michel Jarre.

“Once the basic needs of a population are satisfied, people are looking to buy luxury products . That’s why we believe that luxury will have a very

important part to play in the future.”

The invitation by Denz to collaborate and use the properties of crystal to further improve his sound system was immediately appealing to Jarre. While the number of people able to afford the limited edition dock will be limited, he sees luxury as a springboard for cutting-edge design and experimentation. “It’s by trying to get to the top of the pyramid that you can be relevant for the mass market,” he says. “The sense of perfection in this kind of design and manufacture allows all of us to benefit.” In Paris is English interior designer Lady Tina Green. She is renowned for her inspiring interiors of private yachts. A friend of Denz’s, Lady Green has been busy designing a series of furniture and other interior pieces called Lalique Maison. It is a steer back towards René Lalique’s ability to offer a complete interior, not just objets, for his clients. Green, like Jarre, is excited by the future of luxury. Architect Zaha Hadid and an as-yet unnamed controversial but contemporary artist are next in the Denz plans for mixing the Lalique heritage with modern creativity and techniques. He takes a quick break from the Paris party. In one place are three elements of his vision for the future of luxury. “Luxury in the future is very important,” he surmises. “Once the basic needs of a population are satisfied, people are looking to buy luxury products. That’s why we believe that luxury will have a very important part to play in the future.” With that Denz is gone. He is a man on a mission

Jeremy Hart, contributor to Sunday Times, and Condé Nast Traveller.

visionary conversations silvio denz

There is a Mulsanne in the Lalique car park and Denz is keen to try it on the undulating and sweeping roads of the Vosges Mountains. These are the same roads on which France’s World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb first honed his driving skills. They reward precision and skill. “This is really exciting, taking the Bentley out,” he grins as he steers the Mulsanne precisely between the apexes of the corners. “I don’t like to be chauffeured in a car, in the back. I like to be in the driver’s seat. This is a car that is big fun to drive because it is very smooth and it has a love of power, which makes it very fast.” Denz has been to Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe a number of times. He sees Bentley as a model for the future of not only Lalique but luxury in general. History is important to luxury brands, he thinks, but the need to evolve using new technology is crucial to their relevance. “Bentley is a very traditional car company with a lot of history, but what I especially like is the technology. The technology in the Formula 1-style paddle gear-shift and the technology in the sound system,” he beams, adjusting gear ratios for the pleasure of it. “The marriage between technology and craftsmanship that Bentley has is certainly one of the best in the world. I like to drive Bentley because it has everything to it that a car enthusiast likes. And it’s just a beautiful car. What I especially like in the Mulsanne is the finish; the way the fabrics, the way the leather has been done. It’s just in a perfect way.” Two weeks pass before we meet again. The backdrop of the wooded hills of Alsace are replaced by one of the most recognisable and beautiful cityscapes in Europe, along the banks of the Seine in Paris. The Eiffel Tower spears a perfect blue afternoon sky. Beautiful girls and elegant men fill the pavements. The windows of haute couture boutiques are beacons along streets such as Rue Royale. We are in a Mulsanne again. But this time it is not Denz in the car, but France’s biggest global rock star, Jean-Michel Jarre. We are on our way to meet Denz, who is already greeting guests at the Lalique boutique off Place de la Concorde. Jarre is one of the guests of honour. Jarre’s instantly recognisable electronic anthem Oxygene made him a worldwide star. His taming of electronics to create a distinctive sound put him at the cutting edge of rock music. Now he is using his understanding of electronics and music to create sound systems unlike any other. AeroSystem One by Lalique is an iPod dock that uses the natural resonance and heft of the crystal tower we saw being made to give natural bass. The Lalique crystal adds more than €10,000 to the price but Jarre says it is important that the luxury sector pushes the boundaries. “It is like Formula 1. Why spend billions of dollars to create a prototype of a racing car? It’s to be able to give the possibility to all of us of the benefit of high technology,” Jarre says. “Items like this can only be developed with this kind of luxury product.” Jarre comes from a family of innovators. His grandfather developed a revolutionary mixing desk for radio stations. His father was three-time Oscar winner Maurice Jarre, who wrote the music for films such as Passage to India and Lawrence of Arabia. His passion is linking high technology and art.


promotional feature

appealing prospects The privacy of a private residence, the amenities of a luxury hotel and a spectacular setting. discover two of the most desirable luxury properties that Switzerland has to offer


t was said of the famous French Romantic writer and author of Les Misérables, Victor Hugo, that he pulled off the almost impossible trick of being both immensely popular and intellectually respectable at the same time. The same challenging yet exquisite qualities of must-have desirability combined with granite integrity define two incredible residential properties: Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences and 51° Spa Residences. Both properties are the brainchild of Swiss Development Group SA, behind which stands Nicolas Garnier. His dream, as a deeply experienced developer of luxury properties, is to surpass all previous benchmarks in the sphere of luxury residential living. He has succeeded with Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences, the first branded serviced residences project for sale in Switzerland. Located just one hour from Geneva, directly overlooking the lake from a fine elevation on Le Mont-Pèlerin at the heart of Switzerland’s wine-producing Vaud Riviera, it is hard to think of a more romantic or convenient location than this. Instead of building a purely modern structure, the developer took on something much more demanding, namely the restoration and modernisation of a Belle Epoque Hotel, originally the Hotel du Parc that threw open its doors in 1907. That’s another way of saying that your investment is protected – by the location of the property amidst a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, and by its redevelopment undertaken with the blessing of the Ministry of Culture. In the language of art, you’d call Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences classical modernism. Classical in the sense that the residences hearken back to the Victor Hugo era – he loved this part of Switzerland – and classical in the sense that the residences are exceedingly exclusive. There are just 24 south-facing apartments, all with lake views, ranging from 200m2 to 700m2. Only a select quota of them is available to non-Swiss nationals on a freehold basis – an achievement in itself in a real estate context known for its difficulty of access to non-nationals.

As for the modern, it will take your breath away. Managed by a dedicated on-site Kempinski team, the residences offer all the accoutrements of a defining luxury hotel, such as valet parking, stateof-the-art security and elegant landscaping. Then throw in the comprehensive array of luxury lifestyle amenities offered by exclusive club Rockefeller Living. Members enjoy the club’s services not only at the property where they own a residence, but also across all properties in the Rockefeller Living club. At Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences this means use of a Rolls Royce, just in case your Bentley needs a friendly rival. A private cinema, a Davidoff Cigar Connoisseurs Lounge, a business centre, lifetime membership to Lavaux Golf Club, automatic membership to the Mirador Country Club and a 650m2 spa and wellness centre, complete with a treatment room by Givenchy – a surpassing definition of the ultimate lifestyle. Behind it stands sustainable conservation through the highest available Swiss building regulation for low energy buildings, hi-tech Crestron digital applications and kitchens and bathrooms by TEK Cuisine and Gaggenau. The same combination of must-have balanced by integrity extends Du Parc, so that aside from the obvious attractions of summer yachting on Lake Geneva and winter skiing in multiple nearby locations, there is the integrity of the Lavaux region with its ancient cultivation of grapes, the nearby village of Chardonne and historical market town of Vevey, which hosts famous food markets twice a week. In similar vein, schooling opportunities abound, including several renowned international schools offering bilingual tuition. 51° Spa Residences are located in the wonderful secret of Leukerbad, an ancient spa town deep in the Canton of Valais, 2½ hours east of Geneva. Here we have a dreamy expression of restorative mountain living, the source of which is a constant stream of natural thermal water bubbling up from the ground at a steady 51°C centigrade, a secret originally discovered by the Romans. Renowned architects Michael Graves & Associates chose to express the essence of Leukerbad through slate-roofed structures of stone and timber atop ancient boulders, for an iconic Swiss chalet effect encircled with private terraces that afford breathtaking views across three mountains, the Daubenhorn, the Balmhorn and the Torrenthorn. Split-log walls, wide-plank floors and high beamed ceilings echo the 19th-century golden age of mountaineering, while the Marc Michaels interior design brings to bear exquisite space planning and interior detail.

Every apartment has its own individual, private in-room thermal spa, internal and external fireplaces and moon baths on balconies so you can be soaking in the hot tub as the snow falls. Venture outside and the family-friendly qualities of this fabulous location become apparent, with tremendous skiing opportunities for all ages and experience, a children’s club, a ski valet, swimming pools, boutiques and a comprehensive range of summer activities ranging from hiking to biking, technical climbing and horse riding from the Gemmi Pass all the way down into the tranquil Rhone Valley. 51° Spa Residences will duly be accompanied by an adjacent, 5 Star Kempinski hotel offering a complete range of management facilities to all apartments, ranging from valet parking to housekeeping. Also like Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences, 51° Spa Residences will be within the reassuring orbit of Rockefeller Living, which will own residences at select SDG properties and make them available exclusively to members who wish to spend time at a property other than the one at which they have purchased a residence. This additional service is an important consideration for prospective owners, allowing for a truly varied lifestyle and the possibility to stay at both Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences and 51° Spa Residences at different times, no matter where you are the owner. In addition, Rockefeller Living has negotiated partnerships with the finest sport and recreational clubs, restaurants and retailers located near each Rockefeller Living property, entitling members to privileged access. The Kempinski connection speaks for itself and is another embodiment of classical modern. Founded in Germany in 1897, Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group is defined by its ability to marry intricately crafted Old World luxury with the clean, streamlined freedom of modern design. The Group pioneered fully-serviced residences during the 1990s and is the natural partner for Swiss Development Group

top Originally a Belle Epoque hotel, the Du Parc Kempinski Private Residences offer views over Lake Geneva for all 24 apartments. below The glorious mountain setting of 51° Spa Residences is guaranteed to relax even the most stressed-out of visitors.

Directly overlooking the lake from a fine elevation on Le Mont-Pèlerin at the heart of Switzerland’s wine-producing Vaud Riviera, it is hard to think of a more romantic or convenient location than this

promotional feature appealing prospects




Objects of Desire,

to give and receive


ometimes a car is simply not enough. Even if it is a Bentley. Especially when it’s a Bentley. Why should your appreciation for cutting-edge design and that inimitable craftsmanship that has been fine honed through generations of master builders stop the moment you step out of your Mulsanne? You know, the one with the handpicked glossy oak veneers that look like they’ve been soaked in a 200-yearold cognac and you chose because they match the colour of your favourite cigars. Or the Continental GT Convertible with the creamy-soft leather interiors in a sultry French blue, picked because it reminded you of your childhood summers in the south of France. For those moments in life when a car is simply not enough, Bentley unwraps a playful collection of bespoke gifts, namely the Geoffrey Parker Games Backgammon set, the Ettinger Four Piece Desk Set and the Breitling Clock. These are pieces that take that iconic spirit of Bentley from the driveway and motorways of the world into the home and office, all with your very own personal touch. “Bentley as a brand offers that bespoke service. We wanted to offer that same level of personalisation with our gifts,” says Izabela Turlewicz, Bentley’s Luxury Goods and Retail Coordinator. “It’s important to work with brands who share the same values and ethos as us when it comes to craftsmanship and materials.” And so just in time for the festive season, Bentley looked to these new collaborations with heritage brands that are to this day the best in their respective fields, creating the ultimate stocking fillers, the perfect gift for the man or woman who has everything… and perhaps even a well-deserved ‘gift to self’. After the car that is.

I may have learnt backgammon in the island cafés of Greece, using those well-worn rickety wooden sets, with the noisy clickety-clack roll of the dice and the snap-like sound of the checkers on the boards, but with Bentley and one of the world’s most revered luxury board games makers, Geoffrey Parker Games, you and your family can learn in the comfort of your home, or super yacht, or private jet, with hand-crafted luxury at your fingertips inspired by your very own car. This dual-branding partnership started back in 2003 but with a much more traditional backgammon board. The desire to modernise and offer the same level of personalisation as the cars meant an altogether different experience for under the 2012 Christmas tree. Your ultimate backgammon set offers veneers and leathers chosen to match your car interiors, subtle Bentley branding and knurled detailing on every checker, a hand-bound leather casing and the knowledge that there has been a merging of fine craftsmanship in the true spirit of Bentley even down to the stitching. It’s a heritage match made in heaven. “We have worked with Bentley in the past and as world leaders in what we do, like Bentley, we are obvious partners,” says Max Parker, “obviously Bentley is more high tech than we are, but there are many similar traditional skills used in the interiors of the cars, which are also used in our production. Like all good designers, Bentley listened to the experts and likewise we listened to what Bentley were trying to achieve both in design and brand awareness.” What’s more, I am happily assured that when I do acquire my own Continental GT Convertible in racing green, with my bespoke backgammon set on order, my games will still evoke nostalgic memories of those noisy Greek cafés. “It [backgammon] is a great game, older than chess and can be played by novices through to champions. Of course, you will probably be used to a noisy game, which this Bentley

luxury article collection title hEAdline in gifts here


right Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneer and knurled checkers give the authentic ‘clack’ of a beachside taverna backgammon game – but the workmanship and materials of the Geoffrey Parker Games set are definitely five-star standard.

Words natalie theo xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

left Breitling for Bentley desk clock features Bentley’s signature knurling and reflects the design of Breitling’s highly collectable watches. A worthy adornment for the most impressive of desks.

above 1:12 scale remote control Continental Supersports is ideal for the budding Bentley Boy – or Girl. right Ettinger Desk Set features desk mat, mouse mat, A4 document holder and stationery tray set, all in Bentley upholstery leather. below Espresso Coffee Cup Set celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Bentley Speed 8 victory at Le Mans, 2003.


edition will give you with a predominantly wooden playing field and chrome trimmed leather stones – most of our boards are full leather, which gives a quieter game.” But we’ll leave those ones to the true backgammon experts. Of course, if all these choices on offer are too overwhelming and also for those of us who are one bespoke car away from the fine art of personalisation, the standard set is available in Linen/ Hotspur with Fiddleback Eucalyptus or Beluga Black/Linen with Burr Oak veneer. Like Geoffrey Parker Games, the specialist world of Ettinger leathers is no stranger to Bentley enthusiasts. The two companies have enjoyed a happy collaboration: “About nine years ago Bentley approached us looking for a British manufacturing brand who had the same heritage as they did. They knew of us because of the Royal Warrant and ever since then we’ve had a very successful relationship,” explains CEO Robert Ettinger. “Bentley is the only luxury brand we have dual branding with. We still work out of our original factory in Walsall – an old English town where we have been since 1890. Bentley is still where it started in Crewe. There is a great deal of heritage there for both companies.” Thanks to technology, the art of communication may be speeding along as fast as you can accelerate to 204mph. While tweeting may be the new form of letter writing, the old and the new sit harmoniously side-by-leather-clad-side with the luscious Ettinger Four Piece Desk Set. Because you’ve spent ages deliberating over the exact shade of

sumptuously soft leather car interiors, why not extend that aesthetic pleasure to your home or office. The next time you scribble down a ‘note to self’ and idly brush against your leather desk mat as you stretch across for a sheet of paper, if you’ve been good Santa may ensure it’ll be an experience akin to the pleasure of driving your car with Ettinger’s desk mat, mouse mat, A4 document holder and stationer holder set. “Leather is part of our heritage. The leathers used for the desk sets are the same used for Bentley’s car seat leathers. In the picture (shown) it’s a ‘baby blue’ which just looks wonderful.” Items are embroidered with the Bentley logo and customers can also have their initials stitched into the leathers. For Bentley the ability for the company to translate your automotive dreams into reality and let you express your personality with your car is very much at the core of the brand. Indeed it was its customers’ dreams and desires that led Bentley to the Breitling desk clock. “We have a 10 year relationship with Breitling,” points out Turlewicz. “Our customers noticed that Breitling, who already did watches for us, made the clock in the Bentley car for us. We wanted to extend our relationship with them and our customers wanted this too. It is so iconic in terms of its face, that the Breitling for Bentley desk clock looks like an enlarged wrist watch.” The desk clock, which is a cylinder cut at an angle, is a seamless balance of elegance and expertise encased within Bentley’s finest Burr Walnut and featuring the signature Bentley knurling. And finally for the Bentley-owners-in-waiting, you may, as the company has done, look to Bentley’s Le Mans racing victory 10 years ago with this glorious set of Four Espresso Cups celebrating a heritage of speed, endurance and true team spirit. Each cup is decorated with graphics and the saucers feature the numbers 7 and 8, the numbers of the winning cars in 1st and 2nd places. There is even something for the very young Bentley-owner-in-practice with a 1:12 scale model remote control Bentley Continental Supersports. After all, it’s never too early to start building that Bentley dream, now, is it? To own any item from the Bentley Collection, please visit, the Bentley Boutique at the Bentley Factory in Crewe or your local dealer. Natalie Theo is Editor and Stylist at digital styling and personal recommendations shopping site She aims to own a Continental GT Convertible in Racing Green.

While tweeting may be the new form of letter writing , the old and

the new sit harmoniously side-by-leather-clad-side with the luscious Ettinger Four Piece Desk Set luxury collection gifts


nicK fouLKes:


among others, Tomasz Starzewski, she has since gone into business on her own account, selling slippers. My Slippers is an online bespoke slipper business which asks the question ‘How Do You Wear Yours?’ It is a question that many a chap – and the sort of slipper wearers Fiona attracts tend to be chaps – has enjoyed answering.

From monograms to motorcycles, from the family crest to the Cresta Run, the slipper is not so much a piece of footwear but a canvas for self expression, a tabula rasa on which a man... sorry chap... can write his story. It is the domestic aspect of the slipper that appeals to Fiona; she recalls how, as a child, she would watch her grandfather come home and ‘rid himself of his somewhat hectic world outside’, changing into one of his many pairs of slippers. ‘I was always fascinated by the transformation of character that evolved – was it the slippers that had this magical effect or merely the fact that he was back in his favourite surroundings with cigar in hand?’ The truth is that one was indispensable to the other.

It is no coincidence that the Albert Slipper, the kind that Fiona sells, bears the name of the man who did so much to transform the monarchy from a Hanoverian nightmare of insanity and profligacy into a domestic dream, a family paradigm and the most cherished pillar of British life. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s Consort, was a progressive man whose influence and intellect guided the young Queen and did much to shape the era that bears her name, with its self-conscious desire for improvement and its pantheistic view of the sanctity of family life. Although their home may have been a palace, the royal couple were in many ways the prototypical British bourgeois pair, devoted to each other, inseparable, philoprogenitive and, most importantly, home loving. Where other rulers might prefer to be painted in heroic or martial pose, Winterhalter’s famous portrait of Albert and Victoria surrounded by their children shows a couple at ease. She may be dressed in a ball gown and he may be wearing decorations, but at the end of his black silk hose are a pair of glossy black Albert Slippers. This charming family portrait is reproduced in the book along with an interesting pot pourri of personalities drawn from the London social scene. We see, for

NICK FOULKES eleGance afooT

It has been a cult publishing success. I am talking, of course, about The gentleman’s slipper, Fiona Dreesmann’s survey of this most relaxed and revealing piece of male footwear. It may not be giving the estate of Stieg Larsson much to worry about in the bestseller lists, but you know you are staying in a smart house if you happen to find a copy by the side of your bed or in the loo. I should explain that Fiona is a friend and that I am one of the Fs of the publishing house Double F Publishing, the other being my old friend Tristram Fetherstonhaugh. But it is all in a good cause; profits go to Help for Heroes, a charity set up in 2007 to help the wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. And, even if Fiona were not a friend, even if I were not one half of the publishing house, and even if the proceeds were not going to a charity, I would have the book on my shelves where it would sit alongside all my other sartorial reference works: The Tie, The Book of the Tie, The Blue Jean, The Aloha shirt, The Trench, scottish estate Tweeds and so on. In short it fills a gap in the scholastic canon of works treating male elegance. Fiona may have the looks of a trophy wife and she is married to retail tycoon Bernard Dreesmann, chairman of a chain of department stores that girdles the outskirts of London, and friend of Harold Tillman CBE (once featured as a Bentley driver in these pages). However, appearances can deceive and having worked in fashion for,


left Queen Victoria with Prince Albert and their children in a scene of domestic bliss, the Royal Consort wearing the footwear he made popular. below Slipper-shod designer Nicky Haslam strikes a pose of relaxed chic at his Hampshire home.

Elegance afoot instance, slipper-clad celebrity silversmith Patrick Mavros and his sons Forbes and Alexander sprawling on a large sofa in their Fulham Road shop; Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein looking like a dignified ancestral portrait in his library, his slippers decorated in a distinctly Bavarian blue and white;

the Prince Consort’s greatest legacy’, although she does admit that ‘it is up against stiff competition in the shape of the Albert Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, etc.’ (shades of the ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ conversation from the film, The Life of Brian).

The book is a trove of anecdote that traces the bloodline of the slipper from the sandal of ancient Egypt,

via the canvasses of GerRit Dou and the court of King Charles II to the slip-on shoe of today


legendary Cartier chairman Arnaud Bamberger sports the paisley slippers stitched by his wife that he wears at shooting dinners; while Nicky Haslam is photographed at home in Hampshire wearing a pair he stitched himself. These people are interspliced with internationally known figures that make for some interesting juxtapositions, for instance His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI finds himself sandwiched between Brad Pitt and Michael ‘Tyga’ Stevenson. Art, aristocracy, floristry, fashion and even footmen are all represented here. The book is a trove of anecdote that traces the bloodline of the slipper from the sandal of ancient Egypt, via the canvasses of Gerrit Dou and the court of King Charles II to the slip-on shoe of today. Fiona announces with a flourish, and not a bit of hyperbole, that ‘The Albert Slipper is perhaps

And the whole thing is crowned by an introductory essay by Julian Fellowes – the Downton Abbey creator is a friend of Fiona. For him the slipper speaks of ‘carpets and boudoirs and soft, shaded places where the wearer may relax and be themself’. Like Fiona he became a slipper lover thanks to an older relative, this time a disreputable cousin called Peregrine who, upon concluding a financially beneficial divorce, moved into a vast flat near Harrods which he filled with 18th-century French furniture and paintings. ‘His favoured costume, whether entertaining or simply dining alone, was a smoking jacket and crested, velvet evening slippers.’ All of which made a lasting impression. ‘I cannot tell you the effect they made on me as a boy, when I was round there being instructed in what’s what. I can see him now, smoking a cigar in the large, high-ceilinged drawing room, his

legs stretched out in front of him, crossed casually at the ankle, his slippers, gold thread embroidery twinkling in the firelight, the cynosure of all eyes. Those slippers spoke of a man who is content in his own skin, of one who fears no judgement and seeks to make no judgement of others. The male slipper is not just a statement of physical comfort, but of a comfort within oneself. They tell of the man who wishes to be no one but himself.’ ‘This is surely the man we would all want to be.’ I think we should keep our eyes open for scenes in upcoming episodes of Downton Abbey

Nick Foulkes is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Finch’s Quarterly Review, luxury editor of GQ, a columnist in Country Life and editor of Vanity Fair’s ON TIME. His new book ‘Gentlemen & Blackguards – Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844’ is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.


THRILLS & CHILLS Power on Ice 2013 in Finland is the highlight of the Bentley extreme driving calendar. Here, you can lose yourself in the sensuous ballet of a car drifting on ice or push yourself to the limit in a real test of driver and machine

home to bear, eagle, elk and reindeer. Under the looming sky of a winter’s evening, the icy landscape can look like something from a fairytale – as though you might have stepped through a wardrobe into Narnia. Yet, these ice driving initiates make their pilgrimage for reasons far more profound. The exhilaration of handling a thoroughbred car on the most demanding surface is something you have to experience for yourself. After two days on the ice, you have learned to flick the car’s wheel at the precise moment in the turn; to apply power and brakes in perfect timing. What seemed unnatural yesterday is now a confident skill, not soon to be forgotten. You have drifted at speed, enjoyed the insights of working with professionals and shared the company of true driving enthusiasts. You have mastered speed in the most awesome environment of all, with the finest car you could have chosen. When you return home from Power on Ice 2013, you return with memories few others can share

To register your interest for Bentley Power on Ice in February 2013, visit, or call the Bentley Driving team on +44 (0) 1675 445 945 or +1 866 369 4450.

ABOVe left Four time World Rally Champion, Juha Kankkunen.

power on ice 2013 thrills & chills

At Bentley, they know that connoisseurs of fine cars also expect the ultimate driving experience. So while Bentley’s engineers push the engineering boundaries of performance and refinement, the driving team creates ways for owners to explore their cars’ full potential. And where better to push performance and control to their limits, than at the very edge of the Arctic, on frozen Finnish lakes? Like all things Bentley, Power on Ice is unique. Each winter a small number of Bentley aficionados from all over the world converge on a point 7,342km north of the Equator: the exclusive winter playground of Ruka. The expedition does not venture into these extreme latitudes and temperatures simply for the saunas and scenery. They come for the sinuous ice tracks, designed by four-time World Rally Champion, Juha Kankkunen and carved into the surface of Ruka’s frozen lakes. There, the group embraces the extraordinary art of

ice driving and enjoys the camaraderie that comes from sharing an extreme experience, as well as wonderful luxury and well-earned relaxation with friends. Driving on ice is all about balance and perfect throttle control, using the massive power to move the car in exactly the direction you want. Juha Kankkunen knows the cars like few others. In 2011, he broke the world ice speed record on the frozen Baltic Sea, achieving 330.695km/h in a Bentley Continental Supersports. “You need to be balanced with the car and not try too hard!” he says. “There’s nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment, which gives you the confidence to push even harder.” For 2013, Power on Ice promises everything that regular guests know and love – only more so. Indulgent accommodation in the stylish Chalet Ruka Peak or private luxury apartments, fine dining, great company and some additional fun with snowmobiles and dog sleds. At the request of some of the guests from 2012, the team has also added private flights between Helsinki and Kuusamo to ensure connection times are more convenient. Why do Power on Ice attendees speak so warmly of their experiences? Yes, there is the Scandinavian hospitality. There is the backdrop, too: a magical unspoilt wilderness, merely kilometres from the Arctic Circle and close to Russia’s thickly forested border. A frozen world of deep snow, crystal clear air and white expanses











continental gt grandest of tours







Dresden to Naples in the footsteps of a Prince, by Maureen Cassidy-Geiger


Words maureen cassidy-geiger



efore I set off from Dresden with the prince in June, to drive 2,500km to Naples in a Bentley, I imagined him in the passenger seat, if not the back seat. But day one, as we left the Taschenberg Palais, his official residence opposite the royal palace where he was born, it was clear that, no, he was absolutely in the driver’s seat, even if I was the one behind the wheel! I first met Friedrich Christian (1722–63), Crown Prince of Saxony/Poland, in 2004 in the State Archives in Dresden. I was gathering material for a book and stumbled across the handwritten travel diaries of his Italian odyssey in 1738–40. Sixteen years old and crippled by cerebral palsy and scoliosis, his Grand Tour was less a gap year than an all-out effort to find a cure for his condition, in medicine or religion, and safeguard the succession. When he died prematurely from smallpox, weeks after his famous father, King August III, the prince ended up a footnote in history books instead of a star. Then I came along and adopted him, as my subject, hero and muse, without realising his amazing road trip would actually fuel my own. Although for me it’s all about the prince, in 1738 it was all about his younger sister, Maria Amalia, the new Queen of Naples, who, after a proxy wedding to her Bourbon beau, departed from the Elbe River palace of Pillnitz on May 13 on a one-way ticket with my diaristprince in tow. The logistics caused an uproar with the in-laws, who wanted to send the Spanish fleet to ferry the Queen from Trieste, but her parents prevailed with a carefully scripted overland route through the modern-day Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia into Italy at

Palmanova, bypassing Vienna, Venice and Rome to keep up the pace. Bumping along rugged post roads and pilgrim byways from dawn to dusk, in Landaus and Berliners, the travellers stopped only for meals and state welcomes, to change horses and sleep. Lodgings varied widely from place to place, from palaces and convents to humble roadside inns and palatial tents. State carriages and security were supplied as needed and foodstuffs and tributes were proffered at every stop. On June 19, the Queen finally met her husband at Terracina, the gateway to the Kingdom of Naples, progressing in state to Gaeta before her formal entry into the capital. Three weeks later, the prince sailed to the desolate island of Ischia for a lengthy cure in the restorative waters of the Gurgitella springs, still flowing today, which gave him the strength, and the courage, for the remarkable journeys ahead. The prince and I left Dresden on June 8, to arrive in Naples as they did on June 21. Our modern-day carriage was a sleek Arabicahued Bentley Continental GT coupé with ample horsepower and handling for the tricky off-Autobahn driving. Lending glamour and privilege to the scholarly exercise, the flawless interior was a sanctuary that fitted like a glove. We followed the Elbe River through the ‘Sächsische Schweiz’ (Saxon Alps) until Zehista, where the mountains cease and the signage shifts from German to Czech. Despite travelling incognito, as was customary of Grand Tourists, the Bentley made us anything but invisible. When I stopped for petrol, a courtly trucker in a corduroy vest stepped up to pump it and suggested I take the highway. (The GPS was in his camp.) But the

It was hot when they crossed into Austria en route to Mariazell, but our skies were grey and the alpine roads were wet. The mist romanced the chiselled forests and the spires on high, and the switchbacks were easy on a responsive set of wheels. I stopped often to take photographs, never for lunch; characteristically, the prince never complained. He was pious and provincial, and charmed by Krems, where there were dirndls and Kartoffelautomats (potato machines), and it was still Spargelzeit (asparagus season). Slovenia, at the threshold to Italy, was a sleeping beauty awaiting a kiss. Fog was the leitmotif in 1738, when they took over the Brandis Castle in Maribor and the Auersperg Palace in Ljubljana, both local museums today. Sleepy Vipava (population 1,700) rolled out a gravely red carpet, and hardhats, to welcome us to the Lanthieri Palace for a tour of its delicious frescoed interiors. Derelict and abandoned until last year, it will soon become the centre of the ascendant regional wine industry. We passed on a tasting but added a bottle to the boot to toast our arrival in Naples. The prince actually favoured sweet Tokay from Hungary, but developed a fondness for the wines of Frascati, and fragrant Rosolio, thanks to a year in Rome. Rain followed us into Italy, where the Queen’s entourage swelled to 150 and the prince began to shine. There were major receptions in the fortress towns of Palmanova and Ferrara, and minor ones in between. Everyone wanted a word with the Queen, a picture with the car; the prince was a charmer, his chauffeur a curiosity. Our progress was slow; theirs was steady. At the Villa Manin a downpour prevented us from walking the gardens

Our modern-day carriage was a sleek Arabica-hued Bentley Continental GT coupe with ample horsepower and handling for the tricky off-Autobahn driving . Lending glamour and

privilege to the scholarly exercise, the flawless interior was a sanctuary that fitTED like a glove

prince was my pilot. He called out the route, heralded the stops and cued the sights on the roads less travelled, which were the highways of his day. The S173 took us through verdant fields sprouting windmills and rainbows after the intermittent showers that continued for days. It was oddly comforting to know that it rained on the prince, washing out roads already compromised by the spring run-off. Windows closed, the Bentley purred, the Breitling clock ticked, the tyres buzzed the cobblestones as we cruised past the windowwasher working in the rain. We were not welcomed by cannon fire at the Czech border as they were, but the car earned a wave from a greying American in a Second World War uniform and Jeep, probably en route to a D-Day event. There were no customers at the Russian-aircraft-cum-restaurant or the roadside stands that spoke of Communist times. Farmland again, the ubiquitous windmills colour-coded to the landscape, then Prague slyly announced itself with a timeless vista that also excited the prince. Their shelter was the Lobkowicz Palace, a jewel in the Hradcany crown that was restituted to the Boston-based family in 2003. Located at the major pedestrian exit from the hilltop complex, we were swarmed and admired, the Bentley unsurprisingly eclipsing the spectacular view.

that so delighted the Queen. In resilient, rust-hued Ferrara, there was evidence of the recent earthquake that rocked the region but the pulsating Palazzo dei Diamanti, occupied by the prince in 1738, was unscathed and fresh-faced as ever. Pomp and hoopla aside, the journey to Naples was specifically routed to allow the young Catholics to complete a Marian pilgrimage to the Santa Casa in Loreto. I had a humble yet princely perch overlooking the basilica, the Bentley and the Papal apartments where they slept. I even heard Germany beat Holland in the World Cup, glad it wasn’t Italy on the field. I don’t know if they circled the shrine on their knees, in the grooves worn deep by centuries of the infirm and devout, but I know about their gifts, lost to Napoleon, thanks to the generous archivist who showed me the crusty-paged registry from 1738. The sun followed us to Naples, though they endured torrential rains and a shortage of horses forcing unanticipated overnights in Terni and Zagarola. As we progressed pearl by pearl along a string of hill towns, I could smell the heat and hear the wheat. The Buoncorsi palace in Macerata was an absolute gem, as foretold by the prince, so of course the ones that followed suffered by comparison. Built for a Cardinal, its rich interiors were fashionable and new when they came

continental gt grandest of tours


previous PAGE Back in the 18th century, the journey from Dresden to Naples took Prince Friedrich Christian over a month. In a 2012 Bentley Continental GT, progress was considerably more rapid.


THIS PAGE From royal palaces to cobbled city streets, the Bentley took the princely Grand Tour in its stride, earning admiring glances as it swept effortlessly across Europe.


1 Prague







5 naples

continental gt grandest of tours

for lunch, comparable to the Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto, another Cardinal’s seat, which the prince called ‘magnifique.’ No wonder he labelled the rusticated pile in Tolentino ‘pas si belle.’ Winding around Narni and Otricoli took nerves of steel, and air-conditioning, and near Rome the GPS was invaluable. In Civita Castellana, policewoman Angela Nelli hopped into the passenger seat without hesitation, proud to steer me to the Palazzo Petroni and practise her English; she even rang every doorbell in the hopes of getting me inside. (No dice.) In Monterotondo, where there were memorable fireworks in 1738, the Palazzo del Grillo was so forlorn, I thought it was abandoned. But the carriage entrance was open and the grand staircase delivered me to the gracious Attilio, the town notary, who seemed untroubled by my surprise appearance and unlocked two spectacular painted rooms and a chapel, all that survive from the once great Palazzo Orsini-Barberini. While the beachgoers jammed the coastal roads, we enjoyed the history and scenery of the Roman roads which run inland to Terracina and Gaeta. The Via Flamina, the SS3, was good but the Appian Way, the SS7, was better. Travelling in the gaze of Sermoneta and Velletri, it was flat and straight and relatively empty of cars, and the air was perfumed with jasmine. Evidently the prince shut his windows around Capua and Aversa to avoid ‘qu’on nomme en Italien La Malaria’. If only because it was 35ºC, I kept the windows up and mostly stayed in the car. The Queen’s symbolic transfer from Papal to Neapolitan soil occurred in a tent that spanned the two states. Her apartment was in Rome, so to speak, and her husband’s was in his Kingdom of Naples. All I could find to mark the event were two weathered gateways standing innocuously off the side of the road in Terracina and San Biagio, separated by miles of marshland, farmland and beach. From San Biagio, the SS7 veered inland again, past hillsides resplendent with wild Scotch Broom and alluring stretches of the historic Appian Way. The Bentley sampled a bit of the antique paving and we surveyed the groves of olives and figs before dropping into Gaeta to meet the Sixth Fleet. The American on duty by the USS Whitney had already noticed the “really nice car” and immediately agreed to keep an eye on it overnight. I’ve driven in Rome and Boston, and around the Amalfi coast, but nothing prepares you for driving in Naples, even if you’ve been a passenger there before. Now 2,500km from Dresden, we were on cobblestone streets that reminded me of Saxony vor der Wende (before reunification), albeit in a swarm of scooters and cars. A squadron of police was positioned to keep drivers away from the waterfront and royal palace, yet they waved us through, no questions asked. (Was it the car, or the driver?) The Chiaia, where the prince loved to watch the fishermen and Vesuvius, is now a ‘big dig’ for an underground transit hub and a muchneeded pedestrian zone that will likely take years to complete. A city of history and extremes, of affluence and pizza, scratch the surface, overlook the garbage and the grime, and there is Herculaneum, the Grand Tour and my prince. Our giro ended in Naples, but his was just beginning, and the diaries continue, in an ever-maturing voice, until his homecoming in Dresden in September 1740. After his cure on

Ischia, which enabled him to stand unassisted and walk short distances with two canes, he would spend a year in the Eternal City, alle Quattro Fontane, with the Cardinals Albani as his Cicerones and spiritual guides. Then an enviable junket through Tuscany, Lombardy and the Veneto, while his staff sat quarantine, and six months in La Serenissima for carnival and the Sensa. A state visit to Vienna was the grand finale of a truly Grand Tour that continues to drive my life and research. Two road trips remain, if the prince is up for it

Maureen Cassidy-Geiger is an internationally recognised curator, educator and scholar, and a contributor to Departures and The Magazine Antiques. The Prince and I were hosted by: Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski, Dresden Kempinski Hotel Hybernská, Prague Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa, Ljubljana Hotel San Luca, Spoleto Gajeta Hotel Residence, Gaeta Romeo Hotel, Naples

above 1. Taschenberg Palace Dresden 2. Pillnitz Palace Dresden 3. Lobkowicz Palace Prague 4. Palazzo Petroni Civita Castellana 5. Royal Palace Naples


b a c k o n t ra c k The Bentley legend was forged in motorsport – and many of its victories were accomplished by privateers, or ‘gentlemen racers’ as they were then known. As Rob Widdows reveals, the Continental Speed GT3 concept racing car revives a great tradition


n order to properly understand and appreciate the racing history of Bentley, first we need to be reminded that W.O. was not simply a designer who created some of the great cars of the 20th century. He was also a racing motorcyclist and an accomplished racing driver. Motor racing was his passion. He also clearly understood the importance of success on the track in Bentley’s worldwide marketplace. He would be extremely pleased to know that a new Continental Speed GT3 car is being built in Crewe almost a century after Bentley’s first race wins. Those early cars, with their 3 litre

racing engines, were prefixed with the letters ‘Ex.’ denoting that they were experimental. The first road car appeared in public in 1920 and two years later a production model with high compression pistons and an outside exhaust was sent to Indianapolis for the famous 500-mile race at the end of May. Bentley knew there was no chance he could beat racing cars developed for the oval Brickyard circuit but the plan was to go the distance, which it did. Perhaps more importantly, the Americans were impressed with its speed on the practice days. By the summer of 1921 Bentley had won its first race at the Brooklands Whitsun meeting. Two years later they went to Le Mans with W.O. himself supervising the pits. The company’s first London agent, John Duff – the original ‘Bentley Boy’ – had bought a new 3-litre tourer and had it prepared for racing, taking Bentley’s Experimental Department chief Frank Clement with him to France as co-driver. Victory was not to be but Duff set the first ever sports car lap record on his way to a highly encouraging fourth place. The first victory at La Sarthe came in 1924, Duff and Clement winning by almost a lap despite a 40-minute stop to remove a coachbuilder’s staple

from the gear linkage. The next two summers saw them beaten by the Lorraine-Dietrichs but then, in a truly remarkable run of success, they won Le Mans every year from 1927 to 1930 when the cars humiliated the opposition, taking the first four places. The fabulous ‘Speed Six’ had taken its place in the history of motor racing. Woolf Barnato, heir to a South African gold and diamond mining fortune, was the ultimate glamorous racer of the ‘Roaring Twenties’. He was highly skilled too, winning Le Mans for Bentley three times in a row from 1928 to 1930. W.O. described him as ‘the best driver we ever had, the best British driver of his day. He never made mistakes and always obeyed his orders.’ But Barnato, like all good Bentley Boys, was not averse to a bit of adventure and derring-do. He once wagered that his 6 ½ litre Bentley could not only beat the ‘Train Bleu’ express from Cannes to Calais, but that he would be in London before the train stopped in Calais. He collected his winnings when he reached the Conservative Club in St James’s just minutes ahead of the train. When Bentley ran into financial difficulties in 1926 he bought it, saving the famous name and its workforce, before it was eventually sold to Rolls-Royce.

“Many of them remember how it was when we went racing before, and won Le Mans, so the whole place is buzzing and they can’t wait for it all to be happening again. That’s what

racing does, it gets everyone excited.”

a car factory – that implies mass production – it’s a place where craftsmen are building cars with their hands, and there’s a lot skill in that. “When we have the first running prototype of the GT3 there will be a day when everyone can come and look at it, drink in the detail. Many of them remember how it was when we went racing before, and won Le Mans, so the whole place is buzzing and they can’t wait for it all to be happening again. That’s what racing does, it gets everyone excited.” A colleague of mine has a Bentley, a beautiful dark blue Mulsanne, and he was drawn to it having read stories of Bentley’s romantic racing heritage, knew it was named after that famous long straight at Le Mans. He is surely not alone. Speed with style remains the very essence of Bentley to this day


Rob Widdows is a feature writer for Motor Sport magazine and TV & Media consultant to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival. Words rob widdows

His words ring as true today as they did all those decades ago. Manufacturers go racing, not simply to improve the breed, to sell more cars, but also to inspire their customers. A modern Bentley is not just about quality and craftsmanship, it is just as much about performance. It was invariably W.O. himself who would hang out the ‘faster’ signs as his cars came rumbling past the pits. The founder was a pure racer at heart who lost no time in putting his engineering up against the best in the world. For a car maker to beat the best over 24 hours at Le Mans is as important today as it was when J.D. ‘Benjy’Benjafield, Sammy Davis, Tim Birkin and Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato flew the British Racing Green winged ‘B’ to the top of the world. Today, at the factory in Crewe, the workforce has been inspired by the presence of another racing car on the production line. The new Continental Speed GT3, revealed at the Paris Motor Show, has got pulses racing again. “There’s a real buzz about the place,” says Bentley Product and Motorsport PR Manager Mike Sayer. “They’re hungry for more information about what we’re doing, when the new car will run; everyone is waiting for more news with bated breath. We’re doing internal recruitment now and the response has been huge; people who work at Crewe are all passionate petrol-heads and they really want to get involved. “To get a job on what is a closely guarded project, a lot of it behind closed doors, means they can’t talk much about it in their lunch breaks and that all adds to the mystique of being part of the motorsport team. Being on the team is definitely seen as being a cool job. Bentley is not


Bentley’s racing heritage is one of the great adventures, making national heroes of its young drivers and always led from the front by W.O.’s insatiable appetite for ever better performance and new technologies. Not to mention his trademark grit and determination. Throughout the 1920s and ’30s the cars had continued to set a series of international and national speed records, with both the 3 litre and 4 ½ litre engines. These were mainly race distance records set by the works drivers but as late as 1939 Forrest Lycett set a new record for a standing start mile at 92.9mph. Two years earlier, using an 8 litre engine, he had recorded a blistering 81.50mph over just a kilometre within the confines of the Brooklands circuit. The works racing team had withdrawn from the fray at the end of 1930, as the Great Depression held the economy in its grasp, but Bentleys continued to compete in the hands of private owners like Tim Birkin who took on the might of Bugatti in his own stripped-down, supercharged version of the road-going car. It would be another 73 years before the Bentley Boys were back on the top step of the podium at the Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans. Right from the start W.O. had been acutely aware that success on the track, and squaring up to the opposition, would generate news headlines and in turn draw more people towards his cars. Back then his customers wanted reliability and speed but not necessarily in that order. ‘We did not lack publicity, especially around the middle of June, when the Daily Mail gave us their front page on a Monday morning!’ he recounted many years later.

on the road A Bentley fan for more than 40 years, salon owner Daniel Galvin believes the best is yet to come


I was 28 when I got my first Bentley. It was at the time when there were two big hair salons in London: Vidal Sassoon and Leonard. That was back when Rolls Royce and Bentley were still together, and when I first saw the Bentley I thought it was heaven! I told myself that I would work hard and get myself a Bentley. And eventually I did! While I was working at Leonard, I bought my first Bentley, a T-Series T1. When I opened my first salon in 1980, I bought a gold Bentley T2. Then in 1990 I bought another, a Mulsanne Turbo. I went into GTs going back nine years now. The one I currently own, a 2011 GT, light metallic silver with beige interior, is my third. Each one is different from the other and I feel like each one is an improvement on the last. I’ve always driven to and from work in my car; it’s about 14 or 15 miles each way. I have a highpressure job and there’s a lot of stress. The salon is 9,000 square feet and we have 110 people working there. The pressure is exciting and exhilarating. It’s a tight ship I have to run and we have clients every day ranging from pop stars to princesses. So when I get into my car to drive to work in the morning, or slip behind the wheel after a heavy day, I feel like I’m in my own universe. I feel safe and relaxed, and like it’s a little piece of heaven in my car. I drive everywhere and have done as many as 11,500 miles in one year. In addition to going to and from the salon, I love to visit the London neighbourhoods like Shoreditch and King’s Road and take in the street style. I think the most original style still comes from the street. I like to look at what the kids are wearing. Also, I take the car when I go on location for shoots, where it always gets attention.

When I was working with Nicole Kidman on Eyes Wide Shut, I showed up in the Mulsanne and she absolutely loved the car. Another time, Sir Richard Attenborough had hired me to work on a film. He spent more time talking about the car than the hair! Naturally, there have been some memorable events that have occurred in my cars. One time my Bentley went over an 80-foot drop. It was a huge bend on a road I didn’t know. The car went over the ravine with 22 gallons of petrol in the tank. It was amazing, but I walked away without a scratch! On another happier note, in 2006 I was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by HM the Queen. Of course, I went to Buckingham Palace in my Bentley. Taking my car through those arches was a memory that I’ll never forget. That was a day like no other! But aside from my adventures, there’s so much about the actual car that I love. The shape, the engineering, the design of the car is just beautiful. The loving care that goes into every detail, even little things like the way they lifted the eyebrows of the headlights on the GT. Then there’s the performance. The exhilaration of driving this car is incredible. The car is built like a tank. I like to describe the Bentley as the perfect English gentleman with a beast beneath its bonnet! I’ve been driving Bentleys for over 40 years now and I feel like they keep getting better. I often say perfection is a journey, not a destination. Bentley keeps getting closer to perfect. I hear there’s a new Continental Flying Spur that’s on the drawing board now. I think it will be fabulous! As told to Avis Cardella

on the road daniel galvin


Words Avis Cardella


on the road Daniel Galvin Bentley Continental GT

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The Bentley Magazine No.34  

Bentley Magazine Interviews Silvio Denz, LALIQUE’s Chairman

The Bentley Magazine No.34  

Bentley Magazine Interviews Silvio Denz, LALIQUE’s Chairman