December 02, 2013
Walt Danley Realty
6240 E. Cholla Ln., Paradise Valley, Arizona; $13.75 Million
La Casa Que Canta (aka the House of Song)—a 19,475-square-foot, nearly three-acre equestrian estate located in a private neighborhood in Paradise Valley, Arizona—is as memorable as its scenic location. (Camelback Mountain, the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and the McDowell Mountains surround the desert town.)
The owners, who built the property in 2009, chose the design elements found throughout from the United States, Spain, Mexico, India, Italy and Morocco, contributing to an intriguing mash-up of styles. Antique wood doors, ironwork by a local artisan, carved stone, European tiles and reclaimed wood floors highlight the five-bedroom home, which also has a guesthouse, 16 fireplaces and a wine cellar.
Outside features a full-sized riding arena and a three-stall barn with Spanish paving stones. The stables were built using timber from a barn in a hundred-year-old Czechoslovakian town in Nebraska. Taking full advantage of its desert locale, La Casa Que Canta has an outdoor area for barbecues and an idyllic courtyard pool and grotto, where a pathway of stone steps seems to be float over the water.
Contact: Walt Danley Realty; 480-991-2050; waltdanley.com.
December 02, 2013
Lancôme takes an extra-indulgent approach to gifts this year with an exclusive presentation of its year-old fragrance La Vie Est Belle. Teaming up with legendary Swiss music-box maker Reuge and crystal purveyor Baccarat, the brand has released a limited-edition collectible called La Vie Est Belle L'édition Féérique ($35,000): A bottle of La Vie Est Belle housed in a handmade music box with a mini Baccarat chandelier of nearly 200 crystals hanging above it. Just 15 of them were made.
The music box plays “Beautiful Days,” a song by the Belgian band Venus that was featured in the fragrance’s original campaign starring Julia Roberts. Its 144 notes—deciphered by Reuge using a process that involves a special keyboard of blades that vary in length according to each tone—ring out by pressing a button as the vase turns and the bottle catches the light.
Interpreting the spirit of the scent (lush with iris, patchouli and sweet culinary notes) was no small task, and creating one of these showstoppers is an absolute labor of love: Each takes 120 days of work by hand to produce. neimanmarcus.com.
November 28, 2013
At the first ski-in/ski-out wine cellar and tasting room in the world, located at The Little Nell in Aspen, Carlton McCoy, the property’s new wine director and the youngest master sommelier in the country, is taking full advantage of his 20,000-bottle collection. “I look at this as sort of a secret wine club,” he says. “This is not a cookie-cutter cellar tasting room. Everything is personal, from what you drink to the music you listen to.”
McCoy consults with guests to design a theme based on individual preferences, from a grand cru flight of Burgundies to Champagnes by smaller, lesser-known producers. After a final run on Aspen Mountain, skiers meet a concierge who will rack their skis and provide them with slippers, an alpaca blanket and glass of private-label Champagne. Tastings (from $500 for up to six guests) take place in an intimate, custom-designed space in the wine cellar (complete with housemade charcuterie and a local cheese plate), which allows McCoy to pull bottles on the fly.
“This is a great opportunity to have wine you cannot access anywhere else in the world,” he says. “The sky’s the limit.” For inquiries, e-mail email@example.com; 675 E. Durant Ave.; 970-920-4600; thelittlenell.com.
November 28, 2013
Photograph of infant wearing bowler hat and sunglasses while standing on Monterey chair, c. 1940, Wolfosnia Collection by Bruce Weber
Fans of celebrated photographer Bruce Weber—renowned for his contributions to art, fashion, advertising and film—can enjoy a double helping of his work this month, thanks to the latest installment of his literary-and-art-journal series and a compilation of his documentaries.
All-American Volume Thirteen: Born Ready (teNeues.com, $125) lauds a variety of brave, risk-taking personalities via words and photos. Weber, who thinks it’s a dying art to be a character in the world today, profiles Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, who runs the organization that the late movie producer Ray Stark started to help guide young men out of gang life in Los Angeles. Then there’s Micky Wolfson, an art collector who created his own museum, and Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who challenged the Defense of Marriage Act and won. There’s even a spin through the world of pro motocross racing.
Bruce Weber: The Film Collection ($60 for four DVDs) is no less impressive or thought-provoking, featuring four of the artist’s documentaries, including Let’s Get Lost (1988), an Oscar-nominated look at jazz trumpet player Chet Baker, and Chop Suey, a look back at Weber’s career. “My camera lets me flirt with life,” he once said. We’re lucky enough to see the results.
November 28, 2013
Courtesy of Intrav
When Linda Wischmeyer, president of the private-jet company Intrav, is asked what surprises people most about the brand of flying she deals in, her answer is simple. “That this type of bespoke, first-class, around-the-world travel even exists,” she says.
Intrav’s itineraries for 2014 and 2015 do sound nearly too good to be true. Its inaugural Timeless Destinations trip (April 7–May 1, 2014 or September 8–October 2, 2014; from $99,950) focuses on eight destinations—including Rio de Janeiro, Bora Bora and Istanbul—and is a classic around-the-world journey that recalls a style of travel that really hasn’t been experienced in decades.
Other expeditions include an African journey (February 26–March 21, 2015; from $65,950) through the likes of Madagascar, Marrakech and Tanzania, and a Seven Wonders trip around the globe (January 31–February 24, 2015; from $109,950) that touches down in Bali; Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Peru; Easter Island, Chile; Fes, Morocco; Sri Lanka; Rwanda and the north or south island of New Zealand. Getting there really is half the fun, thanks to no fatiguing connections and Intrav’s custom-designed Boeing 757-200ER. Big enough for 50 passengers, the plane is flush with details like 180-degree flat-bed seats throughout the cabin, in-flight WiFi, an on-board chef and caterer and an open bar.
“Intrav recognizes that people are seeking highly personalized experiences that leave them with enriching memories long after their bags are unpacked,” says Wischmeyer. “We offer more than a trip. It’s a transcendent journey that leaves an indelible memory.” Call for prices; 206-209-5770; intravjet.com.
November 25, 2013
The Macallan Masters of Photography Elliott Erwitt Edition
If there’s one thing that excellent photography and choice Scotch have in common, it’s the knowledge that timing is everything. For the fourth edition of its Masters of Photography collection, The Macallan offers its most ambitious campaign yet, releasing 58 brand-new single-cask whiskies in collaboration with photographer Elliott Erwitt, who recognizes that it’s more than just timing that the two crafts share. “It’s the ability to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary,” he says.
The brand commissioned the photographer to record the spirit of Scotland in 158 images shot from around the country. Fifty-eight of his favorite photographs were then paired with a limited-edition Scotch, handpicked by the brand’s whisky maker Bob Dalgarno.
“I always say that whisky enables you to take a journey,” Dalgarno says. “Upon the initial nosing I was able to picture myself in the frame [of Erwitt’s images]. This allowed me to use the whisky to help describe the surroundings.”
For instance, a photograph of a nude woman running on a beach was paired with a whisky displaying “no inhibitions,” characterized by hints of salt and a “cheeky sweet vanilla core.” Each of the single malts comes in a handmade glass flask tucked within the pages of Erwitt’s photo-archival book ($1,500). The corresponding 11-inch-by-14-inch print signed by the photographer completes the package. Only 35 of each of the exclusive pairings were made. themacallan.com.
November 25, 2013
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.
If you’re in search of a travel workout that doubles as a memorable cultural experience, the new Thai boxing lessons offered at Napasai, an Orient-Express resort on Koh Samui island in Thailand, deliver.
Set amid the tropical forest, the hotel’s newly minted outdoor Thai boxing ring allows guests to try the national tradition with instruction from local professionals ($50 an hour). Characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet, the centuries-old martial art, also known as “the art of eight limbs,” is a full-body workout, increasing stamina, strength and flexibility. But it’s not just the physical benefits that make Muay Thai an excellent workout.
“During the lesson you learn how to control your body, your moves and also your temper,” says general manager Stephan Post. “People who do Thai boxing over a long period of time tell me they feel more balanced, self-confident and handle confrontation in a controlled manner.”
Feeling inspired? The hotel offers a post-workout excursion to a Thai boxing stadium, where you can watch the real thing in action. Rooms start at $230; 65/10 Baan Tai, Maenam; 800-237-1236; napasai.com.
November 25, 2013
Courtesy of The Holiday Workshop
It may not be December, but award-winning event planner Bronson van Wyck and renowned interior designer Celerie Kemble have already decked the halls of their Holiday Workshop pop-up on New York’s Upper East Side. “We were looking for a way to combine our work in a way that felt fun and fabulous,” says Kemble. “And we both like a party.”
Set in a townhouse off Madison Avenue, the emporium does feel more like a lavish Christmas soiree than a boutique. At this holiday party, however, everything is for sale. “It’s a mash-up of the English countryside, Warsaw, Paris, Antwerp, New York City, Argentina, Mexico City and Arkansas,” says van Wyck of the collection.
Highlights include a stocked bar cart (from $3,850) complete with vintage glassware and van Wyck’s Arrowhead Farms cocktail mixes and a tartan tablecloth ($250) and monogrammed mint julep cups (set of four, $275). Living areas are decorated with Kemble’s red velvet Napoleon sofa (from $4,485) and whip-stitched leather nesting tables ($3,885). A selection of curated Christmas trees is also on offer, like the Two Turtle Doves (from $17,500), which comes trimmed with thousands of lights, white owls, handpicked ornaments and pheasant feathers—“so many,” van Wyck adds, “that [it] feels like it might take off into the wintry sky.” 19 E. 75th St.; 212-242-3004; theholidayworkshop.com.
November 21, 2013
Miami-based Giovanni Theodoli Marine Manufacturing (GTMM), owned by yacht-world veteran Giovanni Theodoli, is one of the newest luxury speedboat companies to enter the market. Theodoli has quite the boating pedigree. His mother, the Marchesa Katrin Theodoli, owns famed Magnum Marine (magnummarine.com), which builds bespoke high-speed yachts that sell for between $1.5 and $10 million. (The king of Spain and Lenny Kravitz are clients.)
Theodoli grew up on the water in Magnum boats, often sailing from Miami to the Exumas for the day or summering in the Mediterranean to test out new models. After working at his family’s company for years, he recently partnered with boating veteran Scott V. Smith, a former world champion offshore powerboater, to launch his own high-performance powerboat venture, which he says takes a European approach to design without sacrificing speed or strength.
“We’re coming at it from a different vantage point,” he explains. “We didn’t do a typical offshore design with the standard white upholstery or over-the-top paint job. We went for a streamlined look.”
The fully customizable boats are elegant and clean—“like a Bentley on the water,” says Theodoli, who pares back dashboard controls for a minimalist look, upholsters interiors in leather and keeps to subdued paint hues. There are currently two offshore powerboat models available: the GTMM27 (from $250,000) and the GTMM39 (from $600,000), with the latter topping out at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour. gtmm.com.
November 21, 2013
Courtesy of The Langham, Chicago
Chuan Spa, perched on the fourth floor of the new Langham Chicago hotel, is all about the symbolic sojourn to serenity. Granted, most spas are. But what sets this one apart is decor and treatments based on an East-meets-West concept imported from Hong Kong: Chicago is the first and only city in the United States to introduce a spa built entirely on the ancient philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The menu proffers massages, facials and an array of well-known TCM treatments (cupping, moxibustion [the application of heat to acupoints], acupuncture) to restore balance and increase overall energy, or qi.
My recent visit began with a thorough questionnaire to help guage which of the five Chinese “elements” (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) defined me. Did I sweat at night? Did I prefer salty foods to sweet? Did I tend to laugh or groan? From there, treatments were fine-tuned to my individual body chemistry and imbalances.
Moving from light spaces to dark ones and through a series of dramatic archways (“moon gates”) to reach the spa’s interior conveyed a departure from one world to another. Services kicked off in the locker room with a stunning bathing ritual. An herbal sauna filled with fresh mint, sage, rosemary and thyme (delivered fresh from the kitchen daily) loosened my tight muscles and opened my respiratory system. A massive block of pink Himalayan sea salt in the salt stone sauna releases negative ions in the intense heat, calming the lymphatic system. The hot and cold aromatherapy showers were invigorating, and the chamomile-scented Oriental steam room eased away any remaining tension.
The massage (deep and efficient) used oil that jived with my body type, and the signature Chuan Yu facial, based on traditional gua sha therapy, focused on lymphatic drainage instead of wrinkle reduction (no aggressive exfoliation, no extractions). A piece of jade was gently scraped over my face and the meridian points along my body (including the feet) to increase circulation. A a nutrient-rich mask finished things off.
Spa day culminated in the Dream Room, where I munched dried fruit from within a Matrix-y looking device called the Four Senses Lounger. Exclusive to Chicago’s Chuan Spa, the lit-from-within chair offers interactive elements that engage the four senses and increase a meditative state. As if I could have been any more relaxed. 330 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-923-7650; chicago.langhamhotels.com.