Despite recent hard times, the luxury market shows continued signs of growth around the world, with...
Luxury: First-class Gadgets, Restaurants and Hotels
First-class Gadgets, Restaurants and Hotels: Our experts Andy Walker, Harriet Nahrwold and Mary Gostelow share their recommendations for high-tech items, fine dining and luxury lodging that will make you feel like a million bucks
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but fancy gadgets really prove that you are living in the lap of luxury. Tech expert Andy Walker brings us some of the hottest high-end gadgets available to the luxury lover today.
Andy Walker is a journalist specializing in technology. He has published four books and also hosts a television show on the topic.
When it comes to audio, there’s no denying that Bang and Olufsen has long been the brand that says: “I am cool and I have cash.” The avant-garde design of the B&O line of electronics is a must for anyone who wants the cachet of owning the best in digital audio. One of the company’s latest gadgets is the sleek Bang and Olufsen Beosound 8, a gorgeous iPod/iPad/iPhone dock. It provides high-fidelity output in any room for your Apple device and includes an app called the Beoplayer that can be used to control your music.Price: US$1,000
When it comes to your television, you’ll want to go big to impress. A few years ago, there was a 100+ inch panel war between television makers, but a screen that size required a special order. This year, however, Sharp Electronics started shipping a mass-produced, 70-inch, LCD TV to the U.S.: the AQUOS Quattron LC-70LE732U. As long as you have a wall large enough, you can put it in a mansion of any size!Price: US$3,300
In the kitchen, the luxury gadget to have is the Total Blender Wildside from Blendtec. This high-tech blender comes with a four-inch blade inside a five-sided jug. The fifth side of the jug is designed to channel the contents precisely to the spinning blade at its fastest point of rotation. Those frozen bananas (reputed to be blender engineers’ biggest challenge) don’t stand a chance.Price: US$432
Carrying an iPhone 4 is a good way to prove that you have the means in mobile. It’s not just the phone that sets you apart – the apps matter. A few years ago, a $999 app called I Am Rich (which did nothing and was purely a status app) was presenting itself as the gold standard. Today, one of the priciest apps includes iVIP Black, a lifestyle app for millionaires that gives you exclusive access to privileges reserved for the elite. You have to provide you have one million pounds sterling (it’s a UK app) in personal assets before you are accepted into the club.Price: £599.99
SPEAKING OF SAPPHIRES
Looking for luxury in mobile phones? Check out Vertu, a subsidiary of Nokia. The brand’s first smartphone, the Constellation Quest, has a keypad and screen made of sapphire crystal, which makes it exceptionally scratchproof. The rest of the phone is encased in stainless steel and black leather. Need more? The Vertu Concierge service can be accessed by pushing a dedicated button that connects the user by phone or email with a lifestyle manager who can accommodate travel arrangements, dinner reservations, theater tickets and much more.Price: from US$7,900
Not just delicious food, but great service and a refined atmosphere, too – the art of dining in six cities around the world, according to our expert, Harriet Nahrwold.
Harriet Nahrwold is a journalist specializing in food and wine
who writes for several Chilean publications.
ELEVEN MADISON PARK, NEW YORK
THE FRENCH LAUNDRY, YOUNTVILLE, CALIFORNIA
Although the central United States boasts some noteworthy cuisine, the two coasts are home to the country’s most refined culinary expressions. While New York personifies luxury and personalized sophistication, California offers a more Mediterranean stamp. The restaurants of the East Coast garnish their dishes with a healthy dose of “seeing and being seen.” And in this respect, Eleven Madison Park delivers. In addition to a beautiful view of Madison Park, lovely ambiance and delicious food prepared by chef Daniel Humm, diners enjoy sharing the room with a variety of celebrities, a seasoning as delectable as the Perigord truffles. In California’s Napa Valley, The French Laundry, from owner/chef Thomas Keller, has reached dazzling heights. Its success is based on the use of first-rate North American ingredients, which are grown on a nearby farm, and on dishes inspired by the cuisine of the French countryside. That’s why The French Laundry has played to a full house for many years.Eleven Madison Park; 11 Madison Avenue, New York
The French Laundry; 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California
INDIAN ACCENT, NEW DELHI
The legendary wealth of the Far East shines through in its cuisine in the generous use of spices. Noted chef Manish Mehrotra, considered the father of the renaissance in Indian cuisine, runs Indian Accent, a refined and modern establishment that all visitors to New Delhi should try. Singapore – a true melting pot of Asian cultures – features a number of restaurants worthy of special mention, such as Jaan (par André). The panoramic view of the city from its location on the 70th floor of the Swissotel The Stamford is well worth the cost of dinner, as are the striking dishes created by André Chiang. The chef uses heirloom vegetables – including some nearly forgotten varieties such as black tomatoes – and other exclusive ingredients, all prepared with contemporary techniques.Jaan; 2 Stamford Road, Singapore
Indian Accent; 77 Friends Colony (West), New Delhi
D.O.M., SÃO PAULO
If there’s a Latin American restaurant worthy of a host of stars, it’s Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in São Paulo. Chef Atala – who came to cooking almost by accident – creates dishes that achieve a perfect mix of classic French ingredients (like truffles and foie gras) with Amazonian ingredients bearing exotic names and unique flavors. This modern and simple establishment is also famous for quality service and a terrific wine list.Rua Barão de Capanema 549, Jardins
France is synonymous with fine dining, and Paris is the world capital of restaurants. Especially notable among its selection of eateries are two award-winning L’Atelier locations from Joël Robuchon (Etoile and Saint-Germain). Starting with the black and red décor, everything here is a study in contrast: between tradition and modernity; between strict culinary rules and creativity; and between formality and freedom. Robuchon incorporates Japanese and Spanish influences into his cuisine, which finds expression in sublimely simple dishes, literally prepared before the guests’ eyes.L’Atelier Etoile; 133, Avenue des Champs Elysèes
L’Atelier Saint-Germain; 5, rue de Montalembert
A selection of the world’s finest, most exotic (and expensive) hotels, as compiled by our expert, Mary Gostelow.
Mary Gostelow is editor-at-large of the online magazine WOW Travel from the premier lodging Website kiwicollection.com.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL FIRENZE, FLORENCE, ITALY
An exquisite Renaissance palace just a 15-minute walk from the Duomo. Some of the 116 rooms, like the 2,200-square-foot Presidential Suite, have medieval frescoes, and all include luxurious Lorenzo Villoresi toiletries. The general manager Patrizio Cipollini is a local.www.fourseasons.com/Florence
LIME WOOD, LYNDHURST, ENGLAND
This 29-room, Regency-style mansion is set on 30 acres of park and surrounded by England’s 216-square-mile New Forest. A two-and-a-half hour drive from London, Lime Wood exemplifies modern rural luxury. Herb House Spa offers luxurious treatments on three floors under a living roof. The general manager is Englishman Justin Pinchbeck.www.limewood.co.uk
BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL AND BUNGALOWS, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA
The 203-room, Hollywood A-List hangout has added a pair of 5,920-square-foot Presidential Bungalows, with private pools, on its 12 acres of lush gardens. Be sure to reserve a table in the Polo Lounge, set with finest linens and Bernardaud porcelain. Your meal might start with Balik salmon with caviar. This luxury has been overseen for the past decade by legendary general manager Alberto del Hoyo.www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com
PARK HYATT SHANGHAI, CHINA
Stretching up 101 floors, this hotel is another soaring artwork. Tony Chi-designed interiors feature modern Chinese art, like a pair of Yuka Namekawa sculptures in the 1,938-square-foot Diplomatic Suite, along with Bang & Olufsen audio and 300-count linens. Luxury is also the 85th-floor spa with a 20-meter pool. General manager Christophe Sadones hails from Luxembourg.http://hyatt.com
ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH, MALDIVES
With over 100 acres of private island in the Indian Ocean, this exclusive lodging offers 130 villas, many over the water with outdoor hammocks and steps down into the turquoise ocean – like the 1,600 square-foot villa 101. Dine on the best-possible sushi, take a dip in a 30-meter infinity pool over the ocean and enjoy the satisfaction of having a reservation (Christmas usually has a waitlist of over 150). The new general manager is Australian Mark Hehir.www.oneandonlyresorts.com
RITZ-CARLTON MILLENIA, SINGAPORE
Stunning art is also a fine luxury. There are over 3,000 pieces, including Calders, Stellas and Chihuly glassworks, at this sleek 608-room Ritz-Carlton, which itself looks like a 32-floor sculpture with a hole in its middle. All the bathtubs, including those in the popular 689-square-foot corner suites, look out through octagonal windows. The general manager is Canadian Peter Mainguy.www.ritzcarlton.com
From the simplest accessories to a stunning automobile, luxury never fails to make us shine....