In our editorial series The Macallan Rare Cask Society—sponsored by The Macallan Rare Cask—we will be looking at the qualities and characteristics that define Scotch whisky. Click here for more of our Rare Cask Society.
Whether you prefer historic theaters or 270-ton private yachts, 2014 has been a particularly exciting year for that sophisticated gentleman who has an eye on style and substance. Whether must-have accessories or extravagant splurges, our favorite premium debuts from 2014 all have one thing in common: a dedication to the finest quality money can buy.
The Daily Telegraph described Hotel Zoo’s November reopening as “a welcome return to glory”—and indeed, its refurbishment is nothing short of dazzling. The Berlin establishment— surely among the German capital’s most elegant buildings—is renowned for once having accommodated the likes of Sophia Loren and Marlene Dietrich, and its opulent makeover ensures that it’s fit once again for A-list stars—or those looking to charm them. Hotel Zoo’s 15 suites are especially palatial, with gorgeous stand-alone bathtubs, custom-made fireplaces, and settees from George Smith. The hotel’s Grace Bar, meanwhile, serves classic cocktails born of the early to mid-20th century, and the venue’s gold-sprinkled wall and an amethyst counter that’s lit from below help create a truly decadent atmosphere.
According to Bon Appétit magazine, Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C. is America’s best new restaurant of 2014, and despite the hype, we’re not one to disagree. This top-notch dining spot incorporates French, Italian, Mexican, Southeast Asian, and Deep South ingredients and influences, with dishes like whole-grilled quail, pork sausage and habanero salad, and—for the traditionally discerning—caviar and oysters all part of one thoroughly mouth-watering menu. Such sumptuous specialties have already put the farmhouse-esque eatery firmly on gourmands’ radars, in spite of the Barracks Row restaurant having opened as recently as August 2014. And Rose’s Luxury is set to further impress, according to chef Aaron Silverman, who said in a recent interview with Eater DC, “It’s 60 percent of where I want it to be.” Bring on the remaining 40.
Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay timepiece was first unveiled in 2012 to rave reviews, inspiring awe among vintage watch connoisseurs with its deep-red and dark-chocolate tones. What’s more, for those unable to get their hands on one, or who just fancied a little variety, there was good news, as the Heritage Black Bay returned in 2014 with a frosty new “Midnight Blue” finish. Featuring a blue leather strap or stainless steel bracelet, the 41 mm timepiece has, thanks to its icy hue, been compared to the pieces that Tudor crafted for the French Navy in the 1950s. Did we mention that it also honors the traditions of quality and reliability of Tudor’s sister company, Rolex? Tick tock.
London is a city where top-knotted hipsters rub shoulders with sartorially slick executives, so it’s perhaps no surprise that male grooming is back in vogue here. And if the menfolk of the English capital are looking sharper than ever, it may be partly down to Covent Garden’s Ruffians. Having first set up shop in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2012, founder Andrew Cannon branched out to take his award-winning barbershop south of the border in late 2013. Inside, patrons can sip on bespoke whisky and coffee while getting that buffed and polished look. A vacuum system to remove any stray hairs helps ensure you’ll be supremely sleek and impeccably smart before you step out of Ruffians’ doors.
Maldives retreat Cheval Blanc Randheli attracted international attention in 2014 when, not long after its launch, Prince William and Kate Middleton spent a week enjoying its spectacular Noonu Atoll surroundings. And spectacular is certainly the word, for each of the resort’s 45 decadent villas includes a private infinity pool and access to a blissful white-sand beach and snorkeling sites. Then when guests dry off to take a break from adventure or relaxation, there’s the bonus of being able to purchase some exclusive items from the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy range. Moreover, despite the destination being a recent addition, the U.K.’s The Daily Telegraph has already named it among the Maldives’ “most luxurious” resorts.
Known as the “Grand Old Lady of New Zealand theater,” Christchurch’s Grade A-listed Isaac Theatre Royal reopened in November 2014 following large-scale restoration work. Having hosted world-class performances throughout its 106-year history, the theater’s debut season après renovation continued that tradition, including performances by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the Kostroma Russian Dance Company, and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. Such entertainment aside, though, the biggest attraction at the last remaining Edwardian venue of its kind in the “land of the long white cloud” is arguably its hand-painted dome. This stunning focal point was inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and is said to be among the most sizable pieces of its ilk in Australasia.
The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, or Design Museum of Barcelona, is the Catalan capital’s latest cultural attraction. Located in the city’s Design Hub building in Glòries Square, the brand-new addition—it opened in mid-December—has 70,000 items under its roof. Exhibitions, spread across the museum’s over 64,500 square feet, range from traditional art to contemporary poster design, with a temporary display titled “Design for Life” commencing in February 2015. The new museum was itself designed by Majorcan firm Atlas, which was, incidentally, worried that its proposals were “too modern and risky”—perhaps reason in itself to schedule a visit.
Promising ultramodern equipment and a luxurious, industrial-style interior, Republic Fitness is set to reshape bodies affected by seasonal indulgence when it unveils in Boston in December. The company behind it, the family-run Healthworks Group, is recognized for its hip women-only facilities, but Republic Fitness will be open to males as well as females in the know. Located at Two International Place, the gym promises “premium amenities” and an “exceptional fitness experience” provided by some of the city’s best personal trainers.
Debuting at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, the Veloce 140’ was described by website Superyachts as “the new jewel in the crown of the Benetti’s Class Fast Displacement range.” And for good reason: with its customizable interior, 252-foot deck and 22-knot (25 mph) top speed, this is a craft of the highest order. The living area is sleek and contemporary—though it’s unlikely that much time will be spent inside, given the yacht’s ocean-facing terrace and central pool. Traveling at 12 knots, the Veloce 140’ has a range of 1,250 nautical miles, making it the perfect vessel for a luxuriously lazy cruise.
Since it made a splash at Dubai’s 2014 Big Boys Toys expo, Triton’s 1000/3 LP submarine has propelled itself to the top of many a luxury wish list. As its name suggests, it’s capable of plunging to depths of 1,000 feet and can accommodate three passengers. The “LP,” meanwhile, stands for “low profile”—a nod to the vessel’s compact nature. And, thanks to a transparent hull, exploring the deep and spotting rare marine life is practically a cinch. Triton prices the 1000/3 LP at a cool $3.15 million—inclusive of pilot training.