Robb Report (USA) - - DEPARTMENTS - Paul Croughton Ed­i­tor in Chief

Be­tween host­ing for 20 and try­ing to ap­pease tod­dlers and grand­par­ents and ev­ery­one in be­tween, there’s the joy of gift giv­ing. And ac­tu­ally, that is fun. There’s noth­ing like see­ing the face of the ones you love turn from ex­cite­ment and cu­rios­ity to thrill and de­light once they un­cover the per­fectly cho­sen gift you have thought­fully ac­quired—some­thing they never knew they wanted and would never buy for them­selves. At least, that’s the plan.

When I was edit­ing the Bri­tish edi­tion of Robb Re­port, we asked no­table critic and au­thor Stephen Bay­ley for his take on the whole present busi­ness, be­cause it can be a vex­a­tious sub­ject.

His re­sponse was that he once bought his wife a chain saw be­cause he hoped it “clev­erly ad­ver­tised my so­phis­ti­cated and revo­lu­tion­ary ap­proach to sex-based clichés while also ac­knowl­edg­ing her keen in­ter­est in out­door pur­suits.” You can prob­a­bly guess what hap­pened.

So this is­sue, in an at­tempt to save you from trips to the hard­ware store, we scoured the globe to find the finest gifts imag­in­able. And prob­a­bly a few that aren’t. I mean, who writes on their Christ­mas list: “111-day global sa­fari tak­ing in 18 en­dan­gered species in 12 coun­tries, vis­it­ing both ends of the earth, and do­nat­ing con­sid­er­able sums to con­ser­va­tion char­i­ties and phil­an­thropic causes as we go”? Well, that’s one of the in­spi­ra­tional ideas we have for you in our 25-page gift guide, which also in­cludes one-off op­por­tu­ni­ties you’ll find nowhere else, such as a ski trip with Olympic cham­pion Bode Miller as your per­sonal guide, or a life story writ­ten by the same guy who penned the of­fi­cial bi­ogra­phies of Meryl Streep and Al Pa­cino. Or a por­trait (yours or some­one else’s) crafted in one sit­ting by the great Ital­ian artist Francesco Cle­mente.

Plus, there’s the chance to own a num­ber of cus­tom pieces, from beau­ti­ful bikes and boats to a be­spoke ar­cade ma­chine and an en­tire cus­tom wardrobe made by Ja­pan’s finest tai­lors and shoe­mak­ers, and cu­rated by Robb Re­port colum­nist and menswear or­a­cle Mark Cho. That’s one I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to be mak­ing hints about at home, in case any­one’s stuck for ideas.

Al­ter­na­tively, you might get some illumination from an­other of our colum­nists, An­nie Duke, this is­sue. Her doc­toral work in psy­chol­ogy was put to ex­cel­lent use dur­ing her ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional poker player for nearly 20 years. She writes on the psy­chol­ogy of gift giv­ing on page 131 and re­veals what your present says about you. Be warned.

If I had to choose a car to un­wrap over the hol­i­days (what an ar­du­ous few hours that would be), I might sur­prise a few read­ers and not go straight to the su­per­car sec­tion of my mind’s fore­court. In­stead, I’d prob­a­bly think of some­thing a lit­tle taller than an

As­ton Martin: an SUV.

I know, I know, but the ones I’ve been for­tu­nate to ex­pe­ri­ence have fi­nally solved my sin­gu­lar co­nun­drum: How can I en­joy driv­ing with a bad back that makes get­ting into any­thing lower than a trac­tor ex­cru­ci­at­ing?

I’m not alone. The rise in pop­u­lar­ity of the SUV has been marked over re­cent years, but what de­lights the CEOs of the mar­ques we speak to is who is buy­ing them. It’s not just well­heeled fam­i­lies with mul­ti­ple bikes and bags that need stow­ing, but cou­ples young and old seek­ing com­fort and space along with ex­hil­a­rat­ing per­for­mance and lux­u­ri­ous in­te­ri­ors. In­deed, when I first got be­hind the wheel of the Ben­tayga, Bent­ley’s ad­di­tion to the canon, in Monaco a few years ago, it quickly took the breath away. Say what you want about its looks and pro­file, but you can’t quib­ble about the in-car ex­pe­ri­ence. And a week­end in a Range Rover Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy tour­ing the English south coast was more re­lax­ing and com­fort­able than if I’d been at home on the sofa.

All of which got me think­ing: How well do th­ese ve­hi­cles main­tain that su­pe­rior ex­pe­ri­ence once the go­ing gets tough and un­even? That thought prompted us to re­view eight of the best beasts in the cat­e­gory in one of the most sen­sa­tional land­scapes in this coun­try: the road to the Grand Canyon. We thought it was such a good idea that we in­vited some of our RR1 mem­bers— read­ers who live the life they see on th­ese pages—to join the fun. You can read about our Dream Ma­chines event on page 206. If you fancy be­ing at the next one, drop me a line. Or let me know what you make of the mag­a­zine’s new re­design, or any­thing else, at feed­[email protected]­bre­port.com.

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