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Editors Picks Ken Rivadeneira

The products, services and experiences Worth editors loved in 2015

Whether it’s outstanding service, impeccable artistry or exquisite manufacture, excellence can take many forms. But what a person defines as excellent also depends on his or her own individual taste. In the 2015 Editor’s Picks series,Worth staff members share their favorite products, services and experiences from the year. Here is senior editor Ken Rivadeneira’s list.



This Marrakesh hotel is a work of art.

This hotel, originally envisioned by King Mohammed VI as a private retreat within Marrakesh’s medina to host his royal guests, boasts remarkable feats of craftsmanship. More than 1,500 workers handmade the zellige tiles featured throughout the property. They also created the metal and cedar latticework found in the Royal Mohammed’s 53 three-story riads, the traditional Moroccan house, as well as other exquisite details like marquetry and stained glass. It’s the type of magnificence you never quite get used to—not as a result of discomfort but because the artistry is so palpable. It makes the entire hotel a work of art. Add to that service designed fit for a king, an incredible spa and hammam, three restaurants overseen by three-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno and you get a Moroccan experience that is hard to leave.
Jean-Claude Messant, general manager, jcmessant@royalmansour.ma, 212.529.808.080, royalmansour.com


A suitcase that manages to be eye-catching and functional.

I’m a big fan of this Scottish luggage brand that launched about five years ago. Its founder, Kevin Fox, is a product designer, and the thought that he puts into each bag is evident in their functionality. The brand is distinguishable by the rugged, rubber-like material it uses: military-grade EVA foam, a lightweight polymer most commonly used for protective gear such as helmets and knee guards. The waterproof exterior absorbs shocks and does not scuff easily, maintaining an eye-catching look while protecting the contents of the case.

One of Lat 56’s recent launches is this tough two-wheeled carry-on, which incorporates the EVA foam with ballistic nylon. I’ve been traveling with for the past three months and like it more than most suitcases I’ve owned in the last 20 years. Though it’s thinner than most carry-ons—it has fit the overhead compartment of even small, regional aircraft—I’ve been able to fill it with five complete outfits, casual and exercise clothes, two pairs of shoes and toiletries … with room to spare. It features organizational components like detachable mesh pouches and a suit-packing system that actually works, but my favorite feature is the external access to a pouch for your toiletries—in case you need to take them out while passing through security.
Price: $449
Contact: Rachel Stott, rachel.stott@lat56.com, 44.871.200.7756, lat56.com


A collector’s item to celebrate Spectre, the latest Bond film.

Okay, maybe a crystal ice bucket with the logo of a fictional international crime syndicate on the cabochon is a little gimmicky, but Bond geeks like me are legion, and we can all appreciate a good magnum of Bolly. Bond has been drinking Bollinger on film exclusively since 1979’s Moonraker—it made an earlier appearance in Live and Let Die—and even longer in the Ian Fleming books. To celebrate Spectre, the latest film, the Champagne house created this exquisite Saint-Louis crystal ice bucket that takes its shape from Bond’s signature gun barrel. The set comes with a magnum of Bollinger R.D. 1988, a full-bodied, extra-brut with a long maturation.
Price: $9,500
Jean-Claude Messant, general manager, jcmessant@royalmansour.ma, 212.529.808.080, royalmansour.com


A lightweight, deoconstructed suit that maintains a tailored look.

When I was fitted for this at designer Vivek Nagrani’s Upper East Side studio (known as “The Lodge,” where Nagrani also hosts occasional private events and dinners) in New York, I didn’t think it would become one of my favorite suits of the year. It consists of a deconstructed single-breast jacket made with lightweight 260-gram Dormeil wool. In the past I’ve stayed away from the deconstructed look—I like some structure to my jackets. But the New Branson suit keeps a tailored look despite its minimalism. The wool does not wrinkle easily, so I’ve been able to take this suit around the world without needing to have it steamed upon arrival at my hotel. Best of all, it’s almost weightless, like a second skin.
Price: $2,250, 212.684.4333, vknagrani.com


These boots make the toughest hikes seem like a walk in the park.

Ecco is one of those manufacturers that really understands its consumers, and that understanding is evident in the way it continually improves its products. For its BIOM Terrain Boa hiking boots, Ecco uses full-grain yak leather, which breathes more than regular cowhide, and has developed a patented construction that makes the boots virtually waterproof. I’ve had these boots for well over a year, taken them on more than 100 miles of trails and they fulfill their promise: As an avid hiker, I’ve stepped into ankle-deep creeks and been caught in hail and sleet storms, and my feet have yet to get wet, even as my fellow hikers have endured miserably soggy times on the trail. These boots have a rigid construction that make them feel more like a part of your body. And after a light wash, they look as good as new.
Price: $240, eccousa.com


Tequila’s smoky cousin is gaining popularity.

Judging by its rise in popularity among bartenders, Mezcal is finally gaining traction in the U.S. Look at any “craft cocktail” menu from New York to Miami to Los Angeles and you’ll find the smoky spirit making more than a cameo appearance. There are many delicious mezcals out there, but this one, distributed by William Grant & Sons, has my vote for consistency. It’s distilled the traditional way by fifth-generation mezcaleros in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. The tequila makers roast the agave over a fire pit for four days, mash it with a mule-drawn wheel and distill it in a copper tub. That painstaking process yields a refined yet peppery dark chocolate taste. The process limits how much of the tequila Montelobos can make, but growth isn’t co-owner Iván Saldaña’s priority. Equipped with a PhD in biochemistry and a vast knowledge of agave spirits, Saldaña insists that Montelobos has to be organic and sustainably produced. “If size means jeopardizing that, then fine, we won’t grow.”
Price: $50, montelobos.com


These alcohol-free grooming products are perfect for sensitive skin.

Some of the finance world’s most powerful businesspeople, including Carl Icahn and Rupert Murdoch, have come to family-owned Salon Fodera at the St. Regis New York for years for a cut and a shave, and for good reason: Its owner, Salvatore Fodera, and his sons are champion hairstylists and leaders in men’s grooming. This year they launched a line of men’s products, starting with a shave lotion that has changed my morning routine. The peppermint oil-based formulation, free of drying agents like alcohol, sulfates and sodium chloride that are typically found in men’s shaving creams, allows for a close shave and soothes sensitive skin. Fodera also has a replenishing mist that can be used as a moisturizing aftershave.
Shaving lotion, $25; replenishing mist, $35, 212.421.0002, salonfodera.com

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