Ritzy Business

“Take care of the luxuries, and the necessities will take care of themselves,” Dorothy Parker once said. We totally agree. That’s what this is all about: big and little indulgences that will have you feeling truly pampered. Doesn’t that sound simply grand?


Courtesy Eleven Experience

By Katie Shapiro

As I write this from my home office, the scent of Japanese quince fills the air from a Seda France candle burning on my desk—an intentional reminder of my recent adventure in northern Iceland.

The same candles are constantly lit in every room of Deplar Farm, one of many subtle, curated touches throughout the luxury property. It’s run by Eleven Experience, a unique Crested Butte-based travel company whose name reflects the promise of a getaway that goes above a perfect 10.

Chad Pike, a senior managing director at the private equity firm Blackstone Group, founded Eleven Experience in 2011. Today the company operates seven remote locations around the world (an eighth is scheduled to open in Chile in February) and is leading the charge in experiential adventure travel.

Deplar Farm is the apotheosis of the company’s vision: Tucked deep in Fljót Valley on the mountainous Troll Peninsula, the former sheep station and surrounding 300 acres of land were transformed in 2016 into a 28,000-square-foot, 13-room retreat—its classic Icelandic style kept intact with reclaimed black timber cladding and a living roof. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame the surrounding peaks and allow for prime Northern Lights peeping from any vantage point. Inside, Deplar Farm defines modern farmhouse chic, with every detail designed by No. 12 Interiors, a firm run by Pike’s wife, Blake.

Last fall, my beau and I ended an epic two-week journey through the Land of Fire and Ice with a stay at the farm. As we pulled up in our rented Land Rover Defender, we were greeted with two flutes of champagne, and after checking into our room, we met our own personal adventure guide, who helped us plot out the activities we’d enjoy during our stay. From whale watching, kayaking, and horseback riding to hiking, fishing, and clay shooting, any outdoor pursuit you choose is led by one of Eleven Experience’s expert in-house guides.

Then it was down to the main geothermal pool, where sommelier Kristijan Gačal was awaiting us behind the swim-up bar for a wine and cheese tasting. The naturally warm water flows indoors to the spa, where you can get a massage on demand, take a yoga class, or experience an isopod flotation tank. Through a set of sliding glass doors, we found an outdoor Viking sauna built directly into a hill—perfect for soothing sore muscles.

Guests gather in the bar every night before and after dinner for drinks and snacks on the wraparound deck or over a game of Ping Pong, darts, or billiards. All meals are communal in the dining room, with a wood-burning fireplace. Executive chef Garðar Garðarsson, named Iceland’s 2018 Chef of the Year, sources ingredients locally and sustainably to prepare customized menus for every palette, a modern take on traditional Nordic cuisine.

Our time at Eleven Experience’s Deplar Farm was a perfect 12 with just one complaint: Once you visit, it’s the only place you’ll ever want to go again. We’re already counting down the days for a return trip with family in 2019.

From $2,200 per night; all inclusive based on double occupancy


Photo by Emily Teater

By Andrew Weaver

We asked Kaitlin Skilken, a Denver private chef who will come into your home to cook a custom meal for you, to prepare us a luxurious fall dinner.

How did you become a private chef?
I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember. After college, I moved to New York City to work in the art world, but quickly discovered it wasn’t for me. I found myself wanting to cook in my free time, so I found a day job in event entertainment and went to school at the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center in SoHo) in the evenings. I moved to Denver in 2011 and started working at Vert Kitchen. Finally, I decided it was time to do something on my own. I’ve been running my business full time since September 2017.

How do you plan meals for your clients?
To start, I like to have a conversation to gauge what the client is looking for. In order for me to deliver a custom meal that is exactly what you want, I need to get to know you. I ask a lot of questions. Then I send a variety of menu options and have a follow-up conversation. I always ask my clients to be brutally honest. The meal isn’t about me—it should reflect the exact desires of the person who will be eating it.

What makes this meal special?
This is a rack of lamb with a port cherry reduction, carrot purée, asparagus, and crispy leeks—a perfect fall dish. The contrast of the rich port and cherries with the creamy, sweet carrots, along with the saltiness of the leeks, really gives the whole plate a lot of textural variety, which is so important in a dish. And lamb is such a decadent meat; there’s really nothing like it. For dessert, we have red wine–poached pears with fall spices, almond cake, and a mascarpone whipped cream. There’s some cinnamon and clove in there, a little bit of all- spice, and a little rosemary. There aren’t many fruit desserts that work well in the winter, but this one—because it’s served warm—is an exception.

Prices depend on number served and ingredients.


Courtesy Oxotic

By Andrew Weaver

A touch of the gas pedal produces a sound like a few dozen chainsaws buzzing to life. The V-10 engine does zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds. Even the low-slung seats are preeminently badass: so low to the ground, you can see every pock and pebble in the road, which only adds to the adrenaline-pumping insanity of driving a Lamborghini Superleggera Gallardo.

At $298,000, the Gallardo costs about as much as a six-bedroom home in Detroit, but don’t let that intimidate or distract you from the real pleasures of test driving what is probably the world’s most conspicuous Italian supercar: the superb handling and gut-punching speed. On a recent cruise with the touring company Oxotic, based in Golden, I took an orange model for a spin along Golden Gate Canyon Road, 20 miles west of Denver. Hitting the Gallardo’s gas is a sensation better understood by the intestines than the brain, I quickly learned, and the handling—the hair-trigger sensitivity of the wheel—is so precise that after a while I felt I was steering the car with my mind. Left, I thought, and the Gallardo was already going left. Right, I thought, and we swung right. Keep it under 75, I thought: not too fast. On that point, however, the Gallardo had ideas of its own.

Supercar driving packages are $95 to $800 and range from 15-mile to 105-mile tours. From Nov. 1, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2019, all Oxotic packages are buy-one-get-one-free.

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