From huskies to supercars, the wilderness of Finland is transformed is transformed into a billionaires’ playground by McLaren. Words: Adam Hay-Nicholls
GQ is in Sölden, Austria, 3048 metres above sea level and inside the summit of the Gaislachkogl Mountain. The slate grey entrance door is concealed against the side of the cliff face, and as it swings ajar it triggers the searing horns, piano and strings of Writing’s On The Wall, the opening theme to James Bond’s 24th mission.
My wild Indonesian beach horse had a split personality. We headed to the tip of the three-mile-long Nihiwatu beach, me giving the animal polite but firm kicks to the ribs, yet it refused to so much as trot or go near the water. Then, and I knew this was going to happen, once we turned around and it saw where it lived it went, in two-wheeled terms, from being a push bike to a Ducati 1299 Superleggera. It went faster than anything I’ve seen at Ascot. It rode through the surge of the Indian Ocean, which was fun for the first mile. But as I pulled on the reins, and the nag refused to heel, the cartilage in my back went on strike and it felt like nails were being hammered into my spine. So, there I am, flat-out aboard one tonne of pot roast, and I see a couple on a romantic sunset stroll. Rather than scream HELP I decided to grit my teeth and try to look cavalier as I galloped past, leaning backwards ever further, knowing that at the end of the beach was a huge infinity pool and no way round it. Finally, as the frontier of sunbathers appeared, it slammed on its anchors, pulled a 90-degree left into its stable and, shaking and sweating, I prized myself off its saddle and gingerly slipped off.
Velaa Private Island, in the Maldives, is a resort for billionaires by billionaires. Where else, in addition to the standard private pool and butler, does the hotel provide a personal submarine? Welcome to the real James Bond island.
As I thunder north up the M6, I am fulfilling a mission 30 years in the making. I’m at the wheel of a Jag and the destination is Uncle Monty’s cottage. I am re-enacting Withnail & I. Continue reading
Cliveden House: An estate synonymous with the swinging Sixties; of power, sex, class, beauty, and the corruption of the British establishment itself. An Aston Martin seemed the perfect car with which to visit.
Throughout its history, the lure of the America’s Cup has seduced tycoons, pioneers and moguls. As the 35th America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton unfurls this month in Bermuda, THE RAKE takes a look at the dramas on land and sea that make the world’s longest running sporting event such a compelling spectacle. By Adam Hay-Nicholls.
Summoning the spirit of Major Tom, we take McLaren’s most refined supercar to England’s industrial birthplace. Words: Adam Hay-Nicholls. Continue reading
Driving onto a frozen lake with traction and stability control switched off, I’m starting to regret the 20-course meal of pig’s head, decomposing leaves and bird’s liver custard that’s in my belly. But that’s the price you pay for experiencing the finest and wildest that Sweden has to offer.
You don’t need me to tell you that the 2016 US presidential election was the most bitter, divided and downright ugly of any living person’s lifetime. Yet despite this, with 41.6 percent of eligible voters not casting a ballot, the winner wasn’t Donald Trump, it was apathy. But I did my bit. I may not have the right to vote in America, but I did my darndest to uphold democracy in the land of the free by borrowing a Bentley and driving people to the polls. Continue reading
Open the door to a Rolls-Royce and you’ll spot one of its nattiest party pieces – a custom umbrella that can spring out of the side of each door. It can do more than merely shield the elements of the on-board VIPs, though. “The umbrella can be used both defensively and offensively,” says Andi McCann, as if he’s just walked off the set of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Continue reading
The 488 Spider drove me to drink petrol. There was no warning when it ran out of fuel. OK, the gas light came on about 40 miles back but the way I was driving it, with ‘race’ mode selected on the manettino dial and some heavy application of the right pedal, that distance came and went pretty fast. The car coughed twice before the power died and the steering went heavy. Not ideal when you are up a narrow switchback somewhere in the Ligurian mountains and the nearest petrol station is far from walkable. Continue reading
We take the Ferrari-baiting new DB11 for a drive through prancing horse territory. Continue reading
There are four bungalows situated behind the high walls of the notorious Chateau Marmont, each a source of parties and privacy for starlets and rock n’ rollers. Mine has a particularly macabre claim to fame; the master bedroom was where comedy icon John Belushi checked out permanently. Continue reading