Editor’s note: Quorum derives no benefit from businesses for placement in this article.
If you’ve visited your annual vacation spot so many times it’s lost its appeal and your typical weekend getaways have left you unimpressed, it’s time to pump up the volume for your next excursion. Nothing reawakens your long-lost wanderlust like a one-of-a-kind, sky’s-the-limit, luxury road trip where you’re in the driver’s seat and living large.
Picking a glamorous, unusual or never-before-seen destination is an important ingredient for a luxury travel experience, but it isn’t the only one. Beyond the city or region of your choice, there are four elements that differentiate a largely forgettable journey from a truly memorable one that pulls out all the luxurious stops.
The Perfect Car
Whether you’re driving to your destination or flying and renting a car upon arrival, you definitely want to do it in style. And what says style more than a classic car!
For those drivable destinations, why not get your own classic car out of the garage and back on the road? Just make sure it’s roadworthy first with a thorough mechanical check and some distinct detailing.
Even if you’re flying—first class, of course, you don’t have to settle for the typical rental car fleet. Car-sharing communities like Hagarty DriveShare™ connect you with owners who rent out their classic vehicles to people who want to enjoy the look, feel and sound of a truly special ride. So, whether you imagine yourself tooling down the road in a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster, a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 or something else, it’s quite possible to live out your fantasy driving experience.
After enjoyable days of meandering the countryside or zipping around town in your classic ride, you’ll need a place to rest your head at night. But not just any place will do for this road trip. Treat yourself to five-star accommodations, whether that’s a luxury hotel chain, resort property or boutique hotel. To ensure your stay lives up to the expectations of this trip, look for these key differentiators:
- Beautiful architecture and design: Pick a place that suits your taste, whether that’s a minimalist aesthetic like that of Nobu Ryokan in Malibu, California or an opulent mansion-turned-hotel, such as The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Distinct atmosphere: Opt for accommodations that mirror the mood you want to create, which could be anything from the wellness focus of the Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa outside of Tucson to the Lowcountry vibe of the Montage Palmetto Bluff in coastal South Carolina.
- Exceptional service: Set yourself up to be pampered by the staff at a hotel known for its attentive, yet unobtrusive service, such as Peninsula Chicago on the Windy City’s Magnificent Mile or The Langham, Boston.
- Amenities galore: Expect the facilities to include upscale restaurants, spas, pools and salon services that can tantalize all your senses, like what’s available at Setai Miami Beach in the heart of South Beach or the Sunset Key Cottages in Key West.
- Proximity to must-see sights: Make it easy to explore the local scene, whether that’s Fifth Avenue and Central Park South from The Plaza New York or the heart of Beverly Hills from the Waldorf Astoria.
- Fewer guest rooms: Up the exclusivity factor at a place that caters to the select few, such as these California spots with fewer than 100 guest rooms: Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur and The Landing Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe.
You won’t want to eat at your hotel every night. Fabulous dining options are endless nowadays, including farm-to-table eateries, cuisine-specific restaurants and locally owned fine dining establishments. Of course, you should check out the chef and menu of any restaurant you’re considering, but also look for glamorous or distinct décor, a who’s-who clientele list and exclusive reservation access to take your travel experience to the next level.
Before your journey, start reading local food blogs and restaurant reviews to get some ideas of where you’d like to eat. Apps such as Open Table, Yelp and Zomato can help you get started and narrow down your list. Then call your hotel’s concierge to get their opinion, ask for additional recommendations and solicit their help in making reservations in advance of your arrival. This will ensure you’re not shut out of the hottest new restaurant or most exclusive bistro in town.
While you’re speaking with the concierge, discuss your plans and see if they can work their local connections to arrange memorable experiences like these:
- Backstage passes to an in-demand concert or performance
- Private tours of the museums or other must-see spots you’d like to enjoy without the crowds
- Private aircraft or watercraft rides or rentals for first-class views of the area
- Invitations to A-list events where you can mingle among the glitterati
- A round or two of golf at an exclusive club
- Bucket-list adventures like skydiving or bungee-jumping
Once you have your classic car selected, your accommodations booked and your dining and sightseeing itinerary set, you can expect to have the luxury road trip of a lifetime.