A look at Bentley’s reassuringly expensive Extraordinary Drive to Verbier in the Swiss Alps – a positive bargain by high end road trip standards.
Also, haulier diverts via Holland after £15,000 damage in Calais. EU postpones vote on extra €3 million for limos and drivers. Italian police make a scenic arrest in central Rome. Not everyone is happy with the new Brussels pedestrianisation.
CATCHING UP WITH BENTLEY’S £15K EXTRAORDINARY DRIVE
Bargain luxury drive to the Swiss Alps includes a free watch.
Ultra-expensive road trips are all the rage at the moment.
Abercrombie & Kent’s three week, five continent and eight country ‘Most Luxurious Road Trip on Earth’ comes in at £100,000 per person (based on two sharing).
However, even that pales beside Auto Vivendi’s three month ‘Round the World by Supercar’ experience which costs up to £6 million per person.
In this context, Bentley’s recent £14,995 Extraordinary Drive looks stunning value by comparison.
Ten lucky couples drove down to the Swiss Alps last month with several special stops along the way.
‘It was an amazing trip,’ said one man afterwards.
Interestingly they crossed the Channel on the overnight Stena Line Harwich Hook of Holland boat –to dodge potential trouble at Calais, but also thanks to the operator’s impressive 100% reliability record we understand.
The dark wood interiors and leather sofas in the public areas also approach what your typical Bentley driver is used to. Accommodation was in the Captain’s Class cabins and suites.
Before the crossing, the trip started with dinner at Le Talbooth in Dedham, fifteen miles from Harwich.
After nearly 300 miles the next day, the first overnight stop was the Abbaye de Dom Perignon in the hills above Reims, where champagne was first invented, for a tour of the vineyard and dinner.
Day three was another 300 miles, across the Jura to La Chaux-de-Fonds near Neuchatel, home of Bentley’s watchmaking partner Breitling, where the main driver of each car was given a limited edition watch.
Via a stop off in Gruyeres on day four, the road trip part ended after another 120 miles in Verbier for two days skiing, staying at the ultra-exclusive Chalet 14.
Hiring the entire place – thirteen rooms and fourteen staff, including three drivers and two chefs – costs £80,000 per week in high season, though the rooms can be booked individually.
The next Bentley Extraordinary Drive is in northern Italy next month – six days around Lake Como, Monza, Milan and Florence for a bargain £12,995 per couple.
roundup: CALAIS MIGRANT CRISIS. A truck sustained damage after coming under attack from migrants in Calais early this morning. Driver Adam Robinson, owner of AJ Road Haulage in Liverpool, told us, ‘I have multiple chips on the windscreen, and need a new headlight and driver’s side wing mirror and case. I nearly hit a few too as they ran in front of the truck. The police were there but the migrants just moved up the motorway. I thought 5am would be a safe time to cross..’ UPDATE 14 March: the damage to AJ Road Haulage vehicles eventually totalled more than £15,000 with Adam Robinson’s truck accounting for €2400 we were told today. Unsurprisingly, he tells us the firm will run through Holland now instead. EU. Spectacularly bad timing for the European Commission to lavish an extra €3 million each year on limousines and drivers for officials. Nothing goes down so badly with the British public as bureaucrat’s snouts in the trough. The Commission’s plan says its needs to bring the car service in-house to ensure better security according to Politico Europe. Costs include €116,000 each year on chauffeur uniforms – but not ‘security scanners’ and IT equipment, likely to add further to the total €10.5 million annual bill. Update: the vote was subsequently delayed. BRUSSELS. Pollution has fallen by 64% since the introduction of the pedestrian zone in June says the city council, littering has improved thanks to new bins and the new circulation plan did not lead to increased congestion (after the first few days). ‘Despite all the criticism, we can proudly say that the capital has made the final transition to a modern, accessible city with a high quality of life,’ said mayor Yvan Mayeur to The Bulletin earlier this month. Several changes have been made, principally to improve access to the Metropole Hotel in the north while Maurice Lemmonierlaan – the southern section of the road which did run right across the city centre – is now accessible from the R20 ‘Pentagon’ ring in the south. More changes might be made before the end of the initial eight month evaluation period. A shopkeeper on nearby Grand Sablon square told @DriveEurope last week the pedestrianisation was a great idea, worked very well and she wished it would be extended. Not everyone is happy however – two local business associations have lodged applications to prevent the no-car zone being made permanent, again according to The Bulletin.