While cars today are commonplace, there was a time when driving was a privilege. To transport their guests back to the golden age of motor transport -- when driving was glamorous and novel instead of burdensome and monotonous -- some hoteliers have created special events and amenities that are “geared” to car enthusiasts and automobile aficionados.
Take Asian hotelier Peninsula Hotels, for instance. For four years running, the chain has hosted its own awards show for classic cars. Called The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award, it brings together a collection of fine vintage vehicles to compete for the title of the world’s most exceptional car.
“My fellow co-founders and I created this award because of our shared passion for motorcars -- a passion which I believe lives in many of us from a young age,” said the Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, chairman of Peninsula Hotels’ parent company, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd. “This shared interest is what makes the award so special. It has the ability not only to unite friends through common interests, but also reminds us of that first spark of excitement at the wonder of motorcars.”
The contenders for this year’s title -- which will be awarded by a panel of 26 judges --- are a 1929 Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible, a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé, a 1958 Ferrari 335 S Spyder (pictured), a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S “Boat Tail” Roadster, a 1972 Monteverdi 375L High Speed, a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta, a 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C Spider and a 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster.
Peninsula Hotels says it will unveil the competition’s winner during a “climatic reveal and in-person viewing” on Feb. 7, 2019, at the Peninsula Paris.
Five Incentive-Quality Hotels for Car Nuts
Incentive planners with award recipients who are crazy about cars could send them to the Peninsula Paris for Peninsula Hotels’ classic-car showdown. Or, they could set them up with an incentive trip to a property that appreciates exquisite engines as much as they do. Here are five options.
• The Peninsula Hong Kong. Clearly, Peninsula Hotels has a thing for cars. In fact, guests at any of its properties around the world receive access to a unique fleet of vehicles -- from BMWs to Mini Coopers -- that they can either ride in or drive themselves. It all started, though, at Peninsula’s flagship property, the Peninsula Hong Kong which has been buying Rolls-Royces in which to shuttle its guests since 1970. Today, the hotel owns a fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantoms, each of which is finished in signature Peninsula Green. The cars are used to provide airport transfers for guests, who also can hire the cars by the hour for errands, sightseeing or other needs. For a car-lover, what better way is there to start an incentive trip than in the back of a Rolls-Royce?
• Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach (Fla.). The Palm Beach lifestyle is all about luxury. Those who live there enjoy wearing the best clothes, eating the best food and, of course, driving the best cars. That’s why the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach -- which completed a $45 million renovation in November -- offers a special Suite Ride package that includes accommodation in an oceanfront two-bedroom suite, as well as complimentary use of a selection of exotic and super-luxury cars, offered in partnership with Lou La Vie luxury car rentals. Options include a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, an Audi R8 Spyder, a Range Rover Sport Supercharged, a Porsche 911 Carrera S and a Nissan GT-R.
• Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills (Calif.). When they visit Los Angeles, incentive recipients want to feel like movie stars -- and movie stars drive spectacular cars. Some of the most spectacular of all come from British carmaker Aston Martin, whose vehicles have been featured in many Hollywood hits, including a number of James Bond films. Starting in 2019, Waldorf Astoria hotels around the world will host special Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience weekends during which guests will have the opportunity to feel like 007 by riding in a variety of Aston Martin’s latest models, traveling carefully curated routes with professional drivers. Although specific properties and dates have not yet been announced, one can bet that the series will make a stop at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which in 2018 offered a special Live Aston Martin package that included two nights in a suite and access to two resident Aston Martin vehicles.
• Fonteverde (San Casciano dei Bagni, Italy). Tuscany is known for its viticulture and sunshine, but it’s not just a great place to enjoy Italian wine and weather. It’s also an ideal place to enjoy Italian sports cars. At Fonteverde, a former Renaissance palace that is now a luxury resort and spa, guests can do exactly that thanks to the Ferrari Experience, a special offering that allows them to take either a Ferrari 458 Spider or a Ferrari California on an extended tour around the Val d’Orcia region of South Tuscany. Prefer something a little more refined? The resort also offers a Vintage Car Tour experience where guests can take a similar tour behind the wheel of a classic sports car, roadster or Fiat 500.
• V8 Hotel (Böblingen, Germany). For those who really, really love cars, just driving them might not be enough. For such people, an ideal destination is Germany’s V8 Hotel, which opened in January 2018 near Stuttgart. Part of Motorworld -- a car-centric complex that includes boutique car dealerships, shops with luxury automobile accessories and classic car collections for viewing -- the property has 153 guest rooms, including 16 “V8” rooms that are themed around various vehicles and driving experiences. There are beds made out of cars, furnishings made out of engine parts and art inspired by automotive history. There’s also a restaurant and bar, a fitness area and meeting rooms, not to mention numerous on- and off-site experiences, including exclusive driving experiences and tours of the nearly Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums.