21 June 2016 by Lisa Ayling
Whether you’re looking to recall the classic road trips of the silver screen or splash out on contemporary extravagance, we’ve compiled this collection of ideas to help you plan a luxury self-drive holiday. There’s advice on everything from choosing an itinerary to settling on the perfect car.
Rent a Showpiece
From primed American muscle to lithe Italian sports cars, there are certain countries whose national identify is inextricably linked to its automotive history. For something different, perhaps take a soft-top Citroen 2CV through the south of France, stopping off at Old World vineyards and staying in picturesque medieval cities. Or, you could let a vintage Porsche 911 loose on its indigenous autobahns before exploring the German mountains and turning into Austria for fairy-tale castles and stunning drives. That being said, it’s impossible to miss out the venerable granddaddy of road trips – America. Choose between taking a classic Chevy along historic Route 66 and rolling through Miami in a vintage Mustang.
Hire a classic and enjoy a luxury self-drive in true style
Just as the Michelin Guide began as a collection of the best roadside restaurants, there’s something particularly indulgent about planning an itinerary that takes in the best of a region’s gastronomy. Of course, Italy springs immediately to mind. Rent a classic Ferrari or cutting edge Maserati as you stop for lunch in seaside trattorias and city plaza pizzerias or dip into the Spanish Basque Country for pintxo tapas delights. Not to be beaten, Western Australia is currently enjoying something of a foodie renaissance with independent restaurants championing farm-to-table philosophy, complete with wineries and truffle hunts. Alternatively, spoil yourself with that great British picnicking tradition. And, for some 1930s classic car romance, consider a made to order willow hamper, complete with champagne flutes, English gold-edged bone china mugs and miniature Cole & Mason salt and pepper mills.
Picnics are a staple of leisurely road trips – what would you pack?
While we certainly can’t recommend against the classics – California’s dramatic Big Sur coastline presents some of the world’s finest views – there’s something to be said about tailor making a trip to suit your interests. Perhaps you’d like to play a round on each of Condé Nast’s top five European golf courses or maybe you’d rather see the continent’s F1 racetracks. Stay in five star luxury in Monte Carlo before enjoying Barcelona’s fine dining scene and designer hotels. Whatever you do, pick a passion and plot a route.
Stop off at Monaco and experience quintessential European luxury
Off the beaten track
The phrase ‘off the beaten track’ conjures images of commandeering a rickshaw through India’s chaos or driving a beaten up jalopy through the Mongolian desert. However, a trip down the road less travelled need not mean stays in the hotel less cleaned. For instance, heading out of Japan’s city bustle will reward with drives through alpine passes and past volcanoes carpeted in stunning verdure as you stay in luxury ryokan inns. In the southern Okinawan islands you’ll even reach subtropical palm tree-fringed beaches while in northern Hokkaido there’s national park ice floes, lakeside onsen hot springs and an abundance of wildlife. If you’d rather stay ‘in Europe’, Iceland presents routes that take in everything from lava fields to glaciers all to the backdrop of the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun.
From the spectacular to the surreal, some of Iceland's natural scenery is well worth visiting and often only accessible by road
The humble campervan is rarely associated with high-end holidays but our American cousins, having perfected the art of oversized extravagance, have an answer. Their ‘recreational vehicles’ – RVs to the initiated – span the range from weekend hoppers to full mansion-on-wheels decadence, costing millions of dollars. Luxurious interiors feature king-size beds, designer furnishings, hand-carved detailing and plasma TVs. There’s even some that have slide-out storage for a sports car in the underbelly. Available to rent, they’re the ultimate in road trip comfort.
What finer way to explore the great national parks of the USA than in a luxury motorhome?