Winter WonderLuxe: Skiing and Spa-Dates and Bentleys, oh my!

 

I guess you could say that the Bentley PR guy did his job well; he mentioned something about the “luxury of spontaneity”, and now that phrase has lodged itself inside my head.

He didn’t say anything beyond that; there were no details about what it meant. He simply planted the seed, and what grew from it was fertilized of my own imagination.

Fast-forward two months to present day, and I’m sitting here in Colorado – slouched comfortably into my seat at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch’s great room, legs sore from a day’s worth of skiing. It’s the middle of the week, and I’ve just experienced one of those ‘pinch me moments’, where I realized that my friends were all at work in their midtown offices.

“What a joy it is that I could take the week off to hit the slopes,” I ponder to myself. “And, to think that I’m spending the week in the snow with a GT Speed…”

Yeah, that must be it. If you’re shopping for a Bentley, of course you can pick up and vacation on a whim. And that is because spontaneity is a luxury commodity, too.

MUST DRIVE: The 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

More often than not, exotic car owners don’t just own one Ferrari; they own a whole fleet of vehicles. Sports cars may be the most exciting way to enjoy the road, but they’re oftentimes garaged in winter months, while Cayennes and Range Rovers move more casually through the snow.

It’s not that those SUVs aren’t lovely; they’re perfectly comfortable machines for the family. But, if you’re the type who wants to take the sports car to the mountain, there’s really only one brand that makes that possible, and we had the keys to the brand’s fastest set of wheels.

The Bentley Continental GT Speed is a 616-horsepower, W12-powered sports coupe with all the performance, style and prestige deserving of a Fortune 500 CEO. Its leathers are sourced from an Alpine ranch in Austria; its sheet metal superformed and hand-assembled in the UK. No matter how you look at it, the GT Speed is either the pinnacle of how luxury can be infused into a sports car, or the absolute peak of performance integration into a luxury machine.

Most importantly, though, is that Bentley flourishes in cold weather. Just three years ago, the brand set the Ice Speed Record in the Continental Super Sports Convertible. The land of super-premium vehicles is littered with Sunday drivers and summertime sport cars, but thanks to its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, the GT Speed really is the only car that can hang in the winter, too.

With that in mind, we grabbed the keys to our Bentley GT Speed Coupe and Convertible, and we headed west from Denver, climbing higher and higher into the Rocky Mountains.

MUST VISIT: The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

We decided to take our ski trip to the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch; a 185-room ski resort at Beaver Creek, voted one of the best hotels in the world by Travel and Leisure. It’s gold rated by Condé Nast and received a 4-star rating from Forbes. With its brand-new Bachelor’s Lounge bar and 21,000 sq. ft. spa, it’s truly one of the only places in North America fit for a GT Speed owner’s ski week getaway.

Our group split our time between those who could ski (or were willing), and those who wanted to relax in the spa. I’ve skied before, or at least tried, so I was instructed to meet with the folks at the Gorsuch ski shop in the main lobby. The shop has a wide array of equipment available for rent and purchase, including a pair of very impressive, $9800 Bentley skis made by Zai. The resort also offers personal instructors, but I decided to hit the slopes and take my chances.

While I skied, a few of our friends pampered themselves in the Bachelor Gulch Spa. The spa’s menu of treatments is extensive, ranging from facials and massages, to wraps and baths, to time available in oxygen chambers to counter the high altitudes of the Rockies. Following our appointments, we sat down to dinner at Spago, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and imbibed in a few select bourbons at the resort’s new Bachelor’s Lounge, which lends a decidedly modern aesthetic twist to an otherwise warm, rustic hotel. The entire experience was one of real luxury and surprisingly homey comfort, making this Ritz-Carlton a welcome escape for the bustling world around us.

Walking away from this trip, I realize that I played the role of an interloper–a writer who had stolen a small slice of rich and the famous pie. We surrounded ourselves with fine accommodations, fine foods, and one fabulously refined car. These are things that we could budget for in the future, and probably even take a long weekend to experience, but there’d still be one thing we wouldn’t have; we couldn’t just pick up and go tomorrow, and that’s where we’d miss the luxury of spontaneity.