It’s no secret we love fast cars here at The Manual. So when Waldorf Astoria asked us to fly out to their La Quinta resort in Palm Springs, CA to participate in one of six Ultimate Driving Experiences taking place across the United States this fall, we quickly packed our bags. The program offers hotel guests the chance to get behind the wheel of three supercars under the instruction of professional racercar driver Didier Theys.
The morning of the drive, we met with Theys to talk about the cars and route before setting out for the excursion. Because there were three cars – Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 911 Turbo – and three sets of drivers, we planned to stop at different points along the route to rotate vehicles. Theys gave a tutorial on each car when we first got behind the wheel, then the caravan was off. Led by Theys, we sped through the stunning scenery of Palm Springs, including a twisting ride up Big Bear Mountain and through the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest. Driving the cars was an incredible experience. The McLaren feels like it is custom made for you, a dangerous sensation because now we want one. The Ferrari’s sound and incredible power was an experience in itself, especially when you’re flying with the top down on winding mountain roads. Yeah, we’ll take one of those too.
The drive was a great success, and then we had the rest of the day to explore the breathtaking La Quinta resort. Palm trees and cacti surround you on every corner of the lush, 45-acre grounds where you can shop, golf or play tennis at your leisure. We ate at Adobe Grill for lunch were we had fresh table-side guacamole and a massive smoked margarita. After we checked out some swimming pools (the resort has 41) including the adult-only plunge pool with bar service, DJ and cabanas. After having a few cocktails in the sun, we retreated back to the intimate pool and hot spa near our room to enjoy the final afternoon hour.
Cocktails were followed by dinner at Morgan’s in the Desert, a restaurant helmed by three-time James Beard award-winning chef Jimmy Schmidt. The food was incredible. We feasted on leek soup, Maine diver sea scallops, a Wagyu steak topped with bacon and a buttered popcorn ice cream parfait with bittersweet chocolate fudge and sea salted caramel for dessert.
The second half the Driving Experiences run through December 7 at the following Waldorf Astoria resorts:
The Roosevelt – New Orleans, Nov. 6-11
Boca Raton Resort & Club – Boca Raton, FL, Nov. 14-19
Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Dec. 2-7
The total drive time is three hours and costs $999 per couple excluding accommodations. What could make a better gift as the holidays approach? An experience to truly remember forever, we encourage anyone with a love for fast cars, luxury accommodations and beautiful American wildlife to take this incredible journey. For more information, visit waldorfastoria.com/drivingexperiences.