Recently I made a trip to the other side of the world to attend an incredible weekend event hosted by Bentley Motors. I really didn't know what to expect but I knew that it involved driving their Continental GT convertible from Malaga to Seville and please tell me, who would not want to have this experience?
The Bentley journey may had began with a 30 hour trip in British airways business class where I was drinking much wine, flirting with the air steward for extra chocolate and otherwise living my best life, but let's leave that story for some other time.
The real excitement started when I checked into the Marbella club, a luxury hotel on the Costa del Sol only half an hour before the event was starting. I quickly changed into a flowing Max Mara dress accessorised with a Bulgari bag and ran down to the Beach house, just in time for sunset. As the colours changed hues over the sea, we learnt some amazing things about the car we were going to drive tomorrow. At first sight, it was love. Or lust? Seriously, this car is incredibly sexy with sleek lines and endless combinations of finishes: 17 exterior colours, 15 carpet choices, 12 wood veneer options, and 15 different leather versions made my head explode with decorating possibilities. The inside didn't disappoint either; it was like sitting in a leather cloud of plushness, huge entertainment screen, 10-speaker audio system and multi comfort settings including heated seat, steering wheel, armrests and neck warmer ( does it seem that warmth is very important to me cause it is), not to mention numerous massage settings. I was liking the idea of this trip more and more now there was kneading involved. We finished the night at Dani Garcia's 3 starred Michelin restaurant gorging on intricate, delicious delicacies. I dreamt of Salvador Dali 's paintings turning into food that night, whilst I walked through strange landscapes eating chunks out of objects. Thanks Mr Garcia!
A new day had arisen and dear reader I must say I was slightly apprehensive about getting behind the wheel of this sophisticated machine. Not only did the panel look like a motherboard with a thousand functions but I was driving this luxury vehicle on my own, on the other side of the road than in Australia; what if I drive it into a ditch? I was assured that the pre-set sat nav wouldn't allow for mistakes. Hesitantly, I popped the top down ( 19 seconds from start to finish!) , wanting to test out these magical warming settings in the sunny, yet chilly early morning mist. The other guests; writers and bloggers weren't driving in a convoy either, we were all left on our own to transverse the Spanish countryside and instructed to meet up at a designated pit stop for brunch in an hour and a half.
As I turned out of the hotel grounds onto Marbella pavement, I cranked up the playlist, the massage and warming settings into overdrive ,popped on my sunnies and the dream began. Look, I had doubts about this car. Surely, it cannot be as comfortable and luxurious as I imagined; my inner doubter rallied. But it was, oh yes it was. Even though the top was down, I couldn't feel the cold at all, even in just my sleeveless Dion Lee dress. Citrus trees swayed as I climbed the mountain towering above the sea, relishing slow moving vehicles as a chance to test out the 626 horsepower , 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds engine ( I got a need for speed baby). The countryside unfolded in front of me, the car telling me if I was driving the correct speed 'cause it's so smart that it reads the signs. Kinda like a stylish, responsible backseat driver that I sorely needed - let's face it , I was too busy checking out the fresh blooms strewn across the fields. As a lover of beautiful design, I couldn't stop admiring the pretty dials, clever buttons and the old class way everything was made in a perfect, just so way . We stopped by a beautiful home, where I ate my body weight in Iberian jamon for brunch, because: Spain, and also it is simply the best prosciutto in the world from black pigs roaming huge acorn forests (sorry Italians).
It was time to get back on the road, and even all the jamon in the world couldn't stifle my sadness that the trip to Seville would only take another half an hour's drive .My mind was busy devising outlandish and ridiculously illegal plans of driving the car into a sunset of a protracted European adventure when the GPS announced we had reached the hotel. It was time to get out of the pillowy leathers and say goodbye to my Bentley GT Convertible . Luckily, we were checking into the beautiful Alfonso XIII where I could drown my sorrows in Andalusian luxury.
We ended the day with a private visit to the glorious Alcazar of Seville, an ancient palace built with Muslim and Christian influences, and a big sangria fuelled tapas dinner with the Bentley family and all my fellow journalists. What an unforgettable trip! And let me tell you: once you go Bentley, it feels soooo wrong to go back ; )
Build your own GT Convertible here!
Last photo wearing Zimmermann, Kit X and Bulgari
Main photos by Richard Pardon
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