By Mark Gauert
City & Shore Magazine
The Object: 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe (photo, left) With 6.5-liter V12 engine, 7-speed gearbox (plus reverse) and carbon ceramic brakes, among many features. Base price, $417,650; price as tested, $518,255. Dealer locator, lamborghini.com/en-en/; including 4645 Volunteer Road, Davie, 888-201-1791; 2345 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-370-7953.
The Experience in Two Words: Effortless speed.
The Memory: After I’d come off the track at Palm Beach International Raceway, after a 155-mile per-hour thrill ride on the back stretch, I parked my Aventador near the Hospitality Chalet and went to pop open the gull-wing door. The crew from Lamborghini had helped strap me into the leather-appointed cockpit of my Balloon White S Coupe, but they’d neglected to brief me how to get out. For a few minutes, I grabbed at knobs, pushed buttons, briefly wondered if there might be an ejector seat in this half-a-million dollar-plus super car. Then it occurred to me, I really didn’t want the door to pop open. I wanted to stay in there. Possibly live in there. I’d still be there if the crew hadn’t eventually noticed, indicated that they wanted the car back and gestured through the window to the latch release down below the armrest. Reluctantly, I pulled it.
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The Object: Acqualina Spa by ESPA, 17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305-918-8000, 877-312-9742, acqualinaresort.com/spa
The Experience in Two Words: Serenity now.
The Memory: Here’s what I remember most after an 80-minute warm Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, in the capable hands of spa therapist Linda Rabah: I couldn’t remember my name. Or where I parked. Or possibly what planet I was on. It was that good. I had to check my driver’s license back in the locker room for my name – at least, I think it was my name. (Oops, wrong locker!) “You must really like your work,” I said after the epic massage, aromatherapy and Himalayan Salt Stones, which melt – along with your tension – as you go. “Oh yes,” she said. “So many people come here with tension and problems, and I make them all go away. How could anyone not be happy going home after that?” If I hadn’t already committed to live in a Lamborghini, I would live here.
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The Object: 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom (as a driver). Extended wheelbase model with 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12, head’s up display, front and back massage seats and pop-out Commissioned Collection Umbrella, among many features. Starting price, $530,000; price as tested, $643,360. Dealer locator, rolls-roycemotorcars.com/en-GB/home.html; including 200 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-779-2000; and 2801 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-684-6666.
The Experience in Two Words: Soft power.
The Memory: I would not call a Rolls-Royce Phantom a car. It’s more a Presence. People stop on sidewalks to watch it pass. (They may still be there, for all I know, waiting for it to come back). You wouldn’t know this as a driver behind the wheel, though. For as much of a boxy – and, at 6,000 pounds, heavy – Presence the new Phantom is, it’s an agile and responsive driving experience. Make a tight U-Turn, for example, and you might think you’re driving a Mazda MX-5 (a fine car, yes, but no Presence). People talk about 0-60, but, at cruising speed on the Interstate, 70-100 mph is available in a snap, too. More than enough to leave anyone not in awe of your Presence far behind.
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The Object: Rolls-Royce Phantom (with a chauffeur)
The Experience in Two Words: Worlds apart.
The Memory: Close the Rear Compartment Curtains – for the driven, of course, not the driver – and everybody out there in South Florida traffic probably wonders what’s going on in here behind the curtains. I’m not at liberty to reveal full details; let’s just say they involve intense familiarization with the built-in champagne cooler, the risers for the feet, the massaging seat for the back, the personal entertainment console, and the vague feeling that honest-to-goodness South Florida traffic might be out there in all its badness, somewhere. But I wouldn’t know, here behind the curtains.
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The Object: Private jet (select from a wide variety), arranged by Monarch Air Group, 610 SW 34th St., Suite 307, Fort Lauderdale International Airport, 954-359-0059, 877-281-3051, monarchairgroup.com.
The Experience in Two Words: Impulse fly.
The Memory: I have a friend who has had many luxury experiences – but the best of all, she says, is a private jet. You can drive right up to the aircraft on the tarmac, shake hands with the pilot and be airborne in five minutes. You fly to your destination in the kind of comfort most airline passengers – even those behind multiple layers of curtains – can only dream of, arrive at your destination with your luggage already loaded into your car and shake hands with the pilot again. Think of Monarch Air Group as a concierge arranging whatever flights work best for you. Which means that at 10 a.m. Fort Lauderdale time you can make an appointment with your ski instructor in Zermatt and be skiing at the foot of the Matterhorn the next morning. Try pulling that off flying coach.