CANNES, FRANCE—Finding balance between classic and current is no easy feat. Meeting the needs of today’s guest requires constant evolution, but sometimes, what a guest truly wants is something timeless.
For Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Aston Martin Lagonda, this is the mindset behind the new, four-year global partnership, offering guests a chance to experience locations across the globe from the seat of a classic sports car.
“The Waldorf Astoria and Aston Martin Lagonda brands share a common story—they are both known for being pioneers in their respective industries and for being leaders in defining what luxury means today,” said Dino Michael, global brand head for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “Because both brands are rooted in deep heritage yet have evolved to keep pace with modern luxury preferences, both brands have a unique authority to blend the timeless and timely—something today’s luxury consumers appreciate.”
In keeping with James Bond, 007’s standard request for a splash of Kina Lillet to his shaken—not stirred—martini, the Aston Martin brand, like the fine aperitif, has been synonymous with automotive grandeur. Indeed, audiences have been enthralled since the early 1960s when the DB5 was ejecting adversaries in Goldfinger to escaping villains in a DBS V12 in Quantum of Solace in recent years.
Now, during the debut season of the Vantage GTE and its victory at the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the brands are also giving guests access to international auto races through Waldorf Astoria’s sponsorship of Aston Martin Racing.
Waldorf Astoria guests will now have access to this and more, with two other unique opportunities: Waldorf Astoria Driving Weekends and Aston Martin Art of Living Driving Experiences.
“The luxury segment is about creating meaningful life experiences,” said Marek Reichman, VP/chief creative officer of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. “Waldorf Astoria sees Aston Martin as a kindred spirit, drawing inspiration from its legacy while making a decisive nod to modern aesthetics and experiences. Aston Martin is a unique company. It has more than a century of history, yet remains at the cutting edge of innovation. Throughout its history, one constant has remained: beauty.”
Driving Weekends are led by professional Aston Martin drivers, and give guests access to not only the latest car models, but tailored routes specific to destinations as well. There’s a minimum of six allotted weekend sessions that guests can book.
“Not only will they get behind the wheel of Aston Martin’s latest models, guests will be able to drive through some of the world’s most iconic routes and landmarks. It offers them a unique opportunity to explore the world, with the added benefit of the peerless Aston Martin driving experience,” Reichman said. “They can be personalized, of course, but from the outset, they will include iconic roads and landmarks, making the most of the local knowledge that is fundamental to a great hotel, along with the many years of experience brought by Aston Martin’s professional drivers.”
The Art of Living Driving Experiences are drive-and-stay packages, a collection of events and journeys, four of which will be available at Waldorf Astoria properties around the world this year.
“The Art of Living series has been run by Aston Martin for many years, offering customers the opportunity to drive spectacular routes and experience professional tuition on tracks around the world, all the while sampling some of the finest hospitality of the region,” Reichman said. Details on these packages are to be confirmed later this year.
According to Michael, no matter the guest and his or her trip preferences, each traveler has a high expectation for service, which aligns with Waldorf Astoria’s Unforgettable Experiences.
“The Waldorf Astoria brand offered Unforgettable Experiences, including gourmet dining, helicopter rides, spa retreats and more, long before experiential travel became a buzzword for the industry,” Michael said. “Knowing that the luxury landscape and the needs of our customers are evolving to be more experience-driven, we have created a partnership grounded in a deep understanding of rising consumer expectations.”
As for the other experiences, Waldorf Astoria will give guests VIP access to global motorsport and automotive events, as well as major international motor shows. These include the Geneva Motor Show, Auto Shanghai, Le Mans 24 Hours race in France, England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, among others.
“Our guests are experts at luxury travel. Waldorf Astoria knows that a ‘sense of place’ and occasion is important, and these are an essential element of every Waldorf Astoria hotel. Today’s luxury cars bring a similar sense of occasion, from the quality of the design and craftsmanship through to the experience of driving itself,” Reichman said.
This is Aston Martin’s first hospitality partnership, which Reichman believes to be a testament to what both brands pride themselves on.
“Both Waldorf Astoria and Aston Martin are pioneers of culture, and this partnership is one of equals. It addresses the ever-evolving needs of the luxury consumer by delivering highly individualized experiences,” Reichman said. “Unrivaled services and attention to detail are the DNA of both brands; together, Aston Martin and Waldorf Astoria will take guests to another level.
“The partnership with Aston Martin is about creating an intimate experience with a brand, one that requires guests to be truly present in the moment, at the same time as showing them amazing sites and destinations,” Reichman concluded. HB