Park City, Utah, is known as a high-end destination, offering the best in hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities in summer and winter. Keeping up with this reputation, the Waldorf Astoria (near The Canyons Resort) does not disappoint, with its ultimate in luxurious fun: the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience. Innovative thinking on their part, as they are the only resort to offer such an experience.
For $999 plus the best current room rate, you and your lucky mate can hit the scenic byways in three different super cars - a Porshe 911 Turbo, a McLaren MP4-12C and a Ferrari 458 Italia. The two-and-a-half-hour-long trip is planned in advance, with stopovers for rest and refreshment and a chance to switch rides. Then, the journey culminates in joining the session's leader - seasoned pro Didier Theys - in the fourth car, an Astin Martin Rapide.
Supercars in the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience — Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Park City is the first stop on the Driving Experience tour; dates here include Tuesday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 5. Other Waldorf Astoria resorts in Palm Springs, Scottsdale, New Orleans, Boca Raton are joining in for the fun. The experience culminates in Phoenix at the Arizona Biltmore the first week in December.
As if world-class spas, restaurants, golf courses and superior accommodations aren't enough, the Waldorf Astoria has now set a new standard in guest services. Three different sessions are offered daily for this drive of a lifetime. Make your reservation early, as this one-of-a-kind opportunity will most surely be quickly taken advantage of by sports car enthusiasts or their gift-giver extraordinaire mate (last day to register is September 29). They do allow a partner to ride with you. According to the resort, reservations are already coming in, and with the expected success, it will most likely be offered again in the future.
Drivers must be between 21 and 80 and hold a current driver's license and current insurance policy. Attend a mandatory briefing to learn the operations, controls and special features of each car. At the end, receive a gift bag to remember the day.
Getting briefed behind the wheel — Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Hotel
In case your car lover was wondering, yes, you will get to experience the power of the car on the open road. The Waldorf Team chooses the least congested open roads with turns, twists and straightways, so you really get a feel for the car. You will be emailed your start location, arrival time, briefing and other pertinent details in advance of the big day.
From Belgium originally, pro driver Didier Theys is a seasoned veteran on the racing circuit both in Europe and America. Racing several times in the Indy 500 and in the Le Mans Series, winning the Indy Lights Championship and finishing his career in 2008 with a win at the Michelin Energy Challenge, Theys enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He now serves as Driving Director for the Ferrari Challenge in North America and Executive Driving Director for DXLus.com. Even though he retains his Belgian citizenship, he calls Scottsdale home.
And on the last leg of your adventure, with Theys at the wheel, you can pick his brain or memory banks for his favorite adventures on the pro racing circuit, or garner tips for breaking into the business. He won the triple crown of endurance racing (Daytona 24, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of Watkins Glen), so look for evidence on his wrist (A Rolex is awarded to winners) and enjoy the lasting impression this champion will surely make on you.
The Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience is certainly a day to put in the record books, or at least on your bucket list.