There was a time not too long ago when trying out a new car consisted of going to the local dealer lot and convincing the salesperson that you were serious enough about buying the car that it was worth them giving up a half hour of their time to take you out for a spin. Then, as cars matured and potential customers discovered they needed more time to get acquainted with a vehicle’s more advanced features, the multi-day test-drive was born, where a dealer would, to all intents and purposes, let you take a demonstrator car home for a few days to try it out before making the all-important buying decision.
Then Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] — which had already challenged the status quo of franchised auto dealerships with its bright and airy mall-based Tesla stores — came up with its popular Model S referral program. Rather than have a Tesla employee show you the ropes of its luxury Model S, the company incentivised existing owners to become salespeople, offering rewards and prizes for owners who convinced their friends, family and coworkers to sign up for a new Tesla.
Tesla’s referral program leverages something the auto industry has known for a long time: existing customers make the best salespeople. But while it’s always nice to hear about an owner’s personal experience, sometimes you need a little extra time on your own to get a feeling for a new car before you make the final purchase decision. And if you can combine that with a weekend away at a beautiful hotel somewhere, even better.
And now — if you’ve got a few thousand dollars in your back pocket — you can do just that at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Half Moon Bay, California, courtesy of its new Tesla Driving Experience Package.
As Driving The Nation explains, the luxurious hotel in what it calls a ‘quaint seaside town in Northern California’ has paired its spectacular surroundings with its 5-star rated service and a Tesla Model S to give customers the chance to explore the local area in zero emission luxury. From now until August 31, guests can opt to pay $959 per night for the ‘Tesla Driving Experience,” a package which includes luxury rooms with an ocean view, a daily breakfast for two, resort fee and guest Internet access, as well as exclusive use of a Tesla Model S during their stay.
Overnight valet parking and charging is of course, also included.
While it’s not one hundred percent clear if Tesla or the Ritz-Carlton came up with the idea of offering this particular package, Tesla is certainly on side. According to the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Tesla will either deliver a Model S to the hotel, completing driver orientation on site, or the customer can opt to pick up a Model S from the Tesla Burlingame Store — a short half-hour drive away.
Presumably, we’re guessing the same is true when it comes to pick up, with either return of the Model S to the Tesla Burlingame store or a Tesla employee pickup from the hotel at the end of a guest’s stay.
While the nearest Tesla Supercharger is about 30 minutes drive from the hotel, it’s worth remembering that the Tesla Model S — most likely a Tesla Model S 85 or S 90D — will offer more than enough range to allow guests to explore the environs without a spot of range anxiety. Additionally, with a Tesla high-powered wall charger at the hotel, guests can start every day with a full charge.
As for places to go in the borrowed Model S? Located just 40 minutes drive away from Tesla’s corporate headquarters in Palo Alto and a further half an hour away from Tesla’s Fremont factory, Half Moon bay is the perfect base for anyone wanting to explore the area but not wanting to stay in the busy San Francisco area.
From the hotel, we’d have to recommend a scenic drive along Highway 1 to Santa Cruz, perhaps looping back through Scotts Valley (where Zero motorcycles are based) before calling in at Tesla’s Fremont facility and of course, passing up the east side of the San Francisco Bay, joining up with the 101 and heading south over the Golden Gate Bridge before stopping off in downtown San Francisco to sample some evening entertainment.
A full day’s worth of activities (especially given traffic in the area), our suggested route would give plenty to see while ensuring plenty of range to return back to the hotel. Add in Supercharging stops, and the possibilities are endless.
We should note that while the Ritz-Carlton package is novel, it’s not the first time we’ve seen the hotel industry pick the Model S as its car of choice. Last year, we told you that the Virgin Hotel in downtown Chicago had just purchased a brand-new, high-performance Tesla Model S for use as its concierge airport shuttle service.
While you couldn’t drive it yourself, the high-end Model S P85 D was at guest’s beckon call during their stay, carrying out everything from a late-night pizza run to Chicago’s finest pizzerias or giving visitors a guided tour round the Windy City.
But if we’re honest, we think we’d rather go with the Ritz-Carlton package. After all, a Tesla is best enjoyed when you’re behind the wheel.
Of course, while the whole package sounds delightful, there are some caveats we should draw your attention to.
Firstly, spending nearly $1,000 per night for a hotel and luxury Model S might be a little too much for just a chance to give the Model S an extended test drive. Second, while it might be a good way to treat that special someone when you can’t afford to buy them a Model S, they probably won’t want to give it back.
We’re just warning you…
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