On the Move: Ghosting with Rolls-Royce in Orlando & Winter Park

Rolls-Royce takes Winter Park. A Rolls-Royce invitation to Orlando is certainly not one to pass up, but I almost didn’t make it. A flight mishap (don’t ask) placed me in the Florida city an hour later, but Rolls-Royce refused to leave me out of the drive, which began upon everyone else’s arrival. Our co-host Elizabeth met me and helped escort me outside the airport, where a beautiful Ghost in jubilee silver awaited. While I am fortunate that two friends have owned a Rolls in the past, making me no stranger to the Rolls-Royce experience, the Ghost, with its $400,00-plus price tag, was still a little intimidating. Rolls-Royce Ghost in Silver Jubilee at the airport. If you are unfamiliar with the Ghost, it was officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 and became available in the U.S. in 2010. Drive or be driven was the option, and I opted to be driven first. Of course, I could have been chauffeured but I chose to ride shotgun. Being a passenger allowed me to take in the extreme detailing of the Rolls-Royce interior. Every inch is expertly crafted. Is there more incredible stitching in any car? The ceiling even had hand-painted stars. That roof-missing life 2 Chainz raps about is indeed nice, but so is gazing up at your very own stars. And the leather seats could certainly put any insomniac to sleep. I was wide awake, however. All that riding got me hungry for driving and, just before lunch, I took the wheel, driving mostly in an area known as Montverde. I actually felt very comfortable and was amazed and how navigable the Ghost was. If the streets were rough, you’d never know because the Rolls just glides. Rolls-Royce Ghost parked at Killarney Station. For lunch, I pulled over to an area called Killarney Station that had a nice picnic area and appeared to be a big biking area. I had selected the Greek wrap for my boxed lunch, and delicious is such an understatement. With food in my belly, my drive got even better. I hit the turnpike and eventually drove to my home for the evening — the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Making my way through downtown Orlando made me realize that, in all my many travels to Disney, I had never ever been to Orlando, Orlando. And guess what? It is adorbs! Art at the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Thanks to the sister property in Savannah, I already knew that this Grand Bohemian would be eclectic, artsy, and chic. Art is literally everywhere! And this stay was also sporty, as the March Madness emblem in the elevator let me know. Apparently, Amway Center, where first and second round games were held, is quite close. I even ran into some very happy fans for the moment. Happiness is very fleeting during March Madness season. Now I loved, loved my room and, thanks to Rolls-Royce, I could actually enjoy it with the nice break they scheduled in between dinner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed that nap! My room. [Images: Ronda Racha Penrice] Click the next button to continue reading … <!--nextpage--> Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith outside the Grand Bohemian. As I prepared to meet the others in the lobby, horror struck! I had forgotten my iPad. I remembered slipping it into the Ghost’s stylish and snug console, and it was indeed there. If the iPad were alive, it probably would have preferred staying put. Rolls-Royce Dawn outside the Grand Bohemian. Outside the Grand Bohemian, Rolls-Royce made an impression. It was my first introduction to the Black Badge Wraith and the Dawn. Travel to dinner was chauffeured, so I sunk into the backseat of the Ghost. What can I say? I couldn’t let go! Dare I share how amazing being chauffeured felt? Legroom was crazy but so was the ride. Who knew that Orlando had so much green space surrounded by water and impressive homes? It was a beautiful night and equally beautiful scenery. Wine on top of wine on top of wine at Luma on Park. Luma on Park , which is known for both its food and wine, in Winter Park was our final destination. Since there was barely a dozen of us, we dined in a private room and were joined by sculptor David David Figueroa and his lovely wife Ivette. Figueroa is a standout artist in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which we were also the area to attend. Figueroa’s work is massive and very intricate, mixing metals, wood (some from Brazil), and other materials. He and Ivette, both Puerto Rican natives living la vida Florida, got a call out of the blue inviting them to dine with Rolls-Royce and really had no clue why and how. Those answers came at dinner. The crew and I with artist David David Figueroa, who is sandwiched between his work in the solid button-down shirt. [Image: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Americas]As our main host Gerry Spahn, who heads North American communications for the iconic automaker, explained, Rolls-Royce is a bespoke brand. It isn’t as flashy as others. Believe it or not, Rolls-Royce owners tend to be very low-key. They have an eye for unique and off-the-beaten-path indulgences of the highest quality. They are collectors. They prefer not to follow the crowd. That’s one of the reasons we came to Orlando, to Winter Park in particular. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival started in 1960 and is considered one of the best in its class, but is not as well-known by the masses as others. But more on that later because Luma deserves its own round of applause. Scallops! “People want to have the cuisine and the service associated with fine dining without the stuffiness,” Luma executive chef/partner Brandon McGlamery told Winter Park Magazine. This year, he was a James Beard Award semifinalist so Luma definitely has fine dining covered. The scallops were great but the mashed potatoes or rather the Yukon gold potato puree, truffle oil, and chives was maybe the best ever. And the wine, even for a casual wine drinker, was pretty darn good. The ambiance was sophisticated yet relaxed and so was the vibe. Just high-fives all around. A beautiful drive back to the Grand Bohemian was the perfect nightcap. Kue King and his wire creations. [Image: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Americas]The next day was one of art appreciation as our crew navigated the festival. In addition to seeing Figueroa’s sculptures up close, I dug a few other artists. Kue King’s wire creations were particularly alluring, and self-taught ceramist Valerie Walchek’s story behind her work for littleWolf ceramics was inspiring. Those three didn’t even scratch the surface though. Plates by littleWolf ceramics This Park Avenue was revelatory with its many stylish shops and delectable dining options. There is even a koi pond in a private alcove near Paris Bistro, where public restrooms are also found. It’s just charming. Sadly, though, nothing lasts forever and it was time to bid adieu. I was chauffeured to the airport with a friend and colleague in, you guessed it, the Ghost! And we certainly rode it out, sinking into the backseats as Big Sean’s “Bounce Back” and others played on. It was certainly the calm before the Disney visitors’ storm at the airport. But, luckily, Rolls-Royce’s bespoke introduction to Orlando’s fabulous side was fresh on my mind. [Images, except where noted: Ronda Racha Penrice]

UPTOWN_rolls_royce_winter_park

Rolls-Royce takes Winter Park.

A Rolls-Royce invitation to Orlando is certainly not one to pass up, but I almost didn’t make it. A flight mishap (don’t ask) placed me in the Florida city an hour later, but Rolls-Royce refused to leave me out of the drive, which began upon everyone else’s arrival. Our co-host Elizabeth met me and helped escort me outside the airport, where a beautiful Ghost in jubilee silver awaited. While I am fortunate that two friends have owned a Rolls in the past, making me no stranger to the Rolls-Royce experience, the Ghost, with its $400,00-plus price tag, was still a little intimidating.

UPTOWN_rolls_royce_ghost_airport

Rolls-Royce Ghost in Silver Jubilee at the airport.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ghost, it was officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 and became available in the U.S. in 2010. Drive or be driven was the option, and I opted to be driven first. Of course, I could have been chauffeured but I chose to ride shotgun.

Being a passenger allowed me to take in the extreme detailing of the Rolls-Royce interior. Every inch is expertly crafted. Is there more incredible stitching in any car? The ceiling even had hand-painted stars. That roof-missing life 2 Chainz raps about is indeed nice, but so is gazing up at your very own stars. And the leather seats could certainly put any insomniac to sleep.

I was wide awake, however. All that riding got me hungry for driving and, just before lunch, I took the wheel, driving mostly in an area known as Montverde. I actually felt very comfortable and was amazed and how navigable the Ghost was. If the streets were rough, you’d never know because the Rolls just glides.

UPTOWN_rolls_royce_ghost_killarney_sq

Rolls-Royce Ghost parked at Killarney Station.

For lunch, I pulled over to an area called Killarney Station that had a nice picnic area and appeared to be a big biking area. I had selected the Greek wrap for my boxed lunch, and delicious is such an understatement. With food in my belly, my drive got even better. I hit the turnpike and eventually drove to my home for the evening — the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Making my way through downtown Orlando made me realize that, in all my many travels to Disney, I had never ever been to Orlando, Orlando. And guess what? It is adorbs!

UPTOWN_grand_bohemian_art

Art at the Grand Bohemian Hotel.

Thanks to the sister property in Savannah, I already knew that this Grand Bohemian would be eclectic, artsy, and chic. Art is literally everywhere! And this stay was also sporty, as the March Madness emblem in the elevator let me know. Apparently, Amway Center, where first and second round games were held, is quite close. I even ran into some very happy fans for the moment. Happiness is very fleeting during March Madness season. Now I loved, loved my room and, thanks to Rolls-Royce, I could actually enjoy it with the nice break they scheduled in between dinner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed that nap!

UPTOWN_grand_bohemian_room

My room.

[Images: Ronda Racha Penrice]

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