Ferrari, Four Seasons Hampshire and a Gentleman

posted on: Friday, 11 September 2015

What does one do when they have a bold and beautiful Ferrari California T for the weekend in London? Well, the first thing I do is get the hell out of London. What fun is a Ferrari when you're stuck in traffic travelling at top speeds of 35mph? This is a vehicle that craves speed. It longs for endless stretches of highway and the crazy curves of country lanes. It wants to growl, scream, purr, and just generally call attention to itself. And from the front seat, I can tell you that I myself was making similar noises and wanting all the attention that comes with driving a Ferrari California T. If I had a dollar for every smile or glance we got while driving this beauty through the countryside, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to afford the £200,000 price tag attached. 

So I ask again, what does one do with a Ferrari for the weekend? Well, here's where the story begins and it involves a full tank of gas (two, actually, by the time we had returned the vehicle on Monday morning), the Four Seasons Hampshire and a new gentleman in my life who just happens to be one of the most handsome men I've ever laid eyes on (yes, both in and out of the Ferrari). Although let's just say there's nothing sexier in this world, as far as I am now concerned, than a man in the front seat of a California T Ferrari. I'm addicted (dear Lord, let me win the lottery).

So, on Friday afternoon we made the journey over to Ferrari to pick up our ride for the weekend. Now, ladies and gents, I am a woman that's been brought up with three brothers in racing country - think Tom Cruise and Days of Thunder, which was filmed in my hometown. I am used to speed. In fact, I live for a little fast action. However, nothing can prepare you for the moment when the gentleman in your life decides he is going to push the Ferrari out there in the first sixty seconds you have it in your possession. Oh yeah, that happened. Zero to sixty? Try zero to head-against-the-headrest with no concept of what speed you're doing. I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready for the incredible power of a Ferrari engine. Perhaps it was the comfortable ride that set me off. This wasn't the supercar I'm used to. Aren't they supposed to be uncomfortable and more about speed than luxury relaxation? Not this bad boy. Oh no. The Ferrari California T is at its most comfortable when travelling at 120mph. If you go any slower it appears to almost be mad at you - or at least the sound of the engine would suggest as much. This is now my cruiser of choice. Only problem is that I'm sure a police officer won't go for the excuse of "Honestly, I could have sworn I was only going 65," when I get pulled over and given a ginormous speeding ticket. 

The Ferrari found its home for the weekend at The Four Seasons Hampshire. It just seemed appropriate to give this beautiful beast a home that could match its luxury level. And did the Four Seasons ever deliver. People, this is THE London weekend getaway. As we made our way up the twisting country road, towards reception, I could have easily believed I was making a guest appearance in Pride & Prejudice. The rolling hills, the massive country estate and the moody weather all contributed to a scene I will never forget. Only my Mr. Darcy's trusty steed wasn't a big white horse, it was a maroon magic maker with 557 horsepower. Take that, Darcy from days gone by! 

While the Ferrari slept, we indulged in the comforts of the beautiful Four Seasons Hampshire. This included me rolling on the floor with the Lord of the Manor. Don't panic- I'm referring to the beautiful black Lab, named Oliver, who welcomes guests as they arrive on sight. Oliver makes his bed next to the roaring fire in reception. Truly, this is the dream retreat scenario. Luxury feels like home.

Now a few words about the Four Seasons Hampshire. First of all, you are out in the middle of nowhere. And, yes, it is a retreat for those looking for that sort of indulgence. At the same time, it's also a place that offers as little or as much activity as you can bring yourself to participate in. From horse riding to falconry, there's something here for every interest. As we were mostly in the area to test drive the Ferrari California T, I didn't get to do half of the activities I would have hoped for. However, I did indulge in the three activities that make or break a good hotel stay: Eating, sleeping and spa-ing! I can report that each and every one of these categories gets high marks from me. We ate like kings and queens. From the breakfast buffet (that had so many varieties of sausages that my head spun) to the elegant dinner featuring some of the best wine and food pairing I've experienced in some time, there isn't an unpleasant word that can be found about this particular experience. My waistband currently tells the rest of the story.

Sleeping is as you'd expect from a Four Seasons property. The beds are universally comfortable and the rooms are spacious, elegant and full of every modern amenity one could desire. Let's also not forget the convenience of the Four Seasons App. Then there's the view. Waking up in the morning was a pleasant surprise. When you live in London you certainly aren't used to rolling hills of green outside your bedroom window. The scene itself made me feel perkier and more refreshed on Sunday morning than any stay in London ever will! That all being said, the real treat at the Four Seasons Hampshire was discovered in the spa. I treated myself to the Awakening Summerdown Mint Ritual, a limited run therapy available for only a few more weeks at the Four Seasons Hampshire Spa. YES YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS. This is a massage that quite literally clears your soul. I hope it's natural for one to cry throughout, as I was weeping like a small child. Apparently this is all a part of the cleansing process when it comes to chakras. At £150 for 90 minutes, I felt my therapist did more for me than my shrink has in years. Funny how that works. Time to re-evaluate a few things I think.

After having a good cry, refueling with spectacular food and sleeping like a baby in the rolling hills of Hampshire, the gentleman and I returned to our Ferrari. Seems we weren't the only ones sad to be leaving the Four Seasons Hampshire. The fabulous valet assistants all waved us goodbye and you could see a sadness in their eyes as their Ferrari left location. Yes, it was theirs for a short period of time - our time with this beautiful speed demon wasn't much more extensive. We had 24 hours before  it needed to be returned. We slipped back into the car, put the top down (which is just about the quickest and easiest thing I've ever seen with any convertible), and decided on a destination for putting the Ferrari through its paces for the day.

If you find yourself out and about in the UK with any supercar, you'd be ridiculous not to head to the Surrey Hills. You'd also be slightly ridiculous to take a chance here with the tiny streets and super curves in the road. It's not an easy route, but it offers spectacular views of the countryside and features small town after small town waiting to offer up anything from a great pub lunch to a cheese puff pastry with a view. The Ferrari "cornered like it was on rails" - to steal a line from Pretty Woman. Sorry, Julia. We could have driven another ten hours through the hills and been happy to keep at it. What's wonderfully surprising about this supercar is the fact that it truly is so comfortable. It is made for cruising and who were we to let this maroon marvel down?

At around 10pm, we made our way back into London. We took one final cruise into town, revved the engine for onlookers (yes, we were those people), and put the car away for the night. In fact, I will say I blew it a kiss goodnight and thanked it for a day I will not soon forget. Yes, I have fallen in love with a car.

The next morning we said our goodbyes. We returned the Ferrari to the dealership and I made a promise to my new magnificent friend. I promised he would one day be mine, sit in my garage, and see me through endless road trips in and around London. I now have a framed picture of me and "rrari" on my bedside table. It's called "motivation," people.

A few important facts you need to know about:

About the Ferrari California T

  • Ferrari V8 Turbo Engine, 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds
  • Features a retractable top that takes just 14 seconds to convert.
  • One of the world's first cars to feature Apple Carplay - allowing you to access your iPhone from the touchscreen on the dashboard. Don't even get me started on the amazing sound - thanks of the JBL Professional System with 12 speakers internally. 
  • Ladies, I didn't tie my hair back once with the top down - the car is designed to allow for what I have officially termed "sexy convertible driving." Your hair stays in the place no matter the speed! DREAM!
  • The Ferrari California T comes with a seven year maintenance programme - covering all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car's life. There is also an optional 12 year extended warranty scheme. 
  • Ferrari has also recently announced a free Roadside Assistance service for all cars not covered by warranty. Basically this means that all Ferraris (even ones as old as 1947) in Europe will receive assistance in the case of emergency with their vehicles, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Stellar!
  • Located just one hour's drive from London (perhaps 45 minutes if you are travelling by Ferrari - just saying).
  • The Georgian mansion is set upon 500 acres of land in Hampshire. 
  • There is no wrong time to visit the Four Seasons Hampshire. In summer, enjoy the landscape by horse, bike or by foot. In winter, do the same but retire fireside with a warm drink. In short, it's paradise on earth and a quick and easy retreat for Londoners looking for release. 
  • There are 133 guest rooms and 22 suites on site - more than enough for the perfect wedding. Could that possibly be the post that follows this one? Wink, wink. 
  • Kids and dogs are treated like royalty at the Four Seasons Hampshire. That's not to say that adults aren't given special treatment, but I really found that four legged friends and little folks are truly given an experience that is unparalleled. 
As always, there are pictures a plenty of the whole experience, kicking off with checking in at the Four Seasons Hampshire:

And let's not forget about the amazing food at the Four Seasons Hampshire (yeah, we ate A LOT):

Now, how about some Ferrari California T action?
And what the 'rrari saw....
And... saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow! We call it "'rrari love"....
Fashion Foie Gras was a guest of the Four Seasons Hampshire and was loaned a Ferrari California T for the weekend for review.