Black Tomato has designed a series of luxury road trips in partnership with Auberge Resorts Collection and Mercedes-Benz, guaranteeing elevated pitstops and access to awesome vehicles. Samia Qaiyum reports

Road trips are cooler than ever these days but Black Tomato has taken the concept to the next level thanks to it hospitality partnership with Auberge Resorts Collection and vehicle provider Mercedes-Benz USA, meaning there will be no need for grotty motels, bad food or broken-down cars en route.

It only makes sense that countless city dwellers are looking for their first post-lockdown trip to be a socially distanced one. In fact, 69 per cent of the 10,000 Americans surveyed by Harvest Hosts admitted to feeling unsafe at the prospect of flying, opting to travel via road instead.

Black Tomato, meanwhile, has upgraded the concept altogether – further evidence of the Supercharged Road Trips trend we’ve reported on in the past.The luxury travel company has partnered with Auberge Resorts Collection to create five curated itineraries that take drivers across the US. Entitled “Remarkable Drives of Discovery”, consumers a loaned a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for the duration of a trip meaning they don’t have to take their own vehicle or arrange a rental through a third-party.

This year’s multi-destination routes are designed to showcase the country’s more unexpected corners, with roadtrippers offered the option of taking a private charter flight with Surf Air for added ease.

Craig Reid, president and chief executive officer for Auberge Resorts Collection, says: “Following a year of limited travel, multi-stop trips allow guests to discover more of the beauty that this country has to offer. With the expertise of Black Tomato, we’ve conjured up some of the most exquisite stateside journeys, so guests can experience multiple destinations in one trip, all while staying at our award-winning Auberge properties.Bishop's LodgeTom Marchant, co-founder of Black Tomato, says: “As the past year for many has felt rushed and manic, these itineraries are an antidote and a call to embrace the luxury of being languid – taking the time to dwell in these mesmerizing landscapes, go off-the-grid and off-itinerary, and embrace the merits of a slower form of travel.

“We are thrilled to bring these destinations to life by creatively collaborating with our friends at Auberge Resorts Collection, as their unmatched luxury portfolio provides a seamless home away from home while on the road.”

Black Tomato’s road trips across AmericaBlack Tomato road trip

1. The artistically inclined will gravitate towards the Texas & New Mexico itinerary that starts with a stay at the sprawling Commodore Perry Estate in Austin. This ten-night trip includes a hands-on graffiti experience with a street artist and a Victorian jewellery design workshop before driving west to the artistic enclave of Marfa. Things wind down amidst southwestern heritage at Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe. Exclusive access to Georgia O’Keeffe’s residence is also on the agenda.

Package starts from US$8,950 per person, including ten nights’ accommodation.

2. A trip to New England spans 12 nights along the Eastern seaboard, both ocean air and old-timey traditions dominating this next itinerary. A stay at the idyllic Mayflower Inn & Spa and an immersive pottery experience set the tone for what’s to follow: checking into the Vanderbilt in Newport, taking a lesson on the art of “scrimshaw” (bone carving), and touring Newport Mansions with an interiors docent. Lobster fishing and eating freshly dug clams are also both on the menu.

Package starts from US$17,250 including twelve nights’ accommodation, a private charter from Sanford to Nantucket.

3. Another gourmet experience awaits on the Big Sur and Napa road trip. No ordinary backdrop, the landscapes of California complement six nights of horseback riding along the beaches of Monterey, a food tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and curated visits to Napa’s leading wineries.

It’s also in Napa where guests will escape to Solage for a few days of R&R, rising with the sun for a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley and basking beneath the moonlight in the Bathhouse.

For those looking for a longer getaway, guests may choose to fly with Surf Air to Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, a private oceanfront sanctuary on the Kohala Coast in Hawaii.

Package starts from US$8,650 per person including six nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast and a customised programme of private experiences (excluding flights).

4. The Utah, Colorado and New Mexico road trip is adventurous in nature, featuring a foraging experience, a 4×4 adventure in the Telluride backcountry, and an open-air art class. But there’s also room for leisurely pursuits. Farm-to-table cuisine and a chocolate journey inspired by colonial recipes provide sustenance, while the likes of Madeline Hotel & Residences and the Lodge at Blue Sky offer shelter.

Package starts from $10,950 including ten nights’ accommodation.

5. The Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia journey weaves through the coastlines and mountains of the East Coast, beginning at the aforementioned Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut and heading south to Chesapeake Bay for an oystering experience and walking tour of St Michaels.

Rounding off this eight-night trip is a stint of wilderness at a luxury resort, where an RTV trail riding expedition in the Blue Ridge Mountains caters to one’s inner explorer. And because even the most eager explorer is rightfully risk-averse, every booking is refundable if cancelled up to 30 days before departure.

Package starts from US$7,750 per person including eight nights’ accommodation.

What about the cars?

Black Tomato x Mercedes-Benz USAThanks to Black Tomato’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz, travellers will have access to the 2021 S-Class sedan and the ultra-luxe GLS600 Maybach.

East Coast itineraries will offer a selection of the newest models from the C-class, E-class, GLC, GLE and GLS lines, while West Coast itineraries will feature the E450 Coupe, GLE 450 SUV, Maybach S560 and Maybach GLS600 “to ride in superior comfort and luxury guided and directed by Mercedes-Benz artificial intelligence, MBUX”.

Monique Harrison, head of brand experience marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA, says: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Black Tomato and Auberge Resorts Collection for the second year to provide luxurious vehicles for the premiere, road trip experience.

“Pairing a Mercedes-Benz vehicle experience with Auberge Resorts Collection’s breathtaking accommodations and Black Tomato’s expertise delivering unparalleled, rare travel moments, we invite those looking for an escape to discover the adventure of travel in the country’s most comfortable accommodations both on the road and off.”

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE