On a road trip, can the car ride be one of the best parts?
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Living in L.A., I've always thought of my car as a four-door box that sits in headache-inducing traffic, slowly shuttling me from point A to point B. Arguably jaded by Southern California traffic, it hardly occurred to me to reframe the way I think of a long drive as akin to a long-haul first-class flight. For me, cars were always a means of transportation, rather than an integral part of a vacation — or so I thought.

Road tripping with Lincoln — to Rosewood Miramar Beach and around Montecito and Santa Barbara, California — got me thinking about a luxury car ride the way I think about Qatar Airways' Qsuites or even a cross-country flight on Delta One. When I fly first class, the flight isn't just bringing me to my destination, it's part of the luxury travel experience. By the same logic, on a road trip, could the car ride really be one of the best parts?

A Lincoln Navigator outside of Rosewood Miramar Beach
Credit: Lisa Linke/Courtesy of Lincoln
Interior of the Lincoln Navigator at Rosewood Miramar Beach
Credit: Lisa Linke/Courtesy of Lincoln

I drove a 2021 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label — husband and luxury Goop x Lincoln amenities in tow — up to Rosewood Miramar Beach to sample the Lincoln Rejuvenation package firsthand. Bookable through the hotel, the package comes with a 60-minute massage, meditation session, the aforementioned Goop amenities, and luxe, beach-adjacent accommodations. It's part of Lincoln's hospitality program, meant to expose Lincoln-loyal (or Lincoln-curious) drivers to personalized travel perks.

The hospitality program was born from the idea of engaging with travelers along their journey, exposing them to luxury experiences or a destination's hidden gems that they may otherwise have overlooked. While the brand has partnered with Rosewood Miramar Beach to imagine packages like the restorative weekend I tried, it's also the house car at the hotel, allowing guests not partaking in the package to get a taste of the Lincoln road trip experience by taking a new Lincoln Aviator or Lincoln Navigator to hot spots around Montecito and Santa Barbara.

The great lawn at Rosewood Miramar Beach
Credit: Courtesy of Rosewood Miramar Beach

As Lincoln marketing communications manager Eric Peterson explained to me when I returned from a weekend of pampering in Montecito, hospitality partnerships like these help bring the Lincoln ethos to life. "We have an opportunity to expose people to the Lincoln brand [when] they're on vacation or traveling, and that's something that's a core passion point for us," he said.

Because Lincoln drivers are accustomed to the high-end comforts of their vehicles, the brand aligns with hospitality partners known for five-star spas, impressive dining options, and top-tier accommodations. The idea is that a ride in a Lincoln should feel much like a flight on the likes of La Compagnie — comfortable, filled with anticipation, and whisking you away to exclusive experiences. And, for the record, my Lincoln whisked me to the hotel where Kourtney Kardashian got engaged to Travis Barker on the very weekend I visited. How's that for facilitating an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Carusos bar at Rosewood Miramar Beach
Credit: Ryan Forbes/Courtesy of Rosewood Miramar Beach

When I wasn't dining beachside at Caruso's — chef Massimo Falsini's four-course menu is the best haute cuisine I've encountered on the central California coast — or sinking into a massage table at Sense Spa, I took the Lincoln to a few local attractions to get a feel for the house car partnership.

We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara for a stop at my favorite brunch spot (Boathouse at Hendry's Beach) and a walk through the Funk Zone. We took the car into the heart of Spanish colonial-trimmed Montecito in the evening, benefitting from the sprawling sunroof for stargazing on the drive home. Peterson had told me that Lincoln's role was "to enhance the journey," and feeling the salty Pacific breeze in my hair while cozied into the plush leather interior, navigating to brunch in Santa Barbara, I saw exactly what he meant. 

While a stay at Rosewood Miramar Beach is always a good idea — with or without Kourtney Kardashian's engagement on the beach — Lincoln has hospitality partnerships across the country. Providing house cars at partner hotels is a way to facilitate mini luxury road trips for the traveler looking to further immerse themselves in their destination. As Peterson put it, they've aligned with "partners that think like we do," and now have house cars available at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah, Dream Nashville in Tennessee, SLS South Beach in Miami, Mr. C Seaport in New York City, and of course, Rosewood Miramar Beach, among other hotels.