Let us take you on a journey through the vineyards of Champagne to discover Rolls-Royce's latest gadget.
We head to Champagne, France, to pop the cork on the Rolls-Royce champagne chest, the newest and most opulent addition to the brand’s accessory portfolio.
The summer has only just begun, but the search for the season’s most over-the-top luxury accessory has come to a head with the latest release from Rolls-Royce.
The heritage British marque has created a carbon fibre, aluminium, leather and wood champagne chest. To see the $47,000 creation in person, we joined Rolls-Royce on the most quintessential of summer holidays – the road trip.
Starting in Paris, we began our journey in a chauffeured, extended wheelbase Phantom – a one-of-a-kind vehicle, and source of inspiration for the chest. Heading east, we set off for Champagne, the historical province in the northeast of France known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.
Where to stay in Champagne?
After a smooth two hour ride, we arrived to the newly-opened Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, the region’s first world-class wellness retreat. Overlooking the verdant hills and vineyards of Epernay and the villages of Champillion and Hauvillers, the hotel is a truly luxurious perch in the heart of wine country.
Offering 49 rooms and suites, the modernist property is set in an original 19th-century Post House. Today, it is home to a recently-renovated 16,000 square-foot wellness centre, with interiors created by designer Sybille de Margerie. For lunch, we dined in the hotel’s Bellevue restaurant, one of two on the property, where floor-to-ceiling windows offering a breathtaking view of the countryside below.
What to do on this road trip?
After our meal and glass of wine on the terrace, we set off to the nearby village of Chigny-Les-Roses for a tour of the Cattier family’s wine cellars. The 13th-generation producers have produced Cattier wine for decades. At the turn of the century, the family began setting aside parcels of reserve wines for a new ultra-prestige champagne project – now Armand de Brignac. Widely recognised today as one of the best champagnes in the world, the label, owned by American rapper Jay-Z, is popularly known by its logo, the Ace of Spades.
On a private guided tour, Jean-Jacques Cattier told us how the family sources its grapes from the family’s 30+ hectares and from growers in selected villages across the region. After walking us through the winemaking process and hand-made bottle production methods, we set off to our final destination, the 5-star L’Assiette Champenoise hotel in the neighbouring city of Reims.
There, we were presented with the Rolls-Royce chest – a surprisingly weighty piece of furniture. Distinct from the picnic hamper, created by Rolls-Royce for customers to take on the go, the chest is a stationary object suitable "for the most extravagant of environments from a superyacht to the terrace of a private residence”.
Reminiscent of the trademark Phantom doors, the kit opens outward at the touch of a button. Inside, the illuminated interior houses a champagne set for four including hand-blown glass and crystal champagne flutes, ‘RR’ monogrammed cotton napkins, thermal coolers (to keep champagne at the optimum temperature), leather hammocks to hold caviar or canapés and Mother-of-Pearl caviar spoons. When open, the lid doubles as a serving tray.
Explaining the design process behind the piece, Gavin Hartley, head of bespoke design at Rolls-Royce, said: “The approach is that of designing a Rolls-Royce motor car; the finest materials are married with pinnacle engineering to provide an experience like no other. The champagne chest is crafted for those that seek a heightened sense of occasion in an elegant, entertaining manner and offers the irresistible allure of gadgetry.”
While our chest was a smart black and chrome colour scheme, customers are encouraged to personalise the colours of the chest to their exact specifications, in the same way, buyers can choose every aspect of the design of a new Rolls-Royce car.
How to end your day in Champagne?
To finish our evening in an appropriately elegant style, we settled in for dinner in the L’Assiette Champenoise restaurant, led by three-Michelin star chef Arnaud Lallement. Finely seasoned, beautifully cooked, and with a subtle harmony of flavours, each course of the meal was accompanied by Ace of Spades champagne – served, of course, from a Rolls-Royce chest entirely in its element.
For prices and bookings visit Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa's website.
Words: Claire Lancaster