Photos by Lucas Scarfone/Rolls-Royce North America
For those exceptional special occasions where money is no object, few locations fit the bill as well as Niagara’s wine country. There are endless unique experiences to be discovered. Niagara offers fine wines amid spectacular views to luxury spa and hotel escapes, and some of Canada’s best restaurants. And that’s before factoring in one of the most recognizable natural wonders of the world at Niagara Falls. A luxury road trip in Niagara lets you find these experiences, whether you have a day, a weekend, or more.
To dream up such an experience, it helps to think like someone who experiences the finer things on a daily basis. And who knows the ins and outs of an opulent lifestyle better than the owner of a Rolls-Royce?
In that spirit, we head to Niagara’s wine country to spend a day taking in some of the best the region has to offer. And we do it in Rolls-Royce’s newest car: the all-new, all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre.
The Rolls-Royce brand is synonymous with peak luxury. The only thing that could make any Rolls-Royce more indulgent is introducing near-silent operation. Enter the Rolls-Royce Spectre, the first entirely electric offering from the high-end British automaker.
Spectre retains the bespoke build options Rolls-Royce cars are known for and places them atop a fully electric powertrain in a two-door coupe layout. Open the forward-hinged coach doors, and you’ll lower yourself into what is now the most luxurious EV on the planet.
When building any Rolls-Royce, Spectre included, your only limits are your budget and your imagination. Want it in a russet brown that precisely matches your favourite pair of shoes? No problem. How about an interior colour scheme that celebrates your favourite sports team? You can have that, too. Want to doze off in the passenger seat and gaze up at a galaxy full of stars? That’s already taken care of: the available starlight headliner is created using hundreds of tiny LED lights.
Spectre’s two-plus-two layout means it’s a car that’s meant to be driven. With 584 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque from its pair of electric motors, it’s capable of getting from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.5 seconds. This is despite it being nearly five and a half metres long and weighing nearly 2,900 kilograms, or more than 6,300 pounds. From behind the wheel, the car’s size and weight are barely perceptible. Acceleration is powerful yet smooth. Spectre glides over the road’s surface just as every other Rolls-Royce does: as though floating on a cloud.
Watch the full review of the Rolls-Royce Spectre at Modern Motoring:
A dramatic arrival over Niagara Falls by helicopter
If there’s one thing that can quickly put a damper on a VIP luxury road trip in Niagara, it’s dealing with Toronto traffic. When an occasion needs a show-stopping start, think like a successful entrepreneur or executive. Skip the bumper-to-bumper frustration by traveling via helicopter.
We arrive at Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto for a 9 AM departure with National Helicopters. Our flight soars over the west-end traffic and traced southward along the shores of Lake Ontario. We then gasp over breathtaking bird’s-eye views of Niagara Falls before landing at Niagara District Airport, right in the heart of wine country. Our cars have been delivered and are waiting for us on the tarmac. This lets us skip right to the most pleasant part of the drive.
Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara River Parkway
From the airport, it’s a quick left turn onto Niagara Stone Road toward historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. For a luxury itinerary, the options here are endless. Browse through the many high-end shops. Indulge in a treatment at the Secret Garden Spa in the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. Enjoy a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants. And the list goes on.
On the day of our visit, our luxury road trip in Niagara sees us pass through Niagara-on-the-Lake instead and head toward a drive along the scenic Niagara River Parkway. This route traces the banks and the gorge of the Niagara River from Niagara-on-the-Lake to past Niagara Falls and on to the town of Fort Erie. Sir Winston Churchill once described this route as the “prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” One wonders what he would have thought of driving it in a futuristic car from one of his country’s most famed marques.
13th Street Winery: Canada’s Best Butter Tarts
For many locals and visitors, no luxury road trip in Niagara is complete without a stop at 13th Street Winery. Their bakery’s butter tarts have been called Canada’s best, as selected by House and Home magazine in July 2017. That’s a lofty claim, and it’s one we can neither confirm nor deny since there’s no gluten-free option. But we have it on good authority these are so good that people detour from well out of the way to pick them up. Linger in the winery’s sculpture gallery and gardens to extend your stay.
Restaurant Pearl Morissette: Seasonal dining, from farm to table
Restaurant Pearl Morissette has become one of the most desirable reservations for a luxury road trip in Niagara. It combines the concepts of seasonal tasting menus and farm-to-table dining to create a truly local culinary experience. Dishes are created based on whatever is harvested from the on-site farm that day. This is challenging for a year-round restaurant to achieve in Canada, but produce is preserved using methods like fermenting and pickling to extend its life well into the colder months.
Our experience in the Spectre winds down with a private lunch in Pearl Morissette’s second-floor dining room, where the sun streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows. Typically, the restaurant is only open to the public for lunch on Saturdays. But if you’re as successful as a Rolls-Royce owner, you have a way of making things happen.
The afternoon concludes with a wine tasting in Pearl Morissette’s private cellar—no consuming, of course, since we needed to drive back to Toronto—and a tour through the extensive gardens.
This luxury road trip in Niagara befits such a grand celebration as the arrival of an all-electric Rolls-Royce. And like the process of a bespoke build for one of the world’s most luxurious cars, the only limit on designing a dream day in Niagara is your imagination.