Meet the woman at H.R. Owen whose job is to make yours easier, thanks to the Group’s groundbreaking new Chauffeur Drive and Luxury Hire services
How would you prefer to be driven across London: in the back of a black cab or the rear compartment of a Rolls-Royce Ghost?
For most of us, the answer is pretty straightforward… Royce every time. But there are a few practical issues to consider first. For example, while there are “Fast Blacks” of every colour on every street corner, hailing a chauffeur-driven Ghost is easier said than done.
Until now. While you still won’t be able to flag one down in the street, hiring a Ghost complete with professional driver has just got a whole lot easier. It’s simply a matter of making a phone call first, thanks to H.R. Owen’s latest venture, VIP Services, and its newly established pair of car hire businesses: Chauffeur Drive and Luxury Hire.
“It’s about doing business differently – and we do that by ensuring we offer more to our existing clients,” says Sharon Wright, the company’s freshly appointed Special Projects Director. “Anyone can hail a cab, book a people carrier or rent an executive saloon. But if you want to arrive in style, what better way to do it than by emerging at your destination from the rear of a Rolls-Royce or Bentley?”
Although new to the role, Sharon is far from new to the company, as she has recently returned to H.R. Owen after a stint with a mainstream car manufacturer.
In establishing a Special Projects division, the company is looking at new ways of harnessing the undoubted strength of the H.R. Owen brand, and as far as Sharon is concerned, both the Chauffeur Drive and Luxury Hire divisions are a natural fit, both complementing and broadening the company’s core business.
“The Chauffeur Drive operation fulfils a real need among our customers. Some may already own a Rolls-Royce or Bentley but for whatever reason find it impractical to bring their car to London. They could hire a people carrier or an executive saloon and driver… but neither gets close to matching their expectations.
“A quick phone call to us and they can hire either a Ghost or a Bentley Flying Spur complete with a Rolls-Royce or Bentley-trained chauffeur,” says Sharon.
The Chauffeur Drive business has a Ghost, Flying Spur and Ghibli at its disposal with a team of four chauffeurs led by the respected John Wyatt. It operates out of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London in Berkeley Square, right in the heart of the capital’s West End.
Charges vary depending on the length of time car and driver are hired, but they embrace hourly and daily rates and there’s even a special Heathrow rate, to ensure that customers flying into or out of the country can start or finish their visit to the capital in the best possible way. The rates themselves are extremely competitive and are directly comparable to what some other companies currently charge for the hire of a typical German executive saloon and driver.
“We are also talking to a number of international carriers about the possibility of providing a dedicated seven-star-experience VIP chauffeur service for some of their top clients,” Sharon reveals. “In this way we might well be introducing potential customers unfamiliar with either brand to the pleasures of travel by Rolls-Royce or Bentley.”
The Luxury Hire venture also operates out of Berkeley Square, but this time is based next-door at Jack Barclay. Here a further four cars are available for clients who prefer to drive themselves: the fleet comprises a Rolls-Royce Ghost, Bentley Flying Spur, Lamborghini Huracan and Maserati Quattroporte. Once again hire rates are time-based with day and weekend rates on offer as well as a five-hour option. Economies of scale mean the rates reduce pro rata the longer the car is hired.
“We’re confident Luxury Hire will appeal to a wide cross section of our client base. As with Chauffeur Drive, a customer might already be an owner… but he or she might be based in Manchester, for example, and need a car in London. With Ghost, Flying Spur and Quattroporte we have two roomy four-door saloons perfect for families or business colleagues to share.
“Alternatively,” Sharon continues, “a customer might be a Ferrari owner who simply fancies having a drive in one of the latest Lamborghinis to see what all the fuss is about…”
Given the value and performance potential of the cars on offer, customers will have to satisfy a number of insurance requirements and there is a minimum age of 30. “But,” adds Sharon, “we have worked closely with our insurance brokers, Stackhouse Poland, to make sure that the restrictions are as flexible as possible.”
Both Chauffeur Drive and Luxury Hire operations fit perfectly into the H.R. Owen portfolio, of course, but they are at the tip of the Special Projects “iceberg”, a move that could well see the company venturing into areas other than automotive in the future.
“It’s a lifestyle thing. Our customers lead extremely busy lives and really appreciate it when a company like ours is prepared to go the extra mile. Chauffeur Hire allows them to go about their business in the capital as seamlessly as possible, and it’s only a short jump from that to a full concierge service, for example.
“We want to be able to offer our clients not just the best cars available, but ultimately to offer them a complete lifestyle service. If they want theatre tickets, hotel rooms or restaurant tables, we are perfectly placed to source them.”
That is for the future, though. For today the focus is on providing a luxury service that customers will appreciate and turn to on a regular basis. “Once you’ve enjoyed the comfort of a Ghost or a Spur and are happy to let a professional driver deal with the London traffic, the capital’s convoluted one-way systems and its parking restrictions, you’ll soon agree that there’s no better way to travel in town,” says Sharon.
It’s hard to disagree with her.
To find out more about H.R. Owen’s Chauffeur Drive
and Luxury Hire services, or to make a booking,
please call 0203 699 6612
Luxury Hire Rates
Daily Rate £800.00 | Weekend Rate £2,500.00
Monday - Thursday £3,100.00 | Weekly Rate £5,250.00
Daily Rate £475.00 | Weekend Rate £475.00
Monday - Thursday £2,490.00 | Weekly Rate £4,500.00
Daily Rate £950.00 | Weekend Rate £3,500.00
Monday - Thursday £3,600.00 | Weekly Rate £6,950.00
Daily Rate £1,500.00 | Weekend Rate £5,500.00
Monday - Thursday £5,850.00 | Weekly Rate £10,750.00
Luxury Chauffeur Drive Rates
Hourly Rate (Min 5 hrs) £85.00 | Daily Rate (8 hrs) £595.00
Heathrow to Central London £250.00
Hourly Rate (Min 5 hrs) £95.00 | Daily Rate (8 hrs) £695.00
Heathrow to Central London £275.00
Hourly Rate (Min 5 hrs) £65.00 | Daily Rate (8 hrs) £395.00
Heathrow to Central London £175.00