A 24 hour adventure starting at sunrise in one amazing location and ending at sunrise in another: taking in three countries, over 300 km of stunning scenery and unforgettable experiences… all powered by the Lexus UX. We couldn’t refuse!
An invitation for an event where every second is a chance to find a new horizon? Pictures of ‘Stepping into the Void’, the highest attraction in Europe, made us decide instantly to participate in this event.
Step Into the Void is a truly unique experience
Photo: Lexus Dress: Selected Official
As the present Lexus slogan is ‘Experience amazing’, the experience had to be more than just driving the recently launched Lexus UX Self Charging Hybrid. It had to be all about those great experiences centered around ‘Omotenashi’, the Japanese word for ‘the art of hospitality’ or ‘the desire to put the customer or guest first’.
Lac Leman at Lausanne
Also in the four star hotel Royal Savoy in Lausanne – our first stay – everything turns around Omotenashi. And this is no coincidence. “In hotels which each offer outstanding architecture or design, fine materials and luxurious facilities, only the level of service and hospitality makes you really stand out”, tells us general manager Alain Kropf. “You can copy nice furniture, lamps or rugs, but not service.” During my years as an expat in Hong Kong I got to know and appreciate Asian hospitality.” I wanted to implement this in my hotel, because service is the new luxury. We invest a lot of time in searching for young people with the right attitude. Young people who realise that being at the service of their partner, parents, friends or colleagues is not a sign of inferiority, but actually a noble act. We only engage personnel which put the hotel guest in the center.”
Alain Kropf, general manager Royal Savoy in Lausanne: “Service is the new luxury”
Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne
In essence, Omotenashi, which is embedded in Japanese culture as well as in the Lexus brand, expresses the desire to give the client or guest an unforgettable experience. This is a philosophy which lies at the core of the permanent engagement of Lexus to treat their clients better at every level than other car manufacturers. And Lexus succeeds wonderfully in this respect: the outstanding client service and customer satisfaction was awarded several times by international organizations. Lexus distributors treat their clients as their house guests. Not only with their excellent hospitality, but also by doing everything that is needed to respond to the needs of the client and even to anticipate them.
The Ouchy Marina at a 5 min walk from the Royal Savoy Hotel offers lovely views and promenade. Photo WOWwatchers.com
The spectacular Art Nouveau style five star hotel The Royal Savoy was originally built in 1909. Painstakingly restored to its pristine beauty this hotel is now a landmark representing luxury and style complemented by an elegant yet contemporary design. Located adjacent to the majestic Lake Leman and one hour from Geneva airport, this hotel in the heart of Lausanne is ideal for visitors who appreciate culture, heritage and history, whilst enjoying up to date modern facilities of a first class hotel.
After a great night and a harsh wake-up call at 4.30 o’clock we are taken in a bus to start our 24 hours experience at Le Deck in Chexbres, a location suspended above the shores of Lake Geneva offering one of the most beautiful panoramas in Europe.
Enjoying the sunrise at Balcon du Léman – Le Deck Chexbres
From left to right @monsieurrichard @fmarnette @showbizzbart @wowwatchers
Chexbres is a wine-growing village and enjoys a good selection of local vintages. It also enjoys notable views of Lake Geneva, and therefore is nicknamed ‘Balcon du Léman’ in French. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces is located in Chexbres.
After an exquisite yet intimate view of the sunrise, whilst enjoying a moment of breakfast indulgence, we are ready to take a seat behind the wheel of the Lexus UX Self Charging Hybrid. Our co-driver for the next 24 hours is no one less than the Belgian TV and media figure Showbiz Bart.
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And then all of the sudden you have a very special #private #driver … . . . #tb to our #experienceamazing #lexus #adventure two weeks ago . . . Discovering the #vertues of #self-charging #hybrids like the #new #LexusUX that are more environment-friendly than regular cars with combustion engine and are more practical than PHEV plug-in hybrids or electric cars as you do not need to plug in self-charging hybrids Many people do not know that these cars with hybrid technology also cost less in maintenance eg. Self-charging hybrids with 300,000 kilometres on the counter and still equipped with the original set of brake pads are no exception. . . #lexusbelux #ecodrive #ecodriving #eco #green #showbizzbart #vip #letsgreentheplanet #selfcharginghybrid #ux #lexusux #sunrisetosunrise
Stepping into the void
About two hours later we arrive at the foot of Mont Blanc. After we have parked the UX’es and have enjoyed a coffee we take a private cable car.
Here from the centre of Chamonix, the Aiguille du Midi cable car – the highest cable car in Europe, takes us for a 20 minutes ride to the Aiguille du Midi. From its height of 3,777m, the Aiguille du Midi (the highest attraction in Europe) and its laid-out terraces offer a 360° view of all the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. The name ‘Aiguille du Midi’ translates as Needle of the Mid-day, and it has been suggested this may be because the sun appears over its summit around noon when seen from one of the town’s churches.
After a short sightseeing break at this height a dazzling lift brings us even further to the summit terrace at 3,842m, where we could have a clear view of the Mont Blanc and experience 360° views, whilst ‘Step into the Void’. This 2.50 m glass cage out over a 1000 m precipice is a product of modern architectural and technical prowess and offers a sensation packed experience to the more fearless. It takes a long time queuing up here but the breathtaking view definitely is worth the waiting. The view is 1,035 m straight down, and one can see Mont Blanc to the south.
‘Step into the Void’. This 2.50 m glass cage out over a 1000 m precipice is a product of modern architectural and technical prowess and offers a sensation packed experience to the more fearless.
Photo WOWwatchers.comPhoto WOWwatchers.com
The Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 to 3,842 m. There are two sections: from Chamonix to Plan de l’Aiguille at 2,317 m and then directly, without any support pillar, to the upper station at 3,777 m
France to Italy Experience
From Chamonix we descent into Courmayeur (Italy) to take on the mountainous roads of the Aosta region stopping for lunch at the locally renowned Il Torchio 1763. With fresh ingredients and local produce at its heart, the pit stop lunch at Il Torchio 1763 offered us a simple yet unique local culinary experience. The restaurant in situated in a house from the 18thcentury and the dining area is set around the oldest wine press in the world. Lunching our dining around this 7 ton oak structure is just impressive.
Restaurant Il Torchio 1763 in Aoste is centered around the oldest wine press in the world.
With a few hundred kilometers behind us we can start judging the Lexus UX 250h but maybe first something about its name. Lexus has a knack for abbreviations but there is always a clear logic behind it. So UX is derived from the concept ‘Urban + X-over (cross-over)’ which the design team had created with the new Lexus UX in mind. The compact cross-over has been designed as a modern urban explorer with a fresh, contemporary look on luxurious driving pleasure. The UX us the first Lexus built on the new Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform and is has a unique presence. The car is available in two versions: the petrol engined Lexus UX200 and the Self Charging Hybrid UX 250h which combines the very frugal 2.0-liter four cylinder engine with powerful electric engines and is available in front- or AWD drive.
We tested the Lexus UX 250h Self Charging Hybrid that seamlessly combines petrol and electric power. A self-charging hybrid vehicle charges itself as you drive. The big advantage of this self-charging hybrid versus a normal hybrid is that you never need to plug it in. No plugging in, no diesel, no compromise. When required e.g at higher speeds the car will use its very economical 2.0 liter four cylinder engine. Needless to say that this car is much more energy efficient than a car with only a combustion engine. The light, but very stiff structure, the low gravity point and the refined tuning of the suspension guarantee for the UX impeccable handling and much driving comfort, providing a typical driving character which we can describe as the Lexus smooth way of driving, coupled to the unique and enjoyable driving characteristics of an SUV.
Read more about our adventures in part 2.
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The Royal Sovoy is situated at only 45 min driving from Geneva Airport.