Even in the best of times, it would be a stretch to describe travel—the actual act of getting from one place to another—as a “restful” experience. But now, as more travelers are taking to the highways during the post-pandemic era, Lexus has created an experience that works as antidote to the stress of hitting the road—and that aims to make the journey just as relaxing as the destination.
Launched last spring in California and expanding to New England this fall, the Retreats in Motion program is a leisurely five-day driving excursion that takes you between two world-class hotels while focusing on wellness, relaxation and self-care along the way. “These days, the desire to escape on the open road to rejuvenate mind and spirit has never been more enticing,” says Vinay Shahani, Lexus vice president of marketing.
While that statement recalls a nostalgic joy and romance for long-distance driving, the underlying sentiment poses a key question: Can a car help you heal? To help answer that, we tried Lexus’s just-launched New England itinerary between Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel and the iconic Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod.
Retreats in Motion guests stay two nights in two luxury properties—typically a three-hour drive apart—and travel between them in a well-appointed 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport. During the drive, they enjoy curated wellness activities and podcasts designed by Mindbodygreen, a health-focused lifestyle brand; the latter include guided meditations and breathwork, sound baths and informative chats on topics like sustainability by figures such as golfer Annika Sorenstam, writer Jonathan Safran Foer and chef/restaurateur Dan Barber.
Guests are also provided with a suggested route map, yoga equipment (mat, blocks and resistance bands), herbal teas, a USB essential oil diffuser and exclusive content to guide their excursion as they meander through scenic forests and historic sites to their hotel.
Approaching a three-hour drive as meditative exercise could seem counterintuitive at first. But as anyone who has driven from Boston to the Cape on a sunny weekend can confirm, you’ll need all the good vibes you can muster to brave the bumper-to-bumper crawl on Route 6 at the Sagamore Bridge. So why not crank up the Mark Levinson surround sound system and absorb pure positivity?
After all, “your Lexus vehicle is your sanctuary,” declares Mindbodygreen’s cofounder Jason Wachob in a soothing tone at the start of each Retreats in Motion podcast. That’s a point that bears repeating: Just as your hotel room is your home base at a destination, for those three hours between properties, the red-leather-lined cabin of the Lexus IS is both an escape from everyday surroundings and a conduit to new experiences.
The New England itinerary begins at XV Beacon, a stately boutique property in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, just steps from Boston Common. While a car is hardly needed in a city center—and XV Beacon provides guests with a house chauffeur, anyway—Retreats in Motion directs guests to discover the hiking trails at Blue Hills Reservation, a 7,000-acre nature preserve just 10 miles outside of the city. Aided by a walking meditation podcast, our three hours at Blue Hills slipped away along with the anxieties of everyday life.
From Boston, Retreats in Motion guided us through visits to Myles Standish State Forest and historic Plymouth—landing site of the Mayflower—before taking us to the sumptuous Chatham Bars Inn at the tip of the Lower Cape. As one of the premier seaside resorts in New England, Chatham Bars offers incredible ocean views, award-winning spa services and customized boating excursions that align with the restorative mission of Retreats in Motion. A morning whale watching trip takes on a whole new level when you combine it with a 20-minute sound bath played in the car.
Even here on the Cape, the Lexus IS continues to be your connection to nature, whether it is taking you to Wellfleet to do yoga on Cape Cod National Seashore’s famous sand dunes or just transmitting a podcast on mindful eating—which you will also do plenty of on a five-day road trip. Retreats in Motion packages begin at $2,360 for two guests, and include two-night stays at two hotels, loan of a new 2021 Lexus IS vehicle, access to curated wellness content and a complimentary wellness kit.