Bentley made me feel like a ‘Succession’ character at a playground for billionaires

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If you were to have an educated guess where a typical Bentley owner would go on a quick trip or a weekend getaway, you would probably assume that they would have a seat waiting for them on a Gulfstream G650 on the tarmac of Teterboro Airport ready at a moments notice to fly to the south of France, Miami or any other cool city or warm place within its 7,000 nautical mile range.

However, Bentley invited me to experience a place called The Preserve, a playground for billionaires where Bentley vehicles play a special role in giving its guests an unique, luxurious and very comfortable time away from the rush of the everyday.

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The Preserve

The front gate of The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley
The front gate of The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

Located about 40 minutes from Newport, R.I., The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort is a properly posh private resort located on 3,500 acres of serene New England countryside.

Here, membership initiation fees can cost as much as a Bentley itself, and private residences on the resort that will place you minutes from a wide variety of activities including golf, tennis, archery, and hiking can cost upwards of a few million dollars.

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Although The Preserve sounds like the perfect kind of place where a Bentley owner might spend lots of time throughout the year, my experience revolved around what the Bentleys in that part of the resort could do for me.

The Preserve and Bentley have an exclusive partnership with each other, where the automaker’s vehicles are used in special ways to enhance and define the luxury experiences you can have at the resort. During my time, I got to experience some activities at the resort where Bentley vehicles played a role in either facilitating, or making the activity feel a touch more classy.

The Cars

A specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for clay shooting at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley
A specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for clay shooting at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

One of the cool amenities provided by Bentley’s partnership with The Preserve are special Bentayga SUVs that available for members to use. The mere idea of having access to a selection of beautiful, plush and comfortable six-figure Bentley SUVs at your disposal sounds cool, but these Bentleys were no ordinary Bentleys.

These were special Bentleys. In short, these Bentleys made James Ochoa feel like they’re James Bond (on vacation).

The special programming of activities that I took part at The Preserve revolved around specially outfitted Bentaygas that provide a unique, luxurious experience for activities such as clay (skeet) shooting, fly fishing, and picnicking. Before my first activity — clay shooting — representatives from the Preserve and Bentley showed us what made these specially equipped cars so special: a custom, trunk-mounted compartment designed by Bentley’s exclusive coachbuilders at Mulliner.

Inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for clay shooting at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandJames Ochoa
Inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for clay shooting at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandJames Ochoa James Ochoa

Basically, these trunk mounted boxes were custom-designed to hold a specific activity’s equipment in such a neat, properly packed way that it was specially prepared for James Bond or some neat-freak aristocrat. To me, the premise and the actual product looked like it was out of the MTV show “Pimp My Ride,” where car customizers obsessed over one small trait or detail add custom-built gadgets and trickery into their cars.

A closer look at the shotguns inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley
A closer look at the shotguns inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

In skeet-shooting configuration, the Mulliner box in the trunk held the shotgun parts, ammo and other accessories in little compartments that fit the equipment like a glove in luxurious leather, wood and metal that matches the rest of the interior of the car. Representatives at The Preserve say that this configuration allows members to venture out into clay shooting areas located within far areas of the 3,500 acre property without having to walk, or use other vehicles to transport their equipment.

It sounds very rich, but it is something that does look really cool once you have a look for yourself. Let’s put it this way: having the stuff for an activity in the back tumbling about in Pelican cases and bags is one thing, but seeing this stuff incorporated into the box is a much more “luxurious” experience because it makes it seem as if the car had these things built-in, specially made for the shooting sportsman; as if Q incorporated the equipment into the car like some secret-spy gadgetry.

TheStreet's Automotive Writer James Ochoa aims down the sights in search of clay targets at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley
TheStreet’s Automotive Writer James Ochoa aims down the sights in search of clay targets at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

Though members of The Preserve can use the services of a special Bentley Bentayga that holds sport shooting equipment in a neat, luxurious manner, I can attest that it does absolutely nothing to improve your performance on the range. It was not my first time shooting clay birds targets, but from my point of view, the expensive guns that were in the trunk box of the car do nothing if you aren’t good at following a target. Win some, lose some, I guess.

Later that afternoon, I drove a Bentayga on a special off-road course, where various obstacles demonstrated the car’s various electronic off-road functions on loose surfaces.

A specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for fly fishing at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley
A specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for fly fishing at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

The next morning, I took part in another activity revolving around the use of a specialty Bentley Bentayga customized by Mulliner: fly fishing. Like the Bentayga with the clay shooting equipment I used the day before, the Mulliner box in the special Bentayga outfitted for fly fishing contained all the equipment you’d need for a calm time out by the water: fly fishing rods, reels, pairs of wellies, a net and flies.

Inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for fly fishing at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandJames Ochoa
Inside the Mulliner Box of the specially outfitted Bentley Bentayga for fly fishing at The Preserve Sporting Club and Resort in Rhode IslandJames Ochoa James Ochoa

Preserve representatives said that the special Bentayga can be used to transport members and their equipment across the 10 fly fishing ponds throughout the 3,500 acre property for catch-and-release fishing without having their precious little fingers bear the brunt of carrying something with their hands.

Again, like I mentioned with the Bent outfitted for clay shooting; having your fly fishing equipment laid out all neat in a special, luxurious trunk-mounted box in the back of a Bentley does not make you a better fisherman — in my case, it did not help me learn how to fish faster. It was my first time fishing and I can say that for a solid 35-40 minutes after frustratingly fumbling a rod and reel, I couldn’t understand why people fly fish, let alone fish.

TheStreet's Automotive Writer James Ochoa shows off the fish he caught at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley
TheStreet’s Automotive Writer James Ochoa shows off the fish he caught at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

I did catch a fish, though, but I don’t credit anything to the Bentley that held the equipment.

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Conclusion

The headlights of a Bentley Bentayga peek in the background while parked outside the clubhouse at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley
The headlights of a Bentley Bentayga peek in the background while parked outside the clubhouse at The Preserve in Rhode IslandBentley Bentley

Looking back at the whole trip, I feel that this kind of experience that showed off the capabilities and functions of the special Mulliner Bentaygas is very on-brand with Bentley as a whole. Think about it. For six days, I drove a Bentley that hands you the seatbelt, a car where you do not have to turn on the headlights when it gets dark. They make cars with seats that can massage you while driving, and can park itself.

When you are on vacation, anything and everything you do should feel seamless. If you have the money, Bentleys can be your chariot, your guide and your butler making sure the activities you do are in absolute luxury.

Full Disclosure: James Ochoa was invited by Bentley to experience The Preserve in Rhode Island. He stayed two nights with Bentley, who flew him out, fed him, kept him in nice hotels and allowed him to experience multiple Bentley vehicles.

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This story was originally published May 18, 2024, 8:00 AM.

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