In December 2017 I was invited by General Motors to experience a weekend drive from New York City on Friday, December 8 through Sunday, December 10 to Newport Rhode Island in their all-new 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir.  The all expense, 3-day trip to the magnificent Gurney’s Newport Marina & Spa Resort in Newport, Rhode Island was for me and 3 guests.  My birthday was December 7 so this was a fabulous belated birthday present as I was able to celebrate my birthday weekend with 3 of my bosom buddies – Laverne Perry Kennedy, Sandy Tate and Diane Thompson.  Christmas came early for all of us.

We met Team Buick at the plush Mandarin Hotel in Columbus Circle, New York City for breakfast at the Hotel’s gorgeous restaurant with sweeping views of Central Park West followed by a walkthrough with the Buick Enclave Avenir to familiarize us with all the deluxe features, technology, bells & whistles.

During breakfast General Motor’s executive Mikhael Farah shared information about the vehicle.  “During your drive you will get a chance to experience the Enclave Avenir featuring the high expression of Buick luxury, including new Quiet Tuning features like active noise cancellation, award-winning in-car User Experience and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and new available Surround Vision camera system.”

Farah then escorted us to our car and handed the keys to the designated driver Diane and we were off on a new fun-filled adventure.  With Diane at the wheel and Sandy playing side chick we enjoyed a wonderful driving experience.  Throughout the drive we experienced all of the things Farah briefed us about — high expression of Buick luxury, including new Quiet Tuning features like active noise cancellation, award-winning in-car User Experience and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and new available Surround Vision camera system.

As Sandy helped navigate the trip along with Diane, Laverne, a former executive at Epic Records, provided entertainment hitting all of the right channels on the limitless radio stations while singing along.  The ride was so smooth that I napped only to be awoken by screams of ecstasy.

We had arrived at an exclusive hideaway called Gurney’s Newport Marina & Sport Resort which is surrounded by water, with frontage on both the Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor, and located minutes from Downtown Newport.  Situated on nearly 10 acres of Goat Island with undisturbed waterfront and offering the seclusion of a private island with a fabulous waterfront view, it is often referred to as the “City by the Sea.”

Gurney’s is centrally located to the area’s abundant attractions and activities, which include landmark mansions, museums, vineyards, golf courses, beaches, state parks, scenic walks, and cruises.  Delighting locals and visitors alike, Newport’s annual events include jazz and folk festivals, regattas, a holiday boat parade, a flower show, and restaurant weeks in spring and fall.

We were greeted by a warm and friendly staff and escorted to our luxurious accommodations – spacious double bed rooms with architectural digest like bathrooms that included sumptuous bathrobes and slippers and drop dead waterfront views.  I felt like I was on a cruise ship especially when I stepped looked out and saw nothing but water!  Breathtakingly riveting.  That evening we dined at the stunning Scarpetta restaurant before retiring for the evening as we had a very busy Spa day scheduled on Saturday at Seawater Spa.

With floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding sea, Seawater Spa is imbued with the healing power of water.  The spa’s amenities are designed to cleanse, calm, beautify, and enhance overall well-being.  Before or after a treatment guests can enjoy the fitness center, outdoor saltwater pool, heated indoor pool, coed relaxation area, or salon.  Seawater Spa guests also enjoy complimentary use of  private men’s and women’s locker rooms, dry eucalyptus saunas, and coed relaxation area. The well-stocked 24-hour gym makes it easy to stay in shape while you’re on the road featuring a selection of elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, and weights.

During Seawater Spa treatments, guests relax and rejuvenate with a face or body treatment at the full-service spa.  Treatments include facials, massages, scrubs, wraps, and aromatherapy.  Each treatment is instilled with the properties of one of the five “natural elements” breath (to clarify and vitalize), waves (to hydrate and purify), coast (to recover and renew), glow (to detox and energize), and blossom (to brighten and flourish).  All spa packages allow you to enjoy a combination of services best suited to you and your desired results.

My crew luxuriated with Detoxifying Herbal Wrap, High Skin Refiner Lifting Facial

Ultimate Massage, and Sand & Sea Body Wrap services that rendered us in an euphoric state of mind.  That evening we visited the town with its charming cobblestone streets, picturesque restaurants and small stores.  Very European.  We dined at an enchanting place called Fluke Newport and, like its name, we lucked up!  It was a wonderful dining experience that resonated long after we left the place as we could not stop bragging about the food, the hospitality and the unforgettable ambiance.  Before retiring as we just could not let go of a good thing so we enjoyed after dinner drinks at Gurney’s intimate lobby bar replete with a piano.

Then it was time to come back down to earth and prepare for the scenic ride back home which was filled with more laughter, remembrances of a great time, shared experiences and plain old girl talk.  The ride home was as smooth as the ride there and Gurney’s Newport Marina & Spa Resort has made additional fans; and the Buick Enclave Avenir is as classy as its name!  (Photos courtesy Gurney’s)


The Retreat
Shoulder to Shoulder massage • Pure Hydration Facial Body Scrub

The Getaway
50 minute Stillwater Spa Massage • Stillwater Signature Facial • Body scrub

The Oasis
50 minute Stillwater Spa Massage • Stillwater Signature Facial • Body Wrap • Stillwater Spa Manicure • Stillwater Spa Pedicure

Seawater Spa Expectant Pause Package
Prenatal Massage • Stillwater Signature Facial • Seaside Pedicure

Seawater Spa Businessman’s Package 
Body Scrub • Deep Tissue Massage • Man’s Best Facial  Natural Nails Clean and Buff

15-0-Our fabulous ride – 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

15-1-Diane Thompson, Sandy Tate, Laverne Perry Kennedy, Audrey J. Bernard meet in the Mandarin Hotel lobby at the start of their girl escapade  (Photo courtesy Dedra N. Tate)

15-3-Gurney’s Aerial shot


15-5-Bedroom with a view

15-6-Seawater Spa

15-7-Ultimate Massage

By Audrey J. Bernard
Society Editor

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