Author Archives: Will Senior

Private jet chauffeur services

private-jet-staircase-on-runway

Private Air Charter

iChauffeur are your chauffeur for all airport travel. We are a private jet transfer specialist. Providing luxury transfers to and from all private jet terminals (FBO) in London and the UK.

Private jet procedures

Whether travelling for business or leisure, every aspect of your flight is planned, coordinated, confirmed, and delivered by your handler. iChauffeur will liaise with your chosen private jet centre for seamless travel, wherever your journey takes you.

The procedures for the majority of private air terminals are similar throughout the world, and just as with commercial air travel, your iChauffeur chauffeur will monitor your flight, either using one of the many flight tracking apps like Flight Aware, or by simply contacting your aviation provider and quoting your booking name or the flight number.

The advantages of private jet travel

Travelling causes a certain level anxiety in most of us but with a private jet you get to travel exclusively on your terms.

With private jet travel becoming increasingly accessible, we thought it would be useful to point out some of the major advantages should you choose to charter a flight. 

Safety

According to analysis by GlobeAir AG, a leading European very light jet (VLJ) operator – “Private jet travel provides a safer way to fly by reducing the passengers’ exposure to health and security risks. Passengers flying via a commercial airline go through 700 touchpoints on every flight, whereas private jet travelers only encounter 20 touchpoints.”

This means the potential risk for contagion is 30 times lower in private aviation than commercial travel.

As with our chauffeur cars, the less passengers there are in an enclosed space, the less exposure there is. Health risks are minimised in private terminals and jets – as passengers and their crew interact with fewer people.

Time is Money

A key benefit for taking private jets is time saved. With increased security and health checks, many airlines are recommending a 3-4 hour check in window for long haul flights, and 2-3 hour check in for short haul commercial flights.

Flying with your own pilot means you can check in as late as 30 minutes prior to your flight departing, wherever your destination.

No more queuing, or struggling with heavy suitcases

Flying by private jet means that the moment you enter your dedicated terminal, your cases are whisked away. You are then offered refreshments as you confirm your reservation with your personal flight manager.

Arrive in Style

One of the advantages of private jet travel is that you can clear customs and immigration whilst on board.

Prior to take off, and once your aircraft has landed, customs and excise will then come on board and clear you for immigration.

Whilst you are busy with the officers your luggage is being seamlessly loaded and then given to your iChauffeur chauffeur who will be parked on the tarmac close to your jet.

For those of you that want to freshen up before you go onto your next destination – your chauffeur will drive you to the arrivals terminal where you can grab a shower in the dedicated arrivals suites.

As soon as you are ready to leave, your chauffeur will be waiting for you (passenger door ready and open) for you to start the next leg of your journey.

Space on board

Depending on what aircraft you charter and the number of you travelling, chances are that you will have significantly more space, even compared to the most luxurious first class suite. 

Create your own menu

Additionally you will be served refreshments and meals that you have chosen prior to your flight, probably when you initially booked the charter. Table service in larger cabin jets is every bit as attentive and satisfying as a fine dining restaurant.

 Private jets are stocked with a wide assortment of popular beverages and carefully curated snacks. No more chicken or beef – try starting with some delicious oysters followed by a wagyu steak, cooked exactly to your requirements. 

Stay connected with WiFi available on board and enjoy high-definition in-flight TV, movies, and news features.

Do not disturb

Flying by luxury jet provides complete privacy from take-off to touchdown.

Whether you prefer to play your favourite music, crack open a bottle of your champagne, you’re free to do as you please.

Flying private, with spacious, walkable cabins allows your party to work, play or both – You’re in control.

The whole family is welcome

For those of you wanting to travel with your pets they can fly in the cabin with you (subject to arrival destination regulations) which is great for nervous animals (and owners) as it means you can check on the well being of your pet throughout the flight – and vice versa!

It is important that animals be restrained during take-off, landing, and during turbulence. Pet carriers for cats are recommend and dogs may also be carried in the cabin provided that the cabin is large enough to accommodate the particular size of the dog.

Emergency and medical supplies

Flight crews receive comprehensive training in the use of emergency medical supplies that are always on board. These supplies may include: Life-saving medical kits,  emergency oxygen, and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

5-star service in the sky

Whether you’re chartering a large jet for a business trip with colleagues or a small jet for a romantic island getaway, professional flight crews and attendants provide impeccable service during your flight. 

Chauffeured vehicles for your private jet transfer


The Mercedes V-Class is one of the most requested vehicles for private jet transfers, and very often Client’s will choose a V-Class for their luggage and staff and book another chauffeur car for themselves. This super spacious vehicle, can take up to 10 suitcases and comfortably seat 7 passengers, perfect for families taking a holiday abroad.

For those Clients travelling light the Mercedes S-Class is no stranger to private airfields across the world, the S-Class sets the standard for luxury sedan travel globally.

If you want a bit more luggage space the Range Rover Autobiography is a perfect fit with outstanding 4×4 capabilities and sumptuous spacious interior.

Finally we can offer you the super luxury. The Bentley Mulsanne or the Rolls-Royce Phantom, both vehicles offer the best in absolute luxury and panache.

Pricing

*Based on a journey (to or from) Central London in a S-Class or V-Class Mercedes-Benz.

*Please add VAT @ 20%

How can we help?

Call or contact us to learn more about chauffeur driven transfers for private jets.

What is the difference between a driver and a chauffeur?

A driver is any operator of a motor vehicle. A chauffeur is someone employed to look after the needs of the passenger as well as the operation of the motor vehicle. A chauffeur is an experienced, licensed professional.

A chauffeur will serve your every need; from security, to booking reservations, sourcing restaurants, school runs and errands.

Nothing is ever too much trouble for a great chauffeur.

Chauffeur vs Driver

A chauffeur will possess many qualities that drivers do not have. Over the past 15 years at iChauffeur, we have interviewed and worked with literally thousands of chauffeurs. We have found the best chauffeurs excel in the following ways:

  • A unswerving eye for detail, every part of the journey is planned. Allowing for a plan A, B and C in the case of any last minute changes
  • An immaculate vehicle, both inside and out
  • Impeccable appearance
  • Precise timekeeping
  • A passion and commitment for customer service
  • Nothing is too much trouble 
  • A ‘can do’ attitude
  • A sense of pride and ownership for their work 
  • A desire to constantly exceed expectations
  • A passion for learning
  • Completing training courses to improve their skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Knowing when to speak 
  • Adherence to chauffeur etiquette
  • Professional at all times. 

The role of a chauffeur can be a lot more varied than the role of a driver. For chauffeurs, it is vital that they have the ability to adapt to different roles, and they achieve this through ongoing training and collaboration with the team at their head office and their fellow chauffeurs.

For us at iChauffeur we encourage open communication and we work with our chauffeurs when planning any new projects. Specific journeys often require specialised skills. Ranging from the chauffeur needing to be able to speak French, to more complex requirements. Such as being the lead chauffeur in a convoy of 15+ vehicles.

EQ not IQ

Ability to empathise with people – ability to read situations and know when to step in – a genuine passion for the human race. 

Differences between drivers and chauffeurs – A professional chauffeur will provide you with the highest quality of service including:

  • Executive vehicles, luxurious, comfortable and safe 
  • Impeccable appearance and manners
  • Dress code – Pressed dark suit, shirt, tie and polished shoes
  • Trained, professional, experienced and focused
  • Driver etiquette
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Training & experience
  • Carrying luggage and caring for personal items
  • A ‘Royal’ treatment
  • Punctuality & discretion

Chauffeurs provide different types of services to drivers

In addition, chauffeurs offer an array of professional services which a driver would not undertake, including:

Training, training, training

Although chauffeurs and drivers share the requirement of holding a PCO license for both themselves and their vehicles – A driver may not have any further training at all. Here are some of the differences found in a chauffeurs’ training:

  • Customer safety
  • Advanced knowledge of the laws and road regulations
  • Traffic issues
  • Advanced driving
  • Specialist knowledge of hotels, landmarks and other city attractions
  • Specialist knowledge of ongoing events
  • Car etiquette – Opening doors, entering and leaving the car
  • Security awareness
  • Driver etiquette
  • Geography of cities
  • Positive attitude and approach

I’m like a butler on wheels!

iChauffeur chauffeur

How would you like to be met at the airport?

To bring this to life  we thought we would show you what happens when you are met by an iChauffeur chauffeur at the airport.

A chauffeur will always be early. You will not have to wait for him. Your chauffeur will send you an SMS advising you exactly where he is waiting for you in the arrivals hall. He may offer you your favourite beverage on arrival.

On meeting your chauffeur – he or she will be wearing a dark suit and tie, and will be holding an electronic name-board – so he’ll never be hard to find. The chauffeur will not ask you to pay for parking or ask you to find change for the parking machine.

Your chauffeur will carry all your luggage and pack the boot. He or she will open and close the car doors when you enter/exit the vehicle.

You’ll have a choice of music / entertainment and will be offered sanitising hand wipes / gel, bottled water, newspapers and treats. 
As you leave the vehicle your chauffeur will do a sweep of the car, including under the seat and in the boot, to ensure you have not left your mobile phone or glasses or any other personal belongings.

Conclusion

All drivers are not chauffeurs. All chauffeurs are great drivers. A chauffeur has a fine blend of personal and professional qualities which make them ideally suited to cater for their exacting clientele. Their vehicle will be outstanding, as will their personal appearance. A chauffeur does much more than turn the steering wheel in the right direction. A chauffeur’s people skills are every bit the match of their driving skills. The journey is as important as the destination.

If you have time, take a look at a week in the life of a chauffeur so you’ll really understand the difference – our chauffeurs offer a concierge experience. They have an uncanny ability to anticipate and react to challenges on the journey, without you even realising there were any problems.

How much does a chauffeur cost?

How much does a chauffeur cost? A chauffeur-driven car will cost somewhere between £50 and £130 + VAT per hour. The price varies depending on what vehicle is hired. Ranging from a Mercedes E-Class to a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Normally there is a 3 hour minimum charge applicable.

What is the hourly rate for a chauffeur?

E-Class Mercedes£50.00 per hour
S-Class Mercedes£60.00 per hour
V-Class Mercedes£60.00 per hour
Range Rover Autobiography£85.00 per hour
Bentley Mulsanne£100.00 per hour
Rolls-Royce Phantom£130.00 per hour

*Minimum of 3 hours / *Please add VAT at 20%

How much does a chauffeur cost per day?

E-Class Mercedes£400.00 per day
S-Class Mercedes£480.00 per day
V-Class Mercedes£480.00 per day
Range Rover Autobiography£680.00 per day
Bentley Mulsanne£800.00 per day
Rolls-Royce Phantom£1040.00 per day

*8 hours / *Please add VAT at 20%

How do I get a quotation for a chauffeur?

Get a free instant quotation by clicking the link below:

How do you calculate the cost of a chauffeur journey?

There are 4 basic factors for determining the price of a chauffeur driven journey:

  • Where is the journey taking place?
  • What vehicle are you looking for?
  • How long will the journey take?
  • How many miles will you travel?

What vehicle are you looking for?

3carsonanimage

The first thing we look at is what vehicle you want to hire as this is another aspect that affects the price.

Business Class

Our entry level vehicle is the sleek Mercedes E-Class, often referred to as the ‘business class’ option. Most companies also include BMW 5 series as an alternative to the Mercedes E Class, at iChauffeur we believe if you book a Mercedes E-Class we will send you a Mercedes E Class, no other manufacturers are acceptable.

First Class

The next level up, the ‘first class’ option, is the undeniably beautiful Mercedes S-Class – the industry standard for a super luxury sedan. Although not much more expensive than the Mercedes E-Class to hire with a chauffeur.

With many companies, if you book their first class option, you may travel in a BMW 7 series or Audi 8. With iChauffeur you will get a Mercedes S-Class, guaranteed.

MPV

If there are a party of you travelling the Mercedes V-Class is probably going to be your most cost effective option. The Mercedes V-Class can comfortably hold up to 7 passengers.

SUV

A relative newcomer to the chauffeur SUV market is the Range Rover Autobiography, the ultimate SUV. This is the Vogue’s big brother, the Autobiography has the abilities of a 4X4 with the interior of a luxury saloon.

Ultra luxury

At the super luxury level there is of course Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Probably not for everyday use, but simply divine when you want an occasion to feel extra special. Stretch out in the exquisite hand crafted interiors and experience the very best in chauffeur driven luxury

I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.

Steve Martin

How much does a personal driver cost a year?

As a guide, a chauffeur in London may earn between £30-£60,000 per year, depending on their hours, experience and duties.

Chauffeurs’ earnings can vary considerably, depending on the amount of hours they work and the flexibility required from them. Normally, a personal chauffeur will work 5 or 6 days a week, or around 40-50 hours.


Most chauffeurs will be employed on a “live out” basis. Normally the chauffeur will keep the employers car at home to ensure they are ready for early pick-ups and late evening drop-offs. Family chauffeurs may live on site, and may work as much as 70 hours per week, when the family is at home. They will also be available for other duties such as picking up shopping, collecting children from school, running errands, care taking and security.

How much does a private driver earn?

As a general guide, a private driver in London may earn between £30-£60,000 per year, depending on their hours, experience and duties. According to Payscale: The Average Chauffeur Salary in London is £34,964 plus bonus.

As far as the cost to the employer – this may be between £50-£200,000 per year depending on the vehicle.

Some chauffeurs will work as subcontractors (usually for a few months here and there) and some will be PAYE employees, who will be entitled to paid annual leave, as well as sick pay, maternity or paternity pay and adoption pay.

If you have time, take a look at a week in the life of a chauffeur so you’ll really understand why a good chauffeur is worth every penny.

We celebrate 15 years of award-winning chauffeur service

iChauffeur celebrate 15 years of award winning chauffeur service
Chauffeur with mask carrying luggage

Happy Birthday to us! Even with twenty-twenty vision it would have been almost impossible to predict the realities of the chauffeur-driven industry in 2020.  

In what is our ‘crystal’ anniversary, 15 years of unparalleled, unequalled, personal service, the crystal ball failed to predict the events many of us were to suffer this year.  

We have also had to radically rethink, and rework our service, to ensure we could still offer even more unrivalled safety. 

Chauffeur standing by the mercedes V-class with a passenger

Our commitment to safety

Again in terms of safety we have set the bar. Our safety protocol has been praised throughout the private hire industry. Our contactless travel standard again set the path for the rest of the industry to mimic. In fact we actually encouraged it. We are in this together. 

We were the first chauffeur company to record daily temperature checks for all our chauffeurs, and the first chauffeur company to offer COVID -19 tested chauffeurs during uncertain times. 

ichauffeur-lapel-pin
iChauffeurs gold lapel pin for 10 years of chauffeur service for iChauffeur

Our birthday gift to you

To celebrate our 15th anniversary we are offering 15% off any journeys you book for November. For any of you worrying about a journey that you have been putting off, let us help you make that trip with peace of mind, and save yourself 15% if you take that trip in November!

To qualify for your discount simply call or email us using the code: iCrystal.

Terms and conditions

The Promoter: iChauffeur Limited , 137 Station Road, Hampton TW12 2AL

Journey needs to be taken in November 2020.

Not applicable for online bookings.

15% voucher is only valid when quoting iCrystal at the time of booking. 15% discount not applicable for online bookings.

15% discount voucher is only to be used for journeys that iChauffeur deem to be compliant with UK Government COVID regulations.

Discount voucher only valid for use for journeys paid for and taken between 01 Nov 2020 and 30th Nov 2020.

Discount voucher is limited to 1 per household for the duration of the promotion. 

Discount voucher can only be redeemed by an adult aged 18 or over.

A week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 7

chauffeur side on picture in central london
chauffeur with hands on the wheel with passenger

Following on from A Week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 6. Find out what the last day has in store for David, our professional chauffeur, as he navigates London in his Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Chauffeur & Tour Guide

Today I am taking a couple on what we call a ‘chauffeur-guided tour’. Whilst I do not purport to have anywhere near the level of guiding experience of a blue or green badge guide, I have many years’ experience taking Clients on tours, to key tourist hot spots. I often find that my Clients prefer my relaxed informative oratory to what could sometimes feel like a history lesson.

Before any guided tour, I always discuss client expectations and interests with the office. For example, if the Clients were visiting Professors of British history wishing to explore and receive more in-depth knowledge of their specialised subject, I know I would not be the right chauffeur for them. The office would assign an official blue badge tour guide to accompany me or they would allocate a chauffeur with the relevant credentials and qualifications.

Today, my Clients are an older couple from California who want to see where Meghan Markle (a fellow Californian) stayed prior to her wedding, as well as touring the town of Windsor where the wedding took place.

This is a perfect tour for me, as I grew up nearby, and I have already done over twenty chauffeur-guided tours of Windsor. I am confident I can really entertain and delight my Clients with anecdotes about the area and the wedding – such as the fact that Meghan’s veil was embroidered with flora from every Commonwealth country and that Myrtle, the herb of love, was in her bouquet.

The Clients are staying at the Goring hotel, which is another place that they are interested in. The Goring hotel was the Queen Mother’s favourite hotel and it was also where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed the night before her wedding to Prince William.

The goring hotel london

My appointed pick up time is 09:00 and I customarily arrive 30 minutes early, having given the car a polish and vacuum and thorough sanitisation, as well as a pit stop at a local eatery to buy coffee and cakes for the hotel staff.

I head into the hotel lobby armed with coffees and boxes of patisseries and catch up with the George, HC, who is delighted with the morning snacks.

George tells me that the couple checked in very late last night and he has not had a chance to meet them. Fortunately, one of the receptionists is on a double shift, and we have a quick chat about the Clients. She tells me that they are a ‘lovely couple’ who wanted a tour of the hotel public areas, along with narrative from her on the Royal connections for the hotel.

I send an SMS to the Clients advising them that I am downstairs; they say they will be ready at 09:00.

At precisely 09:00 my extremely well heeled Clients arrive and I escort them to my car, parked directly outside the hotel.

Exploring the options

Before we head off, we discuss what they want to get out of their day, aside from visiting Windsor and their lunch at Cliveden. Are there any other places they would like to see? I mention Hampton Court as a possible visit later in the day if there is time. I also ascertain whether they would prefer the scenic route out to Berkshire (an extra 40 minutes driving time) which is a beautiful way to see parts of the English countryside.

We sit and discuss options and agree that we will head to Windsor via the M4 motorway, but plan to take country roads back into London, should we have time to spare.

We arrive at Cliveden in time for morning coffee, and my Clients sit outside enjoying the beautifully manicured gardens, whilst sipping on their morning refreshments. Rather than stay in the car, I nip inside and have a chat with the manager on duty and, whilst he cannot divulge any intimate details about Megan’s stay at the hotel, he has offered to give the Clients a guided tour and also show them one of the suites which is unoccupied.

It is not protocol for me to interrupt my Clients, so the Hotel Manager goes to them directly to offer them the short tour, which they delightedly accept. This is really kind gesure as with COVID hotels are only recently open, but I think the manager sees a potential future Client, and what better way to sell the luxury of the Royal Suite than an actual tour – sometimes virtual tours just cannot convey the actual opulence and luxury of the hotel.

This tour means we are running behind schedule, so it maybe unlikely they will have time to visit the Royal Palace at Hampton Court.

Cliveden house chauffeur driven tour

The Serious Bit

As I wait in my car, I reflect on my week and this blog. I feel that most important aspects of the world of chauffeuring are that you choose this career because (a) you love meeting new people and (b) you love driving. This may seem quite obvious, but if money is your main motivation your Client will sense this. No matter how hard you try to hide it, your Clients will sense it. I cannot stress enough, this job is about a love of people, delivering an outstanding service, and being fanatical about your car and driving. Those are the personal attributes you need; you are either born with a love of helping and serving people or you are not. Any chauffeur who drives purely for financial reasons will never make it in the industry. Our iChauffeur What’s App group is testament to this – we all help each other out, even if we make no money from helping out. Customer service is paramount.

I remember an occasion at Heathrow and an SMS from a Client saying that the baby seat had somehow got lost in transit. Mother and new born were just lodging their lost item with the airline and would be through into the arrivals hall in the next 15 minutes. I called the office and another chauffeur: Dan, who lives close to Heathrow, jumped in his car and managed to get the baby seat to me just as my Client was exiting arrivals. Dan did not need to do this, but he did, and I can say ‘hand on heart’ that as a group we all help each other out when there are unforeseen challenges.

The reason we do it is we all feel the same way about our Clients and the job, and if we can help avert a crisis, we will do our best to help. We are very proud to be representatives at the top of our profession.

A right royal experience

iChauffeur gold lapel pin for 10 years of service

I open the doors for my Clients and we then cruise down the long gravel drive and journey on to Windsor. Parking in Windsor is not great and so my Client and I agree to meet where I drop them off in two hours’ time. This will save them 20 minutes walk from the nearest car park and allow them to see the Castle with the least amount of unnecessary walking.

Alone again in my car, and parked 10 minutes drive away, I look at how I can try to squeeze in a visit to Hampton Court. We only have 2 hours to get from Windsor to the Goring Hotel, and by my reckoning, this will only give the Clients a few minutes at Hampton Court which is not ideal. However maybe the traffic will be kind and allow us to get there early.

Ten minutes prior to the pick up time I drive to the agreed meeting place and park, this is a single yellow line, and no nearby parking cameras or traffic wardens so I am safe until my Clients arrive.

In less than 2 minutes, I see them walking towards me, I get out of the car and open the doors and they are back in the comfort of my super luxurious Mercedes ready to go back to London. Again it pays to be early, had I arrived at the agreed pick up time, my Clients would have been waiting. Being early ensures that there is no waiting about for them.

As we glide down the motorway and chat about the amazing time they have had at Windsor and Cliveden, I tell my Clients that we have time to visit Hampton Court. Even though I know that this will mean I will probably overrun the allotted time they have paid for, I think it is worth it. I have no other work today, and an extra half an hour will mean so much to this lovely couple.

Hampton Court palace chauffeur driven tour

The Clients wander around the gardens at Hampton Court Palace for 40 minutes before I pick them up and take them back to their hotel.

They had 2 additional mini tours today aside from what was on their original agenda, and my Clients are so grateful. It is often the little things that make a difference and today I know I made a difference to their day and made it even more special.

That is a great reward for me. Even more than the generous tip. I know I have created great memories for the couple and given them lots of anecdotes and stories that they can share with their friends and family back in California.

Epilogue

Day completed, I go home for a well earned night in with my wife and children.

Summary

Thanks for joining me on my journey over the last week. What I hoped to show you is that being a chauffeur is not just about driving passengers from A to B – almost anyone with a driving license can do this. 

Being a chauffeur, is much more than providing a taxi service, it is about managing the unexpected and going ‘the extra mile’. From arranging a surprise marriage proposal lunch, to double sanitising my vehicle, to ensure all Clients can attend meetings or hospital visits safely, nothing is too much trouble. 

One of our longest standing Clients once said to me – “I treat iChauffeur as my 4th emergency service. I know that they will always find a solution and help me out”, and yes I know not every journey is an emergency or has last minute changes, but every journey has the potential to change and we chauffeurs are always prepared ready to adapt our day to take account of ever changing Client needs.

Thanks again for reading my story and I look forward to joining you on your next journey with iChauffeur.

A week in the life of a chauffeur

Chauffeur resources

A week in the life of a Chauffeur – Day 6

interior of chauffeured passenger in an s-class mercedes
Interior shot of passenger in an s-class mercedes

Following on from A week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 5, find out how David used his years of experience and know how to remedy a situation with a VIP. Our professional chauffeur now faces a new challenge.

A labour of love

My first job starts at 18:00 today. I am collecting a famous French businessman from St Pancras. Mr Devereaux owns a Gin Distillery which he planning to visit and then dining with his biggest Client (the MD of a rather large hospitality group).

I had planned with the office to keep the day time free as I have some work to do on my car. It gets washed around 250 times a year, and even with the precautions I take (remember I am the chauffeur with a favourite car wash) Inevitably this does have an effect and leaves swirl marks (which, in all truth, may be imperceptible to the untrained eye) that never really go away. Though most people wouldn’t notice these tiny marks, our clients pay for and expect the best iChauffeur service, which means my car must be immaculate, always.

I will spend the day polishing my car with an automatic polisher. This is going to take me at least 4 hours.

My car looks amazing, but I can’t spend too long admiring my handy work and head indoors to prepare for my first (and only) job of the day. I also need to sanitise my car again, even though it is highly polished, it is just as important that my car is as sterile as possible, both inside and out.

Mercedes s-class taken through windscreen.jpg

Vive la difference

My Client is a regular into St Pancras and visits the UK at least twice a month. He is the CEO of a well known beverage company, and is pretty famous, and really values discretion and privacy. He has agreed for me to give him an alias for my blog so we agreed on the name Mr Devereaux! As with all my regular Clients, I know exactly where my Client wants to meet up with me. 

The parking at St Pancras is situated at least six minutes walk from the Eurostar terminal, so clients prefer to meet me at the side entrance, rather than parking up, and be on the concourse with a name-board.

My Client is no different and I follow my tried and tested routine at St Pancras. First, I drive down the road at the side of the station which is closest to the Eurostar check in. I am looking for traffic wardens and TFL (Transport for London) officials who could issue me with a fine for parking illegally.

Eurostar London train

The coast is clear so I do a circuit around the station and park by the side door which gives me great visibility into the station. I am now on high alert, looking out for both my Client, and any officials.

My Client has already sent me a message advising me he is alighting the train, and he usually takes four minutes to get from the front of the train (Business Premier Class) through the concourse and customs before meeting me at the side door. The moment I get the SMS I am out of the car and standing by the passenger door ready to open it. Again, my route is planned so that when I park up I am on the correct side of the road, meaning my Client does not have to cross a road to get to me.

We glide off towards our first destination on the outskirts of Islington; the traffic is not too bad (on a Saturday evening the majority of traffic seems to be minicabs and black cabs). My Client connects automatically to the Wi-Fi in my car and starts to work, using my car as an extension of his office as usual.

Just like the three wise monkeys

I believe this is a major factor for many C Suite executives using iChauffeur – they need a degree of separation from their business and go to great lengths to ensure privacy is maintained – basically, whatever is discussed in the car, stays in the car. It is a prerequisite of iChauffeur that their chauffeurs sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement and my clients know they have complete autonomy in safety and privacy whilst in my car.

Although many large organisations have chauffeurs employed by the business, these chauffeurs mix with a cross-section of the business employees, and the risk of Chinese Whispers is just too great for some of our clients; especially when discussing company restructures / M&A activity and other sensitive operational matters.

When in Rome

We arrive at the distillery and my Client tells me he will be 30 minutes maximum. Fortunately, there is ample parking in the distillery, so I wait for him in his reserved space, closest to the entrance.

Our next stop is Otto’s, based on the Grays Inn Road. It really surprises me that, given the amazing array of different world class culinary experiences available in London, my Client always chooses to eat in a French restaurant.

I check to see the route to Otto’s is clear – no road closures or deviations – and I sit patiently waiting for my Client. For me, this is a rare opportunity not to be on super high alert – the distillery is a glass structure. My client’s office is on the second floor and I know that when I see him approach the staircase, I have at least two minutes before he’ll be exiting the building; ample time to be out of the car ready to open the passenger door!

*Otto’s has been reviewed as one of the best French restaurants in London by top food journalists and critics throughout the UK.

Lost and Found 

True to his word, exactly 30 minutes later, my client emerges from the building. Soon we are headed towards Otto’s. My Client is hosting a formal dinner this evening and so wants to get there early to make sure the private room is perfectly prepared.

As I drive through the city I notice my Client becoming increasingly concerned and it transpires he has left his wallet in his office. As I said earlier our role is often to be seen and not heard, but we also need to be problem solvers and be able to think on our feet, and make our Clients’ lives as stress free as possible.

He tells me that he knows exactly where he left his wallet, on his desk, however the office building is locked and alarmed now and there is no one in the office. I ascertain that his PA lives nearby in Bermondsey.

I can see my Client processing my offer, and he excitedly agrees with me, and asks if I can manage the process as he needs to be in the restaurant. I know his PA, Celia very well, and I have her number in my mobile and so I advise him not to worry and that I will get his wallet to him before the meal is finished. “Good thinking David, I will let you sort this our directly with Celia” he says as he literally runs out of the car, anxious to get inside the restaurant.

I close the door after my Client and then grab my mobile and contact Celia, Mr Devereaux’s PA. Bear in mind it is a Saturday night and I have no idea where she is, but I do know I need to get the wallet back with my Client by the end of his meal, so I know I have a window of about 3 hours. Fingers crossed I call Celia, hoping she is in London and, importantly free to help her boss out. Celia answers almost immediately, she knows my number as I do quite a ot of work for her boss, and often she calls me directly to advise on any changes to the job in hand. I explain the situation to her and we agree that the best plan will be for me to meet her at the office, and rerieve the wallet and then head back to Ottos.

Usually I would pick Celia up from her flat, but given COVID-19 she and I agree that it is best if she does not get in the car, as I need to allow 45 mins to sanitise the car, prior to her getting in the vehicle, and then again once she leaves the car. Given tonight’s timings, I cannot take the risk that I will be late in dropping off the wallet, and so I point the S-Class in the direction of the distillery and drive.

Once I have arrived at the offices I put on a fresh mask and some disposable gloves. Celia hands over the wallet which I then sanitize, once I am happy the wallet is germ free, I dispose of my gloves and then set off back to Otto’s.

I chat with the maitre d at the restaurant and ask him to discreetly hand over the walet to Mr Devereaux.

Crisis averted, Mr Devereaux’s guests are none the wiser, and I spy my Client through the restaurant window handing over his credit card to the waiter, mission accomplished!

The rest of the evening is uneventful and at around 22:00 my Client appears from the restaurant ready to be taken to his Mayfair hotel. I drop him off just prior to 22:30 and then it is home time for me.

Once home I get all my various santisers and spays for car. The car’s interior is beautiful creme nappa leather and so harsh sanitisers can really damage the hide. Fortunately soap and warm water are perfect for removing germs and will not cause any damage.

My itinerary for tomorrow starts from the Goring hotel. I know the Head Concierge, George, very well and give him a call to request a reserved parking space for 08:40. I put a reminder on my mobile to pick up coffee and cakes for the concierge team enroute, complete my planning and head to bed.

Day 7

Read – A week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 7.

Chauffeur resources

A week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 5

Rear view of chauffeur driving in london

Following on from Week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 4, find out what David our professional chauffeur encountered, as he navigates in some sensitive waters.

Playing it safe

My pick up this morning is at 8:00H but the little boy and his family live about 150 miles away from the Harley Street Hospital. So I have to leave in the next hour so I can be sure I arrive at their home in good time.

I know that I did a thorough clean of the car last night, but as I mentioned this little boy is shielding, and I grab all my sanitising products and spend the next 30 minutes thoroughly cleaning the car. Focussing on any part of the car that my previous Clients may have had contact with.

Satisfied that the car is safe, I manage to grab some coffee, my packed meals for the day, extra masks and sanitising wipes and head off west towards the M40.

Usually I would stay overnight in an Airbnb close to where my Clients live. This means that I would be able to work longer through the day should I need to and still be fine to drive. However, my Client is shielding, and I feel that it is safer that I stay at my place the night before. When Andy, our Head of Ops and I discussed the job we both felt that this was the best option, and we agreed that I would not take on any late night jobs today given my very early start.

m6 toll road at night

M6 toll road

As you probably know by now I absolutely love my job, I get to travel, meet new people and no two days are the same. I also simply love driving. What I really don’t like is heavy motorway traffic, being stuck bumper to bumper on the M25, is no-one’s idea of a great time. That’s why I am such a big fan of the M6 toll motorway. For less than the cost of a couple of cappuccinos I can travel almost 30 miles and avoid the roadworks and traffic jams. I have long given up on the idea of driving on the non toll alternative route, every time I tried this I added at least an extra 45 minutes to my journey.

I arrive at the Scott family residence 30 minutes ahead of the pick up time and send a quick text to say I am outside and ready. Mrs Scott thoughtfully comes outside and offers me a refill for my now empty coffee mug which I gratefully accept. Often I am invited inside but my rule is always to keep some distance between myself and our Clients, and especially now with COVID. It is safer for me and my Clients if I do not go inside their homes.

Mum and Simon (her son) appear 20 minutes later – I open the doors for them and check that they have their seat belts on and then head down to London.

Experience and going the extra mile

I drop mum and son outside the main entrance for their appointment and manage to find a parking space that gives me a clear view of the front entrance. This is great as it means I can simply wait in my car and as usual be ready to open the doors as soon as I catch sight of them leaving the building.

I settle in to listen to the news, as I know I have at least an hour before they will come out. About 30 minutes into my wait I get a call from Mr Scott who tells me of a big surprise they have arranged for Simon and he wants to know if I can help out.

As you know Simon had been very ill, but fortunately the pioneering treatment he received means that today’s visit for scans to check that his tumours have not reappeared. Simon’s parents have arranged for Simon to meet up (outside of course) with his hero, a VERY famous football manager (who will remain anonymous to protect his privacy). The football manager’s PA has just confirmed that her boss will be waiting at a hotel about 20 miles away from the Scott’s home at 16:30 this afternoon.

Football stadium emirates arsenal

To be honest it could be 100 miles away, and it would still be no problem. Our mission is to provide the best service for our Clients, and if it means a detour to make Simon’s day, it is the least we can do .

I call the office and speak with Alex who is managing the office that day. He and I agree that it will still be safe for me to drive home despite my early start so I work out my new route to the Scott residence via a rather smart hotel in the north west.

Mum and Simon appear from the red bricked building ‘s rather elegant entrance – to be honest the clinic looks more like a 6* hotel than a clinic, with its uniformed doorman replete, with top hat and valet uniform and red carpet entrance!

I jump out of my car and open the back door ready for my Clients.

Mrs Scott asks me in a rather conspiratorial way whether I know about the detour we need to make to pick up ‘groceries’. I smile to myself, and catch her eye in my rear view mirror, and reply affirmatively, giving her a knowing wink to let her know I am in on the surprise.

Traffic is quite heavy, Londoners are getting back to work after the lockdown and so I use a few cheeky shortcuts to enable us to get out of town and to the motorway.

Simon, his mother and I chat about the visit which went well and then we turn to the next subject which for Simon is always football. He talks excitedly about the premier league going back, we discuss the merits of key players and managers, and inevitably the name of the manager we are meeting later comes up. He and I discuss how amazing the man is and what a great footballing mind he has (although I am more of a rugby man, I still like to follow the Premiership) and soon we are back on my favourite motorway, the M6 toll.

A Hero’s welcome

At around 16:20 we arrive at the hotel. I have been given instructions to drive to the Orangerie so that Simon can meet his hero outside on the terrace there.

As I turn the corner of the drive and head to the designated location I can see balloons and banners displayed and there is Simon’s hero, complete with a couple of top England players ready to meet with him.

Most children I think would be overwhelmed, but not Simon. This little boy who has been through so much literally jumps out of the car when I open the door for him and rushes to meet his hero.

With social distancing, Simon can’t have a hug or even shake hands with his hero, but that does not seem to alter anyone’s mood.

At times like this the role of a chauffeur is to be seen but not heard, and I hang back and watch the excited boy chat animatedly with the football trio, with his parents standing close by.

I discreetly take some photographs, managing to get everyone in shot and send them to the office so that Alex can forward them onto Mr and Mrs Scott. Even though everyone is wearing masks it is clear to see who the famous footballers and manager are – great playground bragging rights for Simon!

At around 17:30H it is time to head back so I open the doors for Simon and mum, and we set off to their home.

It is not everyday a little boy gets to meet his hero, and what I was most surprised about is that the football manager and the 2 players did not want any publicity, they did this because they heard about Simon and wanted to make him feel like a hero for bravely going through the treatments for his illness.

I pull up to the Scott’s house and open the passenger doors for the last time today and Simon and mum go inside (armed with a signed England shirt and various mugs and even a set of England pyjamas in Simon’s size).

What an amazing day for Simon and his family and what a privilege for me to be involved in their surprise.

Home James

It has been a long day, and I realise once again I have forgotten to eat so I head to one of my favourite service stations (on the M6 toll motorway of course) and park up. I give the office a quick call and speak to Alex about the day. Alex is a big football fan and is a passionate supporter of Man U and so he is really jealous of my day.

Lunch finished (or should I say supper) I leave the service station and drive home. It’s past 21:00H when I get back, but I still need to fully sanitise my car ready for tomorrow.

45 minutes later, my car perfectly clean and shining I finally go inside.

Another long day behind me, I start the preparation for tomorrow, looking at my journeys, checking the itineraries to make sure that I know exactly where I need to be before finally making it to bed just before midnight.

Day 6

Read – A week in the life of a chauffeur – Day 6

Chauffeur Resources

5 of the best UK staycations for some well-earned escapism

Your getaway chauffeur carrying your sanitised luggage
Your getaway chauffeur carrying your sanitised luggage

Hotels in England are set to open on the 4th of July. They are getting ready for Independance Day, and for the Great Escape to begin. The chauffeurs are polishing, fettling and sanitising. The concierge are preparing. Blending in new safety regimes, with sometimes age-old procedures and protocols.

Safer staycation travel

Prior to covid, hospitality training on Bio-Hazard health safety was minimal. Not anymore. Our chauffeurs are experts. They need to be. And we offer passenger guidance & safety tips.

Escapism: a safe, spacious getaway car, private chauffeur, lush destinations.


Lockdown has given many of us itchy feet. We are giving you a stylish getaway car and your getaway chauffeur. Your butler, on wheels. A private driver. Old-school charm but at a social distance. To help you craft moments and memories. Rare and tailored, transformative travel experiences.

In super-spacious and ultra-luxurious, social distance friendly vehicles.

JOURNEY WITH US

While holidays to far away lands still hold their appeal, there is something truly satisfying about avoiding the hassles and stress associated with flying, and deciding instead to relax in a chauffeur-driven car or ‘let the train take the strain’ for a break in the UK.

From ultra chic chalets in the Lake District to luxury lake cabins in the Cotswolds, we round up some of the “Best of British” breaks.

Journey with us through our very own green and pleasant land. Chasing convenience, nostalgia or maybe just delighted to just be out of the house.

Still, we wonder: Will those childhood memories of Cornwall still evoke the same sense of wonder, or will we have to redefine and reinvent that summer haze? Journey with us to discover for yourself. To find your safe hideaway, glamorous getaway


Five of the best UK staycations

1. Beach Life

Saunton Sands, Devon

Voted the UK’s best sandy beach in 2019, Saunton Sands in Devon is a firm favourite with us. With over 3 miles of sandy white beaches, perfect for swimmers and surfers alike (there is even a surf school that caters for all ages from 5 to 95) who says ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’?
Whether you desire a romantic and relaxed week on the beach, or a family holiday that is jam packed with activities for all ages, Saunton Sands has something for everyone.

Discover it: Stay at the amazing Chalet Saunton – nestled next to Saunton Sands, a luxurious apartment hotel catering for couples and families alike.




2. Wander Lonely as a Cloud

The Lake District is England’s largest, and often cited as most picturesque, National Park. It was home to the poet William Wordsworth as well as the famous illustrator and children’s author Beatrix Potter. Spend your days visiting the breathtakingly beautiful countryside around Windermere or Connaston that inspired the words of Wordsworth and tales from Beatrix Potter.

The Lake District

No visit to the Lake District would be complete without sampling the famous Kendal Mint Cake – the original energy bar, used by Sir Edmund Hillary in the world’s first successful ascent of Everest. For families, try Another Place overlooking Lake Ullswater. Offering guests a kids club and one for teens it is, according to Conde Nast Traveller, ‘a thrilling new addition to Cumbria’s previously stuffy hotel scene’.

Discover it: For couples, check out the Brimstone Hotel – this ultra chic chalet is for adults only and is the ultimate luxury haven after a day out exploring the countryside.

Lake District National Park – Covid Guidance


3. A Taste of Italy?

Snowdonia National Park

North Wales, home to Snowdonia National Park, the famous Blaenau Ffestiniog steam railway and a host of stunning fishing villages and beautiful beaches, makes a perfect base for a memorable family staycation.

But hidden amongst the traditional Welsh architecture and landscape is Portmeirion, a complete village designed and based on the Italian village of Portofino. Portmeirion has been used for many film sets and TV shows – the most famous of which is The Prisoner and you can learn all about this dystopian TV series as you meander through the village.

For families there is so much to do; the nearby sandy beaches of Abersoch and LLandudno are perfect for toddlers, with a beach club and lifeguards on duty during the summer season. Local fishermen still sell their freshly caught crabs and lobsters directly from the harbour. Ask them nicely and they may take you out on their next trip!

Discover it: For self catering we love the cottages at the Portmeirion Hotel, but if you want luxury and romance try Château Rhianfa, less than an hour’s drive away and set overlooking the Menai Straits.


4. Live like a Billionaire

Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

Sandbanks in Poole is reputedly amongst the world’s top 5 most expensive places to buy real estate. Christened Britain’s Palm Beach by many – and no wonder! – this beach has won more blue flag beach awards than any other in the UK and provides access to the largest and most varied water-sports equipment and tuition available at any UK resort. Try kite-surfing or paddle-boarding – you will find superb world class instructors for any water-sport you want to try out.  And every weekend during the summer months there is the evening spectacle of fireworks to enjoy from the beach.

Discover it: To be at the centre of the action stay at the Sandbanks Hotel which has an indoor pool to accommodate any vagrancies in the British weather.

 


5. Make Magical Memories in the Woods

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are renowned for their quaint sandstone chocolate box villages, but nestled inside a 400 acre private estate, you will find a selection of luxury tree houses, beautifully converted stables and farm houses, all accessed via a boat on its own private island. This fantasy village, called The Fish, is a collection of beautifully restored traditional buildings alongside ethically built tree houses.
These luxurious tree houses each boast a wood burning stove as well as bunk beds for the kids. And what family holiday wouldn’t be complete without Man’s Best Friend? Yes, your beloved family pooch is also welcome here. Every afternoon at 4pm these special guests are all given a doggie version of afternoon tea.

Discover it: Our iChauffeur insider information: have a weekend without the children and stay in one of the beautiful hidden luxury lake cabins – The Fish Hotel.

Design your staycation with us

Of course, ‘getting there is half the fun’, although we would add ‘in style’ to the motto!  For two passengers we would recommend the Mercedes S-Class, recognised as the world’s finest saloon car. For those requiring something more rugged, the Range Rover Autobiography can handle even the most challenging of terrains; perfect for an adventurous family of four! The Mercedes V-Class comfortably accommodates up to seven passengers, with plenty of room for luggage. Whilst, for larger groups of up to 20, our super luxury, custom built mini coaches are the perfect option.

Imagine your great escape

For a truly relaxing holiday in the UK, let our chauffeurs take you to your destination and be ‘at your service’ throughout your holiday, including driver-guiding, if required. Contact our friendly booking team who will be delighted to plan and customise your dream staycation. Relax, you are in safe hands. Learn more about staycation in style this summer.

To provide a getaway with a swoosh. To help you create your great escape. To make your journey a pleasure. To help keep you stay safe.

Seems staycations were already a thing

Before the pandemic, more than half of tourism businesses (55%) reported an increase in domestic tourism since 2017. According to holidaymakers, the main reason for the popularity of ‘staycations’ is convenience (34%)*, followed by a desire to revisit places they have been to before (21%)* according to research by Barclays Corporate Banking. (*Research polled 2,006 Brits who take holidays in the UK.)

Have a great Staycation!

From your iChauffeur Family