Millie Walton takes to the skies in a Bombardier Global 6000, this season’s jet of choice for the discerning billionaire
I’ve just boarded the Bombardier Global 6000, a new model which looks pared down from the outside: the hull looks so lightweight it feels like a solid tap from a bottle of Krug might crack it, though obviously that’s an illusion. Inside, it’s spacious and elegant with sturdy plush, arm chairs that, to my delight, swirl round on their base in all directions. I choose to take off facing the back of the plane – legs dangling, hands gripping the armrests – just because I can. These jets are build-your-own bespoke, from the interiors and sound system right down to finishing paint varnish. Pretty much anything is possible. From the window, I can spy Lewis Hamilton‘s (the racing driver is among a long line of celebrities with Bombardiers at their beck and call, including ACDC who we apparently just missed in the lounge this morning – shame) bullet-like black and red jet, which I’m told is similarly dark and foreboding on the inside. “It looks like a flying demon,” someone truthfully comments. Ours, thankfully, is delicate cool creams with polished mahogany touches.
After a few bumps on the steep incline, we’re above the clouds, way, way above the clouds (these jets make it to a much higher altitude than commercial airliners) sipping chilled glasses of Chateau D’Esclans and eating platters of fresh sushi, ordered in from London’s Nobu, naturally, both excellent ways to decompress. Although the stress levels of flying from Farnborough airport are pretty minimal anyway, involving sitting in a VIP lounge, walking onboard, and taking off. No unpleasant security queues or holiday crowds of the economy-flight masses (to which club I would, sadly, return after this trip).
Graciously accepting another glass of wine, I stare out of the window into a perfectly blue sky – I wouldn’t be surprised if it was simulated – and down at the French lakes we’re now soaring over. “Madam,” the air hostess stirs me gently from my daydream. “Would you like to sit in the jump seat for landing?” I would, of course, and with childish glee I strap myself into the seat in between the two captains for an exhilarating, but graceful descent onto Nice’s water edged runaway. Again it’s the impeccable service and timing: the jet’s steps are down, bags dealt with and a chauffeur’s arm waiting to guide me into an air conditioned car for the three minute drive to the helipad – God forbid I should break a sweat. A helicopter transfer from Nice to Monaco takes roughly 15 minutes; the drive can take anywhere between 30 and an hour if it’s peak season. Something I’m starting to realise is that if you’ve got enough cash the clock really can be turned back.
My bag is already neatly positioned on a stool in my room at the decadent Hotel Hermitage, next to a huge bouquet of white roses. It’s slightly predictable, but a nice touch. I open the doors to the balcony and bask in the midday rays, whilst staring down at the world’s most famous yacht club. The phone rings: “Madam, it’s time for your facial.” It strikes me that this is the everyday for most of Monte Carlo’s residents and turn ever so slightly green.
I recall this realisation later to the CEO of Fraser Yachts, Raphael Sauleau over dinner on one of their most glamorous vessels Heliad II (that’s actually now for sale if anyone’s in the market for a new yacht). Smiling, he shrugs his shoulders, “This is Monaco, that’s just how it is.” Another day, another destination.