As Bentley sets out to transform from a 103-year-old British automaker to a new, sustainable and wholly ethical role model for the luxury industry within a decade, it invited regional press and lifestyle tastemakers to an exclusive ladies-only workshop in Bangkok in August to discuss the hot topic of whether luxury and sustainability can co-exist without compromise.
The two-day showcase is the first fully carbon-compensated Bentley event in Asia Pacific, and a meaningful step towards the marque’s sustainability goal to be end-to-end carbon neutral. Under its Beyond100 Strategy, Bentley will not only be creating exclusively electric vehicles by 2030, but also transform its factory in Crewe into a climate-positive and digital-forward manufacturing facility.
Representing Prestige for the Harmony of Polarities trip, Amanda Leong, who is no stranger to luxury automobiles with her fleet of fast cars at home, joined an all-female group that includes journalists, influencers and Bentley’s VIPs from around Asia Pacific in Bangkok. The wellness-focused experience was held at the buzzy Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, and, true to the theme, featured mindful dining with nutritionally calibrated meals, as well as a nourishing morning yoga, meditation and sound bath session.
A highlight of the showcase is a series of fireside chats on sustainable luxury, with Bentley’s Master of Colours and Materials Susan Ross leading conversations with sustainability icon and TV personality Nadya Hutagalung. Above the vibrant streets of Bangkok, the discussions, held at the Four Seasons Private Residences located on the city-side of the Chao Phraya River, explored visions of a sustainable future driven by new technologies, materials and skills.
The event also included the showcase of the new Flying Spur Hybrid, the Bentley that best illustrates the marque’s pursuit of sustainable luxury without compromise. Treading lightly with the lowest emissions of any Bentley ever produced, it’s also the pinnacle of luxury and innovation with its powerful petrol-electric hybrid powertrain enabling up to 41km of range in pure electric drive, and a three-sided Bentley Rotating Display that transforms your view of the interior to a clean slate of sustainability sourced veneer at a touch of a button.
Ahead, Amanda tells us more about the trip and her thoughts on the new Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid.
What was interesting for you during the fireside chat?
In the new generation of hybrid Bentleys, Bentley has consciously decided to integrate two seemingly polar opposites: luxury and sustainability. If anything, the marque has shown that the harmonisation of the two is possible in the most refined fashion – through their creation of sustainable, eco- and animal-friendly materials, such as upcycled wood and vegan leather made from grape skins.
The trip also had elements of holistic well-being, mindful dining, luxury living and audio immersion. What were the highlights for you?
From the stay at the stately Four Seasons Hotel, hidden away in a secluded Chao Phraya River estate in the middle of busy Bangkok, to the mindful dining experiences catered with sustainability in mind, I went away with a better understanding of what it means to live for the next generation without having to compromise on luxury.
How, in your personal life, have you incorporated sustainability and wellness?
Living for the next generation requires deliberate thought and resources. With that in mind, my husband and I teach our three children, and live by example, to prize quality over quantity in a bid to reduce unnecessary wastage. We practise that in every part of our life – from eating good, fresh food to wearing quality pieces over fast fashion.
What do you think about this new age of luxury electrified vehicles?
I am in love with the silent start-up that comes with most luxury electric and hybrid cars these days. There is something elegant about not announcing to the neighbourhood that you’re heading out every single time you start the car.
What are your impressions of the new Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid?
It is not the first hybrid Bentley, and yet, it has the lowest emissions of any Bentley ever produced. I am definitely impressed by the brand’s commitment to sustainability, and it is certainly a step in the right direction as most families like mine look to living sustainably for the next generation. The new car is also in every way a luxury sedan that I envision to be in our family fleet in the next decade.