Miles ahead: Wheely

The company redefining luxury travel in London, Paris and Dubai

Travel and Wellbeing 21 Nov 2023

Wheely boasts a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles driven by professional chauffeurs

Wheely boasts a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles driven by professional chauffeurs

There’s no denying that traveling around cities like London and Paris can be hugely pleasurable, but also quite challenging. Amid the hustle and bustle, the idea of traveling in style may seem elusive. However, for those who seek to truly relish their journey in the comfort of a limousine-like ride accompanied by a top-tier chauffeur, Wheely emerges as the ultimate solution.

Founded in 2010, Wheely is a luxury on-demand chauffeuring company, offering users the chance to book a chauffeur-driven ride in ultimate comfort at the push of a button (or the swipe of a phone screen).

Available in London, Paris and Dubai, Wheely comprises a luxurious fleet of perfectly maintained, brand new Mercedes-Benz E-, S- and V-class vehicles. There are long wheelbase models with reclining leather seats, privacy blinds and panoramic sunroofs, allowing you to kick back and admire the city, or even do some work on the go in impeccable style. The idea is to offer the utmost care, discretion and attention to detail. Each driver is a professionally trained chauffeur and subject to non-disclosure agreements, ensuring guests can trust Wheely with their time, their privacy and their safety. Whatever you need for the duration of your journey, they are there to serve you, whether it’s just a case of getting from A to B, taking your children to school, picking up friends from the airport or running errands on your behalf.

‘There is a huge difference between a chauffeur and a driver, and even more so a Wheely chauffeur,’ says customer experience director Laura Allen. ‘Our chauffeurs go beyond transporting passengers. We deliver an experience. Each journey is tailored to the passenger’s needs, including the temperature of the car, music and the chosen route. Certified Wheely chauffeurs must pass an entrance exam to attend The Wheely Chauffeur Academy. After the exam there is a three-day programme, which covers everything from etiquette and situational awareness to privacy and first aid.’

This isn’t the only way Wheely looks to differentiate itself from its competitors. The company has placed great emphasis on its easy-to-use app, which allows users to speak directly with their chauffeur and book rides on a whim. It was developed under the eye of co-founder Pavel Bocharov, whose background is in game theory and network science. The app also boasts his own photo-correction algorithm, designed to automate taking portraits of the chauffeurs. ‘We consider every bit of our service extremely carefully, and this bit of technology means our clients never struggle to find their chauffeur, no matter what the pick-up situation,’ he says. ‘Photos taken at Wheely’s Chauffeur Academy studio are run through an algorithm, designed in-house, which automatically renders the images so they are consistent wherever our clients are travelling, so they can always spot their chauffeur. The algorithm makes sure the head position, light and shadows remain the same for all chauffeur portraits, and that they are clear and cropped.’

Another innovation for Wheely is its new membership programme. Launched this summer, members gain access to benefits including the brand’s Chauffeur for a Day service, as well as what it dubs ‘New First Class’. This premium option allows users to hail the state-of-the-art next generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223, the marque’s latest and most luxurious model to date. Wheely has further heightened the car’s opulence with amenities like FIJI Water, refreshing towels and an Acqua di Parma diffuser.

‘Back in 2010, the only way to book an executive car with a chauffeur was to call a company in advance,’ says Bocharov. ‘The customer experience was slow and clunky: chauffeurs had to be booked at least three to four hours ahead of time and customers were unable to track their booking. Even at that time the process felt outdated. People expected to use their mobiles for instant bookable services, so we saw a gap for those short on time and requiring premium, luxury chauffeur services.’ By combining its app with excellently trained chauffeurs and one of the most luxurious fleets around, it’s fair to say Wheely has succeeded.