March 25, 2014 -- If there weren't enough options for traveling between New York City and Washington, D.C. (after all, there's only Amtrak, several airlines and a handful of bus companies), here's one more: luxury van.
Royal Sprinter, a fleet of Mercedes vans "custom-designed and built to exact specifications to exude an atmosphere of optimum relaxation and luxury" launches on April 11.
Each van can hold up to eight passengers and each passengers is seated in a "diamond-quilted black leather seat." The seats are placed on an angle so there's no one directly in front of or behind any passenger.
The seats also recline and have leg extensions. Each seat has a 7-inch flat screen TV with DirectTV, a power outlet and tray table. There's free Wifi and complimentary water.
There are two daily departures from each city. The vans leave from Park Hyatt Washington and Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion in D.C. and the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan.
And now the cost: $90 each way. Less than Amtrak's Acela Express, but more then the average cost on the Northeast Regional. Though Royal Sprinter appears to be more luxurious, it's more expensive than it's closest competitor in ground transport: the Vamoose Gold Bus. Companies like BoltBus, Megabus and Greyhound offers far lower fares without the luxury amenities.
Each passenger is allowed one piece of luggage up to 50 lbs and one carry-on item that must fit in the overhead storage bins.
Royal Sprinter claims to be not only the most luxurious form of ground transportation between New York City and D.C., but also the "most efficient." They estimate each trip will take about 4 hours. Essentially, the time it takes to drive between the two cities in light traffic but without the hassle of parking on either end. The web site says the company is "not liable for any delays caused by traffic, accidents and road or weather conditions beyond our control." The van makes two, 10-minute pre-scheduled stops along the way.