Christmas Gift Guide Week pt. V: Experiences
For some friends, physical gifts just won't cut it. This list is for them!
With Christmas fast approaching, this week sees Tempus compile the best gifts to grab for a family member, a friend - or even yourself. From Monday to Friday, we will be looking at the best luxury gift items available in categories ranging from indulgent food and drink to stunning design pieces for your house. Our fifth and penultimate instalment goes beyond the realms of the tangible world and takes a look at experiences you can buy for a loved one - in case unwrapping a present under the tree just isn't thrilling enough.
So you've got a friend or relative that isn't impressed by a bottle of whisky? Or will turn their nose up and give a limp "oh... thanks" at a scarf wrapped up and stuffed under the tree?
If so, Tempus has you covered. We've compiled the best experiences, subscriptions and other non-tangible presents to pick up for a loved one this Christmas, from parties in the Maldives to monthly jam subscriptions.
This festive season, Velaa Private Island, one of the most isolated and exclusive resorts in the Maldives, is inviting guests to join them to celebrate the holidays in unparalleled luxury. You may have to gift this one a few weeks early, but the treat of sending a loved one away from the dreary British winters to a private island in the Maldives is too tempting to pass up - and that's before we tell you what's happening when they get there.
To kick off the festive extravaganzas on 20th December, Velaa will celebrate its 8th Birthday with a Gala Cocktail Party and Birthday Gala Dinner. Guests will enjoy pre-dinner drinks and speciality Velaa cocktails, followed by an exquisitely prepared dinner on the beach, surrounded by undisturbed ocean views and an outstanding live music performance from the one and only Pixie Lott. Maybe this is one present you should treat yourself to...
Neill Strain's Christmas Concierge offers clients a range of personalised premium services which have been introduced for the upcoming Christmas celebrations. Festive floral arrangements, home dressing, impressive wreath design and installation, and Christmas tree dressing; Neill Strain’s expert team of florists can do it all, with a bespoke flair to fit any season. To hear them put it, they have the ability to "magically transform every client's home into a seasonal masterpiece".
With a focus on sustainability, Neill Strain holds a close relationship with his growers in Holland. The extraordinary rare blooms are sourced specifically for each individual Floral Couture service, before being delivered directly to the boutiques within 24 hours of harvesting.
Got a jam-lover in your life? Give the gift of a monthly subscription at Rosebud Preserves to have a friend or relative sent a delicious selection of preserves throughout the year.
Flavours are seasonal; for instance in February subscribers will be treated to the vibrant new season Rhubarb & Ginger Jam, translucent Mint Jelly in early summer, peppery Beetroot & Horseradish in autumn and richly spiced chutneys for the winter months. Their first delivery will be beautifully presented in the brand's classic gift box and includes three jars of seasonal preserves. For the following eleven months they will receive two jars each month, including new products and all-time favourites. Get the toast ready!
Award-winning luxury CBD brand OTO this month announced its newest London partner, The Langham, a five-star hotel in London. From Monday 15 November, guests are able to enjoy the brand’s unique CBD massage experiences at Chuan Body + Soul, just in time for the festive season.
This winter, help a friend escape the chaos and step into The Langham’s peaceful sanctuary of all-encompassing wellness, pampering the body and reviving the soul.
Established by the Nelstrop Family in 2006, the prestigious English Whisky Co. based in Norfolk has its roots in the farming industry, allowing them to produce the very best whisky. Famed for ‘The English’ original and smokey iterations, the whisky producers have carved a real name for themselves on the whisky scene.
If you’re looking to treat yourself or a whisky lover in your life then look no further, as The English Whisky Co. run their member’s club, which celebrates the origins and flavours of English Whisky and is one of the best opportunities to take a journey of discovery, trying some rare whiskies. You can buy for yourself, or as a gift, and there are two choices for membership.
Perhaps the most unique offering in this list, StoryTerrace is the ultimate bespoke gift; a biography writing service which matches clients with ghostwriters to turn their life story into a book.
Clients and writers are matched based on personality, and after a number of one-to-one sessions, the life story of a loved one is turned into a beautiful book, embellished with custom images. Buyers will have regular opportunities to review and comment on the book as it progresses, as well as to upload photos and customise the appearance of the book.
Give a gift with a truly luxurious festive feel; the Ho! Ho! Ho! gift box is overflowing with perfect pieces. Set the scene with a glass of perfectly chilled Bollinger champagne, partnered with a delicious peppermint cookie truffle or two, enrobed in rich dark chocolate created by Charbonnel & Walker.
Also included is a copy of Chrismas at Highclere, in which the Countess of Carnarvon unveils some of the secrets to stylish living and entertaining at Highclere, her family home and the setting for the hugely successful television series, Downton Abbey. To enhance the mood, a beautiful rich ruby red Acqua Di Parma Winter Forest Christmas Candle completes the moment.
Set on the banks of the river, The Runnymede on Thames is the perfect Christmas retreat this festive season for adults and families alike. Located just 10 minutes from the twinkling lights of Windsor, the Surrey-based hotel offers guests a cosy central base to explore some of the area's best local attractions, such as Windsor Great Park, Christmas at Kew, and festive shopping in the Royal Borough.
From 24th - 26th December, The Runnymede on Thames’ Christmas Getaway offers guests a magical two-night break with festive feasts, sparkling cocktails, and full use of the hotel’s spa facilities. Arriving on Christmas Eve, guests will enjoy a festive afternoon tea; a light supper in the evening, accompanied by a live saxophonist; as well as midnight mass. On Christmas Day, guests can unwind at the award-winning spa, taking full advantage of the indoor pool, infrared sauna and eucalyptus steam room. Christmas lunch is a magnificent feast, served with all the trimmings, while a cheese and wine dinner is provided for those with space by the evening. On Boxing Day, guests can delight in a leisurely morning with a later check-out at 2pm.
After lockdowns put a dampener on last year's celebrations, Christmas is set to be extra special this year - and even more so if you choose to celebrate the big day at Michelin-starred restaurant Benares in Mayfair. Opening its doors on 25th December for the first time in 18 years, Benares will serve a suitably festive lunch with a high-class, Indian twist.
Enjoy a sensational dining experience and a culinary journey across India as you make your way through Executive Chef Sameer Taneja’s specially crafted Christmas Tasting Menu. Expect Indian street food snacks to start, followed by Scottish Scallop Tartlet, Tawa Masala Wild Halibut and Clam Moilee, and Mutton Momos with Winter Vegetables. Showstopping mains include; Tandoori Muntjac and Turkey Biryani sealed and topped with a layer of buttery shortcrust pastry, whilst the vegetarian option features Colston Bassett Stilton Malai Cottage Cheese Tikka and Vegetable Kofta Biryani.
Wellness club KX, based in Chelsea, has launched two wellness hampers for non-members (and members) to buy for their friends and loved ones. The bespoke hampers give the gift for body, mind and soul this holiday season and come in the form of the Bespoke Hamper and the Ultimate Hamper.
The Ultimate Hamper includes one month membership to the club, as well as dinner for two, a massage or facial, spa treatment, PT Session, Champagne and KX Rocher. The Bespoke Hamper, meanwhile, includes an annual, overseas or short-term membership, a spa voucher, skinceuticals Kits, KX Gym Gear and gym classes.