With the dust settling on Black Friday, the team at Luxuriate have put together ideas for the ultimate guide to Christmas including experiences around the world and of course gift ideas for all the family. From caviar vodka and truffle gin to a trip to the Maldives and a toothpaste-less toothbrush, let us festivate and rejoice the season of goodwill to all.
FESTIVE EXPERIENCES IN LONDON
MIRACLE AT 34
34 Mayfair in partnership with Moët & Chandon have created a stunning Christmas winter wonderland featuring 14,000 decorations including 8,400 glittering baubles with every inch of the ceiling and walls embellished in luxurious decorations. If you dine at 34 Mayfair, little ones (and adults) can also visit Father Christmas in his grotto on the first floor. Treat yourself with a truffle tagliatelle paired with a Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2012.
ICE SKATING AT THE QUEEN’S HOUSE, GREENWICH
Set against the stunning backdrop of The Queen’s House, enjoy skating in the beautiful surrounds of a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll be able to soak up the beautiful surroundings of Greenwich Park, take in the spectacular views across London and with a range of winter warmers. Greenwich is just 8 minutes from London Bridge or arrive by boat along the River Thames.
INTO THE GOLD MENU AT ELLA CANTA
Ella Canta are celebrating the life of Mexico with the hypnotic richness of gold. The Into the Gold six course menu will be available from 12-21 December 2019 and includes sea bass ceviche, guinea fowl and more.
ROSE ON THE ROOF WINTER TERRACE AT 12TH KNOT
In collaboration with Laurent-Perrier champagne, the terrace has been transformed into a cosy champagne winter playground with the whole of Sea Containers lit pink over the festive period. Sample champagne cocktails along with snacks including a seafood platter, lobster, mussels and much more.
This West facing sun trap is also amazing during winter. Expect glistening hanging baubles, wintry trees and plenty of champagne. If you order a bottle of champagne, this also comes with a selection of paired canapés including truffle arancini, venison bolognese croquettes and the most moreish Reblochon cheese, bacon and onion flatbread. You can also take away some specially made Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé champagne truffles.
AN ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS AT 14 HILLS
Newly opened 14 Hills has had a magical winter makeover for the festive season, with the lush garden interior completed with Christmas foliage and decorations. As well as panoramic views, there are festive menus, wine experiences and a New Year’s Eve party with live entertainment. Make sure you try a Snowflake made with gin, yuzu liquor, coconut, lemon and grapefruit.
Don’t forget to also check out our Luxuriate guide to: Christmas afternoon teas at luxury London hotels.
FESTIVE EXPERIENCES WORLDWIDE
NIYAMA PRIVATE ISLANDS, MALDIVES
Tradition and luxury come together this holiday season at Niyama Private Islands Maldives, creating a Christmas break like no other with a huge range of activities to ignite the festive spirit. Overlooking endless white sand and blue ocean, you can experience gastronomic dinners by world renowned guest chefs and a beach BBQ on Christmas Day. With the ongoing wellness focus at Niyama, you can also experience a range of alternative healing and beauty treatments from holistic therapy and yoga to Beverley Hills IV Therapy. They also have a very opulent under water restaurant where you can arrive by speedboat and maybe even see the resident Hawksbill turtle gliding by.
MADEIRA AT CHRISTMAS
The whole month of December on the island of eternal spring is dedicated to festive winter sun and yuletide fun but without the crowds. The capital, Funchal, is lit up with Christmas markets, choirs, folk bands and fireworks. It is also home to the famous ‘Market Night Party’, a traditional Christmas celebration that lasts all night. On the same latitude as Morocco, Madeira has a sub-tropical climate and a unique eco-system where banana trees grow next to vineyards.
“BREATHE” BY COOKSON ADVENTURES
Cookson Adventures specialise in handcrafting each and every expedition on an ultra-personalised level. They have created a concept called Breathe, which will take you to the most isolated and idyllic locations on Earth to experience exploration-led experiences that will help you to fully engage body and mind. The option that caught our eye was Breathe Ice in Norway, with a focus on health benefits of exposure to the cold. Core to this concept is the Wim Hof Method that heightens oxygen in the blood to improve endurance. You can also try snowmobiling, sea kayaking and nights under the Northern Lights.
WALKING WITH ELEPHANTS AT ANANTARA GOLDEN TRIANGLE ELEPHANT CAMP & RESORT
Combining sunshine and northern Thai culture, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is hosting a special Christmas Eve Walking with Giants experience. You can take a stroll among the gentle jungle giants followed by spreading festive cheer at the Christmas Eve reception with a choir and luxury buffet to welcome Christmas.
LUXURIATE GIFT IDEAS
BOË GIN BOTANICAL CHRISTMAS WREATH
Boë Gin have partnered with luxury London florist That Flower Shop to create a limited edition botanical Christmas wreath to adorn your doorway, that comes delivered (to anywhere in the UK) with a full sized bottle of gin too! The wreath is gin-scented with the botanicals of Boë Spiced Orange so expect a unique aroma of juniper berries, cinnamon cloves and conifer with orange touches inspired by the gin’s vibrant colour. This special wreath is then finished using conifers, thyme, ilex berries, cinnamon and dried oranges.
ACQUA DI PARMA ADVENT CALENDAR
Forget chocolate! From Colonia to Blu Mediterraneo to Home Collection, from Barbiere to the new Signatures of the Sun & Le Nobili, a surprise awaits you behind each door as you countdown to Christmas Day. Open 25 precious gifts in sizes that allow you to appreciate a variety of treats. The calendar is divided into four sections and once open, it turns into a bright Italian house with windows that are ready to offer a surprise every day.
£325. Available exclusively at Harrods. FIND OUT MORE HERE
WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 11.1 MINI SPEAKERS
Sleek and modern in design, the Diamond 11.1 speakers are an ideal gift for someone luxuriating in a smaller home but still wants the best sound quality and interior aesthetic. Available in four colours, they are able to produce a surround sound feel. With a newly designed woofer suspension, the sound produced is life-like, far-reaching and has a powerful bass just like at the cinema.
£269. FIND OUT MORE HERE
POWER DOLPHIN UNDERWATER DRONE WITH 4K CAMERA
Transform your holiday photos with The PowerDolphin – an intelligent, multi-functional water drone giving impressive 4K high-definition images above or below the water with two hours of battery life. Designed for water sports enthusiasts, budding underwater wildlife photographers and even fishermen, the drone is equipped with a set of lights which have four adjustable brightness levels and that can rotate in balance with the camera to shoot stunning photos in different types of water.
From £695. Available from Harrods and Amazon UK. FIND OUT MORE HERE
LG SIGNATURE COLLECTION
We can heartily recommend these ultra-premium LG products as we spent a day playing with them. As well as the world’s first 8K OLED TV (measuring 88 inches!) the other product that caught our eye was a fridge with a sleek mirrored glass panel that illuminates with two quick knocks, allowing you to see inside the easy access compartment without opening the door.
ION SEI ULTRAVIOLET TOOTHBRUSH
This is not your ordinary toothbrush as this one requires no toothpaste! The ION-Sei electric toothbrush uses an Ultra Violet LED light that reacts with a Titanium Dioxide bar in the brush handle to create ions that suppress the bacteria that cause plaque. Patented ionic technology creates a longer-lasting and deeper clean.
£129.99 FIND OUT MORE HERE
HOUSE OF MARLEY LIBERATE AIR WIRELESS EARBUDS
These eco-conscious earbuds are designed using bamboo and natural wood fibre composite. Offering long battery life with 9 hours playtime and the case offering a further 23 hours. The compact case is designed with an auto on/off feature for seamless bluetooth connectivity and tap controls on the earbuds allow for a simplified listening experience.
£129.99 FIND OUT MORE HERE
PROSODY WHISKY WISTERIA CANDLE
This English perfume house is pioneering exquisite natural and organic luxury fine fragrance. Inspired by the Great Gatsby, Whisky Wisteria is made from 14 finest natural and organic ingredients. There is a citrus floral aroma of ylang ylang, jasmine and lemongrass with a hint of liquor from a blend of clary sage, coriander seed, juniper and birch tar. Free of chemicals, all their products do not contain parabens and other nasties used in many perfumes so Prosody are among the purest fine fragrances available.
NICK AND NORA RIEDEL COCKTAIL GLASSES
Famous for its range of high end grape varietal specific wine glasses, Riedel has recently introduced a cocktail drinking glass shaped to enhance the flavour experience of many cocktails, including our editor’s favourite gin martini. These expertly made glasses are named after the main characters in the film noir thriller ‘The Thin Man’, and have been designed to allow you to take a sip from the glass without having to tilt your head too far back bringing sophistication for the home cocktail drinker and a sense of 1940s glamour.
£25 per glass FIND OUT MORE HERE
SAGE BY HESTON SMOKING GUN
This hand smoker from Heston Blumenthal allows you to smoke all kinds of food just by pointing and firing the smoking pistol for around 30 to 60 seconds. The smoking gun offers an easy, handheld alternative to traditional smoking methods ensuring you won’t miss The Queen’s speech on Christmas Day. For dramatic festive tableside presentation to impress grumpy Uncle George and the family, fill an upturned glass or cloche with smoke and lift it to reveal the almost magical cloud. For new culinary sensations, try smoking butter, chocolate, fish fillets and sauces.
FOOD & DRINK GIFT IDEAS
L’ORBE VODKA X CAVIAR
This is the first naturally infused caviar vodka which is available exclusively at Fortnum & Mason. A natural infusion system in the bottle allows pairings of otherwise fragile ingredients. Not only is the bottle easy on the eye, but the taste has to be experienced to be believed. Premium vodka combined with caviar from ethically sourced sturgeon farms needs to be sipped a couple of times for the nuances of caviar to come through releasing soft, nutty, buttery tones and a taste of the sea.
Bar legend Allesandro Palazzi from Dukes Bar has created a must try martini with L’Orbe, sake and garnished with tiny cocktail onions.
£115 FIND OUT MORE HERE
CAMBRIDGE TRUFFLE GIN
The world’s first digestif gin, this truly luxurious spirit is made in tiny quantities with white truffle from Alba – an ingredient which is worth more than gold per gram. Distilled to preserve the full flavour of the truffle, it is a complex and well-balanced gin that could be enjoyed on its own over ice or in an ultimate dry gin martini.
SEVEN CROFTS GIN
This new small batch hand distilled dry gin has notes of perfumed forest fruit and spicy hints of coriander and pink peppercorns giving it a long, warm finish. It works very well in a martini and is already gaining recognition from bartenders and gin experts. Seven Crofts was born after 96 different recipes and is a blend of seven botanicals including juniper, coriander, pink peppercorns, cubeb, cardamom, angelica and fresh lemon peel. The bottle is also super sleek and sexy.
BEST OF SUSSEX CHRISTMAS HAMPER
For a traditional Christmas, then this could be just the gift you’re looking for. This massive and decadent hamper is filled with only the best, locally sourced products from the bountiful county of Sussex. From Nyetimber Classic Cuvee to a selection of Goodwood cheese and award winning brownies, this bumper hamper has something for every foodie to indulge in.
£465 (UK only). FIND OUT MORE HERE
RAMSBURY ESTATE BOOZY CHRISTMAS HAMPER
Create the perfect drink this season with Ramsbury’s Christmas Hamper which includes a bottle of Single Estate Gin and Vodka, two serving glasses, a stirring spoon and voucher for two to tour the single estate distillery and craft brewery.
DOMINIQUE ANSEL’S CHRISTMAS MORNING CEREAL
This gourmet cereal blend is made with Valrhona Caramelia (caramelised milk chocolate) covered crispy puffed rice, smoked cinnamon miniature meringues and whole candied hazelnuts. What a start this would make to Christmas Day for kids of all ages. It is the first time a product from award-winning Chef Dominique Ansel will be made available for nationwide delivery and arrives in a fun milk carton shaped box decorated with festive bunting.
This range of three modern liqueurs made with natural ingredients has become the talk of spirit lovers and world class bartenders with Muyu now making an appearance on the very best cocktail lists. Combining a boutique perfume attitude with the creator’s own philosophy, this fine nectar is balanced and comes in at 22%-24% ABV so it is delicate enough to be shared in highballs, mixed in cocktails or enjoyed on the rocks. Our favourite – Muyu Jasmine Verte with neroli, patchouli, yuzu and iris is floral, fresh and great with champagne. You can find all the Muyu expressions at the best bars around including Tayēr + Elementary.
£27.99 FIND OUT MORE HERE
NEGRONI CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
MARTINI has teamed up with chocolatier Paul A. Young to create a yummy Negroni chocolate truffle collection for Christmas. Developed with the MARTINI Riserva Speciale range, the two recipes take inspiration from the classic cocktail which celebrated 100 years recently: The MARTINI Rubino Negroni truffle is made with Brazilian dark chocolate ganache while the MARTINI Ambrato Negroni truffle is created with a white chocolate ganache. Each box can also be purchased with a bottle of MARTINI Riserva Speciale Rubino or Ambrato.
£15.50 Available to buy for a limited time only from Paul A. Young (Soho and Islington).
MAISON BRUNO PAILLARD BOUTIQUE CHAMPAGNE
Maison Bruno Paillard is an independent, family-run champagne house. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes this is a fine example of the Blanc de Blanc style of champagne. There is biscuit and lemon on the nose and there are fine, copious and long lasting bubbles which explode in the mouth which add to the luxurious nature of this fine liquid. Medium bodied with white fruit on the palate along with a balanced acidity make this a great champagne for food too.
£67.95 FIND OUT MORE HERE
COOLE SWAN LUXURY IRISH LIQUEUR GIFT SET
Coole Swan uniquely combines Irish whiskey, Belgian white chocolate and Irish cream to deliver a distinctive, smooth, velvety, long-lasting, creamy taste experience that lingers. The addition of white chocolate is unique to Coole Swan and is the secret to delivering its distinctive brilliant white pour. This Christmas gift set has a 700ml bottle of Coole Swan with two crafted glasses.
£35. Available only at John Lewis.
FETTERCAIRN 12 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT WHISKY
Tasting like no other whisky, Fettercairn is distilled by one of the oldest licensed malt distilleries in the country. Based in the foothills of the Cairngorms in Scotland their bespoke copper cooling ring enhances the purity of the spirit, ensuring only the lightest vapours rise for collection in the stills which allow for the whisky ‘s unique floral and tropical notes. Amber honey in colour, aging in American oak ex-bourbon barrels gives a taste profile that is similar to the tropical notes of beer with hints of vanilla, pear and soft spices on the nose.
£49.99 FIND OUT MORE HERE
WILLOW CBD LOW ALCOHOL SPIRIT
If you are preparing early for boring (dry) January or fancy a rest day over the festive period, you should try this no-alcohol spirit infused with natural cannabidiol (CBD) for a naturally balanced no-booze buzz. The taste profile is interesting with hints of pineapple, star anise, blue agave and cherry tomatoes. Each 70cl bottle contains 15mg of broad-spectrum CBD derived from the whole cannabis plant.
£18.99 from Fortnum & Mason. FIND OUT MORE HERE
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Don’t forget to keep luxuriating on the last day of the decade. Here are three options to keep you luxuriating into 2020:
FOODIE HOTEL BREAK AT WHATLEY MANOR HOTEL & SPA
The ultimate way to end 2019 with a three night luxury hotel getaway in the Cotswolds which includes all food and not one, but two dinners in Niall Keating’s two Michelin star dining room. New Year’s Eve begins with a gin tasting followed by five-course black tie gala dinner. After dinner, enjoy live jazz music and a pop up casino followed by a spectacular fireworks display as the clock strikes midnight. On New Year’s Day, the mood is set to relaxation at Whatley’s impressive Aquarius spa, a woodland walk, a film at the hotel cinema and perhaps a drop more champagne.
From £2,900 per room per stay based on two guests sharing. Dogs also welcome. FIND OUT MORE HERE
1950s SIX COURSE DINNER AT SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, AT THE SHARD
Experience the glitz and glamour of yesteryear with a New Year’s Eve celebration for the ages. Boasting uninterrupted views of London’s iconic skyline, feast on a six course menu with wine pairing. During the evening, expect 1950s revelry hosted by drag queen Michael Twaits and a line up of live acts including queen of cabaret Dolly Trolley and acrobatic duo Soul Illusion.
HOUSE PARTY AT THE LANESBOROUGH HOTEL
Yes you read that right – a house party in the ultra glam Lanesborough in collaboration with Moët & Chandon from 8pm-3am. You can expect a spectacular night of live music, DJs, dining, dancing and decadence. Michelin-starred restaurant Céleste will be transformed into a posh nightclub with bottle service tables available. The Belgravia Ballroom meanwhile will be serving a selection of spirits, rum and champagne cocktails whilst in The Great Hall, you can visit a seafood & champagne bar.
Tickets are £275 and include all food. FIND OUT MORE HERE
LONDON SKY BAR
Luxury awaits you 28 floors above the city in a 12 hour party where you can indulge in sumptuous food, entertainment and champagne to ring in the new decade with a supreme 360º view of the world famous Mayor of London fireworks display. To entertain you, a cabaret extravaganza theme welcomes you at 6pm and keeps you smiling till 6am.
Tickets are on sale now from £325. FIND OUT MORE HERE
Wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2020.
By Mark Captain & Alun Harris