With millennials consistently ranking bucket-list experiences higher than material goods, the question is: How to gift a getaway? Travel isn’t a tangible item that can be topped with a bow and put under the tree, and it can be risky to book a trip without knowing the giftee’s availability. But it can be done. One option to better the odds: Clear the dates in advance but keep the destination and details a secret to be “unwrapped.” Here are ideas for perfect gift getaways.
For the Theater Aficionado: A Broadway weekend at Sofitel New York
This stylish midtown Manhattan hotel’s partnership with Broadway.com means tickets can be purchased directly from the hotel website. Add a room with a view of the city skyline and pre- or post-theater dinner at Sofitel’s Gaby Brasserie Française, and you’ve got a gift any Broadway buff would give a standing ovation.
Presentation idea: mock up a Playbill with a photo of the recipient and the headline: “A Whirlwind Trip to NYC, Starring [name].” Inside put the theater tickets, hotel reservation and flight details.
For the Underwater Adventurer: A dive into paradise at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa
This all-suite resort on Florida’s beautiful Singer Island offers a Capture the Moment package that includes the gift of a GoPro Hero4 Waterproof Action Camera to capture underwater action plus complimentary nonmotorized water sports and beach chairs and umbrella. Located on its own private sandy beach, the resort is right next to Blue Heron Bridge, one of the top diving destinations in the country.
Presentation idea: flip flops, beach towel and beach cover-ups, all ready to pack, with the trip details buried in a jar of sand.
For the Fitness Fanatic: A peak hike experience at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
The Hike Tech package at this boutique Scottsdale resort puts fitness-minded guests on a guided hike along Camelback Mountain’s challenging trails, complete with a GoPro Hero Session (theirs to keep!) to document their adventure. The package also includes a two-night stay for two, daily breakfast, and a 60-minute spa service per person at the exclusive Sanctuary Spa – the perfect reward for a day on the trails.
Presentation idea: a pair of new hiking boots or a reusable water bottle with a bag tag attached reading “Destination: Camelback Mountain.”
For the Frequent Flying Golfer: Pebble Beach Resorts’ XOJET Luxury Experience
For the golf traveler who’s been there, done that, up your gift-giving game with a private XOJET luxury jet charter from Los Angeles or New York for up to four guests to Pebble Beach Resorts. They’ll arrive in style via chauffeured Lexus SUV for a three-night stay in a Fairway One Cottage Suite, where they’ll enjoy “First Off” tee times for two rounds on the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links, private lessons at Pebble Beach Golf Academy, and a private chef wine-tasting dinner in their cottage. Guests fly into Monterey Airport and will have access to a Lexus vehicle throughout their stay.
Presentation idea: tickets tucked into a new set of golf clubs in a Pebble Beach-logoed golf bag, or logoed headcover.
For the Snow Lover: A winter wonderland for two at Whiteface Lodge
This all-suite Adirondack resort’s Rustic Romance package sets the mood with chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne in-suite on arrival. A Tandem Massage in the award-winning spa is perfect after a morning of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating on the resort grounds (all equipment complimentary) or a ski day à deux on nearby Whiteface Mountain. Furnished private lean-tos with firepits can be reserved for an evening under the stars complete with cocktail service.
Presentation idea: a cozy cashmere wrap or set of snowshoes.
For the Life of the Party: A last-minute New Year’s Eve escape to London or Edinburgh
Whisk that spontaneous someone across the pond to ring in 2019 with CIE Tours International’s Weekender Collection. Five days of adventure in a choice of London (Festivities and Fun) or Edinburgh (Tartan and Toasts) put visitors in the heart of each city’s New Year’s celebrations. Both tours include hop-on, hop-off tour bus passes to top attractions, and London guests also enjoy a Thames River cruise.
Presentation idea: Sparklers with a tin of English tea or a package of Scottish shortbread cookies.
For the Post-Holiday Deals Shopper: A downtown-to-downtown weekend getaway
Big Apple bargains are just a train ride away with a weekend stay at the brand-new Residence Inn by Marriott Stamford Downtown. Opening in late fall 2018, just in time for the holidays, the hotel offers apartment-style accommodations in the heart of downtown and free shuttle service anywhere within city limits (including the train station to whisk guests into New York City in less than an hour).
Presentation idea: carryall bag with a department store gift card and Metro-North train tickets.
For the Pampered Pooch: A dog’s best life in Boston
Even dogs deserve a vacation, and as one of Boston’s most dog-friendly hotels, Aloft Boston Seaport District has an Arf Program that treats Fido to the perfect holiday getaway with his human entourage. Complimentary amenities for man’s best friend include a dog bed, food and water bowls, treats, toys, and maps for dog-friendly trails.
Presentation idea: matching bandanas wrapped around trip details (for the humans) and a squeak toy (for Fifi).
For the Adrenaline Junkie: A ride along at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Put a thrill seeker behind the wheel of a real stock car, dragster or Indy car. Nothing will compare to strapping in and speeding off like the stars at Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway, both in North Carolina’s Cabarrus County. Add to the experience with stops at NASCAR race team shops like Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing. Time the trip with the holidays to enjoy the Speedway’s bonus light show, with more than three million lights, a Christmas Village, and drive-in movie nights.
Presentation idea: trip details tucked into a pair of race driving gloves.
For the Low-Key Explorer: Adventures on tap in Syracuse
A new day is dawning in this Central New York renaissance city, as historic buildings find new life (with Marriott Syracuse Downtown in its 1924 landmark building a triumphant example). Visitors are finding Syracuse offers plenty of urban appeals on a more do-able scale and at more affordable prices than a big city getaway. And Marriott Syracuse Downtown is just a short stroll from the city’s top attractions, from Broadway shows at Landmark Theatre and sporting events at the Oncenter to the Historic Armory Square District, Museum of Science and Technology, Everson Museum of Art and ice skating at Clinton Square in winter months. Cap off a day on the town with a local craft beer at the hotel’s own Eleven Waters or Shaughnessy’s Irish Pub, from Beak & Skiff Cider and Ithaca Beer Company to Saranac and Southern Tier.
Presentation idea: A copy of “The Soul of Central New York,” with a luggage tag and Saranac-branded bottle opener.
For the Treasure Hunter: Unique finds at Unclaimed Baggage Center
Scottsboro, Alabama might not be the first destination that comes to mind for a once-in-a-lifetime retail experience, but one million adventure shoppers from across the world prove that wrong each year with a pilgrimage to Unclaimed Baggage Center. The one-of-a-kind store is home to 40,000 square feet of unclaimed items airlines have not been able to reunite with their former owners – everything from clothing, musical instruments and electronics to a full suit of armor and an over-the-top showcase item (the current showcase piece is a $42,000 gold and diamond bracelet.) As many as 7,000 new items arrive daily, all discounted from retail prices. Within an hour’s drive are the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, and natural wonders like Ruby Falls.
Presentation idea: plane tickets tucked into a new wallet with a credit card prepaid gift card.
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