The Gift Guide, The Lists

the best trips to give as a luxury gift this year

It’s been proven through numerous studies that the happiness quotient of a wonderful experience trumps the joy that one receives from even the most incredible object or item of clothing. Want to put the concept to the test this holiday season? We’ve rounded up a list of the 12 best trips to give as a luxury gift this year. These dozen travel experiences should tip the scales of delight into overload for your gift recipient – and if you’re lucky enough to be invited along, then perhaps for you, too.

why not gift the trip of a lifetime this year?

Travel companies, cruise lines, luxury hotels and airlines are all focused on providing once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences for voyagers of every age and stage. Which means that it’s easier than ever to give a trip as a luxury gift this year.

Here are 12 of the best trips to give as a luxury gift this year.

There’s one for almost every type of traveler on your list. As for the cost? Well, the sky’s the limit.

1. For the music lover

The hotel Bagni di Pisa in Tuscany is once again offering its annual special Andrea Bocelli experience. The Teatro del Silenzio is a musical evening hosted annually by Bocelli at Lajatico in the Tuscan hills. The 14th annual performance will be on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The Maestro will be accompanied by a symphony orchestra, a chorus, and an international cast of artists. The Bagni di Pisa is a one-hour drive from Lajatico. Located in the hills of Pisa, it was once the thermal residence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. It has views of the leaning tower, as well as its own natural hot spring. The package includes an aperitif and dinner at the hotel, spa treatments, private transfer to and from Lajatico, and VIP seats for the concert. Rates range from $6,260 – $7,340 for a suite for two people for a three-night stay.

Lajatico in Tuscany in Italy

2. For the adventurer

Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is offering a luxury expedition cruise through the Northwest Passage. Limited to 199 guests, this excursion lasts for 24 days. It’s a chance to cruise the entire Northwest Passage. The voyage begins with two nights in Montreal. From there, journey from western Greenland to the Canadian Arctic, and on to the Bering Sea and Nome, Alaska. The route traces the footsteps of some of the world’s great explorers. There’s also an optional extension that allows guests to stay an additional four days in Alaska at the end of the voyage. Travel dates are August 26 – September 18, 2019. Prices start from $29,995.

The Northwest Passage

3. For those in love with the sea

Rosewood Hotels and Resorts just announced it’s second annual holiday gift package, 12 Days of Rosewood. It’s a set of 12 exclusive travel experiences, some involving the creation of bespoke items as part of the gift.

For example, you can your guest can relive the thrill of the America’s Cup on Bermuda’s spectacular seas. The 3-day package includes accommodation at the Rosewood Bermuda and sailing lessons aboard an International One Design yacht from champion sailor and America’s Cup host Tucker Thompson. There will be opportunities to dive into Bermuda’s sparkling waters and snorkel around a private island, before ending the day with a sunset dinner and champagne toast. This gift also includes a Breitling “SuperOcean” Series watch for the lucky recipient. Prices start at $50,000.

The Rosewood Hotel, Bermuda

4. For Aman junkies

Aman returns to its collaboration with Remote Lands for the 2019 edition of its Global Private Jet Expedition. Limited to only 16 guests, the journey via private jet is on an Airbus ACJ 319 (originally designed for 126 passengers). The jet has been refitted with living rooms and bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a shower. The itinerary begins in Japan and moves on to Shanghai, Vietnam, Phuket, Bhutan, and Jaipur. Then it’s onward to Greece, Montenegro and Italy. Every night will be spent at a signature Aman property. Each couple will have their own private car, driver, and guide for transfers and touring, and evenings will include group cocktail and dinner parties. The trip begins in Tokyo on March 30, 2019 and concludes in Venice on April 20, 2019. The price is $114,888 per person.

The Tiger’s Nest at Amankora in Paro, Bhutan

5. For culinary travelers

The perfect gift for a foodie who loves to travel might be the five-day immersive program Seasonal Burgundy, hosted by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, an American mother-daughter duo who are the founders of The Cook’s Atelier in Burgundy, France.

Taylor is a La Varenne-trained cook who left behind her French restaurant Ruby Beet in Phoenix to be closer to her daughter. Franchini had been working for the Burgundy office of American wine merchant Kermit Lynch. In addition to cooking workshops, the pair take guests on a tour of the region, offering an insider peek into the work and lives of local winemakers, farmers, and other culinary artisans.

For 2019, there are three sessions from which to choose.  First, the spring session on May 27 – June 1, 2019.  Second, the summer session from June 24 – June 29, 2019.  And finally, the autumn session, which is October 14 – October 19, 2019.

They recommend staying at the 5-star Hotel Le Cep, a family-run hotel located within the walls of the old city. The property is comprised of two private mansions joined by 16th-century courtyards. Each of the 65 rooms is traditional in style, with antique furnishings, exposed wood beams, and printed fabrics.

Hotel Le Cep in Burgundy, France

6. For foodies looking to burn some calories as they travel

Luxury tour company Butterfield & Robinson is offering a series of combination biking and culinary adventures for 2019. On our wish list? The bike tour through Provence, from Arles to Avignon. Near the beginning of the trip, explore Provence’s most famous town, St-Remy. Meet a local guide who will shed some “Provençal light” on the life and work of Vincent van Gogh.  Learn the history behind Fontaine de Vaucluse and its looming castle. Explore the picturesque hilltop villages of the Lubéron Valley by bike. The best time for this trip is between May and September. Prices start at $6,695 per person.

Bike Tour of Provence with Butterfield & Robinson

7. For the wild bunch

For 2019, luxury travel agency Cox & Kings is offering an Epic Patagonia Motorcycle Journey. With 18 days of adventure on the open road, this is the stuff of legend for a group of up to five. What could be better than following the path of American bandit Butch Cassidy, and spending the night at a traditional estancia? Or traversing Patagonia’s most remote corners, and marveling at legendary Torres del Paine National Park and the massive Perito Moreno Glacier. A professional motorcyclist guide will escort the group. The itinerary covers 2,250 miles of dramatic mountain landscapes, pristine lakes, native forests, waterfalls, fjords, glaciers, and more. This journey is available for bookings beginning March 2019 and pricing starts at $10,995 per person based on double occupancy.

Tierra del Fuego Torres del Paine in Patagonia

8. For Luddites looking to get off the grid

The perfect gift for someone hoping to flee the constant cacophony of modern life might be a trip to Saint Helena island. Last year, the volcanic tropical island and British overseas territory was granted the first regularly scheduled commercial flights in its history, departing from Johannesburg. Its first luxury hotel, the Mantis St. Helena, opened last year, as well.

St. Helena Island

Located about 1,200 miles off the western coast of Africa, the island is famously the place where the British exiled Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815 after defeating him at the Battle of Waterloo. The house where he lived during his exile is one of the island’s main tourist attractions. Other activities include mountain biking, fishing, and scuba diving. St. Helena is one of the only places in the world where humans can swim with massive whale sharks. It’s the site of the “world’s longest straight staircase,” and home to the St. Helena distillery, said to be the world’s most remote (its specialty is Tungi, made from prickly pear and bottled in a beveled glass flask).

9. For luxury glampers

In 2019, luxury travel agency Cox & Kings is also offering a 9-day luxury glamping trip to Iceland. The adventure immerses travelers in the country’s spectacular environment – soaking in natural hot springs, descending into a dormant volcano, traversing to the center of a glacier via an ice tunnel, and snorkeling through a deep chasm between two tectonic plates. When night falls, guests retire to a luxurious glamping camp, complete with deluxe tents, cozy duvets, a private chef and unparalleled natural views. This journey is available to book starting January 2019 with pricing from $11,575 per person based on double occupancy.

Cox & Kings Luxury Glamping in Iceland

10. For extreme luxury glampers

Blink by Black Tomato is an adventure luxury tour operator named after Russia’s rare black tomato. Its goal is to provide guests experiences at locations no one has ever visited before. Blink will build a custom pop-up luxury camp for you in the some of the most remote areas on earth. As of last year, the company had conducted roughly 20 of these trips in locations ranging from the wilds of Patagonia to the Chegaga sand dunes of Morocco. One of the most photogenic was in the middle of the Bolivian Salt Flats. The cost of that three-night trip for two people? $198,000.

The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia Photo Credit: Stephane Gautronneau

11. For romantics

Belmond’s Clans, Castles and Isles itinerary on its Royal Scotsman luxury train is a five-night round trip journey exploring the wild and rugged west coast of Scotland, including Oban and the Isles of Mull and Bute. The train departs from Edinburgh and crosses past Ben Nevis mountain and over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Take a hike, visit the Oban Distillery, and see the Isle of Bute. Drumlinrag Castle finishes the tour, before the train returns to Edinburgh. While in transit, the Bamford on-board spa features two serene treatment rooms. The menu of all-natural therapies works to rejuvenate body and mind. You can sit back, relax, and let the therapists indulge you as the striking scenery glides by.

The Belmond Royal Scotsman

12. for those who love to be surprised

With luxury travel company Black Tomato’s Get Lost program, you and your gift recipient commit to taking a trip without knowing where you’re going or what you’ll need. The purpose of the program is to provide “the ultimate experience for helping people to disconnect, engage in the moment and push themselves.” All you and your companion need to do is show up at the airport. Black Tomato takes care of the rest. Cool. $15,000.

there’s always a trip around the world, too

In addition to these options, there are several around-the-world excursions offered by luxury travel companies like the Four Seasons Hotels that will be taking place throughout 2019. That gives you even more options to add the list of the best trips to give as a luxury gift this year.

If you decide to give a wonderful travel adventure to the special person on your gift list, don’t forget about the right suitcase, and the right headphones for the trip. And don’t forget to send us pictures. Bon voyage!

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