If your holiday gift to the wanderlusters in your life is an actual journey or VIP travel experience to remember (and talk about) until the end of time — we have a few ideas. You may even want to gift an experience to yourself.
For the Wellness Minded
Private Hot Spring in Hot Desert Springs, California
A cotton-candy sunset and private hot spring for two. This two-hour Airbnb adventure begins with a short walk through the desert to a private hot spring. Then it’s a leisurely soak for two, complete with dreamy sunset and desert views.
Bespoke Wellness in Telluride, Colorado
Gift an experience of bespoke wellness. RESET Telluride takes place in the rugged mountains of Telluride, and includes half-day hikes, chef-designed plant-based cuisine, restorative bodywork, spa treatments, and luxurious accommodations
Million-Dollar Facial at Lake Austin Spa, Texas
Give the gift of a facial — but not just any facial. The three-hour Regal by Valmont facial (exclusive to Lake Austin Spa), includes two facial cleanses, an enzyme peel, five masks, four types of massage (including Japanese Kobido, a 540-year-old-technique), HydraFacial machine work, LED Light therapy, and array of Valmont skincare (one of which comes infused with Alpine water and sturgeon DNA).
Life-Changing Week at Rancho LaPuerta, Tecate, Mexic
North America’s first destination spa (founded in 1940), Rancho LaPuerta is the brainchild of wellness extraordinaire Deborah Szekely (who recently celebrated her 100th birthday). The seven-night stay includes roundtrip transfers from San Diego Airport, gourmet organic meals and snacks, endless classes, hikes, yoga, meditation, and classic body wraps, featuring linens steeped in fresh herbs grown onsite.
For Nature Lovers
Bird Watching Paradise in Puntacana, Dominican Republic
Celebrate the bird lovers in your life with a stay at The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, Dominican Republic. Arrange a guided birdwatching tour to see endemic and native birds including the Gavilán de la Hispaniola (Ridgway’s hawk), of the Punta Cana region. Cool off afterward with a swim in one of the 12 freshwater lagoons, part of the resort’s ecological reserve.
Dream Safari in South Africa
Shower your person (and yourself) with the ultimate VIP travel experience, a dream trip to the South African bush with Micato Safaris. Indulge in the luxurious Thornybush Game Reserve, on the western edge of Kruger National Park, and be sure to request ranger team, Juan Pinto and master tracker Wilson Maciya — among the best in Africa.
Mohonk Mountain House, Hudson Valley New York
Nature worshippers will love Mohonk Mountain’s three-day “Mini-Cation,” which includes three farm-to-table meals daily, 85 miles of hiking trails, yoga/meditation, fitness classes, afternoon tea, an indoor pool, and savings on spa treatments.
For Outdoor Adventurers
Dog Sledding in Fairbanks, Alaska
Adventure and dog lovers unite on this three-day airbnb adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. The airbnb hosts — based on the Tanana River — guide guests on dogsledding, aurora viewing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing adventures. Guests stay in their own private wood-heated, log-and-sod cabin.
Cliff Camping in Estes Park, Colorado
Perhaps the best experience gift of all time, this bold Airbnb adventure has participants sleeping where they’ve likely never slept before — dangling from the edge of a cliff. The overnight experience starts with an hour-long hike to the base of the cliff, followed by either a climb up to the campsite (harder), or hike to the top and rappel down ropes to the site (easier). Equipment, two meals and professional guide (certified certified by the American Mountain Guides Association) are included.
For a Romantic Getaway
Named after the legendary 1960s cabaret star, Odette Myrtil, who once attracted celebrities and art lovers to her cabaret show here, River House is New Hope’s most romantic and luxurious hotel. Rooms come with fireplaces and river views. Reserve one of the special experiences like the complimentary biking tour for two which includes access to the 60-mile towpath along the river, chef-packed picnic, and recommended stop offs along the way.
The Newbury Boston
The perfect travel experience for her; the perfect travel experience for him. From strolls in Boston’s nearby Public Gardens to cocktails in The Street Bar and dinner at the ever-romantic Contessa (overlooking the city), The Newbury Boston is the perfect travel experience gift. Their weekend escape includes an elegant guest room, welcome Champagne, breakfast for two (in room), and a late checkout.
Dry Martinis at The Knickerbocker, NYC
Treat friends to a round of dry martinis at New York City’s legendary Knickerbocker Hotel. After all, the classic cocktail was invented here. The drink became instantly famous after bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia served it (in 1912) to John D. Rockefeller. Top off the gift with an overnight stay in the hotel’s Martini Suite.
Cooking with Mama Agata on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Friends and family heading to the Amalfi Coast and stunning seaside village of Ravello will cherish forever a cooking class with Italy’s national treasure, Mama Agata,in her home. It’s simply magnifico. Mama Agata served as chef for many Old-Hollywood luminaries including Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, Fred Astaire, and even Jaqueline Kennedy. Today, her daughter, Chiara, joins in sharing the family recipes.
Make Your Own Tapas in Madrid
Tapa lovers will be wowed by this 3.5-hour, chef-led airbnb cooking experience. With cava in hand, learn how to make some of Spain’s most iconic tapa recipes. Then join chef and chef and fellow guests in a vibey private dining room to share the tapas, before indulging in a six-course menu with wine pairings.
For Art Lovers
New York City Couples Photo Shoot
The newly engaged (or just plain adorable) couple on your list will jump at the chance to have their own New York City photo shoot. Especially in their favorite location — from the West Village, to Dumbo, to Central Park, to the top of Rockefeller Center.
Iconic Design at Claridge’s London
Fans of Belgian-born fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, will adore this gift: a stay (even if for just one night) in the Grand Piano Suite at Claridge’s London. The fashion icon stayed here for decades before designing the raspberry-and-chocolate color palette with swirls of velvets and silks.
Arizona Biltmore, An Architectural Masterpiece
It’s one-stop shopping for the architecture buffs on your list with a trip to the Arizona Biltmore. Designed in 1929 by a mentee of Frank Lloyd Wright, the hotel’s signature “Biltmore blocks” (made of desert sand and a variation on a textile block Wright used in his residential projects) still exist. Visitors can also go behind the scenes at Taliesin West – Wright’s former winter home and architectural school.
Nihonga Painting in Japan
Japan is finally open to travel, and art lovers heading there will enjoy this one-on-one Airbnb immersion into nihonga artistry. Includes an introductory meeting and gathering of supplies, selection of canvas, sketching, coloring with all-natural pigments (white is made from oyster shells), and sharing the finished painting in an open studio.
For Animal Lovers
Give your fur babies (kitties too) the gift of travel by treating them to these pet-friendly hotels:
At Kimpton Vividora, Barcelona, fur babies that fit in the elevator are welcome — no matter the size, weight or breed. Kimpton St. Honoré Paris has been dog-friendly since its founding in 1981 — even founder, Bill Kimpton, would bring his dog, Chianti, to work. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Seattle, rolls out the red carpet to dogs and cats with a pet-friendly in-room dining menu of grilled burgers, beef stew, and pup popsicles, made from peanut butter, yogurt, and banana. The Betsy, South Beach comes with three furry ambassadors: Betsy, Rosa, and Daisy, who live on property with the hotel’s owners. At Charleston Place, South Carolina, dogs start their vacay with treats and Foggy Dog accessories. While pet-friendly Cyprus Inn, Carmel by the Sea, California, openly welcomes pets of all sizes, and even hosts a daily ‘yappy hour.’ Added bonus: dogs can run leash-free on nearby Carmel beach,
For Bookworms and Movie Lovers
Sleep in the J.K. Rowling Suite, Edinburgh, Scotland
Your Harry Potter fans will delight in a stay at The Balmoral Hotel’s J.K. Rowling Suite. The author completed her final chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room, and playfully scribbled on a marble bust of Hermes: “J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11th Jan 2007.” Combine with a tour of Alnwick Castle, the iconic filming locations from both the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets.
A Glimpse into Karen Blixen’s Africa at Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Danish author Karen Blixen is best known for her Out of Africa memoir — based on her personal experience in Kenya. A glimpse of her life comes on the top floor of Nairobi’s famed Giraffe Manor, in the ‘Karen Blixen’ room — its spacious balcony a coveted place to feed the giraffes who poke their heads in greeting.
Chief Joseph Ranch, Darby, Montana
Season five of Yellowstone is starting. And just in time to lasso the best experience gift (ever) for the cowboys in your life. The ranch where the popular Paramount show is filmed is actually called the Chief Joseph Ranch. While the main house is not open to guests, Rip’s Cabin (the Ben Cook Cabin), and Lee Dutton’s Cabin (the Fisherman Cabin) are. Each sleeps up to eight guests.
St. Andrews Scotland
For a VIP travel experience to remember, give a round of golf at its heartbeat: St. Andrews Scotland. Combine with a stay at Fairmont St. Andrews, just yards from the sea, and home to two golf courses, dining options, and just a few miles from the British Golf Museum.
Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
For a VIP travel experience, give the gift of The Little Nell, Aspen’s only five-star, ski-in/ski-out hotel. Rooms, with mountain views, are chic in soothing blue, tan, gray, color palette by New York-based Champalimaud Design. Celebrity sightings are common: Britney Spears, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Goldie Hawn, and Kate Hudson are among those spotted.