In the rush to finish holiday shopping, consider ditching retail therapy for a bit of escapism. Travel-based gifts tend to impart distinct lasting memories, and are gifts far more personalized and personal than mere objects. Below are three unforgettable, reasonably-priced, mini travel experiences within South Florida.
Tea with Versace for $55 - 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, (305) 576-8003
Following Versace’s death and Donatella’s unmanageable plastic surgery bills, South Florida mogul Barton G. purchased and transformed Ocean Drive’s most historic icon, the Versace Mansion, into a 10-room boutique hotel and intimate restaurant. Now known as the Villa by Barton G., Versace’s former sanctuary is more spectacular than ever, finally permitting the public to experience the mansion’s design splendor and sophistication. Thursday through Sunday the Villa serves full afternoon tea with exotic teas, sumptuous sandwiches and freshly baked sweets presented on Versace by Rosenthal Byzantine Dreams china, exclusive to The Villa. Advance reservations required. The Villa by Barton G. is located next to the Hotel Victor, Miami.
Broadway in Florida for $25 and up - 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, (305) 949-6722
Florida’s cultural scene has exploded with fabulous productions at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. The Broadway revival takes South Florida by storm in 2011 as the Arsht Center hosts Beauty and the Beast, Jersey Boys, In the Heights, and Hair in the coming months. These guaranteed crowd-pleasers start at $25 per ticket. The Arsht Center’s Four Show Package for $108 is the cultural gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. The Arsht Center is near the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, Downtown, Miami.
Love in Any Season for $210 - 455 Grand Bay Drive, Key Biscayne, (305) 365-4500
Though the holidays are more about family, food, and presents than romance and love, the Unity Massage at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, Miami is the perfect gift for saying “I love you!” and “I want you!” any time of the year. Through a 50-minute interactive session, couples learn massage techniques with expert spa therapists, mastering strokes on one other while discovering new pleasure points. During the session, each partner receives a 25-minute massage from the joint efforts of the therapist and their other half, with the sensual and moisturizing hot wax of a Baborganic Wellness Candle. At the end of the session, after a glass of champagne, couples receive another candle to practice at home.
–Paul Rubio of AmazingGayTravel.com