The Perfect Year: Giftable Experiences for 2018

4th December 2017 // By Samantha Coles

This story originally appeared in the November/December 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

What do you get the person who has everything? Our gift guide has some tempting suggestions from a Graff necklace dripping with diamonds to a Louis XIII Legacy magnum decanter, but how about giving the gift of an unforgettable experience? We’ve curated a list of trips, experiences and tours to suit adventurers, gourmands, academics and motorheads alike, and categorized these once-in-a-lifetime trips by month so you can choose the ideal time to go. We’ve also included a round up of the events to see and be seen at so you can plan your perfect year. The only remaining question is: will this end up being a gift for a loved one or a gift for you?


For budding marine biologists


There is no better place for water babies than the clear, aquamarine Indian Ocean. The warm climate make it an ideal year-round destination, but the monsoon season runs from May to October, so visit in January to bask in the sunshine while everyone else is suffering from the January blues.

Jumeirah Vittaveli is a 20-minute journey from Malé airport (on a deluxe catamaran, of course), eliminating the need for a seaplane journey—perfect if you are traveling with little ones. The newly-opened Royal Residence makes an excellent base for your water adventure and the family-friendly space accommodates up to 14 guests. Within its massive 37,675 sq ft lie the main residence known as the ‘Sanctuary,’ two adjacent guest villas, two plunge pools, sunken lounge with lily pond, gym, private spa room and dedicated restaurant. There is also an additional double-story guesthouse with master bedroom, twin bedroom, rooftop terrace and an L-shaped pool.

Our favorite among the myriad water offerings is the coral planting. Vittaveli’s in-house marine biologist will educate you on the delicate ecosystem of the coral reefs and islands, then you’ll be taken on an underwater excursion to see coral nurseries and plant your own coral—knowing that you are helping to preserve to the fragile underwater ecosystem makes for a remarkable experience for the whole family.

From $35,000 per night in Royal Residence including coral planting. Contact Lilo John, director of reservation and revenue,, +960 664 2020,


Sundance Film Festival, Utah, US, Jan 18–28

Tickets Express pass for first half (Jan 18-23), $3,500; express pass for second half (Jan 24-28), $3,000,
Stay Summit View Penthouse Residence, Montage Deer Valley, from $5,000 per night. Contact Dylan English, director of travel industry sales,, +1 435 604 1300,

St Moritz Snow Polo, St Moritz, Switzerland, Jan 26–28

Tickets VIP ticket Saturday, $676; VIP Gala Saturday evening, $884,
Stay Hans Badrutt suite, Badrutt’s Palace, price on request. Contact Stefanie Nill, reservations manager,, +41 818 371 000,