While we are all still grounded, and travel is limited for most of us for the foreseeable future, all we can do is dream about far-flung adventures yet to come. Those working in the hospitality sector have had to think fast on their feet to keep surviving, and we can only applaud the efforts of many brands who have pivoted to offer something new, in order to keep their names fresh in the minds of would-be guests and travellers.
One of the UK’s ultimate wintery destinations – Gleneagles, near Auchterarder, Scotland – may have had to close its doors for a while, but the grand-dame hotel is keeping its ‘spirit’ alive this year by opening its own online shop. On offer is its own range of fine foods, devised by its chefs and local suppliers, and festive hampers, focusing on Scottish treats and locally-sourced items. It means you can feast on preserves, inspired by the flavours of Perthshire, for instance, or drizzle on gourmet oils and dressings, produced on a farm near to the hotel. The hotel is renowned for its outdoor pursuits and swish, cosy interiors, and this ambiance can also be conjured up at home by cocooning under one of the pure wool blankets woven by Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders and usually given to guests to take out on excursions.
Devold – a Norwegian knitwear brand – is under the same ownership of 62ºNORD, an experiential travel company offering personalised adventures and timeless hotels on the north-west coast of Norway. Its Svalbard wool sweater is usually only available at three of the company’s properties – Hotel Brosundet, Storfjord Hotel and Hotel Union Oye – but is now available online. It’s the ideal way to imagine yourself on an Nordic adventure, that is until you get the chance to check-in in person.
One of the sweet little moments to be had at the legendary Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an Oetker Collection hotel, is browsing the eclectic Eden Being Boutique. To celebrate its 150 years of glam French Riviera hospitality, it has now introduced some landmark products to purchase online. You can pick up an inflatable lifebuoy –perfect to dream that you are floating on the aquamarine waters of the Med. Or, why not light one of the Bamford x Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc candles? Your home will be scented with bergamot, lemon and grapefruit – just like the ocean-fronted property. If money is no object, you could splash out on a limited-edition Hublot x Eden Rock St Barths watch, for £16,379. Timeless stuff.
Inspired by the expert craftsmen who built The Domaine des Etangs – a converted 13th-century chateau in the heart of the Charente, found close to Bordeaux – Creations Dragonfly is a collection of unique items made by local artisans. From handwoven mohair throws with silk edges to porcelain trays covered in vegetable-tanned leather, each piece is infused with the essence of the property and will remind you of its charming setting – in 2,500 acres of protected wilderness.
Meanwhile, pick up a traditional Kenyan ankole vase or a locally-made beaded goblet, from The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor shop, and you’ll bring the spirit of Kenya to your home and help local communities and wildlife alike. The proceeds from the On the Move Collection go directly to support the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.
A similar ethos is applied at the Singita Boutique & Gallery – now launched online. Curated with the help of leading South African design duo Cécile & Boyd, the range includes art, home décor, furniture, jewellery and clothing. The essence of Singita’s lodges – found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Rwanda – is at the heart of all the products sold. Collaborations with local artisans is a key focus.
When The Newt in Somerset had to close its doors through lockdown, it reinvented its offering with The Mobile Newt – a home delivery service bringing a slice of country living to people bound to their homes. Available is a bountiful amount of produce from the estate, as well as from local growers and artisan producers. There is handpicked Somerset apples and homemade cheeses; crusty loafs and artisan cyders. The latter are a highlight, with the cyders pressed fresh on site and sweetened with estate honey, from The Newt’s own hives.
The Newt in Somerset first refocused its business during the spring lockdown to support locals. More recently, it has extended the offering to London customers, with fresh food deliveries inspired by a love for the land, sustainable agriculture, artisan food production and Somerset heritage. For the festive season, the hotel has put together a special range of treats – such as wine, tea, olive oil and chocolate – from the gardens of The Newt as well as its sister estate, Babylonstoren. The South African sister property is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, set at the foot of Simonberg in the Franschhoek wine valley.
As well as fresh vegetables from The Newt’s garden and meats from the butchery – such as venison, 35-day aged Devon beef, local turkey and goose – the country hotel is offering a full fresh Christmas Day Collection for those after some easy indulgence.
Also found on an estate overflowing with produce is Heckfield Place in Hampshire. It has just launched A Little Box of Heckfield, packed with house-made goodies, such as fresh jams, syrups and puddings. The project is overseen by culinary director and noted chef Skye Gyngell, and all items are sourced directly from the hotel’s biodynamic Home Farm. Other delights include a sustainable ‘strawflower bauble’, created by Heckfield’s floral consultant Kitten Grayson, a moon calendar, felt-robin, and an Hedgerow gin, with ingredients foraged from the estate.
One of the delights of staying at The Wild Rabbit in the Cotswolds is to experience the award-winning fine dining menu by head chef Nathan Eades – think: Daylesford cheddar & onion tartlet, with candied walnuts and chive, followed by braised Daylesford lamb shoulder, served with potato gratin, glazed carrot and cavolo nero. He has now crafted a three-course menu, showcasing the restaurant’s most popular seasonal dishes, which is available for home delivery. The Wild Rabbit’s sustainable credentials are reflected in the at-home kit, with ingredients sourced from nearby farmers and artisans, including Daylesford Farm. What’s more, elevating it further, each meal is paired with a bottle of wine from Chateau Léoube, the restaurant’s sister estate in Provence.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s famed Adare Manor castle hotel is evoking its lavish Limerick experience by reminding its guests of its evocative signature scent – the aromas of parched earth, blond wood and fig leafs. You can bring the essence of Ireland to your home with the billowing diffusers and candles to light at home.
The Duppy Share Rum brand, on the other hand, is conjuring up the warmth of the Caribbean with its festive rum kits – inspired by island living. Available in the kits or as an individual purchase, is the Duppy Share Aged, which balances three-year-old Jamaican rum and smooth five-year-old Barbadian rum; The Duppy Share Spiced, the ultimate party spirit and the Xmas Syrup, flavoured with apple, clove, cinnamon, cherry and blackcurrant.
Also bottling the essence of another destination – this time taking you to the bars of Italy – is Amaro Montenegro. Founded in 1885, it is one of the most well-established spirit brands in Italy and is now causing a buzz (in more ways than one) on the UK scene. Made from over 40 botanicals to a secret, and never changing, recipe, it has introduced new gift boxes in time for Christmas.
Of course, for all things culinary, Italy is the ultimate go-to country, and Soho’s famous landmark deli – Lina Stores – has long been serving the best the country has to offer. A longstanding pit-stop for Italian-loving Londoners for over seven decades, it now has a line-up of charming restaurants under its umbrella too. It is offering hard-to-resist hampers, stocked with panettone, Balsamic vinegar, pan forte, Parmigiano Reggiano and handmade Cantucci – in fact, all manner of delicacies kissed with the sunshine of bella Italia.
Another iconic brand associated with Italy is Carluccio’s. Its new hamper collection is also packed with Italian culinary delights. The La Collezione, for instance, will take you from aperitivo hour through to dinner and on to digestif – with squid ink spaghetti and vongole sauce, artisanal Sardinian olive oil, all enjoyed with a bottle of La Luna Sauvignon Blanc, followed by an Italian post-dinner favourite: a bottle of artisanal Limoncello.
Finally, enabling you raise a glass to the end of 2020 and to the start of a new year – as well as to new horizons ahead – Cuvée Privée is a new concept allowing wine-lovers to adopt their very own vine and a little piece of France.
From the prominent French estates of Champagne and Sancerre, to Burgundy and Bordeaux, every 12 months adoptees can look forward to receiving six bottles of their very own vintage… personalised with their name. Upon adopting a vine at a chosen vineyard, members will receive a welcome box with words from the winemaker and either one or six bottles of the current vintage, as well as a personalised certificate of adoption and a medallion placed above their vine. 365 days later, Cuvée Privée members will receive six bottles of the next vintage; utterly unique and not available to another person in the world.
What’s more, when we are allowed to travel again, Cuvée Privée members will receive an invitation to their winemaker’s domain, so that they can visit the vineyard with a guest, discover their adopted vine bearing their name, and enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting. Throughout the year, vine adoptees will also receive access to the Cuvée Privée Wine Club privileges. Included are invitations to tastings and workshops at the estate – from harvesting the fruit to trimming the vines. It’s the ultimate taste of travel to come.