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  1. Luxury
December 19, 2023

All I want for Christmas: the Spear’s wish list

As Christmas approaches, Spear’s staff and contributors share the gifts and experiences at the top of their wish lists. Father Christmas, take note!

By Spear's

Edwin Smith, Editor-in-Chief

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167R

The present at the top of my wish list

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167R (£36,670). For me, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut is perfect. Its ‘grenade-patterned’ dial first exploded onto the scene in 1997 when the rounded octagonal case meant it was received as a younger, more modern sibling to the more formal Nautilus. (Notable wearers include Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.)

But which Aquanaut to choose?

In recent months I have, to my own surprise, become increasingly sympathetic to Spear’s contributor Nicholas Foulkes’ arguments in favour of brown – yes, brown – dials.

Among the watch world cognoscenti, they have become highly sought-after. Some put this down to collectors’ appetite for vintage timepieces that have aged to such an extent that their previously black (or otherwise coloured) dials have changed colour over the years. But several brands have created new timepieces to deliberately create this effect straight out of the box.

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Step forward the 5167R, which comes on a ‘tropical’ strap made of a highly wear-resistant composite. But the coup de grace is surely the combination of that brown dial with the 40.8mm case: rose gold. A pairing for the ages.

patek.com

Aisha Alli, Research Manager

Live la dolce vita this festive season at Villa d’Este, Lake Como

Where I wish I could spend the festive season

Villa d’Este in Lake Como. One of Italy’s most historic hotels, Villa d’Este has welcomed everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to George and Amal Clooney. Housed in a 16th-century residence once home to aristocrats, the property now plays host to the world’s A-listers.

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villadeste.com

The present at the top of my wish list

Perlée clovers hoop earrings in yellow gold by Van Cleef & Arpels. The luxury French jewellery brand is renowned for its luxuriously elegant and simple designs… and they have the price tag to match. The clover motif on the earrings is part of the signature Perlée™ clovers collection.

vancleefarpels.com

The most anticipated opening of 2024

Cheval Blanc in the Seychelles. Set to open in Autumn of 2024, the hotel designed by Jean-Michel Gathy (architectural designer for hotel groups including Four Seasons and Aman) will offer 52 villas each with a private swimming pool.

chevalblanc.com

Mark Walton, Contributing Editor – Motoring

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser promises to rejuvenate the brand

Where I wish I could spend the festive season 

I’d like to be in the winter resort of Are in Sweden, about 400 miles north of Stockholm, where I’d gift myself a winter break with a company called Below Zero. Run by Oxfordshire-based Porsche specialist Francis Tuthill, Below Zero offers ice-driving on a frozen lake in a rally-spec Porsche 911. Normally they offer breaks between January and March but I’m sure Santa could book me a season preview? Starting Christmas Eve?   

belowzeroicedriving.com

The present at the top of my wish list

I’d like a Wild One Max – a life-size remote controlled car, turned into a real electric dune buggy for big boys like me. Based on the Wild One toy, launched in 1985, the Max is a collaboration between Tamiya and the British-based Little Car Company. It costs £35k – and is road legal.

wildonemax.com

The most anticipated launch of 2024

I’m most looking forward to the international launch of the new Toyota Land Cruiser. This iconic 4×4, first launched in 1951, is Japan’s Land Rover Defender or Mercedes G-Wagen, and while recent generations have become a little bland, the 2024 model promises to rejuvenate the brand with its modern but retro styling. Perfect for a Sunday jaunt across the Sahara or the rain forests of Borneo.   

toyota.co.uk

Stephanie Bridger-Linning, Digital Director 

The Richard Mille RM 07-01 Coloured Ceramics watch

Where I’d like to spend the festive season 

El Palace Barcelona. This classically glamorous hotel in one of my favourite European cities is never more elegant than in December, when the halls are decked and the trees are dressed in the most spectacular fashion. There is a Christmas market, programme of live music and a seasonal chef from chef Jesús Caballero. Make sure to book a table at the Gran Vía Ballroom or Rooftop Garden.

hotelpalacebarcelona.com

The present at the top of my wish list is 

A Richard Mille RM 07-01 Coloured Ceramics watch ($205,000). These candy-coloured confections won’t be to everyone’s taste but I’m a huge fan of the joyful colourways and bold, graphic shapes. The collection, released this year, takes inspiration from the 1980s Italian art and architecture movement Memphis Design, while underpinned by the fundamental Richard Mille trademarks of performance and innovation. What’s not to love?

richardmille.com

The most exciting hotel opening in 2024

The opening of Gundari, a sustainable, all-suite boutique hotel on Folegandros, Santorini’s wilder, lesser-known neighbour. Situated within a bird reserve, owner Ricardo Larriera has taken personal responsibility in ensuring the construction of the property preserved the island’s natural beauty and wildlife. 

Of course, there’s luxury, too. The resort boasts 25 villas, a cliff-edge swimming pool, organic farm, subterranean spa and restaurants designed by globally renowned chef, Lefteris Lazarou (Greece’s very first Michelin star chef).

gundari.com

The barefoot luxury of Gundari, a new all-villa resort arriving in Greece in 2024

Chris Madigan, Contributor

‘The Twelve’, this year’s batch of Casks of Distinction from Diageo

Where I wish I could spend the festive season

The golden Barley Room of Glenmorangie House, close to the distillery on the Scottish West Coast is a tempting location for Christmas Day. But the skiing would be better in St Moritz (and I can visit the Orma whisky distillery at the summit of the Corvatsch mountain). The Kulm is my favourite hotel there – tradition and opulence but with updated rooms designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon. 

glenmorangie.com, kulm.com

The present at the top of my wish list

On the 12th day of Christmas, I’d really like to hear that one of Diageo’s private clients who successfully applied for one of ‘The Twelve’, this year’s batch of Casks of Distinction, had decided to gift it (or even a bottle of it in five years’ time) to me. My preference would be the barrel of 1984 Caol Ila, with the perfect balance of sweet and smoke, like a car skidding to a halt next to a street food stall selling barbecued sweetcorn; but I’d “settle” for the 1979 Talisker or 1974 Port Dunda grain whisky. 

diageorareandexceptional.com

The most anticipated event of 2024

In 2024, two great spirits houses celebrate major landmarks: Macallan is 200; Rémy Martin turns 300 (and its luxury marque, Louis XIII, turns 150). Celebration plan are a closely guarded secret, but should be spectacular – especially if you are a private client. 

themacallan.com, uk.louisxiii-cognac.com

Milly Rochow, Managing Editor

The twill Brunello Cucinelli blazer

Where I wish I could spend the festive season

The affectionately coined ‘silly season’ during December can get a bit wild. This year I hope mine gets tastefully wild… at a Four Seasons lodge in Tanzania. Located in the UNESO World Heritage Site of the Serengeti National Park, guests can experience luxury wilderness interrupted by visits at the watering hole by the ‘big five’ (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros) but with full-service Serengeti Kani Spa and an infinity pool with a view of the national park.

fourseasons.com

The present at the top of my wish list

I have my eye on the metallic twill Brunello Cucinelli blazer (£3,250). It’s chic, it’s festive but versatile enough to be available for sparkle at any time of the year. And extra fitting following a surge in the quiet luxury trend in 2023, to round the year off with one of its eponymous brands.

net-a-porter.com

The most anticipated opening of 2024

Given Japan is to be the luxury travel destination of 2024, there is no surprise The Six Senses is ahead of the curve and opening a hotel in Kyoto. A city of Buddhist temples, rich Japanese architecture, and world-famous cherry blossom, the Six Senses is looking to provide an urban sanctuary with a plethora of cultural festivals on your doorstep. 

sixsenses.com

Alex Fenn, Senior Researcher

Where I wish I could spend the festive season

I would like to spend the festive season with my family in Finnish Lapland at the five-star Glass Resort in Rovaniemi. It can be found tucked away in the snow laden forest and consists of 24 tepee- shaped luxury apartments, which are all made of glass. Each apartment offers stunning panoramic views and there is a high probability of being able to witness the Northern Lights from the comfort of an armchair or bed. In addition to eating and drinking there are various winter activities to do, such as dog-sledging, and no visit to Lapland would be complete without going to see Father Christmas!

glassresort.fi

The present at the top of my wish list

George Harrison’s Rosewood Fender Telecaster, which he played during The Beatles famous Saville Row performance in January 1969. It sold at auction back in 2003 for $434,750, and I have no idea how much it would cost now. It would be the crown jewel in any guitar collection, and I would never get tired of playing it.

The restaurant opening I’m most looking forward to in 2024

The event I am most looking forward to in 2024 is Jeremy King’s re-opening of Simpson’s in the Strand. This iconic venue has been serving classic British cuisine since 1828 and was regularly visited by the likes of Charles Dickens, P.G. Wodehouse, and Winston Churchill. Sadly, it has been closed since March 2020 and it will be great to see this historically significant institution restored to its former glory.

Daisy Dunn, Author and Classical Education Columnist

A crisp morning in the countryside

Where I wish I could spend the festive season

In the good old English countryside. I look forward to bracing walks followed by cosy firesides, books, music and home-cooked food.  

The present at the top of my wish list

I really need a new diary. Scraps of paper will no longer do. 

The event or opening I’m most looking forward to in 2024

The launch of my new book The Missing Thread: A Women’s History of the Ancient World on 23 May. That’s certainly a date for the diary.  

amazon.co.uk

Rory Sachs, Staff Writer

The Cartier yellow gold ‘Santos’ bracelet

Where I wish I could spend the festive season 

At the Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, having a Christmas tipple with Heston himself. 

thefatduck.co.uk

The present at the top of my wish list

My Christmas morning sherry will taste extra sweet if I can serve it from a ‘2 Poissons’ decanter from Lalique. Its glass stopper depicts two sea creatures looking appropriately inebriated. And, if Father Christmas would be so kind, Cartier’s yellow gold ‘Santos’ bracelet will give me the glitz and shimmer I need for my packed events diary in 2024.

cartier.com

The event or opening I’m most looking forward to in 2024

Having had the pleasure of interviewing Six Senses’ affable CEO Neil Jacobs last year, I’m excited for the 2024 opening of The Whiteley in London. But the wellness gurus will also launch an Artic Circle retreat in Norway next year — Six Senses Svart, which will sit next to the Svartisen glacier. 

The spa hotel is ring-shaped and will float on the waters of a Norwegian fjord, ‘creating a feeling of openness and perpetual consciousness of nature,’ according to the brand. As a proud chionophile, I would love to take a trip to the Arctic wilderness when it opens!

sixsenses.com

Suzanne Elliott, Digital Editor

Megeve Four Seasons
Four Seasons Megève is a winter paradise

Where I wish I could spend the festive season 

I’m always torn between spending Christmas somewhere Hollywood-wintry – think snow, log fires, snug blankets and an abundance of candles. If I’m in that mood, then it would be the Alps – perhaps the Four Seasons Megève or closer to home at Matfen Hall in Northumberland with its great hall and statement staircases decked out in all its Christmas glory. 

At other times, I dream of ripping up the yuletide rule log and leaving the mince pies and Boxing Day turkey curry for Christmas in a southern hemisphere paradise. A safari perhaps at the soon to open Lepogo Lodges in South Africa where off-grid has never been so luxurious.

fourseasons.com, matfenhall.com

The present at the top of my wish list

The Eden-Roc scented candle from Dior Scented Candle. Inspired by the luxury hotel on the Riviera, this candle is the ultimate French chic collab, combining the Parisian elegance from Maison Christian Dior, and the sunlit luxury of the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc.

It also brings together my two favourite candle scents – woody and salty – guaranteed to whisk you away to the south of France even if you’re under a blanket of grey cloud. 

This limited-edition Eden-Roc candle weighs in at a hefty 1.5kg (£696) which will bring a ultra-luxe vibe to this winter’s hygge.  

dior.com

The event I’m most looking forward to in 2024

I know it happens every year (bar pandemics and world wars) but this is the year I’m hoping to return to a courtside seat at Wimbledon’s Centre Court. 

I used to be as regular as a Roger Federer win at the Championships and would sometimes even brave The Queue from the early hours. But even ground tickets have become harder to get and that queue seems to form earlier each year. But in 2024, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a ballot win. Is a seat in the Royal Box too much to hope for?

wimbledon.com

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