Dream Design
The Reading Room

Short on time, big on surprise

Words by Marianne Dick

In a world where we can have almost anything we desire delivered to us in mere hours and experience faraway lands through the screens in our hands, it takes extraordinary expertise to create something that can dazzle and delight us — and etch the moment in our memories forever.

Stories for... The Heart

It’s the out-of-this-world moments in life – imagined by those who know us best – that we revel in for years to come. But it’s often difficult to make time in our modern world to create them. However, in just 24 hours a simple idea can transform into a dream escape. These unexpected rides take us up, up and away from our everyday routines, and remind us of the incredible joys that the world can offer us, if we’re brave enough to seek them.

They’re made even more moving and romantic by the input of their careful curators – our loved ones. A trail of personal touches and happy accomplices make a spontaneous getaway truly outstanding. When the perfect moment presents itself and motivation strikes, here are three ideas for an impulse escape with a lasting impression.

Le Bristol Paris exterior

Wine cave

A weekend in Champagne

A five-star, champagne-filled birthday stay in Le Bristol Paris is elevated to unforgettable heights with the addition of a surprise private trip to Ruinart’s vineyard, the home of the oldest established champagne house. A first-class train ride from the capital can transport you through the French countryside that unfurls like a Monet painting, evoking the romance and adventure of traditional rail travel.

Ruinart’s atmospheric chalk quarries, which were named a historical monument in 1931, are normally closed to everyone. This time, however, they’re not. We have the key to unlock an ethereal one- on-one tour run by a professional sommelier, who can select vintages according to the most sophisticated of palates. We can curate a personalised food pairing, where fantasy dishes are brought to life on a menu that can be framed and kept forever.

Access all areas

A certain song or even an opening riff can make some people’s heart miss a beat. So what happens when they secure the most coveted concert tickets in the world, skip the queues and are part of a huge cultural moment? Surprise a fan with the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see their favourite band live — a remarkable moment in history — made exceptional as soon as they touch down in the city where they are playing. We can ensure that the familiar sound of the band’s hits are played in the suite on arrival to build excitement, before their tickets to the exclusive event are revealed. Now, every time they listen to that song, they’ll be enveloped by the warmth of what it felt like when the whole of the city seemed to be in on the surprise.


Terrace dining

Three countries, 24 hours

Have you ever travelled to three countries in 24 hours? Begin with a sumptuous hotel breakfast in Monaco – coffee, pastries, fresh fruit and all kinds of eggs can be devoured while wrapped in the softest of dressing gowns. Surrounded by super yachts, set up home on a floating island paradise: think swimming pools that transform into dance floors, infinity pools that flow into the ocean, and a cinema screen projected against the backdrop of a star-studded night sky.

The next stop, via a surprise trip in a helicopter, is Italy. In a world where travel has become less about the journey and more about the destination, you can revive the glamour of voyage. Skip queues and security checks to make the most of the journey – the sights and surprise of air travel will leave you giddy with excitement.

Land in Liguria where colour fills the senses, from the azure sea to the picture-perfect pastel buildings of the fishing villages. The stalls of the local markets will entice with seasonal produce that calls out to be touched, tasted, and taken home.

The excursion ends with a feast in the South of France: a Michelin-starred restaurant in glittering Nice or charming Eze, a medieval village perched on a hilltop. When fine fare is the centre of a foodie’s world, sensational gastronomic memories – from the taste of freshly-caught lobster to the scent of just plucked lemons – never leave them.