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Have a holly, jolly, opulent holiday season

By , - Last modified: December 12, 2017 at 1:54 PM

Looking to put that special someone in the lap of luxury this holiday season? What follows are some exotic gift ideas that can be had without ever leaving the Garden State.

Who wants to be a Billionaire?

Le Malt in Colonia offers a Chef’s Table experience and one-of-a-kind cocktail that by all measures should make you feel like royalty.

Imagine, you and 11 of your closest friends coming together at a 10- to 12-course feast prepared by James Beard Award-winner Chef Duke Estime, complete with king and queen chairs at each end.

“We all eat and drink every day. But at Le Malt, it’s far more than food and drink. We invite you to experience the sheer elegance of the ultimate dining experience,” says Richard Tandoc, James Beard master mixologist.

Tandoc is the creator of The Billionaire, “New Jersey’s most expensive cocktail,” he boasts.

With its $175 price tag, The Billionaire features Hennessy Paradis Cognac, Grand Marnier Cuvee 1880, Moet & Chandon Imperial, Moonshine and edible 23k gold flakes for garnish, served in a plaid crystal Tiffany Martini glass.

“This is the perfect celebration cocktail, a once-in-a-lifetime sip,” says Tandoc.

In addition to dinner served six days a week, Le Malt hosts special limited-attendee experiential events several times a month.

Walk in, dance out

When Michelle Garced speaks of the way “dancing changes lives,” it’s far more than just talk. She and her husband, Emiliano, met more than 40 years ago as students at the Jersey City Arthur Murray Dance Studio. They fell in love with each other — and dancing.

Today, the couple owns three Arthur Murray Dance Centers in New Jersey in Highland Park, Green Brook and Manalapan.

“There are many, many reasons people take dance lessons,” she explains. “They want to learn for a special event such as a charity ball, wedding, cruise, dinner dance, or even a special vacation destination. Many times they are facing a challenge in their lives: health issues, divorce, death of a loved one, depression, loss of employment, loneliness.”

No experience or partner is required to take ballroom dancing lessons at Arthur Murray and the trained, patient instructors promise, “you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.”


Avid golf enthusiast, are ya? Sick of the aches and pains and, perhaps, even more so, tired of having to make all those excuses for your game? Or, perhaps, you’re a pro (even in your own mind) and want to better your swing. Dr. David Bertone, doctor of physical therapy and owner of db Orthopedic Physical Therapy in Lincroft and Manalapan, has got you covered.

Bertone has perfected what he calls the Back to Golf program. During a “biomechanical evaluation,” he evaluates your golf swing in relationship to the limitations of your own body’s mobility. Then, he creates a plan to address any deficiencies or challenges. The result, he says, is “improved mechanics of the swing.” In other words, a better game for you.

“People are willing to spend money on a new driver that isn’t going to improve their game but when they spend the same $500 on their body, the result is long-lasting,” Bertone says. “They’ll have improved swing mechanics, which means they will increase the distance they hit the ball. Even better, they reduce their chance of injury going forward.”

Leaving on a jet plane

What are you doing tonight? How about this weekend? Ever thought about taking your sweetie and hopping on a plane to ... wherever? Now you can.

Short Hills Aviation of Morristown offers dream experiences — with as little as four hours notice. Grab your bags, imagination and even your pet, and hop aboard a private jet that will take you anywhere you want to go.

In addition to no waiting, luxurious accommodations and absolute privacy, Short Hills Aviation’s guests enjoy gourmet meals and a wide selection of adult beverages to round out the ultimate getaway experience.

And, talk about keeping up with the Joneses? Short Hills does not disclose its client list.

“There is nothing in travel experience that will equal a private jet,” promises Andrew Ladouceur, director of Charter Services at Short Hills Aviation. “Just the ease of going when you want, where you want, in the luxury of a private jet is unmatched.”

Do you have the 'need'?

Of course, we’re talking about the “need for speed.” Gotham Dream Cars of Englewood offers a three-plus hour Dream Car Tour, described by company founder Rob Ferretti as “pure, unadulterated awesome.”

Have you ever wanted to drive an exotic car? How about six of them? Gotham Dream Cars invites you (and a passenger) to take part in the experience of a lifetime.

Here’s how it works: Dream Car Tour participants get an introduction to the cars and then they each get in one of the six cars selected for that day’s tour. Choose from unique models including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, Aston Martins, Porsches, Bentleys, Corvettes and more.

Next, participants head out on a guided tour which starts and ends in Englewood and winds through Bear Mountain State Park. Approximately every half hour, all the cars pull over and drivers rotate. This enables all drivers to try out all six cars on the tour.

“You get to drive on the highway and twisty mountain roads,” Ferretti says. “You get to really see how the cars work.”

At the end of the tour, participants get a certificate of completion, photos and, Ferretti says, “you’ll leave exhilarated with the world’s biggest smile.”

Mechanically sophisticated

Move over fidget spinners, North Jersey-based Kinekt Designs is set to capture the attention of adults who are still kids at heart. Combining a motorhead-technologist-engineer-head’s love of mechanics with upscale jewelry that makes a statement, the Kinekt Gear Ring is the gift that keeps on giving.

Just as it sounds, the ring (and gear necklace) are made of moving gears that are as fun to play with as they are to wear. This means you can literally take the fun experience with you wherever you go.

The rings comes in 16 sizes from 5 to 20 for men and women. They are available in various colors and can even be blinged out with real gold or diamonds. These pieces will not bend or break and come with a lifetime warranty. Plus, don’t worry about metal allergies: Kinekt products are hypoallergenic

“Kinekt Designs are unique fashion accessories that offer a combination of mechanical intrigue and sophisticated style,” says creator Glen Liberman, who has always been fascinated and inspired by small mechanisms and their complementary movements. “Our jewelry embodies the company’s vision of playful yet refined design. These pieces are complex enough to play with, yet simple enough to wear.”

Barrels of fun

Many experiences are full of vibrant energy and robust movement. Some might say, however, that the ultimate experience is enjoyed in quiet stillness. Whether your palette leans toward a lavish, full-flavored bourbon; smooth, buttery vodka; or Moonshine (a double-distilled white whisky), Claremont Distillery has the cure for what ails you.

The largest craft distillery in New Jersey, Fairfield-based Claremont welcomes guests for tours and samplings Monday through Saturday. But when it comes to decadent experiences, Claremont offers so much more.

Claremont Distilled Spirits also offers a private barrel divide program (of either bourbon or rye whisky). Using 10-gallon barrels, program participants enjoy six 750-milliliter bottles from their own barrel upon maturity, about six to nine months. But, that’s not all.

The Claremont experience also includes a complimentary drink at the barrel kickoff party, the ability to participate in production of the barrel, monthly samplings from your barrel, helping with the bottling of your barrel, an invitation and drink at your barrel’s maturity party and more. Plus, participants enjoy a one-year membership in the Claremont Craft Whiskey Society.

“Program participants come together with a common bond and there is an immediate camaraderie and sense of a being part of a special community,” says Tim Koether, founder and CEO of Claremont Distilled Spirits. “Once their barrel is complete they have a full appreciation for the art of distillation, great spirits to consume and some new friends.”

Nothing says love like ...

… Chocolate! Not a fan of creamy cocoa love? Move along then; nothing to see here. But, if you are like the vast majority of the world’s population, you wholeheartedly agree with Charles M. Schulz of Peanuts fame.

“All you need is love,” he wrote, “but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Jean-Paul “JP” Hepp, founder and co-owner of Chocodiem of Clinton, says more than a little chocolate won’t hurt you either.

“No other product is so well fine-tuned to our body temperature,” Hepp speculates. “Next, you taste it or, rather, you experience it. And, with the richness of flavors, chocolate brings back good memories.”

At Chocodiem, Hepp makes small batches of chocolates by hand in a state-of-the-art kitchen. He never adds preservatives and uses only the best chocolate he has found on his worldwide travels in search of the best cacao beans. Sure, these aren’t your drugstore chocolates, and they aren’t meant to be. After all, Hepp is Belgian and committed to an artisan approach that appeals to “discerning customers who enjoy first-rate chocolates following Belgian standards.”

Hepp says his chocolates offer a total-body experience that strives to make people feel good.

“We are in the business of triggering smiles, adding happy moments and melting hearts.”

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