Consider a gift you might be lucky enough to share a week later: the perfect bottle of (real French) Champagne. Dan McCarthy, of Cost Plus Wines in Eastern Market, recommends Krug Grande Cuvee. At about $120 a bottle, it's not as pricey as other notable French spirits. But McCarthy says it's better than bottles three times its price. Krug's are the, well, Champagnes of Champagnes. He stocks it but "not a lot of it," so order early to the gold-labeled schizzle.
The grandest Grand
Its sweeping veranda is one of Michigan's most iconic images but to really experience grandeur, rent one of the top-end rooms at the Grand Hotel. A weekend at Mackinac Island's famous lodging is going to set you back about $400 per night per person if you stay in one of the "named" luxury guest rooms, which includes meals. Add in the ferry service, the luggage handling and tips and it's getting up there. Cheaper rooms are available starting at $240 per person, but those don't have a view of the lakes. So what would be the point?
Ride like a pro
Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL3, $9,900
So you're thinkin' of getting to work (if you have it) faster, and in better style? Consider Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL3 bicycle on your wish list. It's the choice of a couple professional cycling teams and is available locally from Specialized retailers, including Waterford's CycleTherapy. Its $9,900 price tag is just: It's got a carbon fiber frame, after all, plus electronic shifting and 20 speeds! Ain't it perfect for Michigan roadways?
For the driveway
It's American-made, efficient, stylish and … well, stupid expensive, with a price tag of about $100,000. If you have a driveway and are looking to put something in it decorated with a bow, there's the Tesla Roadster, the world's first all-electric sports car. Rolling Stone calls it an "attention magnet." It can run up to 240 miles on a single charge (about 3.5 hours draw time). The two-door, open-top roadster will hit 60 mph from a stop in less than four seconds, and post a top speed of 125 mph. You'll have to head to Chicago or Toronto to buy one from the closest dealer, but the delivery home will rival Santa's magic sled ride for fun.
Primp and pamper
Nothing beats a couple hours at the salon or spa for that luxurious feeling of escapism and relaxation. Whether it's for hair and colorings, deep-tissue massages, facials, pedicures, paraffin waxing or hot stone treatment, metro Detroit has no shortage of stylists, massage therapists, aestheticians and nail technicians ready to trim, paint, knead, pluck and highlight. At the high end, find the Day of Decadence offered by Margot European Day Spa in Birmingham that includes a body scrub, aromaessence massage, facial, "Golden Caviar Manicure and Pedicure," lunch, shampoo, blow dry and make up for $495. Or consider giving a gift package this season, available for various area salons at varying prices at AD XL Promotions, online at adxlonline.com.
Gotta Have Art
Brilliant jewel-tone colors, a feeling of motion and the interplay of light and shadows are hallmarks of glasswork from Epiphany Studio, whose work ranges from paperweights to floor-to-ceiling sculptures. At their 4,000-square-foot studio in Pontiac, artists April Wagner and Jason Ruff create glass art that graces private collections, museums and corporate offices around the country. It's debatable which element of each piece is most sensory — the brilliant colors or the dynamic shapes inspired by volcanos, nests and splashes among other natural forces. Pieces range from $80 for the paperweights to tens of thousands of dollars for commissioned work. Epiphany hosts its holiday Open House the first weekend of December, at 770 Orchard Lake Rd., Pontiac. Other information at epiphanyglass.com.
Go beyond the mass-produced, red-and-green wrapped candies this season for a true Michigan luxury. At Gayle's Chocolate, based in Royal Oak, chocolatiers will design a label for you and wrap candy bars with it, or, with enough lead time (4 weeks) can design a signature chocolate piece. Their ready-to-gift truffles, hand-dipped and made from all-natural ingredients, are among their most popular holiday items and check out the whimsical gift boxes or chocolate molds: flowers, sharks, motorcycles, stars and shoes (golf cleats and pumps) among the choices. The real holiday splurge is the chocolate pig: a porcine package made of milk, dark, strawberry or marbled chocolate and filled with truffles for $100. At Gayle's Chocolates, 417 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-398-0001; gayleschocolates.com.Sandra Svoboda is a Metro Times staff writer. Contact her at 313-202-8015 or [email protected]