Lifestyle Gift Ideas Indulging your partner
Indulging your partner
Thursday, 01 June 2006

Indulgences are all about the finer things in life - luxury getaways, extravagant gifts, pampering etc. However, indulging your partner or yourself doesn't need to be an exercising in maxing out your credit card. With a little expert assistance, Medical Forum has discovered a range of luxury pampering ideas you might like to try.

Roses are a classic indulgence
Roses are a classic indulgence

Luxury on a budget

With as a little as $100, you can make your partner feel like a million dollars. Let's start with the basics - flowers. Interflora, the network of florists, have prepared bouquets ranging from $50 up to $250 that span all occasions. Gone are the days of a dozen dripping roses plucked from a bucket. Florists produce arrangements to order, with presentation boxes, native flowers, and mixing varieties all the rage. They also have assorted gourmet selections of fruit, sweets, savoury foods, and combination fruits and flowers. These vary from about $80 to $200 but are worth much more for the appreciative look on your partner's face.

For the indoors-inclined, Greater Union Cinemas at Innaloo offer the Gold Class movie experience. For around $30, you can experience the latest blockbusters from the comfort of a fully adjustable armchair. Each session is intimate - limited to around twenty patrons - and is fully serviced by a bar and restaurant-quality hot food delivered by personal waitstaff. Even better, you choose the time your order is delivered. A spot of bubbly for the movie's climax? Why not!

The classics

Fine food is a timeless way to woo your partner. There are dozens of superb quality restaurant in Perth and surrounds, but for that special touch, why not try the seafood plate for two at Bluewater, named the "most romantic restaurant" by STM. For $85, you each share oysters, a half rock lobster, prawns, scallops, smoked salmon, grilled snapper, salt & pepper cuttlefish, octopus salad, beer battered reef fish, topped with your sauce choices of garlic aioli, white balsamic, nam jim, plus Italian bread. Add a fine South West white and your evening is complete.

What about a weekend away? Depending on your budget, there are some brilliant weekender locations within easy reach. For the extravagant, try a weekend shopping trip trawling the markets of Bali or the multiplexes of Singapore. Fran Sharp, wife of Dr Gavin Bowra, enjoys nothing more than picking up some bargains on the island city and then flitting between five-star hotels.

"If you are in a big Asian city with lots of big hotels, like in Singapore, go around to four or five hotel bars and have one cocktail in each."

For something a little closer to home, you and your partner can drive down to Dwellingup (an hour's drive south of Perth) where you can experience the magic of dinner on the Hotham Valley Railway dining car. Either as a couple, or in groups of four or more, share some amiable gossip over five courses as the train meanders through the bush. Complete the night by retiring to one of the luxury bed and breakfasts in the area, and you'll return to work on Monday a new person.

If these ideas are a little frenetic, trying relaxing at a day spa and enjoy a full body massage. Services at a spa such as pedicures, manicures, facial scrubs, and other pamper packages are nice schedule fillers for women on the go, although they are best enjoyed with time to allow the glow of inner peace to subside.

Gifts, especially wine and jewellery, are eternal pleasers. Don't wait for a birthday or Christmas before springing the surprise. If your budget stretches to perfume, a bottle of Dom Perignon, or a 9-carat diamond bracelet or necklace (or for the guys, a watch or sports shades), then why not indulge that special someone? Spontaneity is food for the soul.

Try some retail therapy!
Try some retail therapy!

Grand ideas

When the credit card needs some serious flexing, or you just want to live like royalty, there are many top-of-the-line ways to indulge.

Jacquie from Hanson's luxury accommodation and spa has seen some spectacular spousal pampering. She reveals it is not just one or two acts that make a difference, but a carefully planned combination that ensures magic happens. The most memorably experience she recalls was a combination of good planning and surprises.

"It was a helicopter arrival followed by fabulous bubbly and foie gras by the river, with a cellist & violinist to accompany the birds. The lucky person was then chauffeur driven to the latest Sandalford concert. The next morning was a surprise pampering session (massage, facial, pedicure, manicure etc.) then a day trip around the Swan Valley in a vintage Rolls."

Jacquie has also tailored some very specific indulgence packages.

"We have organised helicopters, canoe trips, vintage champagne, luxury picnic baskets, musicians, spa treatments, private dinners, flowers and valley tours etc. We have even organised a birds of prey display for an American CEO whose wife is fascinated by Australian birds of prey."

Fran, having received some wonderful surprises, agrees about planning, particularly when travelling.

"Do research. It saves wasting time when you get to your destination. With restaurants, book them in advance, particularly if you want a table with a view or something like that."

Need pampering?

Jacquie has some to-the-point advice for those feeling less than indulged of late.

"Try not to be devious in gaining that attention. If you try to drop hints or go about it in a roundabout way you may find it has the opposite effect. Unfortunately some customers can be a little clumsy or pushy in their attempts to gain special attention and it can come off feeling a little bit tacky or as if they are trying to ‘wrangle' something for nothing," she explains.

The same applies to partners. Drop hints but be patient. Love always finds a way.

If that doesn't work, steal his or her credit card and indulge yourself!