The Oscars are this weekend, and the gifting suites in Hollywood are in full swing. Well, I can vouch for one of them, anyway; I spent a good chunk of my day at the Academy Awards 2011 Oscar gifting suite run by GBK. On February 25th and 26th, the luxury lifestyle gift lounge and special events company honored the 2011 Academy Award nominees and presenters with its annual gift lounge at the W Hollywood hotel in, obviously, Hollywood. There was some pretty impressive swag here, but the travel lover in me was most impressed with the travel related goodies.
The W Hollywood is sleek, hip and modern; all those young starlets I saw at the Oscar gifting suite fit right in. Last year, the gossip was about how Sarah Palin and her crew swooped into Oscar gifting suites and grabbed up stuff indiscriminately. I didn’t see anything untoward or tacky at the GBK gift lounge this year, however, I seriously enjoyed watching Cloris Leachman get treated to a makeover and a pampering skin treatment. Come on, who doesn’t love Cloris Leachman?
Star-gazing is alright, but I really enjoyed talking with some entrepreneurs and company reps who had passion for their products. There were a few travel-related standouts, in terms of both the friendly knowledgeability of their representatives and the product themselves. These were my five favorites.
Bota Box: Yes, this is wine-in-a-box. It sounds off putting until you get to hear the details. The Bota Box is wine in a box, but GOOD wine. It travels easily (the rep has had it on both checked and carry-on luggage) and is environmentally friendly. The box is made of 100% post-consumer fiber and is 100% recyclable. Now, as for the wine itself, it’s notable: Wine Spectator gave the Shiraz, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon its highest rating. There is the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine in these boxes, all California wine, and they all go for around $20.
Arbonne: This premium, luxury line featured health and wellness products that are botanically based and inspired by nature. I think my new Arbonne skin care travel kit is absolutely gorgeous. The product line RE9 Advanced Travel Set has 10 anti-aging products, and the rep also had the RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Masque and Arbonne Cosmetics Lip/Makeup Primer on hand. These RE9 products by Arbonne use antioxidants, sunblock (this is key), and other botanicals to help skin look younger.
SENSA Quench: This is a powder that travels as well as any. Sensa Quench is a low calorie blend of nutrients and antioxidants, with vitamins and green tea. It is supposed to give us energy. Sprinkling the SENSA Weight-Loss System on food should make us feel sated sooner…but what really won me over are the flavorful powdered fruit drinks. Adding these low-cal, sugar free powders to water makes for a tasty and refreshing drink. These powders pack up and fit anywhere, so taking them on vacations is a piece of cake.
NYR Organics: Neal’s Yard Remedies certified organic cosmetics, face, and body products smell wonderful. Travel sizes are available, and the handsome bottles ensure that men won’t get too antsy about having these skincare products on the bathroom counter. Energising (it’s a British line, with proper British spelling) Travel Essentials include organic genanium and orange shower gel, body lotion, and shampoo and conditioner in a cotton carrying case.
William Rast Eyeware: These are high-end sunglasses that have a timeless yet trendy look (meaning, nothing too crazy). I like these sunglasses, and the rep said that the William Rast clothing line (not at the Oscar gifting Suite) has teamed up with Justin Timberlake for a biker-inspired, denim-centric series.
Sure, there were some diamond watches and an infrared home sauna, but as a member of the media, I could only look at those — the diamonds are reserved for celebrities! It’s a surreal experience to wander through a series of rooms with famous people in them, and other people bestowing gifts upon them. But what’s surreal to me is reality to them, and they would perhaps feel out of place flying coach to an ecolodge or taking a group bus trip through the American Southwest. Reality may be subjective, but objectively, I had a fantastically fun day at GBK’s Oscar gifting suite. Thanks, GBK; you really know how to put an Academy Awards event together.
Disclaimer: At the invitation of GBK Productions, I attended and received a bunch of products at the Oscar gifting suite in the W Hollywood hotel.