PHOTO: Ringing in the new year at Ritz-Carlton South Beach. (Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton South Beach)
If you’re one of those folks who just wish 2016 would go away already, you’re not alone. This year has been a domino effect of gloom, with the weight of the elections, an increasingly fragile global sentiment and continuous threats to travel.
A gorgeous New Year’s Eve party is in fact just what we all need. It will help us erase—albeit temporarily—some of the harsher memories of 2016: Brexit, the precipitous fall of the pound, and the resignation of David Cameron; the increased railing against the EU with countries including Hungary, Poland, and most recently, Austria setting a decisive tone; heart-breaking bombings in Aleppo, a coup in Turkey, the Rio Olympics with its touch of scandal, and the U.S. elections, with Stateside riots unprecedented since Jefferson.
It can be hard to forget about this heavy mantle, and it would not be unfair to say that this year’s New Year’s Eve parties are not going to fool anyone: they’re fun band-aids to a really irksome soundtrack and playbook called “2016.”
But, there are some truly fun nights to look forward to. So here are some we’ve cherry-picked a few for you that look really groovy, and will help you to bring in 2017 with the sentiment we all want: joy.
A Glamorous Banquet at The Lamb’s Club, New York City
This art-deco restaurant does get-togethers stylishly: New York’s oldest club for actors and theater folk hosts a popular Holiday Carolers Brunch extending unto Christmas Day, complete with hot chocolate and toppings. For New Year’s Eve, expect the same dose of glamor in two places: the Main Dining Room and at the Mezzanine Bar.
At $425 per person, the Main Dining Room’s ambience, with its light fixtures and leather banquettes, is the place to take in a five-course meal with large-format wine pairings, desserts, and dancing after midnight. For a less pricey (but equally glamorous!) option at $300, head over to the Mezzanine Bar that includes cocktails and dancing, with two hours of hors d’oeuvres (including items like Swiss Chard and ricotta crispy ravioli; and a Parmigiano Reggiano fondue-filled pasta with chanterelle mushrooms and sage) savory stations and desserts like nougat, as well as flowing handcrafted cocktails well past midnight. At midnight, guests will toast Champagne to the New Year on the street under the ticker tape.
A “Drums of the Pacific” Luau at the Hyatt Regency, Maui, Hawaii
Perhaps it’s best to enter the New Year with a true Polynesian feast for all the senses. From 9:00pm to midnight, a “Drums of the Pacific” luau at this resort takes guests on a journey through the islands of Polynesia, complete with a traditional imu ceremony (yes, this involves a roasted pig) and the flavors of native Hawaiian cuisine. There’s a special late night show of Drums of the Pacific to ring in the New Year too: don’t miss the three-man Samoan fire-knife finale.
A “Midwinter Night’s Dream” at NYLO, New York City
The hotel bar, LOCL, transforms into a frosty forest landscape to fit in this Shakespearean-themed party, replete with nymph headdresses and a live-screening of the ball dropping at night. It brings to mind this beautiful quote from “A Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare: “Who we are, and what we are meant for is yet to be discovered.”
An Ode to the Roaring Twenties at the Marriott Downtown in Syracuse, New York
This hotel, which was the place to go if you were ever in this neck of the woods at the turn of the century, had an $80 million renovation and reopened in August 2016. The 1924 property has a New Year’s shindig that spans three different ballrooms , with a Roaring ‘20’s theme. Expect horse and carriage rides and photo booths and plenty of paparazzi (there are four different packages, so choose the one that best suits you).
A Cubano-inspired Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
The hotel’s gala, “Azucar!” is an ode to all things Latin, with a four-course dinner, wine-pairings, and handcrafted Mojitos poolside at Starr Barr. After dinner, there’s the “Havana High Life,” with Gurkha, a fine cigar maker, that will show guests a good time and the art of the fine puff, as well as Latin performances ($250 per-person for the second seating at 8 p.m.).
Daytime Pool Parties in Las Vegas
For those into daytime pool parties, DJ Dash Berlin will headline a party that allows guests to don their swimwear in the winter months at Marquee Dayclub, with its climate-controlled dome in Las Vegas (a nighttime option headlined by DJ Khaled follows).
An “All White” Party at Playa del Carmen, Mexico
At the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort, guests are invited to come dressed in traditional attire with guayaberas (men’s shirts with two vertical rows of closely-sewn pleats) and white, flowy dresses for women. White is worn during the New Year’s Eve celebrations because it gives off a positive energy, and helps draw in the New Year with renewed energy and purpose. This custom also exists in Brazil.
You’ll find the usual suspects: a lavish buffet, a super Champagne station with plenty of bubbly and unlimited Magic Cotton Candy Martinis, as though you were in a Willy Wonka land for grownups. Expect live music with a rock band following by two DJ’s pumping up the volume well into the night. If you’re feeling slightly worn out by this rather extravagant bender, treat your body to a Chochuulpuus Body Ritual from Cenote Spa on Jan 1.
A Magical, Wellness-Inspired Retreat at the Viceroy Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
On this volcanic island increasingly becoming known for its wellness retreats, The Viceroy Sugar Beach brings you a “mentalist” or mind reader --Gerard Senehi—who motivates guests to do things they can’t explain, on Dec. 28. Czech magician and illusionist Michal Sindelar, who has wowed audiences with his own unique brand of close-up magic, brings his skills to Sugar Beach from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 with cards, coins, balloons, bands, and much more. For those who want to head into the New Year refreshed and relaxed, Latham Thomas, founder of MamaGlow, will lead wellness sessions throughout the week with classes in Private Yoga, Aromatherapy Healing, and Mindful Eating (you can also take in a Moonlight Crystal Meditation). And for New Year’s Eve at the resort, thirteen-year-old DJ superstar, DJ Fulano Librizzi, will showcase his own brand of track mixing and vibe.
A “Latin American Countdown Party” at the Four Seasons Koh Samui, Thailand
The resort itself is magical, with coconut groves, and even an ornately-designed pagoda covered with many small yellow tiles that make it shimmer under the sun and give it a Midas touch. On New Year’s Eve, preparations are in full-swing with the KOH Thai Kitchen & Bar serving platters of fresh seafood and shucked oysters to its well-heeled guests. The theme this year, even though you are in Thailand, is a “Latin American Countdown Party” which will find you ocean-side at the infinity edge pool, with a live Latin band followed by a DJ and fireworks.
Globally-Inspired Dinners at The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
At this 1960’s Southern California-meets-Baja, architect Javier Sanchez envisioned a resort with clean, contemporary lines with boundless views of the Bahía San Lucas horizon. This year, Angeleno Jason Bentley headlines as a DJ on the hotel’s sixth-story rooftop lounge, and the best part of the evening is a series of globally-inspired dinners celebrating holiday traditions from around the world.
Noir et Blanc New Year’s Eve Party at The Westin Playa Bonita, Panama City, Panama
Not everyone can say they ushered in the New Year with a sweeping view of cruise liners waiting to enter the Panama Canal, but at the Westin Playa Bonita, there’s a black and white ball that features live orchestral music, a dinner buffet and fireworks. For $159 per person, it’s one of the best deals we’ve found for New Year’s Eve, in a country that just opened up another set of locks to accommodate the demand for more cruise ships.
Get Elemental at the Burj al Arab Jumeirah, UAE
The world’s only seven-star hotel has a few gilded tricks up its sleeve. The sail-shaped resort, has “An Elemental New Year’s Eve” (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) soiree with themed dinners across its five signature restaurants including the just-opened Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara. You’ll take in an “Illusions of Water,” “Flames of Arabia,” “Dining in the Air” and “Ethereal” experiences, with themed menus and demonstrations. Then head over to the Al Falak Ballroom to just party the night away with the hotel’s resident DJ, Darko de Jan.
Fireworks at Miami’s Surfside, Miami Beach, Florida
Surfside, located just north from the city of Miami Beach, and right on the Atlantic Ocean, will play host to a bevy of fireworks that will blossom at 9 p.m. off the public beach, for all to see. The area’s landscape is one to watch in 2017: properties like The Four Seasons slated to open soon and the FENDI Château have already changed the fabric of the landscape, acting as a magnet to bring five-star residences and hotel accommodations to the town. Sometimes, the best things in life are free.
A Party in Banff, Canada, to Usher in Canada’s 150th Anniversary
And to round things up is a party to mark the start of Canada’s 150th anniversary, held in downtown Banff between Buffalo and Wolf Streets from 7 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 31. It’s free to all, and you can find street entertainers, games, kids’ activities, food stalls and a firework display.
A Happy New Year to all!