Where should you go for New Year’s Eve this year if you want to experience the celebration in high luxury style? Whether your idea of the perfect December 31 is a raucous party with fireworks and a big crowd, or a more subdued, reflective celebration, here are our top picks for the best places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve in luxury.
where should you go for the perfect luxury new year’s eve?
One person’s party is another person’s pain – so the perfect New Year’s Eve location is very much in the eye of the beholder. The good news? Whether you want the full-on crazy of fireworks, free-flowing champagne and celebrity sightings, or a contemplative and spiritual experience, there’s a perfect place out there. Little kids in the mix? We’ve got you covered, too.
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the best places in the world to spend new year’s eve in luxury
There are so many options, and just a few precious hours to celebrate. Here are our top picks for best places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve.
1. St. Barth’s
As the island recovers from the devastation from the 2017 hurricane season, St. Barth’s is reclaiming its place as the center of the universe for the luxury set on New Year’s Eve. The parties in Gustavia Harbor – whose waters will be filled with the world’s largest yachts – start mid-day and last well into the night. If you’re not sailing in on your own mega-yacht, splurge and book the Villa Rockstar at the glamorous Eden Rock. The six bedroom residence costs $30,000 per night, and includes a personal chef and butler, as well as a private pool and gym.
New Year’s Eve in St. Barth’s begins with a daytime “round-the-island” regatta, followed by house parties, yacht parties, house-then-yacht parties and ultra-lux hotel parties. People “yacht hop” before the fireworks. Nikki Beach, La Plage and Le Yacht Club are some of the most esteemed after-midnight venues. You’ll find live entertainment and fervent partiers. In the midst of it all, you can don your 6-inch stilettos, or just come in your flip-flops. Whatever you do, just don’t be late for the tender.
It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and the New Year’s Eve party in gorgeous Sydney Harbor is one of the best in the world. The lights of the fireworks reflecting off the Opera House and shimmering over the Harbor Bridge are stunning. The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney overlooks Sydney Harbor, the Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Some prefer to view the fireworks from luxury yachts, and others from neighboring high-rises. Alternatively, motor out to Cockatoo Island and set up a moonlit picnic in preparation for the show. You can even camp or glamp there for the night, as long as you book a spot in advance. New Year’s Eve without the end-of-night battle for an Uber, complete with surge pricing? Yes, please.
You know how we feel: Paris is always a good idea. New Year’s Eve is no exception. The penthouse suite at one of our favorite hotels, the Four Seasons George V, runs $30,000 per night. It provides the best possible view of the midnight fireworks over the Eiffel Tower (and you can grab dinner at the hotel’s Restaurant Le Cinq beforehand for $1,300 per person). Tres bien!
4. New York City
Here’s the thing: very few Manhattan residents will actually be on the ground in Times Square for the dropping of the famous crystal ball. Some might be in nearby office buildings, warm and comfortable high above the crowd.
Or possibly at the swanky EDITION Times Square, which offers the best possible views of the festivities in the most refined setting.
The vast majority, however, will be doing other things. Some will be running in the annual New York Roadrunners 4-mile Midnight Run in Central Park, and watching the fireworks there afterward. Some will be at the NY Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Eve Concert (this year’s event feature Renee Fleming) at Lincoln Center.
Many more will be at swanky black-tie parties at their private clubs, where there’ll be a buffet of lovely food and a live band playing swing music that will transport everyone back to Old New York. Some will be at the homes of their friends on Fifth or Park Avenues. If you want to hang with them, start networking now for an invitation.
5. Hong Kong
Victoria Harbor will be filled with junks, and the shoreline will be filled with people, all waiting to watch the fireworks. In our experience, the best place to be is in a high-rise – either an office building or a hotel, both Hong Kong side and Kowloon side work perfectly.
Being on the water can be the experience of a lifetime, but there is such a thing as an aquatic traffic jam, and you will definitely be in one if you decide to celebrate on a boat. We’d suggest viewing it all from your room at the Intercontinental, Ritz or at the rooftop of the city’s hottest new hotel, The Murray instead.
For an elegant end to the old year, and a graceful beginning to the new, it would be hard to do better than to be in Austria. The most famous concert in the world – the New Year’s Concert – is held in the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein each year on January 1 (previews with an identical program on December 30 and 31).
All tickets for this year’s concerts have already sold out. Nevertheless, you don’t have to miss out. It’s shown on TV in 90 countries, as well as on giant video walls both at the ‘hangover breakfast’ on City Hall Square and on the square in front of the Vienna State Opera.
The Wiener Symphoniker brings the year to a close with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. There are also fireworks over the Danube, and at midnight, the ringing of the Pummerin bell in St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
The New Year’s Eve Trail is a casual outdoor celebration in the streets of Vienna. The New Year’s Eve Ball at the Hofburg Palace, the former imperial winter residence, is a great deal more formal – this is your chance to dance the quadrille wearing black tie in the imperial state rooms. It’s your call. Waltz in the New Year in whichever way fits you best. Just be sure to save room for the sacher tortes.
Dubai never does anything by half, and that includes New Year’s Eve. In 2014, the city set a world record for the largest fireworks display: 479,651 shells were released in just six minutes. Try to nab a table at the Atlantis Palm’s grand New Year’s Eve Royal Gala for front-row access. Other ideas include a desert safari and host a party under the stars, or you could take a dinner cruise on a dhow. Or you could just go for broke and rent the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s Royal Suite for $15,000 per night. Depends on how good a year you really had.
Rio is clearly trying to give Dubai a run for its money in terms of primacy on the big night. Reveillion is the name of Brazil’s New Year’s Eve celebration. The fireworks in Rio happen over Copacabana Beach, and the Copacabana Palace Hotel has a $1,430 per person dinner on a balcony where you can have a prime view. Remember, they’re just warming up for Carnival. So pace yourself.
For those seeking something more spiritual, turn your eyes to Japan. New Year’s is an important religious celebration here; many people return to their hometowns for the holiday.
Near midnight, instead of fireworks, across the country Buddhist temple bells ring 107 times before the clock strikes twelve, and once after, in a ceremony known as Joya no Kane. In Japanese Buddhism, it is believed that an individual experiences 108 worldly desires throughout life; ringing the temple bell to banish each one allows for a fresh start in the New Year.
The Watch-Night Bell in Tokyo is a particular draw (we find it wonderful that a spiritual Watch Night is also a tradition in African-American culture; many devout black people attend church on New Year’s Eve). In some temples in Tokyo, visitors can ring the bell.
There are traditional haiku that celebrate the “firsts” of the New Year, including the first laughter, and the first dream (leave it to Western culture to focus only on the first kiss). Hatsumode is the first temple or shrine visit of the New Year, during which worshipers receive a fortune for the New Year.
It is common to send New Year’s Day postcards, and traditional foods during the holiday are osechi, a selection of dishes that keep well without refrigeration (because most stores are closed), and toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles). The Mandarin Oriental, the Park Hyatt, or the Aman Tokyo would all be great places to stay.
10. Banff, Alberta, Canada
The Canadian Rockies are a perfect New Year’s Eve spot for the snow bunnies who aren’t ready to come in from the cold just yet. Banff offers an outdoor family-friendly party downtown. The Fairmont Banff Springs, located in Banff National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), looks like a beautiful winter dream castle. The hotel hosts the biggest party in town in New Year’s Eve, with a 4-course dinner in the ballroom, live music and dancing. There’s a torchlight parade on the mountain, too.
11. County Limerick, Ireland
Ireland’s spellbinding 19th-century castle estate, Adare Manor, is a highly civilized way to ring in the new year. It’s adorned with holiday magic. And the property’s New Years Celebration packages welcome guests to ring in the new year with elegance and sophistication. Choose between a festive celebration in The Carriage House or an Evening in the Oak Room, both with world-class dining and libations. ning décor, holiday-inspired menus, and flowing champagne.
The Lanesborough House Party is becoming a wild, sparkling annual event on New Year’s Eve in Central London. The 5-star hotel’s Belgravia Ballroom features Latin and reggaeton beats. The Lebanese Lounge-themed St. George’s Room features “Arabic music and canapés.” Restaurant Céleste becomes an exclusive nightclub.
can’t decide? jump on a private jet
If you’re still torn on which of these options would be best for you, then you can opt for two instead of one. PrivateFly is offering 18 people the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice: once in Sydney, after which guests will board a Gulfstream G650 for a 11-hour flight, and land in Los Angeles in plenty of time for a second midnight party. The cost is about $10,000 per person. I’m sure that some would say it’s priceless (if you ask us, we think it totally depends on who else is on the jet).
the best destinations for a luxury New Year’s Eve
That’s it. Our top picks for best places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve. What sounds best to you?
Personally, we prefer a quiet New Year’s Eve. We’ve found that the rest of the year tends to bring adventure enough. This year, we’ll just be with our families, outside on a snowy mountain somewhere, looking to the sky. For fireworks, for starlight, for moonlight – for any available celestial illumination to help light the path forward.
join our community!
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.