Why not usher in 2010 with a trip to an exciting destination? wandermelon compiled a list of our favorite places to ring in the New Year. From a champagne toast in front of the Eiffel Tower to a low-key escape in Lanai, celebrate the end of the year in style at one of these glittering global getaways.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio knows how to party and Copacabana Beach hosts Reveillon, the world’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration. More than two million white-clad revelers descend upon Rio’s infamous beach for a party second only to Carnaval in size. Cariocas (Rio natives) congregate on the beach starting mid-afternoon to samba in the sand and party until dawn. Revelers fill the 2.5 mile stretch of sand listening to live music and toasting in the New Year by throwing white flowers into the sea in honor of Iemanja, the goddess of the sea. A dazzling offshore fireworks display lights up the Rio sky at midnight and many celebrate by taking a dip in the ocean.
Where to stay: Copacabana Palace is an iconic hotel and the most toniest address in Rio de Janeiro. This whitewashed hotel has housed royals and celebs since opening in 1923. The service is impeccable and the expansive rooms offer incredible ocean views. Rates start at US$498 for a standard room.
One of the first cities to ring in the New Year, Sydney pulls out all the stops on New Years Eve and hosts the world’s largest fireworks display. Two massive pyrotechnic shows illuminate the evening. The Family Fireworks start at 9pm, followed by the Harbor of Light boat parade with luminous boats gliding along the waterway. At midnight, a 12-minute firework extravaganza unleashes from six barges with the Harbor Bridge lighting up at the stroke of midnight. The perfect spot to recover from a big night out is at Icebergs or North Bondi Italian on Bondi Beach, where the party continues with free-flowing mimosas on New Year’s Day.
Where to stay: The Establishment offers an all-inclusive destination, with restaurants, lounges, and a cool boutique hotel all under one roof.
What could be more romantic than Paris for New Year’s? Head to the City of Lights for an unforgettable getaway with endless holiday options. On New Year’s Eve, Champs-Elysees pulses with energy as revelers sip champagne and take in the fireworks display at midnight. If you need more breathing room and less crowded rues, head to Montmartre, where many Parisians host apartment soirees. Or book a seat at one of the numerous restaurants and indulge in scrumptious French cuisine. Whatever your taste, Paris has something for everyone.
Where to stay: La Reserve Paris provides guests with a coveted front-row seat to the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower. Located at Place du Trocadéro, the hotel’s 10 Rémi Tessier-designed apartments feature spectacular views and ultra-modern interiors so you can ring in the New Year in chic, stylish comfort.
Mānele Bay, Lanai
Looking for a quiet escape on a picturesque tropical island with perfect 80 degree weather and a luxurious hotel to cater to your every whim? Then head to the idyllic island of Lanai in Hawaii for a romantic getaway for two or sun-soaked fun for the entire family. This tiny island is a former pineapple plantation and has a small town feel amid an unspoiled tropical oasis. Two luxury beach hotels that are Four Seasons properties provide the main attraction here and offer a relaxed, slower-paced vacation destination.
Where to stay: Book a romantic escape at the Four Seasons Manele Bay. This tropical paradise offers breathtaking ocean views with spinner dolphins making daily stops in front of the resort. Couples will want to reserve a table at the Kailani Terrace at Manele Bay for a New Year’s Eve gala that is accompanied by a fireworks display over Hulopo’e Bay with live music. The gala is complimentary to all guests of both the Manale Bay Four Seasons and The Lodge and reservations are not required. Parents can drop the kids at their own celebration, the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve party hosted by the Kids for All Seasons childcare from 6 to 10pm.
Whether you want to spend a relaxed evening sipping a hot toddy by the fire following a day on the slopes, or feel like partying at 8,000 feet, Snowmass is a mecca for skiers to experience the New Year. While nearby Aspen lures lots of international travelers, it also attracts celebs like Mariah Carey, which is why those in the know are heading to Snowmass for less over-the-top experience. Buttermilk mountain boasts a variety of runs for all skiing levels, and with the recent opening of The Viceroy, there is no shortage of chic accommodation. On New Year’s Eve, the town of Aspen hosts a variety of family friendly activities, ranging from a bonfire, sleigh rides, free ice skating, and a colorful fireworks show lights at midnight.
Where to stay: For a taste of the high life, check into the new Viceroy Snowmass. This gorgeous ski-in/ski-out hotel raised the bar for high-end luxury hotels in Colorado. The Viceroy offers plenty for families with its own kids program and it also sits across from the 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center at Snowmass. Doubles from US $795.
Anguilla lures visitors with its stunning beaches and powder-soft sand. One of the Caribbean’s most desirable islands, Anguilla has carefully controlled its development so there are no mega-resorts or cruise ships docked in its clear turquoise waters. International jetsetters and celebs are drawn to the islands posh resorts and low-key atmosphere. Celebrate the New Year at Cuisinart’s “Carnival in December.” This special event will feature live music, fireworks, and a signature Anguillian menu.
Where to stay: Situated on Anguilla’s pristine Rendezvous Bay, Cuisinart Resort and Spa recently unveiled its new collection of six 3- and 5-bedroom luxury villas. The Greek-inspired resort offers a recently expanded spa, gourmet cuisine, and a hydroponic farm. Guests who book the villas can take advantage of the “Villa Escapes” package, which includes complimentary one- and two-night stays.
Prague, Czech Republic
Enjoy the spectacular beauty of Prague and a historic New Year’s Eve as the Czech Republic celebrates “Velvet Eve.” Guaranteed to be a spectacular party, the Czechs will toast to 20 years of freedom from communist rule. Few cities rival the picturesque charm of Praque with its breathtaking Baroque architecture and fairytale castles. Take in the remarkable fireworks at Prague Castle or the Charles Bridge on the Vltava River or travel on a romantic riverboat for the aerial show. Head to Old Town Square at midnight as the city lights up in a burst of color. For the more daring, join the locals as they set off their own hand-held fireworks.
Where to stay: Four Seasons offers the perfect backdrop to celebrate the dawn of a new decade with its Velvet Eve celebration in the Grand Ball Room. Enjoy culinary delights from all around the world with a unique buffet gala dinner, live entertainment, and a fantastic view of fireworks above the Prague Castle.
Miami is known for its non-stop nightlife and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Warm weather and cool clubs make this a favorite holiday destination. South Beach offers a heavy dose of glitz and glamour. But be warned that there are also plenty of tacky venues, so try to steer clear of the tourist traps. Celebrate amid the Miami skyline with unobstructed views of the fireworks show at Hotel Victor’s Vue Terrace or check out the Setai South Beach, a contemporary hotel that blends modern Asian design with a sophisticated Miami vibe. The Setai’s New Year’s bash boasts a decadent six-course tasting menu amid the sights of the elegant Courtyard.
Where to stay: For out of town guests, The Setai Experience package is available for booking with a minimum 5-night stay. Package includes welcome bottle of champagne, daily breakfast, and a choice of round-trip Range Rover airport transfers or two 60-minute spa treatments per stay. Rates begin at US$1,200 per night. For reservations at Hotel Victor’s New Year’s Eve Bash and accommodations, call 305.428.1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org