Five New Year’s Eve destinations with dazzle
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Bring on the night in NOLA
Having a grand old time is a core competency in New Orleans, and New Year’s Eve sees it on display with almost as much verve as at Mardi Gras. There are myriad ways to get your bells on here, from booking a balcony on Bourbon Street or a private venue on Frenchmen Street, to watching the raucous Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade roll through Jackson Square with the crowds, to an all-evening river cruise that will give you bits of everything, fireworks included. Stay at Maison de la Luz, where you can kick off the evening in the gorgeous Bar Marilou. Or toast in the courtyard of the Hotel Peter and Paul, in the Marigny quarter; the work of ASH NYC’s Will Cooper (an Architectural Digest 100 stalwart and all-round design savant), its meticulously restored, 19th-century schoolhouse-church-convent complex is a stay worth travelling for any day of the year. maisondelaluz.com, from $369. hotelpeterandpaul.com, from $119
Feet-in-the-sand festivities in Uruguay
If balmy temperatures, a beau monde cohort and bare sandy feet are your New Year’s Eve goal, look to José Ignacio. Its broad Atlantic coastline and village feel offer indoor-outdoor living of the most insouciant order. A rental here affords access to a busy but chilled social scene that’s very much a beach-life affair, and Plan South America has a strong edit of covetable beach houses and posadas. The New Year’s Eve table to get – if you can – is at La Huella, the restaurant/beach club that has more than earned its reputation as South America’s answer to Club 55, where they’ll hand out the sparklers and serve up the requisite 12 grapes to be eaten at midnight (a New Year tradition across Latin America and in Spain). Up and down the shoreline will be similar scenes, along with firework shows and probably half a dozen languages being spoken per square kilometre. plansouthamerica.com, posadas and beach houses from about $2,400 a night
See the year in, Sydney style
You almost certainly know this already, but: Sydney. (Perhaps not this year, but file it for 2023.) No other place really matches its December 31 pyrotechnics (it puts on not one but two fireworks extravaganzas, one at 9pm and one at midnight; this year, the latter will run a full 12 minutes). And, as settings go, the city’s harbour is similarly nonpareil. There are various exclusive venues for oooh-ing, aaah-ing, wining and dining. Then there’s doing it all on a boat, just you and your crew – along with an actual crew, of course: a chef and servers and, if you want, a DJ, band or artist making commemorative portraits. To go all out, book One O One: the 37m yacht accommodates up to 36, and the 360-degree views from the fly bridge mean you won’t miss anything. Royal Botanic Garden, rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au, from AU$40 per adult. Shark Island, nationalparks.nsw.gov.au. One O One, email or call with enquiries, oneoonecharters.com.au, +61451-747 101
The Gleneagles high-glamour Hogmanay
Hogmanay was effectively cancelled last year; this year, while the attitude is still one of vigilance around mingling and revelling, Scots seem determined to first foot, light fires and generally make some noise next week. Here’s one way to be both confident about your health and have a really good, indulgent time: the traditional three-day Hogmanay party at Gleneagles. Guests check in on 29 Dec and enjoy three days and nights of festive programming – ice skating and clay-pigeon shooting across the estate’s 850 acres by day, followed by lavish dinners that include a Hogmanay black tie or a Touch of Tartan gala dinner and late-night feast. gleneagleshotel.com, from £6,595 for three nights all-inclusive
Taking the revelry remote in Bolivia
And if the back of beyond is where you want to ring in the new year – no people (let alone crowds), no city skylines and no light shows (except for the unpolluted view of the Milky Way) – Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni ticks it. An otherworldly lunar landscape at 3,650m, its 10,500sq km of salt pan is one of the best places to stargaze on the planet. The rains that begin in December sometimes turn areas of it into giant mirrors hundreds of thousands of hectares wide, doubling the night-sky effect. There are a bare handful of places to stay here, including one or two hotels crafted almost entirely from blocks of salt excavated from the pans. The finest, though, is Kachi Lodge, a permanent eco camp of just six domes, heated by wood ovens and whose bespoke furniture is made from regional materials. The La Paz-based collective Proyecto Nativa (which is behind the celebrated restaurant of the same name in the city of Sucre) ensures the food experience here matches everything else. The New Year’s Eve buyout of dreams, and another to mark for future celebrations. kachilodge.com
Correction: Kachi Lodge was forced to close in late 2021 due to Covid-19, but plans to reopen from May and will be taking bookings for New Year’s Eve 2022
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