The World’s Hottest Destinations for New Year’s Eve
If you’ve ever called your squad on December 30th to inquire whether anyone had any leads on a hot New Year’s Eve destination, then you know as well as we do that last-minute plans usually end up being chaotic and disappointing. Even though Christmas shopping, decor and party prep are looming in the immediate future, we recommend firming up those New Year’s Eve plans, STAT. Remember last year when your best friend’s boyfriend convinced everyone to pile into his van and drive to New York to watch the ball drop in Times Square? Sure, it was fun. But it was also a bit tumultuous. This year, how about something less haphazard and infinitely more FABULOUS?
Here are Elysian’s Top 5 New Year’s Eve destinations around the globe:
Jost Van Dyke
British Virgin Islands
Have you ever wondered what the heck Kenny Chesney was singing about in “Somewhere in the Sun” when he mentions “Foxy’s Firewater” and “Jost Van Dyke?” Yeah, it took us a minute, too. This oddly-named Caribbean island (thanks to Dutch colonialists) is a tiny dot on the globe, with a population of 300. But every year on New Year’s Eve, thousands of folks from all over the world descend upon that dot to party up at a bar owned by Foxy Callwood (and his wife Tessa), which is known for its exquisite firewater (a.k.a. rum). The vibe is friendly, festive and calypso-casual, with both a live band and a DJ. A VIP table and 5-course meal which includes lobster, steak and an open bar is available for $500 per person. This year’s costume theme is “Nauti Yacht Club,” so dress accordingly. But before you round up your squad and pack your sparkly party bikini (or board shorts for men), we should warn you that accommodations are extremely limited, and are typically reserved months in advance. We recommend checking for a last-minute opening at the Glass House but if that doesn’t pan out, lots of folks book rooms in Tortola or St. John and then reserve a seat on a water taxi to and from Jost Van Dyke for the festivities.
The Pearl: Rotating Restaurant with Firework Views
New Year’s Eve in Iceland is all about family, food and fireworks. And yeah, booze. But the funny thing is that most bars aren’t open until after midnight. Most people start the evening with mass at Reykjavik Cathedral. Even folks who don’t attend mass regularly go on New Year’s Eve or listen in to the service on the radio. Once church is over, dinner is served. The hottest ticket in town is at the Pearl, a fifth-floor restaurant built under a massive glass dome which provides 360 degree panoramic views of Iceland’s breathtaking landscape. The award-winning menu includes Icelandic festive delicacies such as glazed lamb with wild mushrooms, wild game soup with red currants and cured salmon and goose breast. Reservations typically reach capacity months in advance, so you might want to think about Perlan for New Year’s 2020. But if you’re heart is set on Iceland for 2019, your best bet is a bar crawl with the crew from Wake Up Reykjavik. They’re a friendly, young tour company with the skinny on everything hot in Iceland. But just for the record, it’s cold, very cold, and a whiskey jacket only gets you so far. Wear layers.
World’s Largest Fireworks Show
The Madeiras are a small chain of islands 600 miles off the coast of Europe, between Portugal and Africa. Rife with magnificent naturescapes, a mild climate and a welcoming culture, it’s easy to understand how Madeira’s New Year’s Eve party (with its spectacular fireworks certified by the Guiness as the world’s largest ) has blossomed into a choice destination. The best way to take in the sights is a harbor cruise on a catamaran with Madeira Windbirds. The 2-hour cruise includes a midnight toast and light snack of traditional Madeira sugar cane cake for $120 per person. Be sure to book early. The boat can only accommodate 100 passengers.
I know what you’re thinking. South Africa. Huh? But here’s the thing. It’s summer in the southern hemisphere, so picture yourself with your nearest and dearest ringing in the New Year somewhere hot! Do you fancy a post rooftop bash with views of Cape Town’s prodigious fireworks? Head to the Radisson Blu for a 5-course dinner, live entertainment and champagne toast. Or maybe you’re in the mood for some laughs? Cape Town Comedy Club’s annual New Year’s Eve party is one of the hottest parties in town. The event features an a la carte menu and the brightest comics from the scene that birthed the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. If wine is your thing, you know that South Africa has some of the world’s most award-winning wineries, so why not ring in the new year at the source? Cape Point Vineyards is hosting a disco-themed evening soiree with light canapes and exquisite wines. Don’t forget to wear your sparkliest outfit.
New Orleans, USA
The Big Easy
Sure, it’s an American city, but we think of New Orleans as a sovereign city-state like Singapore, because it has its own unique style that’s unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in the 50 States. Do NOT go to New Orleans to dry up or diet. It is a drinking, eating town, period. That’s why it’s the perfect place to ring in the new year. We recommend a party cruise on the Steamboat Natchez which departs from the Natchez lighthouse at 10:30pm and includes gorgeous views of the harbor and the NOLA fireworks, plus dinner, live music and an open bar for $175 per person. If you see yourself ringing in 2019 on land, the Hyatt Regency hosts New Orleans’ biggest New Year’s Eve gala, featuring several rooms of DJ’s and live music, numerous menu options, a mock casino, open bar, and a burlesque show. If the French Quarter is calling your name, reserve a spot on the spacious balcony at Bourbon Vieux where a buffet dinner and open bar all night is $175.