Pack your bags and say goodbye to 2018. Whether you’re looking for a raucous party or a quieter soirée, these cities know how to put on a memorable celebration.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Everything is over the top in this glittering city. Case in point: Dubai shattered the world record for the world’s longest fireworks show on NYE in 2014. After a four-hour show of lasers, fire, water and music at the Dubai Fountain, spectators are treated to a mind-blowing display at adjacent Burj Khalifa skyscraper. Pyrotechnics cascade from each floor of the more than 160-story iconic building.
Where to stay: The famed Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is the opulent,
all-suite hotel known for its fleet of Rolls-Royces, full-size Hermès bath amenities and celebrity guests. From $5,085/night, jumeirah.com
Napa Valley, USA
For a more laid-back experience, head to California Wine Country in low season. The Napa Valley Wine Train hosts a “Midnight in Paris” bash in restored Pullman cars as they make their way up and down the valley. Before you embark, you’re greeted with a glass of sparkling wine. Once on the train, indulge in a four-course feast. You’ll be back at the station in time for a midnight toast, dancing and a cabaret club.
Where to Stay: The cozy-luxe cottages of Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena are surrounded by vineyards. Hotel perks include complimentary car service and wine socials. From $825/night, meadowood.com
Watch the countdown at the Zojoji Buddhist temple, and partake in an
all-night street party in front of Tokyo Tower. Temples ring bells as a countdown to midnight, imparting a spiritual quality to the evening. On New Year’s Day, participate in hatsumode
(a shrine visit) at the Meiji shrine, located inside a forest in the heart of the city, where thousands line up to purchase lucky charms and pray for a prosperous New Year. Stay in town through January 2, one of only two days when the emperor opens the palace grounds to the public.
Where to Stay: Newly-opened The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho soars above the skyline. Lounge on one of their daybeds set in the expansive hotel room windows and you’ll feel like you’re levitating over the city. From $2,018/night, princehotels.com
More than one million people head down under to welcome the New Year. And because of its time zone location, Sydney is the first major city to enter 2019. The party begins harborside at 6 p.m., and includes the release of eucalyptus smoke to clear the harbor of any bad spirits; two fireworks shows and a display of lighted ships choreographed to dance across the water.
Where to stay: Located in the white-hot arts neighborhood Chippendale, The Old Clare Hotel is a converted former pub and brewery. From $575/night, theoldclarehotel.com
Las Vegas, USA
Sin City lives up to its reputation as the wildest New Year’s Eve party in America. More than 300,000 travelers descend upon the city during the holiday weekend, and The Strip shuts down to car traffic at 5 p.m. on the December 31 to allow revelry in the streets. At midnight, an elaborate fireworks show launches from the rooftops of seven resorts. (Go high up to get the best vantage point.)
Where to stay: Check in to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the city’s most design-forward hotel. The sleek lobby feels like stepping into the future, with a seamless iPad check-in process and excellent people-watching. From $474/night, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Join the jet set at this relentlessly sunny resort town in the Alps, set in a wooded valley and facing a sprawling frozen lake. Hit the wide-open, uncrowded slopes during the day, and then après-ski in the village in the afternoon. All the luxury hotels also host their own New Year’s Eve parties.
Where to stay: The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz has the best views of the mountains. Soothe your hangover in its restorative spa, where you can alternate between various saunas, steam rooms, indoor pools, and infrared cabins. From $745/night, kulm.com
“Auld Lang Syne” was written by Scotsman Robert Burns, and the song feels even more special when you belt it out in the streets of Edinburgh. The city’s Hogmanay (“last day of the year”) celebration lasts four days and includes a torchlight parade through the city, concerts and a massive street party. On New Year’s Day, spectators gather at the River Forth to see brave souls run into the freezing water in the annual South Queensferry Loony Dook charity event and at Holyrood Park to watch sled dog races.
Where to stay: Housed in the former Scotsman Newspaper’s baronial offices, The Scotsman Hotel is now one of the the city’s most desirable and stylish boutique properties. From $490/night, thescotsmanhotel.co.uk
In India’s notorious party city, the beaches of Anjuna, Calangute and Candolim are teeming with revelers throwing back the regional liquor feni (made with coconut or cashew-apple juice) and dancing barefoot to electronic music until the sun rises.
Where to stay: The brand new W Hotel Goa is a jaw-dropping, ocean paradise that has colorful features like a 460-foot bright blue and green mosaic “carpet” that runs from the hotel to the pool to the beach. From $685/night, starwoodhotels.com
Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
At a mere four by three miles and with fewer than 300 inhabitants, the New Year’s crowds arrive to the BVI’s smallest island by yacht. Make sure you’re at the “Old Year’s Eve” party
at musician-favorite Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on the 31st. (Mick Jagger,
Keith Richards, Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesley have all partied there.)
The celebration lasts two days,
with live music, food and drinks fueling the scene.
Where to stay: The seaside cottages at White Bay Villas are intimate, secluded beach houses with stunning views. From $3,080/week, jostvandyke.com