Mid-October marks official panic season for those of us still without New Year’s plans.
With no airfare arranged, no hotels on hold – now is the time to make some big decisions! We love New York City every other day of the year – but on December 31st when the streets are teeming with tourists, restaurants and bars charge triple the price of admission and it’s impossible to get a cab, we wouldn’t mind being far, far away. So where to escape? Here are some ideas for the perfect holiday trip:
Close to home and without too much fuss, a trip to the Caribbean or nearby Mexico will warm you up much quicker than a cup of hot cocoa. Foxy’s in Jost Van Dyke hosts the BVI’s most famous New Year’s Eve party. An island that just got electricity in the late ’90s, Jost Van Dyke gives new meaning to the word unplugged, in the best possible way. Kids will love splashing around in White Bay’s crystal clear water and parents can keep an eye out from their seat at the beachfront Soggy Dollar Bar. Or, head just south of the border to Tulum — still the hippest stretch of sand without a functioning power grid. Fashion folk kick off their heels to swim in cenotes, hike Mayan ruins and feast on Hartwood’s locally sourced dishes after a requisite sundowner at Zamas. Surely there is still an unclaimed cabana or two up for grabs. Another beach lover’s option is Vieques, the island formerly known as the US Navy’s old stomping grounds/bombing grounds. We loved minimalist hideaway Hix Island House on a pre-kids visit, but with a toddler in tow, a stay at the super luxe W Hotel would make more sense. Miles of quiet pristine beaches and an illuminated night time swim in the bioluminescent bay never gets old.
The European City
Cobblestoned alleyways are especially charming when covered in a fresh coat of snow with some Christmas lights strewn about. There are many European cities that could fit this description. Copenhagen is a strong candidate, with the world’s second oldest amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, fairy-lit for the season and ice skating opportunities scattered throughout the city center. While in town you can eat your way through 26 plates at Noma, deemed the “world’s best restaurant” by industry experts and stock up on chic Scandinavian woolen accessories to get you through the winter. If you haven’t already heard, Paris is always a good idea. Fireworks over the Seine, macaroons for breakfast, and a champagne-soaked dinner at Le Cinq has celebration written all over it. Or, save up your Starpoints and check into Venice’s Gritti Palace which just underwent a $55 million dollar renovation. The hotel was fit for a king when we spent NYE here in 2011, so one can only imagine how the place is looking now. The big Venetian party goes down in Piazza San Marco, complete with a countdown and midnight toast.
The Far Flung Locale
You’re most likely not finding any bargains on flights during the holiday week anyway, so why not get more mileage out of your airfare and head somewhere far and exotic. Trancoso, Brazil’s rustic-chic Bahia beauty is a seaside town that knows how to party year round. If you can’t get a room at Uxua, the town’s most stylish sleep, you can still grab a drink at their beach bar made from rebuilt fishing boats found on the property. Another splurge-worthy spot to blow your Christmas bonus? The Maldives. See in the New Year by seaplane and hole up the family in an over water bungalow for a week of diving, swimming and spa-ing. Or head to Chang Mai to do some mahout training at Maesa Elephant Camp – now is as good a time as any to get up close with these gentle giants. At night, join in the magical New Year’s Eve ceremony of traditional Thai lanterns being released over the river into the sky, symbolic of this year’s worries floating away. An admirable way to ring in 2014.
Where will you spend NYE? We’re still deciding.