International events set the stage for excitement on New Year’s Eve.
Who wouldn’t want to be in Florence for New Year’s Eve? At the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, a gala Studio 54 party and buffet dinner befits the palatial setting. Break out those platform shoes and your best Hustle moves as you dance to 70s hits from a live DJ.
An Italian tradition, the eating of cotechino (a large pork sausage) at midnight is being celebrated at the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita Ligure. A special menu will be served in the luxury hotel’s waterview Vistamare restaurant in anticipation of the midnight cotechino with lentils. This, together with New Year’s sweets are said to bring best wishes for the year ahead. The celebration continues after midnight with live music in the lounge.
At the dazzling Hakkasan Shanghai, music sets the tone for the New Year’s Eve. Stroll along the Bund to your table at the restaurant where you’ll enjoy an exclusive menu of Chinese creations including Wagyu beef dumplings, hot and sour soup with foie gras, and stir-fry Australian lobster with truffle sauce, accompanied by a medley of musical styles throughout the evening. Guest singer Redic joins DJ Kadwell along with live pipa and saxophone players. At midnight, step outside to watch the fireworks and laser light show over the Huangpu River. If this whets your appetite for more, the Chinese New Year celebration for the Year of the Dog begins a little over two weeks later.
Ring in the New Year under the stars on the banks of the River of Kings at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s Riverside Terrace. The black-tie evening kicks off with welcome cocktails at the Author’s Lounge garden and continues with a gala international dinner, dancing, and world-class entertainment by the renowned Sun Band. Just before midnight, guests return outdoors to count down to 2018 and view the fireworks over the Chao Phraya River.
Everyone thinks of Tokyo’s version of Times Square, Shibuya Crossing, as the place to be when in Japan on New Year’s Eve. But many choose to visit a more spiritual place to avoid the chaos, if not the crowds. Locals observe a tradition of Hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year. At the shrine, a talisman with the previous year’s zodiac sign is burned, a ritual called Otakiage, and is replaced with a new one with the zodiac animal of good fortune for the year ahead. Listening to Joya-no-Kane,108 rings of the ōgane great bell at the temple, is part of the visit with each ring “ringing away” an evil passion or desire (bonnou) for a clean start to the year. The Japanese celebration continues with the customary slurping of bowls of toshikoshi or “the end-of-the-year-and-into-the-next” soba noodles, symbolizing the bridge between the “old year” and “new year.” The shape and length of soba are associated with a lean and long life. As soba noodles are easier to cut than other noodles, eating them is said to symbolize “cutting away bad luck.”
Tropically elegant Carmen Cartagena offers a seven-course tasting menu inspired by local ingredients and created especially to celebrate New Year's Eve. The Colombian tradition, or superstition, is to eat 12 grapes, each representing a wish for the new year and good luck throughout the 12 months to come. At the restaurant's midnight toast, servers hand out grapes as diners listen to the pop and crackle of the Cartagena fireworks.
In the Grenadine Islands, the private-island Young Island Resort rings in 2018 with an island-style New Year’s Eve Party. Guests will enjoy a gourmet buffet dinner, steel pan music, DJ, dancing, a bonfire and fireworks at midnight.
Dubai is known for its mesmerizing New Year's Eve fireworks display that lights up the iconic Burj Khalifa. For New Year's Eve 2018, the celebration will be even more spectacular with a #LightItUp laser show that will attempt to break a Guinness World Record. If you can’t visit Downtown Dubai in person, you can watch a livestream at www.mydubainewyear.com.