As the first big city to hit midnight, Sydney goes all out. More than 1 million revellers line its shores to watch the boat parade, the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show and the iconic fireworks over the Sydney Opera House.
“Sydney is by far the best city to celebrate New Year’s Eve,” says Jorge Sousa, Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. “It’s always fun to pack a picnic and find a harbourside park to watch the family-friendly fireworks and the spectacular midnight show.”
At Mode Kitchen & Bar, diners will celebrate the new year with three- or four-course meals created by Head Chef Francesco Mannelli. Guests can savour Sydney Rock Oysters, Raw Scampi, Radish & Sea Succulents and Grilled Wagyu Mayura Station Tri Tip MB9 before ending the evening with a Dark Chocolate & Tasmanian Cherry Pavlova – with a glass of Champagne, of course.
For the next morning, Sousa recommends a day trip to explore the Hunter Valley wine region, just two hours outside Sydney. December through February is the summer harvest season, so it’s the perfect time to taste Australian vintages. For those who prefer to stay local, he suggests a stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden followed by sampling the morning’s fresh catch at waterfront restaurant Manta on Woolloomooloo Wharf.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
You wouldn’t expect New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas to be a subtle affair, now, would you? The entire Strip is closed to traffic starting at 4:00 pm, creating a party zone 4 miles (6 kilometres) long for up to 375,000 people. Come midnight, you can watch an astonishing 80,000 fireworks hit the sky within less than 10 minutes.
Over on Fremont Street, the iconic America’s Party is a slightly less frenzied carnival. Expect a live performance from The Killers, pyrotechnics displays and one of the largest digital screen in the world beaming in images from Times Square, New York, as the clock ticks to midnight and 2020 begins.
For a look back, try Atomic Liqueurs, one of the oldest bars in the city, offering retro New Year’s cocktails, a laid-back crowd and décor that the Rat Pack would commend – plus a rooftop area that’s ideal for watching the lights scatter in the sky.
“For elevated cuisine and views to match, Rivea is a great spot,” says Chief Concierge Patrick Ritschard. “After dinner, have drinks at Skyfall Lounge and take in the drama of The Strip at night, lit by fireworks. Skyfall offers a great lounge atmosphere that is a bit more relaxed than a traditional club setting.”
With its soaring skyscrapers, majestic junk boats and aerial island views, Hong Kong has an undeniable magic. New Year’s Eve kicks off with A Symphony of Lights – a multimedia show including a new soundtrack performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra – followed by showstopping fireworks over Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay and Victoria Harbour.
For drinking and dining out, “the best New Year’s Eve parties are in Lan Kwai Fong,” says Mandy Siu, Assistant Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, referring to a popular maze of streets in the city’s centre. “People sing, drink and party in bars like Dragon-i.”
Siu also suggests making reservations at Duddell’s for Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine; Shikigiku at ifc for kaiseki, sashimi and teppanyaki; Zuma for izakaya-style Japanese fare; or Mott 32 for traditional Chinese dishes like barbecued Ibérico pork and Peking duck.
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
With its twinkling Christmas markets and cosy fireside pubs, London is easily one of Europe’s most charming holiday settings. On New Year’s Eve, more than 12,000 fireworks light up the London Eye and Big Ben as onlookers sing “Auld Lang Syne.” “It’s quite a gathering and time to come together,” says Stephanie Raimbault, General Manager of La Dame de Pic London at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. “No matter how frozen they are, people line the river boats, bridges and rooftops to watch.”
Set in the heart of the city, the Hotel is steps away from some of London’s most historic sites, such as Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Stroll along St Katharine’s Docks, a historic 1828 marina that is now home to restaurants and stores, before browsing the high-end boutiques at The Royal Exchange. Sit down for a meal at The Ivy Tower Bridge restaurant, a British brasserie overlooking the River Thames; cosy up with a glass of mulled wine at The Blackfriar; or hold a cup of coffee at Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market.
On New Year’s Eve, there will be Champagne toasts and a decadent dinner at the Hotel’s Michelin-starred French restaurant, La Dame de Pic London. The next day, guests can enjoy breakfast in the elegant Rotunda Lounge before watching the queen’s horses, floats, bands and dancers file through the capital in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
With its ornate temples, eclectic art galleries and world-class food scene, Tokyo has earned its spot as one of the world’s top culture capitals. Although New Year’s is a quieter time in the city, with some museums and restaurants closed for the holiday, there is still much to discover.
“Areas like Roppongi and Shibuya, where there are a lot of Japanese pubs, will be crowded with young people,” says Akhil Tiwari, Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi. “Personally, I really enjoy Cotton Club, a short walk from the Hotel, for its live jazz in the evenings.” Tiwari also suggests taking a trip to the Sensō-ji temple for hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year.
To welcome 2020, the Hotel will host a James Bond–themed countdown party on New Year’s Eve in its Motif Restaurant & Bar. Expect free-flowing Champagne and Vesper martinis all night long.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo
Home to the world’s tallest building until 2020 and a shopping mall in the top five for size, Dubai doesn’t hold back on its impressive New Year’s celebration. In 2014 it broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest fireworks display.
“New Year’s is a great opportunity to celebrate the mix of cultures and people here,” says Peter Wharmby, Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. “We now have our own fireworks display at the Resort from our private beach.” Anyone celebrating at Mercury Lounge has views of both the Resort’s show and the city’s spectacular.
Guests can also explore the crop of major retail developments along the same coastline as the Resort, including La Mer, a 13.4 million–square-foot dining and retail space.
Further down the Arabian Gulf, you’ll find the Dubai Marina’s glamorous waterfront promenade as well as Souk Madinat, an Arabic-style bazaar that sells eclectic jewellery and textiles. For views of the Burj Khalifa, visitors should take a tour around the lagoon bordering Souk Madinat aboard a traditional abra, a low-riding wooden ferryboat.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Buenos Aires presents visitors with a “big three”: See a tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel; see works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at Malba: The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires; and see a ballet or opera performance at Teatro Colón.
On New Year’s Eve, the Puente de la Mujer bridge is ideal for sweeping views of the fireworks over the Puerto Madero Waterfront, while the while the Palermo Soho neighbourhood is a hotspot for nightclubs and dance parties.
“On New Year’s Day, we have walking tours of Buenos Aires as well as day trips to San Antonio de Areco, a charming countryside town 75 miles from the city,” says Maria José Iturralde, Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. “Here, we can arrange a traditional asado (barbecue) and a gaucho-led horseback tour around the area’s estancias (cattle ranches).”
Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
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