7 Unforgettable Cities to Ring in the New Year
From Sydney to Dubai, these destinations will welcome 2018 in style.
As the first big city to hit midnight, Sydney goes all out. More than one 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
9:00 p.m. family-friendly fireworks and the spectacular midnight show.”
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, Sousa suggests a stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden followed by sampling the morning’s fresh catch at waterfront restaurant Manta on Woolloomooloo Wharf.
The Hotel will host a New Year’s Eve party at GRAIN bar – complete with a DJ, champagne cocktails, a Bloody Mary menu, and seafood platters (think Sydney rock oysters, king prawns, and Mount Cook Alpine salmon). Mode Kitchen & Bar will also offer a five-course New Year’s Eve menu with dishes such as pea tart with Russian Ossetra caviar, Coorong beef tartare, miso butter marron lobster, and Wagyu rump with grilled oyster mushrooms.
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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 displays 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. “People sing, drink and party in bars like Dragon-i.”
While in town, Siu also suggests making reservations at Duddell’s for Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine; Inagiku at ifc for kaiseki, sashimi, and teppanyaki; Zuma for izakaya-style Japanese fare; and Mott 32 for traditional Chinese dishes like barbecue Iberico pork and Peking duck).
Guests at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong can welcome 2018 at the Cuba-inspired New Year’s Eve party at Blue Bar, which will feature music by DJ Re:Flex and complimentary favors like Panama hats and Cuban cigars. On the menu: seared salmon ceviche with Baikal caviar on toast; chicken and black truffle croquetas; lychee grapefruit mojitos; and king crab tacos with mango slaw.
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From its twinkling Christmas markets to its cozy fireside pubs, London is easily one of Europe’s most charming holiday escapes. 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 Aidan Monk, Assistant 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 sights, 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. When hunger strikes, sit down for a meal at The Ivy Tower Bridge restaurant, a British brasserie overlooking the River Thames, cozy up with a glass of mulled wine at The Blackfriar, or opt for a cup of coffee at Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market.
On New Year’s Eve, there will be champagne toasts, a jazz band, and a decadent dinner at the Hotel’s Michelin-starred French restaurant La Dame de Pic London. The next day, guests can enjoy brunch in the elegant Rotunda Lounge before watching the queen’s horses, floats, bands, and dancers parade through the capital during London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
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From its ornate temples and eclectic art galleries to its world-class food scene, Tokyo has earned its spot as one of the 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 be discovered.
“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 2018, the Hotel will host a Great Gatsby-themed countdown party on New Year’s Eve in its Motif Restaurant & Bar. Expect speakeasy-style cocktails and free-flowing champagne all night long.
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Home to the world’s tallest building and largest shopping mall, Dubai doesn’t hold back on extravagance. So, it’s no surprise the city has one of the most impressive New Year’s celebrations. In fact, in 2014 it even broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest firework display. “New Year’s is a great opportunity to celebrate the mix of cultures and people here,” says Maurice Githaga, Concierge Supervisor at
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. “I love exploring the city at this time of year, when the weather is comfortable and warm.” The Resort will host an ’80s-themed New Year’s Eve event that includes dinner in Dana Ballroom, retro disco at rooftop Mercury Lounge, and five courses of East Asian cuisine at the waterfront Sea Fu restaurant.
Guests can also explore the crop of major retail developments dotting the coastline surrounding 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, a Middle Eastern-style bazaar that sells eclectic jewelry and textiles. For views of the Burj Khalifa, visitors should opt for a tour around the lagoon bordering Souk Madinat aboard a traditional abra, a low-sitting wooden ferry boat.
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There’s nothing more iconic than the holiday season in New York City, from the whimsical window displays lining Fifth Avenue, the ice rink in Central Park, and the dropping of the ball in Times Square. At the crossroads of Tribeca and the Financial District, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown is a prime starting point for exploring Lower Manhattan’s seasonal events.
Start with some retail therapy at Brookfield Place and Westfield World Trade Center, and then explore the brand-new Louis Vuitton exhibit at the American Stock Exchange Building. “Blacktail and The Wooly Public, at the Woolworth Building next door, pour some of the city’s best craft cocktails,” says Nandini Rai, Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. The Aztec Hot Chocolate is a favourite at MarieBelle in SoHo, which serves it from a gilded European café hidden in the back of the shop.
Don’t miss the Hotel’s New Year’s Eve dinner at its signature restaurant, CUT by Wolfgang Puck. Specials include Austrian oxtail bouillon with French black truffles and bone marrow dumplings.
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Visitors to Buenos Aires should make sure to see a tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel, browse works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at Malba: The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, and watch a ballet or opera performance at Teatro Colón. On New Year’s Eve, the Puente de la Mujer bridge is the perfect spot for sweeping views of the fireworks over the Puerto Madero Waterfront, while the Recoleta neighborhood is a hotspot of 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 Anahi Falco, 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).”