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5 extravagant ways to spend New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is always a momentous occasion, but if there’s ever been a year we’re looking forward to leaving behind and moving onto more positive times ahead, it’s 2020. As most of our holidays have been written off by the pandemic, this New Year deserves to be seen in with some serious style – we’re usually all about staying small, but this calls for ‘the bigger, the better’ when it comes to end of year celebrations.

Hot Tub Holidays

Taking social bubbling to a whole new, luxurious level, these boutique hotels with outdoor hot tubs offer the perfect firework vantage points – let the champagne flow as freely as these warming waters.

Hotel Zur Goldenen Rose, Italy…Dip into the New Year from this high altitude Dolomites retreat, with its heated whirlpool and extensive wellness area surrounded by glaciers. You can even request to spend the night in a cosy igloo for an unforgettable winter wonderland experience.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, New Zealand…Boasting the best spot on the shores of mountain-backed Lake Wakatipu, be sure to book The Penthouse for its spacious open-air tub, private pool terrace, personal chef and round-the-clock butler.

Hotel Rangá, Iceland…Just two hours south-east of Reykjavik, you might just be able to hear the bells and ship horn blowing from the Icelandic capital’s harbour ringing in the New Year, from the outdoor geothermal hot tubs while taking in the volcano views and if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights.

El Lodge Ski and Spa, Spain…This Alpine-style boutique retreat in Sierra Nevada’s enchanting landscape redefines log cabin luxury, with its heated pools, sauna and steam baths, an après-ski Sun Deck, and cosy interiors kitted out with vintage ski posters – not to mention ski-in ski-out access to 45 pistes and six off-piste runs.

Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse, Japan…After enjoying some of the best powder skiing in the world, warm weary muscles in one of the nearby onsen or the hotel’s thermal pool. For a truly relaxing New Year’s Eve, soak up the snow-dusted views from the ofuro in the Master Bathroom.

Le Refuge de la Traye, France…Hidden away in the Alps with easy access to the famous slopes of Les 3 Vallées, this Savoie-inspired collection of eco-luxury chalets is a fairytale home-from-home for the holiday season. Opt for the Edelweiss Cottage for peak privacy, and panoramic views from the outdoor Jacuzzi with a glass of fine Savoyard wine in hand.

Castle Celebrations

Begin the New Year feeling like royalty at these hotels with history, from celebrating Hogmanay in the Scottish Highlands to tasting kransekage in a Danish castle.

Inverlochy Castle, Scotland…The Scots certainly know how to celebrate the last day of the year, and what better setting than a 19th-century castle with Ben Nevis and a private loch as a backdrop. Hogmanay celebrations at Inverlochy Castle begin with a morning of clay pigeon shooting, followed by mince pies, mulled wine, afternoon tea, and a champagne reception. Dance the night away to the traditional tunes of the Picts Ceilidh Band, before a Highland Piper serenades the start of the new year at midnight – accompanied by bacon rolls, of course.

Crossbasket Castle, Scotland…Step into a world of smooth whisky and soaring turrets at this clotted-cream coloured castle overlooking the waterfalls of River Calder. Explore the tranquil grounds of this vast estate by day, before tucking in to a festive feast prepared by the Roux family in the original rooms of the castle.

Schlosshotel Kronberg, Germany…Originally built in 1893 as the home to Empress Victoria Friedrich, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, this history-laden castle makes a grand first impression. Gather round the fireplace in the Great Hall to toast the New Year, or spend the evening in the hotel’s rustic Alpine cabin enjoying late-night Bavarian snacks and Swiss raclette.

Domaine des Etangs, France…With its elegant turrets, sweeping grounds and magical setting between forest and lake, this château in the Charente countryside is fit for royalty. Make your first and last meals of the year moments to remember at the Michelin-starred Dyades restaurant, where the menu changes daily based on the seasonal ingredients locally available.

Kokkedal Castle Copenhagen, Denmark…Leap into the New Year (according to Danish tradition, this symbolises overcoming challenges in the year to come) from this 18th-century castle on the Danish Riviera, just half an hour from Copenhagen‘s legendary firework display. Sit down to a festive lunch, or Julefrokoster, beside crackling log fires on selected Fridays and Saturdays in December.

Rooftop Revelry

Take in some of the world’s prettiest sky-lines as they’re lit up for New Year at these panoramically perfect rooftop hotels, where you’ll have the best seats in the house to watch the sun set on 2020.

Vintry & Mercer, UK…This sleek city retreat with interiors featuring bespoke fabrics boasts some of the best views over the London skyline from its Mercer Roof Terrace, which can be enjoyed from two winter igloos by groups of up to six this holiday season.

The Norman, Israel…Though not officially recognised as a holiday in Israel, New Year’s Eve – or ‘Sylvester’ to locals, is becoming increasingly popular. This centrally placed set of 1920s residences are surrounded by beautiful Bauhaus architecture, best viewed from the hotel’s rooftop infinity pool.

Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, Dominican Republic…Enjoy some much needed Vitamin D (and sea) post-lockdown at this beachfront beauty on the Amber Coast, with its own private beach and rooftop infinity pool to soak up some winter sun.

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Spain…Dive into the New Year from the rooftop pool of this former 19th-century palace, set in a prime position in Palma‘s old town. Extend your stay until the 6th January to make the most of traditional Spanish feasting and fiestas for Three Kings Celebrations.

Hotel Sahrai, Morocco…With a name meaning ‘magic’ and a sublime hillside setting – promising views of minarets and the Medina – this palatial boutique overlooks the storied streets of Fez from an expansive rooftop, panoramic pool area, and balmy terraces.

Lumiares Hotel and Spa, Portugal…Set within Lisbon‘s bohemian Bairro Alto district, and just 10 minutes away from the city’s biggest fireworks display at Praça do Comércio, sip on the hotel’s signature cocktails from the comfort of the Lumi Rooftop Bar.

Floating Festivities

All aboard 2021! Drift into the New Year on wave after wave of luxury with these boutique hotels offering exclusive yacht experiences – save our first water-based member, Kontiki Wayra, for next year’s extravaganza around Ecuador’s coastline.

The Nare Hotel, UK…You’ll be spoilt for choice on ways to explore Cornwall‘s picture-perfect Roseland Peninsula, with not one, but two boats available exclusively for guests – the Alice Rose, an elegant 38ft gentleman’s motor launch, or Maggie O’Nare, a 22ft Cornish Crabber. The white sandy beaches surrounding the hotel are at their quietest during the winter months, made for socially distanced strolls in the fresh sea air.

Petit St. Vincent, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines…For an utterly unplugged beginning to 2021, this Caribbean private island resort delivers laid-back, barefoot luxury without the distractions of modern-day technology. Charter one of the resort’s three Tiara yachts – Hera, Poseidon and Artemis – for a sunset cruise around nearby islands, or step aboard sailing sloop Beauty for a spot of deep sea fishing. Bring your catch back to the island for one of the chef’s to prepare for you, or cook it yourself, buccaneer-style, on the boat’s barbecue grill.

Milaidhoo Island, Maldives…Individual infinity pools, over-water villas, and a gourmet restaurant set in three Dhoni sailing boats, this UNESCO-protected private island is made for water lovers. Sail away to your own private deserted sandbank where a freshly prepared feast awaits, to see out 2020 beneath the pristine starry sky.

Beachfront Blowouts

Leave your last footprints in the sand of 2020 at these tropical hideaways, coastal retreats, and seaside sanctuaries for the most relaxing start to the New Year, and where ‘getting away from it all’ takes on a whole new meaning.

Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua Hin, Thailand…Wake up to 2021 in a hammock on your terrace watching the waves lapping the shore at this secluded getaway overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, home to a nature-inspired spa surrounded by swaying palms.

Barbuda Belle, Antigua & Barbuda…Only accessible by boat, this remote Caribbean retreat is made up of just a handful of cabana-style bungalows for the ultimate end of year escape – think pink sandy beaches, freshly caught seafood, and kayaking through mangroves.

Coral Reef Club, Barbados…A family owned, tropical retreat in expansive gardens on the beautiful West Coast, every room comes with a view – featuring private patios and balconies overlooking the pool, beach, or gardens rich in colourful bougainvillea. Recover from the festivities at the tranquil spa with a calming Lemongrass and Ginger Rub.

Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort, Mozambique…Dotted across an unspoilt arc of amber-coloured sand, the individual bungalows of this boutique beach resort gaze out to sea. Its shorefront spot makes it virtually impossible not to at least dip your toes in the ocean, which can also be admired from the bay-facing pool and private verandas.

Mi Amor, Mexico…On a cliff above the Caribbean Sea with Tulum’s lush jungle and ancient ruins in reach, the exotic cocktails flow from the beachfront bar while the infinity pool’s waterfall feature sets the naturally beautiful scene. While the end of the year away from the comfort of the daybed cabanas on the rocks, or by exploring the nearby Mayan ruins.

Koh Russey Villas & Resort, Cambodia…A blissful retreat on Cambodia’s remote Bamboo Island, the ocean is only ever a short walk away – after all, the island is little more than a mile wide – and nature is all around. For an unforgettable last night of the year, ask the staff about magical plankton swims or curl up with a film under the stars.