Inspiration • November 2015
Add some sparkle to the start of 2016, says Alicia Miller, assistant editor at Sunday Times Travel Magazine, by counting down to the new year at one of these hotels
Is there anywhere more iconic than NY-Times Square? For years this tourist hotspot Dayglo what devoid of decent Crashpads, but That Changed With The Opening of The Knickerbocker, a refurbished Beaux-Arts gem, in early 2015. So this year, if you'd rather not count down among the crowds, you can do so from above in your understated, neutral-hued room. Better still, watch the ball drop from a glitter 'Sky Pod' in the hotel's 725sqm rooftop bar St Cloud. Doubles from £ 175th
Hogmanay is Edinburgh's signature celebration, but you do not have to be in the heart of the city to do it justice. Just 90 minutes away, revel in true Scottish style at Gleneagles, where roaring fires, whiskey drams and swathes of tartan meet a lavish spa and Michelin-starred restaurant. On New Year's Eve day you can pass the hours with rifle-shooting lessons or Champagne tasting; by night join a black-tie feast before hitting the dancefloor until the wee hours. Three-night all-inclusive (food and entertainment) New Year's Eve Package from £ 4.340 / room.
In a country famous for the Northern Lights, you wouldn’t think they’d blast off tons of fireworks on New Year’s Eve – but that’s exactly what Icelanders do. After taking to the streets for a brenna (bonfire), Reykjavik residents paint the inky sky in rainbows of pink, green and blue. Join the fun around the Hallgrimskirkja church, or if the cold is biting, retire to monochrome, swish 101 Hotel to celebrate with another Icelandic tradition – a brennivín (aquavit) by the roaring fire or a New Year’s seafood feast. Doubles from £255.
BA has launched a new service to Reykjavik flying from Terminal 5, three times a week on an Airbus A320.
New Year’s Day itself is the big party in the Bahamas: the nation’s version of Mardi Gras takes place every 1 January, electrifying the streets of Nassau with raucous ‘junkanoo’ parades. Dancers in kaleidoscopic costumes clang cowbells and thump goatskin drums, then everyone heads to the beach for fireworks. But make your base the Atlantis mega-resort on Paradise Island, and you’ll also get a party the night before: the family-friendly complex hosts not only its own parade, but also a New Year’s Eve casino gala late into the night. Doubles from £160, tickets £650pp for casino gala.
New Year's Eve in the Sahara Desert is a show-stopper thanks to festivities at bohemian pad Auberge Café du Sud, Merzouga. Expect a riot of traditional music and a typical south Moroccan feast full of spice and date-laced sweetness. You'll be needing the Energy: Chances are you'll stay up for the epic sunrise over the golden dunes. Only then will you wander to your back traditional desert tent to start 2016 with some shut-eye. Doubles from £ 25pp half-board.
Madrid’s sprawling main plaza, Puerta del Sol, is the hub for thousands of carousing Spaniards every 31 December. But the biggest party of the year in Spain’s capital needn’t be all about sipping cava in the streets – take to the city’s grand hotels for the ever-popular galas, where well-heeled Madrileños dress to the nines and trade the cava for top Champagne. Under the domed, stained glass ceiling at the Westin Palace, take down a multi-course, multi-Michelin-starred menu. Last year, it was designed by chef Toño Pérez, whose courses were laced with the likes of truffle and foie gras. Doubles from £125.
The British Airways Luxury World Sale is now on. Enjoy great deals when you book a seat in First or Club World before 17 November 2015. For more details, visit ba.com