Help me plan my New Year’s Eve…
My New Year’s Eves have been terrible the past three years – so I’m going to fly away for it this time.
Last year I was in a London bar so busy that despite it being a free bar I only managed to get three drinks all night. Every sweaty 45-minute trip to fetch one came with the risk of being crushed pancake-flat.
The year before I played scrabble and was in bed by about 10 minutes past midnight. Don’t spend the evening with friends with children if you want excitement.
And the year before that I was in bed by about 9.30pm because I was ill. Don’t leave the house with wet hair when it’s below freezing was the moral of that story.
I am determined to get it right as 2013 turns into 2014. But I have a couple of important decisions to make. The first is what kind of New Year treat I want – do I want to unwind, indulge or party. Or all three… hmm.
And the second is where to go. I have lofty dreams which aren’t, to be fair all realistic but in an ideal world I’d be choosing from the following nine choices. Which won’t sound too impressive as an exercise in short-listing, but you’ll see in a moment why I’m struggling to rule out any of them.
Twin Palms Phuket in Phuket, Thailand
A renowned Thai party island and a hotel that knows how to give its guests an unforgettable night. Certainly a strong option especially as I’ll be able to lie on the beach all day to recover. The New Year’s Eve beach barbecue swiftly followed by a beach party with cocktails, djs and food fit for a King… very tempting indeed!
Villa le Maschere in Florence, Italy
Florence is a magical place designed for special occasions. And this hotel is one of the city’s finest. The New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner & Wellness package appeals because the wellness centre here is wonderful, they offer a discount on spa treatments, the restaurant AND shopping, and a gala dinner here is guaranteed to be a classy evening with ball gowns, dancing and my favourite cuisine – Italian.
Refinery Hotel New York in New York, USA
Regular readers will know this is my favourite city in the world so perhaps it makes perfect sense for me to stay up all night on the hottest new roof top in New York with views of the Empire State Building as a backdrop. I’d have to splash out on an outfit as this is a favourite spot for fashionistas but then, I’d be in the right place to go shopping.
Hansar Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand
I love a Thai massage and you’ll probably not be surprised to hear that I think the best Thai massages are to be found in Thailand. And within Thailand the best of the best is at Hansar’s LUXSA Spa in Bangkok. I’d certainly start 2014 in a good mood.
Stapleford Park in Melton Mowbray, UK
Closer to home but no less luxurious is the Winter Warmer Day at Stapleford. On the plus side it’s a whole day of pampering with a full body hot stone massage, an Indian head massage, lunch and use of the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. The down side is I might be too relaxed and fall asleep before Big Ben strikes 12.
Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas
Last week I told you where I’ve been in America and Texas wasn’t on the list. Which means I’ve never walked through Zilker Park. Park doesn’t do the 351-acre delight justice. There’s a miniature train, a lake to canoe on, hiking trails, a botanical gardens, a sculpture garden and a whole lot more.
Perhaps I should spend December 31 enjoying this endless Austin treat.
Baros Maldives in Male, Maldives
Personally I think the older resorts in the Maldives do it best. And Baros has just turned 40 which is Maldives hotel terms makes it a founding father. Old-fashioned it isn’t though. This NYE I could be in the Indian Ocean as 2013 becomes 2014 enjoying some of the best scuba diving in the world. Indulgent? Yes. Especially when coupled with a sunset champagne cruise.
Hotel d’Inghilterra in Rome, Italy
Food glorious food (and Moet Chandon) at this hotel. On offer is about as opulent an evening as one could hope for. The special NYE menu includes grilled scallops, raviolo with lobster in crab sauce and crispy squid, risotto with oysters, caviar, beef fillet with fat liver and Barolo sauce… oh dear I’m salivating. And that’s even before I’ve got to the incredible-sounding chocolate symphony.
Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, USA
I saw a photo of the new rooftop bar at this hotel, which has just had a £20m overhaul, and it screams indulgent New Year’s Eve to me. With an elevated pool with cabanas, a gourmet restaurant and unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean I wouldn’t have to move far all day and all night.
My boyfriend Henry, who will be coming with me, says I’m not allowed to discuss it with him till I’ve narrowed it down to three choices. Which would you choose? HELP!