Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year’s Eve Options Left

The weather has dumped snow on parts of the country, leaving many to change their plans for New Year’s celebrations.  Whether you have been forced to stick close to home or you are stuck in a city you didn’t expect to be in, here are some celebrations that sound like they will make you forget Mother Nature…

New York City
The snow isn’t going to stop the ball from dropping in Times Square, in fact, it looks like it may be even warming up a bit down there when the Carnival Cruise sponsored confetti goes flying.

A few rooms are left at a place I really enjoyed a few months ago, Hotel Elysée. Their package includes a deluxe room, a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot (a Spirits Traveler favorite) and a box of Leonidas Chocolates. It’s only a 15 minute walk to Times Square, or you can enjoy the quiet of the Parisian inspired hotel. In the morning, don’t skip out before enjoying their complimentary breakfast spread.  Full package information is available here, or call (212) 753-1066.
You can also stay at a suite at the The Manhattan Club, where their package will get you two night’s accommodations across the street from Carnegie Hall and a dining certificate good at any of six restaurants. Check out their website for availability and offers.
Las Vegas
If you are in Vegas, chances are snow is the very last thing on your mind. Those lucky enough to get into the grand opening party at sin-city’s newest hotel, The Cosmopolitan, will be treated to a concert that includes Coldplay and Jay-Z. If you didn’t get your invite, there’s still plenty to do in Vegas.

Tao at The Venetian has Kim Kardashian to help ring in the New Year. Tickets are $200 per person include appetizers, an open bar and a champagne toast.  The same deal is available at LAVO at the Palazzo; with Holly Madison leading the crowd for $150 pp. You can buy tickets for the clubs directly here, or go to The Venetian or Palazzo websites for information on weekend hotel packages. Additional parties are available in the other lounges and restaurants at both hotels. Fireworks will take place on the Vegas strip on New Year’s Eve.

Southern California
I spent a week at Harrah’s Atlantic City during the Food Network’s Food & Wine Festival this past summer and had a blast checking out the clubs and restaurants. I hope to check out more properties from this chain and one that has caught my eye is Harrah’s Rincon in northern San Diego. There isn’t a much better place to get great weather and they’ve got quite a New Year’s weekend planned with a special “Laughs In The New Year” theme, complete with comedians, dancing, prizes and a Surf and Turf dinner. Stick around until Sunday and you can see six-time Emmy winning comedian Lily Tomlin perform. Visit the hotel’s website for availability, tickets and packages.

The JW Marriott Chicago is offering a romantic New Year’s package that almost makes me want to take the two hour drive there. Guests are welcomed with cheese and chocolate truffles, before a cleansing and purifying spa treatment for two that includes massages. Then, it’s dinner at The Florentine, celebrity Chef Todd Stein has put together a four-course menu before the midnight Prosecco toast and party favors. Then, linger in the morning with a late 3:00 pm check-out.

Wherever you are staying, how about a seven course farm to table tasting menu from Chef Scott Walton? Markethouse Restaurant is offering this interesting menu for only $65 a person on New Year’s Eve. Visit the website for details and call 312-224-2200 for availability.  For a more formal dinner, try Michelin star-rated Sepia, where Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman has put together a dinner (available with or without wine pairings) that includes a Smoked Sturgeon in buttermilk, watercress and apple starter. Call (312) 441-1920 if you are interested in attending.

St. Maarten
As if basking in the Caribbean sun by day isn’t enough to entice you to St. Maarten, this island has a blockbuster New Year’s in store. In keeping with its desire to make their cruise port one of the largest and most welcoming, the harbor will be the spot of an elaborate firework display in honor of New Year’s Eve, which can be watched from the Great Bay Beach Boardwalk.  For more information on St. Maarten, visit the tourist bureau’s website.

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