New Year’s Eve is about new beginnings, impossible resolutions, and picking the perfect place to countdown to 2011. That’s why WE went in search of some of the hottest spots to spend the last night of this year. Whether you’re beach-side in Barcelona or braving the weather to watch the ball drop in Times Square, we found a few places to clink your glasses and sip the rarest champagnes, cordials and wines at the stroke of midnight.
Hotel Arts Barcelona: The newly opened Champagne Bar at Hotel Arts Barcelona will offer a complimentary glass of bubbly and a gourmet dinner in the Gran Saló Gaudí room featuring classic Catalan dishes, such as white truffle cannelloni and fresh seafood with seawater, marine algae and citrus foam. At midnight, guests are invited to participate in Twelve Grapes—the Spanish holiday tradition dating back to 1909 in which revelers eat a grape at the stroke of midnight. According to the tradition, the ceremony is believed to ward away evil and lead to a year of prosperity. The Champagne Bar at Hotel Arts will be open to the public on New Year’s Eve from 12 pm–2 am. The price for the dinner is $450.
Il Palazzetto Restaurant & Wine Bar (Rome): Celebrate the holidays in the Eternal City and home of some of the best wine regions in the world. Ring in the New Year at Il Palazzetto—a 16th-century, five-story palazzo that’s an extension of Hotel Hassler. It hosts the International Wine Academy of Roma, where various wine-tasting classes are led by sommeliers Roberto Wirth and Ian D’Agata. The New Year’s Celebration Package at Il Palazzetto Restaurant & Wine Bar includes a three-night stay, daily breakfast, one bottle of Franciacorta Storica ’61 and a five-course dinner complete with raw fish canapés, crab and Aubergine ravioli and leg of deer. The pricey package ($2,251) is valid for arrival from December 29–31.
ART Lounge (Seattle): With floor to ceiling windows overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the ART Lounge at the Four Seasons hotel in Seattle might just be one of the most picturesque places to ring in 2011. ART will offer more than 160 bottles of wine on New Year’s Eve to guests, including a Calon Segur, St. Estèphe 2005 Bordeaux and Pio Cesare. It’s also the only restaurant/lounge to serve Dom Pérignon’s limited edition Andy Warhol tribute bottles. From 9 pm to 2 am. The pre-party dinner menu from 5:00–6:30 pm is $65; Champagne dinner is 7:30–9:30 pm, $125; Champagne pairing is an additional $65.
The Backyard at Langham Place Mongkok (Hong Kong): The Backyard, a 6,000-square-foot outdoor wine and cocktail bar, is a great place to sip on three hours of free-flowing Laurent-Perrier Champagne for just $56, or ask to see the recently opened Ming Cellar, which contains more than 350 wines from 16 countries and 90 regions.
The Library Bar (London): At The Library Bar at The Lanesborough Hotel, visit the wine and spirits room, where there’s a “Liquid History” collection of vintage Cognacs. It houses the oldest known bottle of Cognac in the world—a 1770 Cognac from the days of Marie Antoinette and Beethoven. On New Year’s Eve, there will be a tasting of a selection of Cognacs paired with Cuban cigars. Priced at $758, the event includes dinner, dancing and the Library Bar cocktails with your choice of champagne or cognacs.