IN the UK, the upcoming New Year’s Eve will be the first without any government-imposed guidelines in three years. To celebrate, top hotels will be breaking out the Champagne.
“It will be an extra special occasion this year,” says Kurt Macher, general manager of London’s Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, which has spectacular views of the fireworks over the river and several parties inside the hotel itself, complete with DJs and a five-piece band. The hotel — which starts on level 34 and occupies 18 floors of Western Europe’s tallest building — is ordering more champagne than in years past in preparation for the parties, which start at £250 a person — up from £180 in 2019.
“People are excited to celebrate and enjoy the normality of a real big party,” says Daniel Baernreuther, general manager of the five-star Gleneagles resort in Scotland, which is offering a three-night Scottish New Year’s break from £7,585 ($9,223). Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the old year, is an annual highlight for many locals.
What you get for almost £8,000 is a traditional celebration with food and entertainment, complete with a military pipe band in full Scottish dress. For guests, the dress code is “black tie or a touch of tartan,” and drinks will flow in the Century Bar. There’s dinner, dancing and the party ends with a late night feast at 2 a.m. This year, there will be fireworks; last year, the display was canceled at the last minute as the Scottish Government announced the return of 1-meter social distancing just days before the big bash.
“We’re bringing the dance floors back,” says Mr. Baernreuther. He’s also excited to welcome back American guests, who traditionally make up 30% of the guests in the hotel. They’ve been missing in recent years due to pandemic travel restrictions but started to return this summer.
Cliveden is also no stranger to throwing huge soirees. The stately home-turned-luxury-hotel (and home to the start of the Profumo affair in the ’60s when a high-ranking member of the UK government was involved with a teenage model that prompted national security fears) will host a two-night New Year’s Eve Party (from £2,900), with decadent celebrations to ring in the new year, including a champagne-flowing Black Tie Ball along with a four-course dinner and dancing into the morning.
The next day, there will be a brunch “at leisure” to help clear the inevitable Champagne hangover. The party continues on Jan. 1 with another glamorous drinks reception and three-course dinner. The hotel says it’ll be like the parties that former owner Nancy Astor used to have with live music and ball gowns.
“People are definitely more keen to make the best of it and celebrate in style,” says Cliveden’s general manager Francisco Macedo. “Something that Covid has shown us is that life is too short and that’s definitely a mindset that’s shaping travel experiences.” He says the majority of guests there over the holidays become regulars in the 48-bedroom property.
What are managers looking forward to in the new year? Simply a sense of things returning to normal.
“There has been so much change over the past couple of years that getting a steady year in where there’s no COVID or no curveballs would be amazing,” says Mr. Baernreuther. —Bloomberg