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How it’s already been two decades since the new millennium we don’t know. For a double-decade New Year worth remembering, we’re looking for the most out-of-the-way, extravagant US destinations in which to ring it in. Whether you want to dance on a table in espadrilles in Palm Springs or in ski boots in Alaska, our picks will ensure you don’t start the year off waiting a long queue for a lacklustre nightclub.
Ring in 2020 in the US’s most unusual New Year’s Eve locations
1. Canyon Point, Utah
To end the year on a high note, there’s probably nothing better than bathing in the colours of a magnificent desert sunset before a sheet of stars fills the sky. To make the most of your natural surroundings here, spend New Year at Amangiri, perhaps one of the alluring destination hotels in the entire country – don’t be surprised if your hungover breakfast neighbour on 1 January is an up-and-coming Netflix star. The resort offers tented pavilions, suites and even four-bedroom desert houses that you can rent out for a holiday blowout en famille. Outdoor fires, Zen design and five-star cocktails are all on the menu, as well as once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as horseback riding to Amangiri’s Chinle Site for dinner in the desert before the countdown to midnight. On New Year’s Day, if you’re not tanning by the stone pool, one of the most striking pieces of land in the US is also a couple hours’ drive away: the warped, rosy-orange earth that forms Antelope Canyon on Navajo territory in Arizona is absolutely not to be missed if you’re in the area.
2. Chugach State Park, Alaska
Watching the ball drop in New York on NYE seems so passé, so this year we’re looking for a far-flung, hard-to-reach destination to enjoy (and then humble-brag about). Escaping to Alaska with our nearest and dearest seems like our best bet to do so. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is a 45-minute plane ride away from Anchorage, and once there, you’ll feel completely and utterly isolated. Spend the last few days of 2019 jetting down unmarked swathes of powder after being deposited by a helicopter, then unwind and thaw your fingers and toes with a yoga class or in the sauna and copper hot tub. On the eve itself, dinner will be the main event, where you can count down to midnight with Kachemak Bay oysters, gourmet scallop dishes and chianti from the lodge’s 500-bottle cellar.
3. Palm Springs, California
If there’s any word to describe Palm Springs at New Year, it’s got to be glam. Whether you’re heading to a private disco pool party in sequinned trousers or will be dining out before dancing under the stars by a bonfire at your hotel, any 31 December experience here will feel exclusive and utterly fabulous. For an evening surrounded by the bright young things who have gotten out of Los Angeles for the holiday, hit up the Ace Hotel to dance the night away by the swimming pool. Those looking for a slightly more elevated evening should head to adults-only Sparrows Lodge for an outdoor communal dinner followed by cocktails on pool beds for a party worthy of a David Hockney painting. Given Palm Springs’ reputation as a spa weekend hideaway, it’s the ideal place to make the most of your surroundings – smoothies, yoga and massages will take you all the way into 2020.
4. North Fork, Long Island, New York
Unless you’re invited to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Tribeca loft for an intimate soirée, we highly recommend staying far away from NYC if you want to avoid the trials and tribulations of attempting to set up a night out downtown on New Year’s Eve. If you’re in the city and need an escape route, hop on the LIRR and head not to Montauk but to Long Island’s North Fork, a haven for farmstands, empty beaches and wineries. If your ideal New Year’s Eve scenario involves renting a house with your family and closest friends and a table covered with heaping plates of local food and full glasses of wine, you’ll have found your nirvana. The snow-capped cottages in tiny towns and expansive farm properties that make up this area mean you’ll be spoiled for choice (and have less competition) when booking a place, and will certainly not be bothered when you hole up by the fireplace as you transition into 2020.
5. Maui, Hawaii
For a sunny getaway that’s further afield that Soho Beach House and Nobu Malibu, jet to Maui for extravagant surroundings worthy of ringing in the dawn of a new decade. This Hawaiian island is equal parts dramatic luxury and landscapes, and the ideal spot for spending the end of 2019 hiking to jungle waterfalls and surfing in hidden coves. On New Year’s Eve itself, celebrate at Travaasa Hana hotel with an elaborate sunset meal before dancing the night away on the property’s grassy bluffs jutting out over black volcanic rock and crashing waves. 2020 is all about embracing the outdoors, so this stay is the best possible place to start things off on the right foot – with no televisions or even alarm clocks on-site, you can make the most of your time with afternoon naps under the sun and midnight swims.
6. Big Sky, Montana
For a New Year holiday à la Ralph Lauren, there’s no place that marries Western style and après-ski like Big Sky. Just north of Yellowstone National Park, the entire area is breathtaking, with snowy peaks, tall pines and log cabins making up much of the landscape. As the name suggests, this destination is defined by wide-open spaces, so prepare for endless days of skiing down untracked pistes (that just so happen to have the most consistent snow in the Rockies). Once you’ve tired out your legs on the 31st, settle in by the fire with a hot toddy before a hefty meal of local meats and cheeses and clinking champagne flutes at midnight. Dance on tables in your ski socks until the wee hours of the morning then wake up to a fresh sheet of snow to race through on the first day of the new year.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
While we’re doing our best to avoid big-city New Year scenarios (as they typically involve stressful crowds and unnecessary spending), New Orleans stands in a category of its own. Dance well past midnight – we’re talking 4am – to the sound of a live band charging through the city streets, and embrace the joie de vivre this city is so well known for to start 2020 on the most positive foot possible. In the run up to your night out (which, unlike elsewhere, is guaranteed to be a blast no matter where you end up) head to Bacchanal Wine. The outdoor music, spicy Louisiana Gulf shrimp and overflowing wine list will get you in the mood to party in no time.
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