In the grips of dreaded dry January? Of course you are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The party’s far from over in other parts of the world – you just need more than an Uber to get to them. Here, we pull back the velvet ropes on four of the hippest places to party in the first quarter of 2017, no holds-barred. Because let’s face it – after the emotional rollercoaster that was 2016, we all need a stiff drink and a little decadence.
Now in its 32nd year, the Winter Music Conference – held 21-24 March – sees the world’s slickest DJs descend on Miami Beach for a week of wild pool parties. While the star-studded line-up is yet to be confirmed, we have no doubt that this year’s will be no exception, with the who’s who of electronic dance sure to bring the noise. To be close to all the thumping beachside action, bag a room with a view at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, a plush property with awesome Art-Deco rooms, fine-dining restaurants manned by celebrated chefs, a 22,000-square-foot destination spa and a swimming pool flanked by a mammoth skeleton dipped in 24-carat gold. When it comes to soaking up the booze and healing those seriously hungover heads, the hottest spots in South Beach to eat at right now are Commonwealth – bacon marmalade burger, anyone? – and BRAVA by Brad Kilgore, which gives the concept of dinner and a show a contemporary twist. And with guaranteed sunshine to boot, this is about as far as you can get from bleak Britain circa now.
Dubbed ‘the next Ibiza’, Tulum on the Caribbean coast of Mexico has transformed in recent years from a secreted-away and sandy hippie paradise into a bustling hotspot packed with boutique shops, quirky bars and destination restaurants with long waiting lists. Check into Zamas, something of a brightly-coloured institution in the centre of Tulum and right next to the famous Mayan ruins, where groups of friends can book two-storey buildings for parties as posh as they are private. When it’s time to emerge, Gitano is the place to see and be seen, usually around dusk: sunset cocktails from the mescal bar include ‘gypsy disco’ (mescal, rum, lime, basil grenadine) and ‘stardust’ (mescal, dark rum, pineapple, papaya, coconut cream), sure to see teetering precariously on the way out. With a clientele of fashion editors and stylists, hippy vibes come in the form of designer dresses fashioned as such, so dress to impress. January is just perfect, the weather hot but not humid, while the pace ramps up for a party atmosphere against one of the most Instagrammable backdrops in the world.
You usually associate the tropical Caribbean locale of Saint Martin more with gently-lapping waves than all-night raves. But the latter is exactly what’s in the pipeline at the second SXMusic Festival – named after the island’s airport code and taking place from 9-13 March – which will see some of techno’s biggest and best jet in for seriously stellar sets. The schedule is already looking like many a night to remember – or not? – with names like Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge locked down, while temperatures remain at a consistent 80-degrees year-round. And with parties that incorporate some of the island’s most picturesque scenery – from the beach to the bay – the festival is the perfect way to simultaneously see the sights, too. For some much-needed R&R, recuperate afterwards within the peaceful and rather fancy environs of Belmond La Samanna, perfectly positioned overlooking the azure-blue waters on the western side. Book one of the beautiful beachside cabanas in which to chill out and watch the sun sink in the horizon, chilled coconut water in-hand. Trust us – you’ll need the downtime if you’re to last the full five days of the festival.
There’s a reason those Australians are so damn happy during New Year. And that’s because while we’re in the most depressing depths of winter they’re enjoying the head heights of mid-summer. So grin and bear the epic journey if you’re based in Europe – we suggest turning left on the plane rather than right to get off on the right foot – and tan your skin alongside the taut and toned bodies in Noosa. Positioned just so on the Sunshine Coast in southeast Queensland, it’s an unashamedly swanky resort town beloved by the beach elite. So forget any notions you have of board shorts and surf boards. Seahaven Noosa is our super-stay of choice, straddling both bustling Hastings Street behind it and the crystalline beach in front of it, with a recent renovation ensuring glitz and glamour at every turn. For dinner and many a drink – all with views, of course – head to Embassy XO, where the sea breeze sets the scene for delicious dim sum and creative cocktails with an Asian twist. When morning breaks, make like a true Aussie and indulge in a hearty brunch at one of the many spots along Hastings Street, where gorgeously green avocado comes as standard.
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? Yeah, that’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best parts and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local. Eat your heart out, shop ‘til you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
Join us as we travel the globe, uncovering up and coming destinations while revisiting the classics in a fresh light. We’ll take you everywhere – from frigid expeditions on the Faroe islands to weird and wonderful bachelorette parties in Vegas.
We'll tell you where you can find the perfect boutique hotel in Paris for under €100, if you tell us about the best dive bar in your city. Deal? Share your stories and photos with #SUITCASEtravels.