House parties may have become your new normal, but if you want to venture out this New Year’s Eve – it is the end of the decade, after all – consider these celebrations that cater to every personality and pocket.
NYE celebrations in Dubai
The Bungalow Beach Bar for the party animal
Extending over two floors, The Bungalow Beach Bar at La Mer is throwing its doors open to 2,000 guests. The music is courtesy of FRSH, Cove Beach Dubai’s famed Friday hip-hop dance party, which took over Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis in Las Vegas in May. DJ Dany Neville will recreate the vibe at The Bungalow for NYE, even as sharing platters of edamame, sliders, salads tacos and quesadillas make the rounds.
All the dancing aside, partygoers can also expect two fireworks displays: the one at La Mer, as well as two custom-built fireworks boats.
The Bungalow has six packages: the Fun package will get you a seat on the ground floor and ranges from Dh300 (for unlimited house beverages from 7pm to midnight or from midnight to 3am) to Dh500 (for unlimited house beverages from 7pm to 3am). The On the Deck package includes canapes and sharing dishes, and ranges from Dh400 to Dh700. VIP tables are also available. If you book before midnight on December 25, use the promo code "MERRYCHRISTMAS" to get a 25 per cent discount. Reservations can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 054 994 7971.
Dinner afore dancing at Bulgari Hotel
Seafood fans can head to the Yacht Club restaurant at Bulgari Hotel, redone in a theme of blue and gold for the evening, to enjoy Italian food and post-dinner festivities. The set menu is inspired by family recipes from the Amalfi Coast. These include Italian crudo – langoustine, Sicilian red prawns and scallops – served with Oscietra caviar; a lobster and courgette flower filled with black truffle antipasto; white truffle risotto with sunchoke and Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse cheese; grilled turbot with confit potatoes and porcini mushroom; and douceur salted caramel with creme anglaise and vanilla ice cream for dolce. Post-midnight, head to the Gala Di Capodanno after-party for live music and dancing. The menu costs Dh1,300 for food, Dh1,700 with sommelier pairing and Dh2,000 with bubbly. Reservations can be made by contacting email@example.com or calling 04 777 5433.
Exclusive eats at Caesars Bluewaters
If it's a fine meal you're after and cost is no bar, consider Paru by Korean-born American chef Akira Back. The rooftop restaurant at Caesars Bluewaters, which is dominated by an icy blue ceiling, made up of dozens of origami-style flowers, serves modern Japanese food. Paru will offer an eight-course Omakase menu against the backdrop of the JBR fireworks. Omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your order. Paru is serving its set – yet mysterious – menu from 8pm to 1am. Indoor seating costs Dh3,500 per person, including house beverages or Dh4,500 including bubbly; terrace or window seating costs between Dh4,000 and Dh5,000. Reservations can be made by calling 04 556 6666.
Middle Eastern flair at Khaymat Al Bahar
Catch the fireworks at Burj Al Arab alongside dabka and belly dancers at Khaymat Al Bahar, the beachside restaurant Jumeirah Al Qasr. The spread includes a mix of Lebanese and international dishes; think blueberry and feta salad, tabbouleh, fattoush and hummus, and boneless legs of lamb. Elsewhere, enjoy a whole roast of turkey and Peking duck, or head to the chilled seafood live station, which has poached prawns, baby octopus, Alaskan king crab, New Zealand mussels and Fine de Claire oysters. Healthy fare comes in the form of a broccoli and potato soup, plus three "superfood" dishes – macerated bocconcini, macerated buffalo mozzarella and seasoned burrata curd. The international section comprises sea bass, pappardelle, cauliflower gratin and seafood paella, plus prawn masala, dal makhani and biryani. Desserts are a mix of kunafa, Umm Ali and a Yule log. Khaymat Al Bahar is serving dinner between 8pm and 12.30am and has five packages, which cost Dh1,000 (soft beverages), Dh1,250 (indoor standard seating), Dh1,500 (outdoor standard seating or indoor premium seating), and Dh1,750 (outdoor premium seating). Reservations can be made by calling 800 666 353.
A la carte option at Amazonico
If set menus and buffets are not your thing, Dubai has several restaurants serving a la carte menus on NYE. A cool one still available to book is Madrid hotspot Amazonico, which opened in DIFC last month. The three-storey venue is awash with South American culture, from the plush, green interior inspired by the Amazon rainforest, to the Latin flavours of the menu. The main dining area aside, you can sit at the bar, in the lounge, at the sushi counter or on the terrace. The entertainment, we are told, is "jungle-inspired with drummers and wildly elec-tropical records", while the food is led by chef and concept creator Sandro Silva and his wife, chef Marta Seco.
Dishes that sound especially delectable include Andean root roasted in salt crust, beetroot, rocoto chilli and purple corn (Dh52), red snapper ceviche with avocado cream (Dh72) and crispy plantain with pulled veal (Dh82). Reservations can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 04 571 3999.
NYE celebrations in Abu Dhabi
End-of-year gala with St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
The annual New Year's Eve Gala Dinner is back at The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, with a Venetian Crush masquerade theme held in the sprawling Regal Ballroom. The 11-piece Ambassador band from the UK – who have supported and performed alongside artists such as RedOne, John Legend, Florence and the Machine, and Lily Allen – will bring their singers, drummers, guitarists, bass, keyboard, saxophone, trumpet and trombone players to the capital for the occasion. There will also be a fireworks display at midnight. The gala costs Dh1,950, including a 50-dish spread and selected beverages. Reservations can be made by contacting email@example.com or calling
02 498 8888.
One for keen adventurers at Sir Bani Yas Island
The Anantara resort on Sir Bani Yas Island, off the main city, offers a camping adventure and wilderness safari for those looking for a something a bit offbeat this New Year's Eve. This is no rustic set-up, though; revellers can expect to be entertained all over the premises thanks to a four-piece band, an al fresco carnival with live performers and a DJ, plus a lavish dinner in the Dhabi ballroom. A far cry from the resorts' eye-watering prices, this costs Dh2,500 for two people, including camping accommodation, a safari drive, dinner with house beverages until 12.30am and breakfast on Wednesday, January 1. Reservations can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 02 801 5266.
Fine fare at Shangri-La, Qaryat al Beri
If it's a gourmet meal you're after in the capital, head to the Shangri-La's French restaurant Bord Eau, which will wish its guests "bonne annee" with an eight-course dinner made up of exquisite meats and innovative flavour pairings. For Dh999, here's what you'll be served: foie gras terrine (with macadamia nuts, truffle gelee and raspberry candyfloss); burrata (with gold leaf, heirloom tomato and saffron yuzu vinaigrette); crab (with squid ink linguine and creamy bechamel sauce); lobster au gratin (with caviar, baby spinach and tarragon); a palate-cleansing citrus sorbet liquor; black Angus beef rib-eye (with maitre d'hotel butter, smoked carrot puree and Bordelaise sauce); Manjari chocolate ganache (with white chocolate namelaka and berries); and artisan chocolate mignardises and bon bons. The venue also has views of the fireworks. The meal will be served from 7pm and costs Dh999. Reservations can be made by contacting email@example.com or calling 02 509 8555.
Subsidised celebrations at Beach Rotana, Rosewood, and Traders Hotel
The capital has at least three fun options for those who don't want to break the bank this New Year's Eve. At Beach Rotana, Trader Vic's will host a Moulin Rouge-themed party with a live band. Pay Dh150 for entry and two beverages, or Dh300, which can either be redeemed against the a la carte menu or includes unlimited selected beverages and canapes from 8pm to midnight (for reservations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 697 9011).
Glo, the terrace venue at Rosewood Abu Dhabi, has both live food stations (with chicken togarashi, shawarma and pulled beef sandwiches) and the option to order a la carte. Live entertainment comes from resident DJs Keith and Chad, saxophonist Milan and professional dancers. You can also catch the fireworks at midnight, all for Dh150 for entry and one complimentary drink (for reservations, contact email@example.com or call 02 813 5520).
Over at Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, make the most of the fabulous weather and partake in a barbecue on the beach at Afya Beach Lounge, which has dance acts, DJs and a veritable live spread of roasted beef legs, beef Wellington, seafood paella and whole lamb ouzi with saffron rice, for Dh399 (for reservations, call 02 510 8888).