Most Sinful New Year's Eve Getaways
Let’s face it: it’s not difficult to give in to sloth. That’s especially true in the Caribbean, where sleeping in, lying on sugary white-sand beaches, and lounging in hammocks is practically a requirement. Then, of course, it’s easy for gluttony to take over, as you roll right into an extravagant dinner and a long night of drinking.
But what’s wrong with that? After all, this year was a year of scrimping and saving, of working harder and playing less. Just as we began living more socially and environmentally responsible lives, we also took fewer vacations, rarely shopped, and seldom opted for dinners out. It’s time to blow off some steam, and New Year’s Eve—the most hedonistic of holidays—is the best chance to do it. So to set you off down the path of indulgence, we’ve put together 10 New Year’s getaway ideas inspired by the seven deadly sins.
Sinful getaways may not exactly be a trend—after all, more and more travelers are seeking out authentic, local experiences. In our trends report, for example, we see dining at underground supper clubs and shopping for everyday items to take home as souvenirs becoming more popular—hardly extravagant activities. That’s even more reason to make a sinful statement this New Year’s.
So where to go? Certain destinations naturally emerge as sinful winners. For that slothful beach bumming, try the Grenadines. These Caribbean islands are far removed not only from any urban bustle, but from any bustle at all. In fact, they offer little more than exclusive hotels and miles of powdery white sand.
Where sloth leads, gluttony easily follows. And while there’s nothing new about celebrating the New Year with a cocktail in hand, food and wine lovers might want to ring in 2010 with a decadent tasting tour of California’s Napa Valley. Drop by the omnipresent tasting rooms for samples from some of America’s best vineyards, then make gluttonous stops at Michelin-starred restaurants like French Laundry or newcomer Bottega.
After all that eating and lounging, though, it may be tough to take pride in your appearance. For that, we recommend heading to the newest outlet of wellness resort Canyon Ranch, in Miami. You’ll need to look good—the city is home to America’s best-looking people. But after a few days of personal training and high-tech spa treatments, you’ll blend right in with South Beach’s poolside model contingent.
Related: Best Places to Spend New Year's
Of course, life can’t be all about hedonistic pleasures. So with each of our sinful getaways, we offer a suggestion on how to atone—after all, there’s no need to start the New Year with a guilty conscience.
Why It’s Sinful: More than 150,000 restaurants beckon insatiable eaters from far and wide, luring them with the precision and drama of Japanese food and award-winning international restaurants. In fact, since Michelin started producing a guide for Tokyo in 2007, the city has landed 11 three-starred restaurants, more than any other in the world (poor Paris, in comparison, has only 10).
Where to Stay: The Hotel Seiyo Ginza puts you on Tokyo’s jam-packed shopping street, with many of the city’s best restaurants, including the three Michelin–starred Japanese Koju, and L’Osier, by renowned French chef Bruno Menard.
How to Atone: Make a pilgrimage to the Sensoji Temple, where you can pray for weight loss in 2010.
Gluttony: Napa Valley
Why It’s Sinful: A bacchanal must include wine, and if you’re staying in the United States, California’s Napa Valley is your mecca. Of course, some of the country’s best dining also dots the valley’s rolling hills. Book a table at the French Laundry (a few months in advance), Bistro Jeanty, Bouchon, and Terra, or at celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s new restaurant, Bottega.
Where to Stay: Splurge on one of the Auberge du Soleil’s private maisons, suitably named Champagne and Loire. With its expansive grounds and country-manor ambience, Meadowood puts you in an extravagant state of mind. And both properties have Michelin-starred restaurants to boot.
How to Atone: Sober up on a day hike in the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, near St. Helena.
Pride: Miami Beach
Why It’s Sinful: There’s a reason Miami was voted to have the best-looking people in America. And you’ll fit right in after a visit to Canyon Ranch’s newest outpost here. Start off with an extensive total body evaluation at a roundtable with health professionals, and book private fitness classes. Soothe post-workout aches with lavish treatments at the high-tech Aquavana Spa.
Where to Stay: Canyon Ranch’s suites are soothing and modern, each with its own full kitchen, 400-thread-count sheets, and deep soaking tubs.
How to Atone: After a visit to Miami’s nude beach, Haulover, you’ll remember that it takes all shapes and sizes to make the world beautiful.
Pride: Gstaad, Switzerland
Why It’s Sinful: If Gstaad is good enough for royalty, it must be good enough for you. Since blending in with celebrities and royalty requires more than an outsize ego, visit the upscale shopping promenade Haupstrasse to suit up in Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. Go old-school on December 31 with dinner at Chesery, followed by a few rounds at the piano bar downstairs.
Where to Stay: Gstaad Palace looks like a fairytale castle set against the dramatic Alps. Book one of the Tower suites where the view and personalized service are fit for a king.
How to Atone: A hot-air balloon ride over the Alps, booked through France Montgolfiers, will eventually bring you back to earth.
Lust: Rio de Janeiro
Why It’s Sinful: From the hot steps of the samba to the ever-present thong bikini, Brazil oozes sex appeal. Not only is the country a breeding ground (literally) for some of the hottest models in the biz, Brazilian culture also embraces sensuality—from racy carnival costumes to the nationwide obsession with the perfect derriere.
Where to Stay: The location of Copacabana Palace provides access to the beach with the best party atmosphere. You’ll have a front-row seat for the fireworks and the all-night party.
How to Atone: Join the crowd of white-robed priests and priestesses who worship the goddess of the sea, Iemanja, and baptize the faithful on the Rio shores.
Lust: Khajuraho, India
Why It’s Sinful: A trip to the remote village of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, India—the birthplace of Kama Sutra—will inspire you to fulfill your tantric aspirations. The town’s 22 temples contain erotic carved expressions, thought to be instructions for a religious sect that believed sexual gratification brought you closer to the divine.
Where to Stay: Hotel Chandela, a Taj resort, contains enough marble and silk to put the weariest traveler in the mood. Have a candlelit dinner for two in a treetop machan set up in the hotel’s 10 acres of landscaped gardens.
How to Atone: Take a train ride to the Taj Mahal. The palace’s history will remind you that love lasts much longer than lust.
Greed: Las Vegas
Why It’s Sinful: If counting stacks of cash sounds like the ideal way to ring in the New Year, then Sin City welcomes you—and your wallet. Try your luck at Bobby’s Poker Room at the Bellagio. Strictly for high rollers, the room’s two tables have a $20,000 minimum buy-in.
Where to Stay: A Tower Suite at the new Encore at the Wynn means you’ll have your own apartment, entrance, registration desk, and a view of the entire Vegas skyline.
How to Atone: Donate your winnings to Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas–based nonprofit that provides job training and services to the mentally disabled.
Sloth: The Grenadines
Why It’s Sinful: Laziness is applauded on Mustique and St. Vincent islands, where one can pass the days napping, sunbathing, and relaxing on the powdery beaches. Go for a massage, float in the crystalline Caribbean, and lounge in a hammock.
Where to Stay: The Cotton House on Mustique has a quiet plantation feel, while Raffles Canouan is more of a sophisticated hideaway.
How to Atone: Work up a sweat with a day of sailing, or snorkel in one of the many coral reefs.
Envy: Malibu, CA
Why It’s Sinful: Hollywood gossip is a favorite pastime of Americans, and at the heart of it is pure envy for celebrities’ looks, fame, and money. The big stars set up camp in Malibu, a dazzling seaside community with 21 miles of deep beaches. On December 31, book a table at the scene-y Geoffrey’s, where you can watch the who’s who of Hollywood flash their diamonds.
Where to Stay: Co-owned by David Geffen and Larry Ellison, the Malibu Beach Inn is a low-key, stylish oceanfront hotel. Private balconies in every room look out on to Billionaire’s Beach.
How to Atone: Stalk good times instead of stars at Disneyland in Anaheim—you’ll feel like a kid again.
Why It’s Sinful: With long shopping lines and inevitable airport delays, it’s hardly necessary to seek out frustration and anger around the holidays. But for a New Year’s that combines ire with irony, visit the most contested city in the world, which packs unparalleled sightseeing with trendy nightlife, dining, and shopping.
Where to Stay: Find your own Bathsheba at the King David Hotel, named after a biblical personage who was no stranger to wrath. The grand old Art Deco hotel doesn’t skimp on luxury; get a room that faces the Old City and the King David gardens.
How to Atone: Clear your mind and body at the Dead Sea. The mud from its shores is famous for its cleansing properties.