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The best places in the world to celebrate New Year's Eve 2010

Timothy Barber
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HOGMANAY IN EDINBURGH
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay may not be quite the vast free celebration that it was when the city established itself in the Nineties as the New Year’s Eve capital of the world, but it’s still the greatest place there is to celebrate on the night. There’s the rowdy bonhomie of revellers braving the Scottish winter to party with gusto; the unique topography of the city that turns the area around Princes Street and The Mound into an atmospheric stadium overlooked by the great edifice of the castle; the joyfully absurd notion of tens of thousands of people linking arms to scream their way through Auld Lang Syne; and perhaps the greatest fireworks displays on the planet.

Over five days of festivities there’s a torchlight procession, laser light shows, street theatres, music performances from the likes of Madness, Mylo, Noisettes and Calvin Harris, and of course, the fun of the big night itself.

Even if you don’t have tickets for the various street celebrations, the party spirit extends to the pubs, bars, restaurants and parties around the rest of the city centre.

Edinburgh’s Malmaison hotel is still offering rooms on New Year’s Eve at £299, which includes dinner, entertainment at the hotel and breakfast. www.malmaison.com

LUNAR RAINBOW AT VICTORIA FALLS
A full moon over the world’s most spectacular waterfall generates a rainbow in the spray – and this year, the full moon will fall on New Year’s Eve. Besides witnessing that magical event as you toast 2010, with Audley Travel’s New Year’s package you can enjoy a couple of action packed days staying at the atmospheric private paradise, Sindabezi Island, before flying to South Luangwa National Park for a few nights at rustic Kapani lodge for game drives, walking safaris and canoe safaris.

12 Night Lunar Rainbow New Year’s package from Audley Travel from £3,995 per person based on two sharing. www.audleytravel.com
get glamorous in the caribbean

Where there’s sun, sea and sand, you’re pretty much guaranteed a stupendous party too. That’s particularly true of the Caribbean, and for fashionable pleasure seekers the only place to be this New Year is the party at the ultra chic Eden Rock hotel on St Barths. Think fairytale surroundings, cocktails, fine dining and spectacular fireworks lighting up the superyachts moored across the water, followed by dancing on the beach until dawn, all soundtracked by leading international DJs.

Dinner is €500 per person, and VIP tables for six for the beach afterparty are €6,000 each, including two bottles of Dom Perignon and a magnum of Laurent Jouet Belle Epoque.

See www.nyeparty.edenrockhotel.com or email nyeparty@edenrockhotel.com.

CROSS THE DATELINE AND PARTY TWICE
If you’re a real party hunter, why have done with just one New Year’s Eve do? Adventure travel company Black Tomato are giving people the chance to celebrate New Year in Auckland, New Zealand, with some champagne-fuelled partying in luxury surroundings, before hopping on an 11am flight on the 1st and heading to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, crossing back into 2009 in the process. You’ll arrive on the afternoon of the 31st, check into a swish beach-side hotel, and see in 2010 again. And it doesn’t come much better than a remote Pacific paradise for getting over the epic hangover you’ll no doubt accrue in the process.

From £3,599 per person. Call 020 7426 9888 or see www.blacktomato.co.uk for more details.

GO TO THE WORLD’S PARTY CAPITAL
As you’d expect, Rio is a place that knows how to throw a New Year’s Eve party – it’s one of the biggest, most colourful celebrations on the planet, with crowds thronging across the city’s vast beach. The tradition is to wear white to bring new luck in the New Year, while the city is decorated in rainbow colours – red for romance, yellow for prosperity and green for good health. Sunvil Traveller’s two week New Year trip includes four nights in Rio, three nights in Buzios, three nights in Salvador and four nights in Praia de Forte.

From from £4,100 per person including flights, accommodation, excursions and some meals. See www.sunvil.co.uk or call 020 8758 4774.

LIVE IT UP IN ABU DHABI
The Emirate may have found itself in the eye of the latest economic storm, but all those stupendous hotels are there to be enjoyed in style, and offer the chance of a seasonal getaway of a rather different flavour. Stupendous is certainly the word for the Emirates Palace hotel, a grand Arabian fantasy of a building occupying 1.3km of private beach, where pop superstar Rihanna will be leading the celebrations on the hotel’s West Lawn, converted into a huge dance floor for over 15,000 revellers.

ITC Classics offers five nights at the hotel on a half-board basis, including return flights with Etihad from Heathrow (based on 29 December departure), from £4,560 per person. Visit www.itcclassics.co.uk or call 01244 355 527. Tickets for the party are available from www.timeouttickets.com.