Start with a bang: the hottest superyacht spots for New Year's Eve

1/5

Barbados

Want to sip, sashay and sail your way into 2019? Ticky Hedley-Dent helps you choose where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in superyacht style

Barbados

The vibe: There is nothing understated about Barbados at New Year; with a mix of business moguls and aristos, it’s party central.

Who goes: Simon Cowell, the Bamfords, the Delevingnes, Chris Evans, James Corden, Rihanna, Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham, Sir Philip and Tina Green, Jack Kidd and Lady Victoria Hervey.

Where to drop anchor: Port St Charles, for yachts of up to 76m; they also have two mooring buoys for larger superyachts. In terms of where to stay, the big hitters head to Sandy Lane for all-out bling and celebrations. Uber celebs stay in the “residences” at One Sandy Lane, next door to the main hotel.

Where to eat: Relative newcomer Cin Cin is a must visit – order oysters and fine French wine. For a laid-back lunch or dinner try Fish Pot. Those looking for a fine dining experience should dress up and tender to the Cliff. The newer Cliff Beach Club is more fun; go there for a cocktail and a younger crowd. For seafood and live music jump in the tender and head to Lobster Alive, a shack on the beach in Bridgetown with lobster to die for.

Where to party: Locals call New Year’s Eve “Old Year’s Night” and the place that puts on all the glitz is, unsurprisingly, the Sandy Lane hotel. t’s a champagne-fuelled banquet with caviar and seafood galore. There’s always a fabulous music act – homegirl Rihanna has performed in the past, while Nikki Beach opened last year and is now very much part of the scene. The Lone Star and the Cliff Beach Club also throw New Year’s Eve parties. The coveted invite is to Heron Bay, the Bamford family’s villa (where the Delevingne sisters are often guests).

Where to recover: Jump on your jet ski and ride the waves off Crane Beach. Its pink-tinted sands and foamy surf mean it’s regularly voted one of the world’s best beaches.

The dress code: Pearl & Caviar kaftans teamed with a Rae Feather beach bag by day; Tom Ford, Alaïa sandals and Chopard diamonds by night. Men opt for Club Monaco, Polo Ralph Lauren and Vilebrequin and Faherty trunks.

Yacht-spotting: Infinity, Slipstream, Callisto.

Image courtesy of The Cliff Barbados

2/5

Miami

The vibe: Miami is having a renaissance as a New Year’s Eve destination thanks to an international crowd of fun-loving Argentines and Venezuelans who have snapped up property there.

Who goes: Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato and P Diddy.

Where to drop anchor: PortMiami has everything you need to support your boat; One Island Park and Island Gardens marinas are the place to dock with a superyacht. Those with a boat up to 38m and a desire for a laid-back vibe could try Coconut Grove. It’s artier than PortMiami and just a 20-minute drive away.

Where to eat: It’s worth making the trip to the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, which opened its doors on New Year’s Eve 1930 and attracted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill. Book a table at its Le Sirenuse restaurant for great Italian food. Those with their  finger on the pulse head to social media sensation Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et in Downtown Miami for mouth-watering steak.

Where to party: The coveted invite is to P Diddy’s New Year’s Eve bash at his Miami mansion. In terms of ticketed events, millennials and those wanting a night of raving need to get to Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort for a party on its beachfront poolscape. Last year Demi Lovato and DJ Kygo rocked the crowd. A night the opulent Faena Hotel, owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik and Argentine hotelier Alan Faena, is also a must. Head to its Los Fuegos restaurant, which is decked out with chandeliers galore, red chairs and gold everywhere – it’s like eating on the Titanic only with fabulous food cooked up by Argentine grillmaster Francis Mallmann. Make sure you check out the hotel’s two Damien Hirst sculptures: a 24kt woolly mammoth and a golden unicorn. You can’t miss them!

Where to recover: Those in need of retail therapy head to Bal Harbour Shops, the city’s top designer mall. Otherwise it’s a short cruise over to the Bahamas.

The dress code: Bling, bling, bling. Ladies, it’s sequins and crystals galore – think Versace, Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana. Gentlemen, it’s Philipp Plein and Billionaire, if you dare.

Yacht-spotting: Axioma, Lioness V, Kismet.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

3/5

The Exumas

The vibe: Calm, serene and beautiful. This is where superyacht owners, celebs with private atolls and low-key billionaires come with their families to enjoy a slice of deserted paradise. Not one for party animals.

Who goes: Johnny Depp, David Copperfield, Tyler Perry, John Travolta and Eddie Murphy all own islands here.

Where to drop anchor: Cambridge Cay, Staniel Cay and Highbourne Cay Marina.

Where to eat: Restaurants and beach bars are few and far between. It’s more about having your chef prepare a picnic to eat on a deserted island – Hawksbill and Twin Cay are great for this. There are, however, a few eateries when other human company is desired. Try the Staniel Cay Yacht Club; have lunch on the deck and watch the rays and sharks swim by, or enjoy a candlelit dinner (reservations are essential and you will need to order before the 4pm cut-o point). It’s also worth dropping anchor at Highbourne Cay for delicious lobster tail and mahi mahi.

What to do: No visit to the Exumas is complete without seeing the swimming pigs at Big Major Cay. Yes, that’s swimming pigs. They are not native to the island – rumour has it they were left by sailors. A must-do-once is a visit to Thunderball Cave that was featured in the Bond movie Thunderball and in Splash.

Where to party: On New Year’s Eve most of the superyacht owners will be entertaining on board and letting off their own fireworks on the beaches. However, if you want to jazz it up on New Year’s Eve, dock at Atlantis Marina on Paradise Island and book tickets for the nearby Aura nightclub.

Where to recover: Too much champagne on board on New Year’s Eve? Then enjoy the serenity of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the protected area from Shroud Cay to Bell Cay. Head to Warderick Wells and walk up Boo Boo Hill, the highest point in the Exumas. Divers and snorkellers will enjoy the plane wreck at Norman’s Cay.

The dress code: Whatever you like – this is not a dress to impress place. Relaxed beachwear: ladies, that means Pitusa; for men it’s Derek Rose or Orlebar Brown.

Yacht-spotting: Alfa Nero, Slipstream, Aquila.

Image courtesy of Staniel Cay Yacht Club

4/5

St Barths

The vibe: An intoxicating mixture of Hollywood glamour, tech billionaires and oligarchs descend on this charming French-speaking Caribbean island for the holiday season, making it a frenzy of parties and social one-upmanship.

Who goes: The Kardashians, Channing Tatum, Miranda Kerr, Derek Jeter, Rachel Zoe, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Bella Hadid, Marc Jacobs, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Naguib Sawiris, Roman Abramovich, Bernard Arnault and James Packer... the list goes on.

Where to drop anchor: If you are early enough and small enough (under 60m) grab one of the elusive superyacht spots in Gustavia Harbour. Bigger yachts drop anchor outside the harbour, enjoying the status of being too damn big.

Where to eat: Make a day of it and take the tender to Shellona on Shell Beach. Grab a sunbed and enjoy the view, DJ sets and delicious seafood. Those lucky enough to be members can compare boat sizes at the exclusive Gustavia Yacht Club, which was set up by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. It’s worth coming ashore to eat at L’Isola, which is tucked up a hill in Gustavia and is one of the best Italian restaurants in St Barths. Maya’s Restaurant, which opened in 1984, is still an institution and its daily-changing menu attracts an elegant crowd.

Where to party: It’s all about superyacht-hopping in the harbour – and there are plenty to choose from. Le Toiny, Hotel Le Sereno and Cheval Blanc always put on a good show. Those wanting to go clubbing should head to Le Ti St Barth – the boudoir-themed hangout has a strictly “adults only” cabaret show and champagne sparklers galore or Mariah Carey will be the host and performer at this year's soiree at Nikki Beach.

Where to recover: Sail to the calm and secluded Colombier beach, which is accessible only by boat. Swimmers should cruise over to Tintamarre Island, 4km off the north-east coast of Saint Martin, to enjoy this charming uninhabited island’s beach – make sure you take supplies.

The dress code: Chic by day, bling by night. Cocktail dresses galore for ladies: think Balmain and Saint Laurent. Try Poupette in Gustavia for fabulous kaftans. For gentlemen it’s Loro Piana and Tod’s.

Yacht-spotting: Eclipse, Le Grand BleuJoy.

Picture courtesy of Shellona

5/5

Phuket

The vibe: With more superyachts venturing east, Thailand combines serene cruising with a wild nightlife and beach clubs galore. It’s the perfect destination for trend-setters looking for something new.

Who goes: Bear Grylls, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Where to drop anchor: The first port of call will be Ao Po Grand Marina, which can accommodate yachts of 100m-plus.

Where to party: Serious hedonists should brave Patong Beach’s Bangla Road – the epicentre of the action. Try the White Room in particular. If beach clubs are more your thing, book a cabana at Café del Mar Phuket on Kamala beach. The Amanpuri resort is known for its chic New Year’s Eve gala. This year’s has a baroque/cabaret theme: it’s wagyu beef and caviar all the way and culminates with a rework display. Kata Rocks is worth checking out, too. This all-white resort carved into the rocks has a great party scene and delicious modern Thai cuisine.

Where to recover: Once the revelry is over you’ll want to get exploring. Check out the spectacular caves and cliffs on Ko Phing Kan, otherwise known as James Bond island.

What to do: Sail to Koh Phi Phi Leh, made famous by its central bay being used in The Beach. This island is uninhabited, apart from the national park guards. Get there before the tourist boats arrive and enjoy breakfast on board. Hikers head to the top of Koh Phi Phi Don to take in its fabulous view. Eat at Tacada, the beachfront restaurant of the Zeavola Resort. Divers make a beeline for the Racha Islands in the hope of seeing large sailfish or whales.

The dress code: K Jacques sandals, Pippa Holt kaftans and Zimmermann bikini. He rocks it in Frescobol Carioca shorts.

Yacht-spotting: TitaniaLady E and Northern Sun.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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