We're longing for a whimper not a bang this New Year's Eve

Over the top New Year’s Eve events leave Picky Nicky pained

Hotel painting
(Image credit: Cassandre Montoriol)

For the past 16 years, my husband and I have spent the festive holidays somewhere warm, and that means New Year’s Eve typically spent in a resort. The first was in Jamaica, where we holidayed with old friends and met new ones, Tina Lutz and Justin Morris of Lutz Morris (W*246).

In 2004, we went to the Chedi Muscat hotel and were invited, or let’s say instructed, to participate in (pay for) a gala dinner. Tables were for set for six or eight, and we nervously sat at one, chancing our luck with the other hotel guests. As it happened, we did well: we shared the table with Michael and Carolin from Munich, and, 15 years on, we have been to each other’s weddings and on holiday together, just as with Tina and Justin.

In 2017, we spent New Year’s Eve with Nina Yashar, of Nilufar Gallery, and her partner Angelo at the Hotel Esencia in Mexico. The food was OK and the entertainment thankfully brief, but we lucked out again with the company; I got the advance lowdown on Nilufar’s Lina Bo Bardi exhibition.

Picky Nicky's 2020 travel goals

  1. 1. Visit Wildland in the Scottish Highlands and stay in one of its newly renovated houses.
    2. Go to Malaga, in southern Spain, stay at Finca Cortesin and visit designer David Marshall.
    3. Celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
    4. Return to Alto Adige, in northern Italy, visit vintners Cantina Tramin and Alois Lageder, and revisit Matteo Thun’s Vigilius Mountain Resort.
    5. Head for St Ives, Cornwall, to see Jamie Fobert Architects’ Tate gallery extension.
    6. See more of Greece, and spend more time swimming in the Aegean.Empty list

Resorts may feel obliged to lay on a fancy New Year’s Eve night, or perhaps it’s just a way to milk a captive audience? As a guest, you can feel trapped, staring at a buffet full of excess and, no doubt, waste, with lobster and salmon and all sorts of cooking stations offering as much as you can eat and so much you just can’t. It’s never as good as the à la carte menu, but you must opt in and pay, even though you’ve already handed over top dollar for high season and the seven-night minimum stay.

Days are often short, as we’re usually around the equator, so we mostly just want to sneak off early from the event to get some sleep, but then can’t sleep because of all the partying going on. So, rather than 1 January being my ‘stop, reset’ day, instead it’s September 1; it’s when I set my goals for the period ahead and get cracking on new projects after a month-long August break. After all, 31 December is not when everyone celebrates New Year – such as the Chinese guests who were at Amanoi in Vietnam with us last New Year’s Eve – so then you find that half the guests are dressed up while others are wearing trainers.

We were considering Amanpuri in Thailand this year until we were told about its mandatory supplement. A New Year’s Eve dinner event, with one glass of champagne, food and entertainment, was going to cost us $5,200. Last March, I went to Rajasthan to celebrate the Holi festival, which welcomes spring, with fashion designer Saloni Lodha. It was the most joyous few days I can ever remember. If a resort laid on fun like that at New Year, I would sign up, cough up and shut up.


 Nick Vinson, also known as Picky Nicky, has been an editor at Wallpaper* since 2002, and pens the monthly Vinson View column in Wallpaper* Magazine. Subscribe here

Also known as Picky Nicky, Nick Vinson has contributed to Wallpaper* Magazine for the past 21 years. He runs Vinson&Co, a London-based bureau specialising in creative direction and interiors for the luxury goods industry. As both an expert and fan of Made in Italy, he divides his time between London and Florence and has decades of experience in the industry as a critic, curator and editor.