For once, skip the loud parties, forgo the busy streets and squares, and celebrate a New Year’s Eve with the peace and natural magic of our planet’s most far-flung destinations of the world. Here are ten places for a New Year more remote, more rugged, more real than usual.
Between jungle and ocean - Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
Where: Set in a jungle, next to a beach along the Indian Ocean, this safari lodge lies four kilometres from Yala National Park on a remote stretch of Sri Lanka's southern coast.
See in the New Year at this wilderness haven, where twenty eight cocoon-like tents with private plunge pools sit at the edge of jungle and beach. Spend time with the elephants, sloth bears and leopards of the wild paradise on game drives in the Yala National Park with the camp’s guides, and celebrate new beginnings dining on the beach at night or in the open-air restaurant with its modern take on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine.
A private island celebration - North Island Resort, Seychelles
Where: North Island lies 30 km from the main island of Mahé, in the archipelago of the Seychelles.
You can’t get much further away from it all than one of the world’s most exclusive private islands. Only eleven private villas sit on the beachfront, hidden from each other, beneath the palm trees – giving you and your family or simply you and a partner true privacy. Experience the stillness of the spa overlooking the Indian Ocean, or go exploring – glimpse a turtle emerging from the turquoise waters, go on walks into the tropical terrain or dive to the filigree reefs. Have a merry New Year’s at a beach barbecue dinner or with cocktails by the pool.
Wilder than you can imagine - Duba Plains Camp, Botswana
Where: Duba Plains Camp sits among woodlands, islands and flood plains in the heart of the Okavango Delta, in a private 77,000-acre reserve in Botswana.
Fly away to one of the wildest and most remote spaces of Earth – the Okavango Delta, where five luxury tents and one two-bedroom private suite blend into the natural landscape – with their private swimming pools, outdoor salas and views over the wilderness. Imagine following lion prides and sundowners on open plains, dinners under the stars with fine wines and breakfasts with elephants. Away from cities and crowds, a new family will take you in – your private guide and chefs – while the African sunrises and sets will add to the revelry.
Far from the lights of civilisation - Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Where: Out in the expanse of the Indian Ocean, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives calls, with its turquoise lagoon protected by a house reef, and beaches with soft white sand, where turtles nest.
The palm-thatched roof villas on the beach, hidden amongst the trees, make you feel like the only person on earth. Spend the last few days of the year – or the first days of the New Year – under the touch of massage therapists or on dives with manta rays and picnics on the beach with chilled champagne. And in the evening, watch the sun disappear and the stars appear at an Astronomical Dinner Cruise with a gourmet meal and wines. You might prefer something even more removed… a night on your own sandbank in a Bedouin tent – with cocktails, canapés, lapping waves, and then a private candlelit dinner and a night under the stars.
In the heart of nature - Coco Shambhala, India
Where: In a tropical garden, some 200 metres off the beach, Coco Shambhala Villas lie on the quiet Sindhudurg Coast of Maharashtra in India.
Enjoy sweet solitude with only four villas, each with its own infinity pool, indulge in fresh seafood and other local ingredients in the seasonal menus, and recover a sense of balance with the massage therapists. Wake up to sea views surrounded by exquisite Indian linens and celebrate into the night with a selection of fine wines, spirits and craft beers in your personal bar. Spend your days reconnecting with the wilderness on hikes, bird walks and biking adventures.
Down in the tea garden - Bolian, China
Where: Jingmai brilliant Resort & Spa (Bolian Resort & Spa) rests in the Lancang river area, the worldwide origin of the tea tree, in the Jingmai Mountains in southwestern Yunnan, inhabited by the descendants of tea plantation minority groups.
The hotel, sitting perfectly in harmony with nature in the mountains, is an example of genuine sustainable tourism, an experience in Chinese tea culture, serving healthy and delicious local food cooked using natural ingredients, with a tailor-made tea spa to help you ease into the New Year, far from any bustle.
In love, forever, with the mountains - Flocons de Sel, France
Where: Flocons de Sel is an alpine-style hotel with an acclaimed restaurant in a quiet and rustic hamlet in the mountains on the Megève heights in France.
Celebrate “La Saint-Sylvestre” in the magical, snowy landscape of the Megève, skiing or snowshoe hiking, or with treatments in the spa inspired by the Megève pine trees, flowers and water. Delight in imaginative, timeless cuisine with a mountain flavour from the three-star Michelin Chef, Emmanuel Renaut, or head out foraging with the inspirational chef in the forest – picking mushrooms and medicinal plants, and learning about the region’s animal and fish life.
A boutique lake escape - Matakauri Lodge, New-Zealand
Where: Situated on Lake Wakatipu, the cradle of ancient Maori legends and one of the most serene landscapes in the world, is Matakauri Lodge, with beautiful mountain views, just seven minutes from Queenstown.
See in the New Year in serenity. Enjoy quiet time in your suite at this alpine lakeside retreat, and celebrations with the lodge team in the evening with pre-dinner drinks and canapés, followed by a dinner featuring the finest New Zealand produce. Take advantage of this unique setting with a helicopter flight over lakes, rivers, forests, glacial valleys and ice-capped mountains, on a drive along the lake shore or on a jet boat ride through the braided Dart River towards Mt Aspiring National Park. Head out on strolls along the Arrow River Trail or a hike around the Sawpit Gully Loop.
A magic place - Terra - The Magic Place, Italy
Where: The mountainside hotel, surrounded by the Dolomites, and its Michelin-starred restaurant by Italian chef Heinrich Schneider, lie eight kilometres from the River Tàlvera and 19 km from Merano 2000 ski resort in Italy, at an altitude of 1 622 metres.
Celebrate the good things in life – from the wonders of nature to fine wining and dining. At Terra, Heinrich’s cuisine, with ingredients from the South Tyrol, pair beautifully with sister, Gisela, the sommelier’s vintages. Curl up in front of the fire, or take in the silence on a walk under the night sky, with no artificial light to disturb you. Reflect on the year beside the Stoanernen Mandln with 360° views of the South Tyrol mountains, the Dolomites, and Ortler, and birdsong, and turn a new page with a little wellness in the whirlpool, floating bed, Finnish sauna or herbal steam bath, or treatments using local essential oils, dwarf pine, local silver quartzite and glacial minerals.
An elegant adventure - Andbeyond Vira Vira, Chile
Where: andbeyond Vira Vira sits in the heart of the Cordillera of the Andes, in Chile, a region known for its volcanoes and mystical forests.
Outdoor lovers, enjoy an end-of-year adventure in the Pucon, Chile’s Northern Patagonia, while kayaking, horse-riding, birding, mountain biking and ascending the volcano Villarrica for a bath in a thermal spring. Go hiking in the nearby Villarrica National Park, or float down the Liucura River which runs past the hotel. Go on scenic helicopter flights or relax at the lodge in the wood-fuelled hot tubs, or with yoga classes and peaceful massages, and energise with farm-to-fork dining as the chef prepares sophisticated traditional Mapuche dishes for an enchanting taste of this unique land.