From a James Bond-themed ball on a superyacht, to a champagne and jazz party up London’s Shard skyscraper and even dinner and magic on a 1920s train ride – the wealthy are planning some outlandish New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Despite the cost of living crisis forcing many households to cut back this festive season, money – it seems – is no object for the wealthy wanting to wave goodbye to 2022 in style.
It is too late to join in the extravagant celebrations at Scotland’s five-star Gleneagles hotel, where all rooms have sold out despite costing a minimum of £7,585 for a three-night NYE break to “ring in the bells and celebrate Hogmanay in style”.
Gleneagles, which hosted world leaders for the G8 summit in 2005, promises guests that the hotel will be transformed into “a magical winter hideaway and a cosy home from home” where “your every wish and desire is taken care of”.
There are still rooms up for grabs for a “house party” at Whatley Manor, a luxury hotel and spa in the Cotswolds that is hosting a black tie gala dinner on Saturday as part of three-night breaks costing as much as £5,200 – plus an extra £300 if you want to bring your dog.
Eloise Gordon, the sales and marketing manager at Whatley Manor, said the package includes plenty of bottles of complimentary English sparkling wine, dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant on the Friday night, the gala dinner on New Year’s Eve and a relaxed dinner on the Sunday accompanied by the jazz duo Gilmore n’ Jaz.
“We’ve had a New Year’s Eve house party ever year since 2003 – except during the pandemic – and it’s always a really nice event and atmosphere with all the guests getting to know each other,” she said. “There’s a lot of food and wine, fireworks and jazz, and a trip to the magical tree garden at Westonbirt arboretum. You’d be hard pushed to fit much else in.”
Gordon said there were a couple of rooms still available but most of the 23 rooms had been booked up months in advance. “A few people come every year; there are also new people every year, both couples and family groups,” she said. “People really get to know each other, there’s a nice house atmosphere, and everyone sees each other for breakfast after the night before.”
There are also expensive NYE hotel packages at Cliveden House in Berkshire, Dormy House in Worcestershire and the Royal Crescent hotel in Bath.
In London, the Ritz is hosting not one but two black tie dinners accompanied by a regimental marching band and a lone piper. “The splendid opulence of the Michelin-starred Ritz restaurant, with its spectacularly glamorous and gilded decor, offers the perfect surrounding for our extremely popular New Year’s Eve black tie gala dinner,” the hotel says on its website. It costs £1,900 per adult, or £850 per child.
The Shangri-La hotel in the Shard is also throwing a party that it says will have the best view of the fireworks in central London. Tickets start at £250 per person.
East along the Thames, a “five-star superyacht hotel” is hosting a 007-themed party including “a cocktail reception, five-course à la carte supper at Lands End restaurant, featuring dishes such as smoked salmon paupiette with pickled ginger and cucumber and warm spiced apple crumble with clotted cream, live tunes, casino tables and dancing”. It costs a minimum of £658.
The yacht, however, will stay stationary in Royal Victoria Dock near the Excel centre. If you want your NYE party to really move, head to Victoria station where a train pulling 10 British Pullman dining cars will leave the platform at 18.45.
For £565 a person, passengers will be taken “back in time to the glamorous 1920s” aboard “beautiful vintage carriages”. The adverts say: “Liveried stewards are on hand to take care of your every need as you indulge in a sumptuous five-course dinner, complete with champagne and fine wine.”
Craig Moffat, the train’s general manager, said the NYE midnight express has been running since 1992 and some people have joined it every year. “As well as the five-course gala dinner, we have jazz singers, burlesque dancers and a magic circle magician going from carriage to carriage,” he said.
In previous years, he said, some groups had hired out whole carriages to party together but this year the biggest group booking was for 12 people – or half a carriage.
Moffat said guests were a varied bunch but stressed they were not train geeks. “It’s a real mix of people from London foodies who come for the culinary aspect of it, to people who can’t be bothered with being in central London on New Year’s Eve and want to have a very fun, luxury, high-end experience without the crowds.
“It isn’t train enthusiasts. We have had Francis Bourgeois on our trains but not for New Year’s Eve.”
The train will set out for Rainham in Kent before circling through Margate and Canterbury, and back to London. At midnight the train should be passing Crystal Palace. “We never say we can guarantee fireworks,” Moffat said. “But if you’re on the right side of train you will see them.”