2006 Holiday Host Guide: Bash Points: Where’s the Party?
Because of the ephemeral nature of novelty and the vagaries of fashionability, it seems there is no place so ghoulish or grand, none so ordinary or monumental that it cannot enjoy at least a passing vogue as a party venue. Here are some of our favorite places to party.
Canvassing the Desert
Few party venues are so unabashedly exotic as the tents where, every March, Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai entertains visiting horsemen for the Dubai World Cup with an Arabian fantasy night in the desert. An abandoned fort looms in the background, camels move about, belly dancers undulate sensuously, servants proffer fruits, wines, and delectable dishes, men and women recline while puffing shishas, and in the background the desert extends endlessly.
For revelers who never want the party to end, the place to be on New Year’s Eve is Cameron’s Corner, a remote settlement in Australia’s Outback. The fun begins when you toast the New Year at midnight New South Wales time. Then you stroll down the road to South Australia, which lies 30 minutes behind New South Wales, and repeat the process. You continue moving into Queensland, which does not observe daylight savings time and thus is a full hour behind New South Wales, and ring out the old and ring in the new a third time.
The saying goes that when Mongolia throws a party, the rest of Asia locks its doors. Nevertheless, Abercrombie & Kent insists that fun can be had at the capital city of Ulaanbaatar during the annual Naadakh, the Mongolian Olympics, when archery, wrestling, and horse racing are the main events.
Near Santa Fe, N.M., dramatic Technicolor sunsets await at Mesa Vista, a plateau about two acres across. Overlooking Bishop’s Lodge and accessible by horse, car, or foot, the mesa is appropriate for weddings, charity events, and corporate product launches.
Patronizing the Arts
Everything looks good under the 50-foot-high ceilings of the Hamon wing of the Dallas Museum of Art, especially the women of Dallas who populate the events held there.
The ultimate place to entertain during dinner may be the Skybox at Daniel, the glass-walled cubicle that hovers over chef Daniel Boulud’s immaculate kitchen. During the day it serves as Boulud’s office, but at night it becomes New York’s most exclusive dining room.
New York’s Ava penthouse lounge is one of numerous new party venues to hit Gotham. For those who long for the days before smoking was banned in New York, the appeal of the rooftop lounge at Manhattan’s Dream Hotel is the chance it offers to enjoy a cocktail, the view, and a cigarette.
Wellington Arch. Photograph by Stephen Finn/ www.dreamstime.com (Click image to enlarge)
Under the Arch
Five years ago, the Wellington Arch in London’s Hyde Park neighborhood opened for parties. The marble balcony that surrounds the bronze chariot—one of the most dramatic sculptures in Europe—has become a wildly popular place to mingle.
Off the Tracks
In a country that abounds with castles, stately country homes, and exclusive clubs, some Londoners of the mid-1990s preferred to drink and dance the night away on the concrete waiting platforms of the Strand, an abandoned station on the underground system.
Drinks Behind Bars
Before it closed in 1780, London’s Clink was one of Europe’s most dreaded prisons. The old gaol is open for business once again, but guests are no longer dragged kicking and screaming through its portals. Its hair-raising past has made it one of London’s more titillating party venues. Although you will still find medieval instruments of persuasion at the Clink, you also can meet some of the nicest people.