New Year's Eve fireworks weather
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Dubai: New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year and Dubai's F&B brands and event creators are hoping for more than a fresh start over the next 24 hours. They want to maximise opportunities in the final hours of this year… and set themselves up for an infinitely better 2021.

More than 200,000 overseas visitors are taking up spots across the city to see in the New Year, apart from residents of the city and those driving down from other emirates. A report by Agooda reveals that over the last four years UAE residents have chosen Dubai as their destination of choice to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year, with many opting to stay in town, the city is almost booked up for events.

In a year blighted by COVID-19, Dubai is intent on putting the best show possible to put the pandemic firmly in the past.

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Making a statement

“It’s great to see a city celebrating NYE, especially during times like these,” said Christian Fairway, who flew in from South Africa on Sunday to ring in 2021 in Dubai. “It’s become my favourite place to celebrate the New Year.”

Clearly, many factors co-mingle to elevate Dubai being a top destination for New Year’s Eve. In addition to the firework shows - at more than 15 locations - the city’s hotels, resorts and restaurants will be taking full advantage of being the "It" city.

“I am spending my night at the Media One Hotel to see DJ Black Coffee perform,” Fairway said. Dubai Club Mantis collaborated with Media One to host the DJ event in the parking lot of the hotel. Entry is by table bookings only and start at Dh5,000.

Full premium mode

A recent survey carried out among 50 cities ranked Dubai as one of the Top 3 expensive destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve, with visitors having to pay an average of $300 per night (Dh1,101) to celebrate.

Despite the price tag, it’s worth it for many.

“There is clearly an appetite in Dubai for extravagant experiences,” said Haytham Omar, General Manager at Al Jaddaf Rotana Suite Hotel. “Dubai residents and tourists have high expectations of the city.

“So, the industry should always be looking for ways to meet these expectations and go above and beyond.

“I think this year, more than any other year, people are seeking a unique New Year’s Eve experience, so that they can end a particularly difficult year. As a hotel, commanding a higher price during the festive period is one such way for hotels and restaurants to retain this competitive edge in a very busy market like Dubai.”

Al Jaddaf Rotana is offering a package starting at Dh350 for food and beverage - a price well below the ‘Dubai average’.

“We are trying to give guests the ‘extravagant’ experience without the hefty price-tag,” the official added.

Super-premium

Me by Melia
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On the other hand of the spectrum, one hotel is offering a Dh8.8 million New Year’s package. The one from recently opened Me by Melia Hotel in Business Bay includes a three-night stay at the hotel’s suite, full-board dining and a new Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Roadster and a timepiece from Jacob & Co.’s Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Collection.

Yes, you get to keep both the car and the watch. The hotel reckons this is the most expensive hotel package anywhere the world.

Set the tables!

La Serre festive
Image Credit: Supplied

Although staycation packages are being peddled heavily during the festive season, the most popular way to experience New Year’s Eve in the city is through a lavish dining experience, especially ones in close proximity to Burj Khalifa.

The French bistro, La Serre, on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard is charging Dh3,999 per person for the premium package at their Moulin Rouge-themed dinner party. “Response has been very good, we’ve had many people book in,” said Brian Voelzing, the Group Executive Chef of Lincoln Hospitality.

“Our tables with Burj Khalifa views have been most in demand. Honestly, we live in such a lavish city with lavish cars with people who have a high networth and enjoy fine food. So, why not celebrate the New Year the same way?”

Check the views

Another venue charging a premium due to its location is Dubai Opera, where packages to the lounge for an unobstructed view of the fireworks costs Dh18,400. The recently opened pop-up restaurant Sal at Burj Al Arab is offering a five-course Mediterranean menu for Dh4,300 per person if you are a Jumeirah Hotel guest.

Even quick service venues like KFC, Tim Hortons and Pizza Hut are charging a minimum of Dh1,000 per person due to their locations at The Dubai Mall, to celebrate the start of a new year.

So why do people love spending New Year’s Eve in Dubai?

Well it’s because they can spend the day by the pool and wear a light jacket for the balmy 22 degree evening. And because they have access to some of the greatest restaurants in the world offering a chance to party safely socially distanced. Not to mention the fireworks...

And even in the midst of a pandemic, it’s nice to feel things are back to (almost) normal…