Political turmoil has had a serious affect on Hong Kong. Although most travel experts, including TPG senior news editor Clint Henderson, who recently spent five nights in Hong Kong, believe the city is still perfectly safe for travelers, the number of visitors has plummeted.
The sometimes-violent protests have, at times, shut down parts of the city, including its efficient metro system and even the airport. A number of big-ticket concerts, sporting events, conferences and other events have also been canceled due to public safety concerns.
The latest major event to be cancelled: Hong Kong’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks show. The fireworks show has been held annually for over a decade and typically attracted more than 300,000 attendees. It was a staple of countdown broadcasts around the world.
Although the Hong Kong Tourism Board promises an enhanced version of the daily light show that plays over Victoria Harbor in place of the fireworks, there are plenty more celebrations happening around the city sure to provide travelers with a memorable New Year’s Eve.
1. ‘Le Grand Hotel Ophelia’ at Ophelia
Ophelia, one of Hong Kong’s hottest nightlife destinations, will transform into an elegant hotel from the early 1920s this New Year’s Eve. You’ll be taken on an immersive celebration with mesmerizing acts from international performers and tableau vivant, all dressed in glamorous vintage costumes. The venue’s design looks like something out of a dream, harking back to Hong Kong’s heady opium den days. Admission is free, but the price you’ll pay for a drink (about $17 per cocktail) makes up for that. Guests must be 18 or older and donning their best “vintage glam” duds.
2. New Year’s Eve countdown party at Zuma
The Hong Kong outpost of the famed international sushi chain Zuma will be hosting a masquerade-themed countdown party. Admission includes all the Veuve Clicquot Champagne you can drink, plus cocktails, red and white wine, beer and soft drinks, and live music by DJ Emmanuel Diaz. If you want to get the party started early, an exclusive New Year’s Eve yashoku, or supper, will take place in the lounge from 8 p.m. Guests must be 18 or older.
3. ‘Black and Gold’ New Year’s Eve party at Aqua Spirit
Take in the views of the harbor from one of the city’s most stylish rooftop bars and celebrate the new year in style at the Aqua’s Spirit Bar’s glamorous Black & Gold New Year’s Eve party. This annual event will feature spectacular entertainment, including tunes spun by Aqua’s resident DJ Abel Rogers. Admission is relatively reasonable and all guests receive a complimentary glass of Champagne. If you prefer more of a sit-down experience, the Aqua restaurant will offer a special five-course menu featuring dishes such as a lobster risotto, saffron and caviar; dover sole with foie gras and truffle; and a special gold tiramisu.
4. ‘Welcome to the New Decade’ party at Cé La Vi
Set to close in January, upscale Hong Kong restaurant Cé La Vi is hosting one final New Year’s Eve bash. It will offer two distinct experiences: a rooftop sky deck and club experience. Admission to the sky deck includes one glass of either Veuve Clicquot Champagne or a premium house pour, while the club experience includes an open bar. Either way, just make sure you stick to the glamorous dress code. Guests must be 18 or older.
5. New Year’s Eve countdown party at W Hong Kong
The W Hong Kong will be hosting its own new year’s eve party in its whimsical Woobar. There will be energetic beats from Italian DJ Nino, all kinds of cocktails and free-flow bubbles available into the early hours of the morning. Standard admission to the event include a drink, though there are other ticket types that include an open bar. If you’re looking to spend the night here, there are still rooms available on Dec. 31. Peak award nights at this W will set you back a whopping 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, so you’ll likely be better off paying for the room outright and earning points instead.
6. ‘A Red Carpet Affair’ at La Rambla Hong Kong
Spanish restaurant La Rambla will be hosting a family-friendly, red carpet-themed countdown party with a free-flow open bar and a special New Year’s Eve tasting menu. Admission includes two food tickets and a terrace countdown party after dinner. We’re particularly excited about the savory churros with caviar, blue lobster and king crab pancetta on the menu.
7. Roaring 1920s New Year’s Eve party at Stockton
One of the city’s most renowned speakeasies, Stockton, is hosting a festive affair straight from the 1920s with live music to celebrate the new year. Make a reservation in advance, and you’ll get a free bottle of Bollinger Champagne to share when the clock strikes (or, you know, keep for yourself). A special selection of whisky cocktails will also be available for purchase.
8. Aqua Luna Harbor Cruise
Although the highlight of Hong Kong’s new year’s eve harbor cruises was always getting a front row view of the fireworks show, it will still be a fun and family-friendly way to ring in the new year. You’ll get to sing, dance and indulge in a tasty buffet and open bar. Aqua Luna, owned by the same group responsible for the aforementioned Aqua restaurant and bar, operates one of the city’s last remaining traditional red-sail Chinese junk boats, though there are a number of other harbor cruises available as well.