While kicking off the New Year with a champagne-fueled countdown is great, the fun doesn’t have to stop just because January 1 has come and gone. Several festivals in and around Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated hotels and restaurants offer excellent reasons to keep celebrating, from red carpet spa treatments in California to golf tournaments in Hawaii.
For more than two decades, the Four-Star Meritage restaurant, located in the Five-Star Boston Harbor Hotel, has played host to the incomparable Boston Wine Festival right on the waterfront. The vision of Meritage chef Daniel Bruce, the event has evolved into a three-month extravaganza of all things wine. Beginning with an opening reception on January 9 that will feature more than 50 wines and running through a closing dinner centered around Diamond Creek Vineyards on March 27, the 26th annual Boston Wine Festival promises to spotlight many of the world’s top winemakers. Over the course of the vino celebration, some of the other standout events include the Valentine’s jazz brunch with Moët & Chandon Champagne (February 15) and the Opus One dinner highlighting three decades of pours from the legendary winery (March 18). Pair any of the events with a room during the hotel’s Boston Wine Festival promotion to make it a dream oenophile package.
Pittsboro, North Carolina
The Five-Star Fearrington House Restaurant, located in The Fearrington House Inn near Chapel Hill, always offers a delicious excuse to celebrate, but an intimate tasting dinner with Five-Star chef Christopher Kostow promises to be something extra special. Kostow is the critically acclaimed head at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, California, and he will be on hand to discuss his new cookbook, A New Napa Cuisine, on January 13. Tickets for the event include a reception with the author, drinks, dinner and an autographed copy of the book. The evening’s creative menu includes dishes such as potatoes in beeswax, foie gras hibiscus radish and black allium beef chanterelle. Consider indulging further by booking an overnight stay at the luxurious property.
Golfers rejoice at Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s two outstanding championship 18-hole courses, each with distinct character, challenges and views. So esteemed is the Paradise Course that it annually hosts the PGA season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions (January 9-12). It doesn’t hurt that the hotel also provides amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, a three-tiered swimming pool and beaches that you can walk to in about 10 minutes. The 17,500-square-foot spa, with 15 private rooms and treatments inspired by local ingredients (the Kapalua Castaway massage uses lavender, coconut oil or native fruit), offers another way to relax after you’ve finished watching defending Hyundai champ Zach Johnson and others on the greens. Of course, if you’re unable to attend the tournament, the Golf in Paradise deal is available all year, and includes deluxe accommodations for two, two rounds of golf and breakfast.
Noma, a cutting-edge restaurant founded in 2003 in Copenhagen by chef René Redzepi, serves an ever-evolving 20-course tasting menu designed to take your taste buds to a place filled with soft quail eggs, blue mussels and other fascinating dishes. In an unusual move, the chef and the entire staff of culinary wizards closed up shop and temporarily relocated to the chic, modern Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo for a few months. The Danish invasion was received so fondly from gourmands in Japan that the visit was extended from January 9 through February 14. No doubt, the Noma package (valid February 2-14), which includes accommodations, dinner, breakfast and a commemorative gift for two, is a special way to celebrate a border-crossing epicurean experience that may never be replicated.
You don’t necessarily need to have an Oscar nomination to enjoy a lavish reception at the Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills. In fact, the Red Carpet Ready package, timed to coincide with Hollywood’s gala awards season, will make everyone feel a bit like Reese Witherspoon. Before the six-hour pampering session even begins, you are greeted with a champagne toast at Four-Star Spa Montage. Next up is an Illuminating Body Treatment, then a Deluxe Caviar Facial, followed by a manicure and pedicure from Deborah Lippmann, the celebrity manicurist who’s laid her talented hands on everyone from Amy Adams to Lupita Nyong’o. A personalized hair consultation and makeup application session at the renowned Kim Vo Salon end the day of spoiling. Should you choose to paint the town red afterward, don’t be surprised if someone asks for an autograph.