By Ramsey Qubein, AFAR — The e perennial question regarding New Year’s Eve is: Where do you spend the big moment? For some, it is best spent at home with close friends and family. Others think it should be a big splash in an exciting locale like London or Sydney. Here are five entertaining North American spots to consider for the final countdown of 2016 and how to maximize your points and miles during your visit.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Whether you want to hit the slopes or curl up by the fire with a cocktail in hand, Salt Lake City, a major Delta hub (redeem those SkyMiles!) has it all. Nearby Park City is the celebrated ski resort boasting everything from the elegant Waldorf Astoria Park City to the stylish and modern DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City - The Yarrow , which debuted last year following a multimillion-dollar transformation.
Over at Snowbird, a major renovation project has transformed the slopeside Cliff Lodge and Spa into a contemporary resort. Cliff Spa offers a range of massage treatments plus saunas, a pool, and a whirlpool facing the peaks. Take in the panoramic fine dining at The Aerie and the famous aerial tram that rises to 11,000 feet above sea level. Cliff Lodge and Spa participates in PointsHound and Rocketmiles earning programs; don’t book a night here without taking advantage.
If you want more of a city vibe, Salt Lake City’s downtown is less than a 30-minute drive from main ski areas. Downtown brands like Sheraton and Marriott are ideal for families needing extra space. Make sure to check out EVE Winter Fest, the downtown festival that takes place over New Year’s Eve (there’s even a mirror ball countdown). Aside from skiing and festival-going, take advantage of your prime location: Taste chocolate and cheese at Caputo’s Market (Utah has a growing reputation for bean-to-bar chocolate producers) and sample the avocado toast and fresh brews at Salt Lake’s popular small-batch roaster Publik. The city’s culinary scene is growing so fast, you might mistake it for Portland, Oregon.