Getting Your 2011 On
Friday is, arguably, the most high-pressure party night of the year since conventional wisdom mandates that you must have a spectacularly good time on New Year’s Eve or suffer, knowing that you bungled the chance to enter the rest of your life in proper revelatory fashion. Herein, four festivities that provide all the balloons, Champagne, and after-party suites you could want, be you in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, or Wisconsin:
- In Indiana, the two hotels that make up French Lick Resort (8670 W. State Road 56, French Lick, Indiana; 888-936-9360, frenchlick.com) are offering a $1,129, two-night package that includes a New Year’s Eve four-course dinner (which begins with lobster and ends with white-chocolate truffles), a $150 credit at the resort’s spa, a $50 breakfast credit, and a $100 dinner credit. If gambling draws you in, the resort’s casino offers 51,000 square feet of slot machines and Texas Hold ‘Em tables, plus a 9,500 square foot non-smoking area. On New Year’s Eve, it’s Carnivale in the casino with complimentary masks and feathers for all.
- On Michigan’s Mackinac Island, New Year’s Eve comes amid the isolated beauty of an island off-season. Only a few of the island’s hotels are open year round, which means you’re apt to find a level of peaceful seclusion that’s the polar opposite of the traditional, clanging, confetti-filled New Year’s Eve blowout. Stay at the Pontiac Lodge of Mackinac Island (1367 Hoban St., Mackinac Island; 906-847-3364, pontiaclodge.com) and you can indulge in a quiet surf ‘n’ turf repast at the Villlage Inn restaurant (1384 Hoban St., Mackinac Island; 906-847-3542) while pianist John Kissane plays. Post-dinner, DJ Brevin-Cawthorne takes over until the small hours. Rates start at the eminently reasonable off-season rate of $65 a night. For details about what’s open and what isn’t, go to viofmackinac.com.
- Chicago’s Rebar (in the Trump Hotel, 401 N. Wabash Ave., 312-588-8000, trumphotelchicago.com) is throwing a “Pink Affair to Remember,” where, for $450 a table, groups of up to five people can festivate from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose and either a tower of pink pastries or pink savories (such as sashimi, maki roles) at a private table in a bar pinkified for the evening with flowers, lighting design, and other rose-colored production values. For $600, your party gets all of the above plus a window table overlooking the river. A DJ will spin the night away. Post-party, guests may repair to a room in the tower. New Year’s Eve rates start at $470; reservations required. For more info go to trumphotelchicago.com or call Ariel Lickton at 312-588-8114.
- In Wisconsin, the warren-like Grand Geneva (7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva; 262-248-8811, grandgeneva.com) offers a $75 package that includes an open bar from 9 p.m. until midnight, live entertainment from Déjà Vu (a band whose repertoire ranges from Frank Sinatra to Outkast), and the obligatory balloon drop/Champagne toast at midnight. The party is free to those who preface it with a multi-course prix-fixe meal ($139) at the Geneva ChopHouse or Ristorante Brissago (but you must dine between 5 and 6 p.m.; if you dine after 6 p.m., party tickets are $35). Those prices don’t include the room; two-night packages over New Year’s weekend at the Grand Geneva start at $625.