Sometimes escape is all you need to be happy — believe me, it's one of many personal manifestos. But don't run away to Times Square or Rio this New Year's Eve. Stick around town — because Austin's best hotels are hosting some of the biggest bashes of the year, complete with fancy dresses, live music and deep discounts on room rates. These radical parties will make your year-ending evening spectacularly special no matter how familiar the surroundings.
The creative bees at Hotel San Jose have been busy buzzing around behind the scenes to bring you "All Tomorrows Party: A Warhol Factory New Year's Eve." And the hippest hive mind in town promises to perfectly fuse the present with the oncoming future with a decadent night full of dancing, live DJs, a photo booth by Alison Narro and, of course, a champagne toast at midnight. Like a true underground, there's no cover, just show up unannounced in your best 60s duds — black and white attire encouraged, but not required — and boogie down, bebe.
Or welcome in the new year at W Austin's "Drop the Ball" party. Their Living Room Lounge is about a million times better than yours, so do yourself a favor and reserve a seat for the ultimate evening of elegant relaxation, which will include welcome cocktails, "nibbles" plates courtesy of TRACE Chef de Cuisine, Paul Hargrove, a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne, live beats from DJ Rich and commemorative party favors.
Lakeway Resort & Spa will also be offering another chic celebration, with a gourmet meal prepared by Executive Chef Jeff Axline, live music performed by Andrea Marie and the Magnolia Band and a long night of dancing alongside vistas overlooking Lake Travis. Save yourself the drive home after your complimentary glass of champagne at midnight and reserve a discounted room for the last night of 2011.
And what better night to indulge in some old-school charm than the last night of the year? Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel is throwing a classic celebration fit for every flapper girl's dreams. Glitzy guests will enjoy a night of prohibition-era jazz — courtesy of The Danielle Reich Trio — a cigar roller on the terrace preparing custom cigars to order, cocktails and complimentary bottles of Imperial Brut Champagne, special menu and hors d'oeuvres from Chef Patrick Newman and a traditional balloon drop at midnight.
Or steer clear of the city fêtes in favor of a relaxing evening in the Hill Country. Travaasa Austin's New Year's Eve package includes everything you'll need for a calm countdown to midnight: a gourmet, locally-sourced five-course dinner menu featuring traditional "good luck" ingredients, live entertainment and a midnight toast under a perfectly starry sky thanks to Travaasa's ideal location inside the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. After a long night of celebratory cocktails, guests will wake up to a complimentary "Sprayology Party Relief" spa treatment suited to cure your year's worst hangover.