New Year's Eve is many things to many people. It can be a big club night (Kingsbury), a scene to be seen at (Cantaloupe, Hilton), a dress-up party (Gatsby at Mount Lavinia Hotel), a dinner dance (Loon Tao), or even a sit down dinner (London Grill).
We go through all the options we could think of below, and also recommend a few options depending on who you are.
||Mount Lavinia Hotel
||Games, karaoke, no purses required (everything free once you're in).
|Good Music Movement
||They actually care about the music. Underground electronica/hip-hop.
||Cantaloupe throws the most pro parties. It's a tight dresses and striped shirts scene.
||Rs. 10,000 (13,000 VIP)
||755403600, 777739424, 723385145
||Taj Samudra Lawn
||International acts from Hed Kandi, Ibiza, etc.
||Artist Global Deejays had a dance hit with 'The Sound of San Francisco' . The night has the usual hotel stuff plus solid mainstream club tracks.
||Rs. 10,000 (15,000 VIP)
|Loon Tao Dinner Dance
||Loon Tao, Mount Lavinia
||If you have kids and just want to eat, this is the place. The uncle and aunty party.
||Rs. 4,750, kids half-price or free
|London Grill Dinner
||An eight-course set menu and piano music. For when you've stopped pretending to have fun at dance parties.
||112497470, 772105464, 773136778
|Cinnamon Pool Party
||Eat at any Cinnamon restaurant and/or hang out by their pool. They also have a dinner dance for 25k.
||Rs. 3,500 - 7,500
||112497470, 772105464, 773136778
|Party At The Mews
||Park Street Mews
||All inclusive (cocktails, dinner, breakfast) party at Park Street Mews, with the band Misty.
||Food, drinks and the band Doctor.
||Usual DJ dinner dance.
||The entire Una strip has parties - from Kingfisher to Lucky Tuna.
||Varies, but carry at least 10k.
||Walk along the beach
||Negombo (Avenra Hotel)
||Daddy is a solid local rock act. They have DJs and the usual dinner dance scene, but in Negombo.
||Buba (Mount Lavinia)
||The usual beach electronica dance party.
||Rs. 1,500, ladies free
And now we'll break them down into digestible chunks. As a note, basically every single New Year's party has a breakfast buffet, with the possible exception of a few beach raves.
The Hotel Event Parties
The event parties are the parties where 'everyone' is at and which basically amount to the biggest club night of the year. There used to be two (Galle Face and Mount) but this year there are four - at Mount, the Taj, the Hilton and the Kingsbury. Galle Face is half-closed for renovations.
The recommended dress code is preferably something designer from abroad, or Mango, Avirate or tailor made from Kiito around here. It's striped shirts and tight dresses, generally. The demographic should be 18-35 but it probably veers close to 15-40.
This year some of the parties are all-inclusive, but you can count on shelling out around Rs. 1,000 per drink otherwise (usually). They all include food and a thadda breakfast.
Rs. 19,900 (all inclusive): The Gatsby is basically a dress-up party loosely themed around the Great Gatsby. It's probably the most comprehensive party in terms of food (kottu, sushi, burgers, cupcakes) and entertainment (blackjack, roulette, karaoke). It has the least focus on music, however, with no named DJs that we could find.
Rs. 10,000 (13,000 VIP): Cantaloupe are probably the most professional party people in Colombo. If you're into traditional New Year's Eve hedonism, they're very good at that. They're bringing down international DJ's including Paul Thomas and eyecandy DJs like Juicy M.
The focus here is more on music, lights and scene but they do have food and breakfast. You have to buy drinks separate, so it can end up being a lot more expensive than the ticket price.
Rs. 10,000: Amuseum is a popular local club (which keeps changing locations). This year they're bringing down international DJs from Hed Kandi (Nathan Cozetto) and Pacha Ibiza (John Jacobsen).
Amuseum is hosting another music oriented party. There's breakfast and the usual, but it's mainly about electronic dance music and drinks (no open bar).
Rs. 10,000 (15,000 VIP): Kingsbury is bringing down perhaps the most known DJ. Global Deejays had a hit with "San Francisco" which anybody that goes to this sort of thing would have heard. They've also brought down eyecandy DJs Duo Diamonds and DJ Vanilla.
As far as international acts goes they've got the biggest, though perhaps not the most current. Besides that there're breakfast, usual hotel amenities, plus 3D mapping in what's the newest hotel of the lot.
Out Of Town
Unawatuna is basically a suburb of Colombo now, but you can still escape a bit of the Colombo scene there. You can at least dress comfortably and beach parties, and listen to a different sort of music.
In Una you can actually just walk along the beach and find parties. They used to be free for foreigners and cost for locals (men especially). That may have changed but probably still in effect. We're highlighting one party only, but there are events all up and down the beach.
Good Music Movement @ The Closenberg Hotel
Rs. 3,000: The Good Music Movement is, as the name implies, about the music. It's a cool crowd and they're bring down some Manchester electronica/hip-hop DJs they actually like (Versa and Reflec, formerly Shadowfax).
The price here is reasonable, the crowd should be unpretentious and the Closenberg is a cool hotel. Really depends if you're into that sort of music.
At some point you just don't care about dance music or being seen. You just want a place where you can eat, drink and maybe park the kids. There are options for that.
The Cinnamon Grand is not competing head on with the other hotels for the youth market. Instead they offer a Rs. 25,000 dinner dance (featuring Sohan and the X-periments) and other dinner oriented events at their restaurants. Those range from Rs. 12,000 for an eight-course meal at the London Grill (with piano music) or 3,500 for champagne and canapes in the lobby. Partiers at Taprobane, London Grill, Tao, The Lagoon, and Chutneys also have access to the pool party.
If you're looking for something kid-friendly and basically just want to eat, Loon Tao offers a buffet for Rs. 4,750 which is half price for kids and free if they're below five. They also have the band Flame doing covers, we presume.
Besides that there's the usual beach rave at Buba, Daddy is playing in Negombo and every hotel does something. Places along the beach should all be happening, from Arugam Bay to Hikkaduwa.
There is, of course, the option of renting a nice villa or something and having a small party just with friends or planning an event and guest-list just for you and yours. What we've listed here are the big events as much as we could find. Please comment or contact us if you know of anything we missed.