Holidays

The World's Sexiest Holiday Parties

by Abby Ellin

The Place: Punta del Este, Uruguay

The Crowd: Call it Las Vegas del Sur, located where the waters of the Rio de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean converge. Lots and lots of fashion types (read: international models, à la Naomi Campbell) and megarich Argentineans whom you will never, ever cry for.

Celebrate Christmas: Locals will be doing their thing with la familia, so tourists should hit the beach of José Ignacio or the nearest beach city, Piriápolis. It's mellower than Punta, and there's a nature reserve where you can view penguins, vultures, ostriches, owls, and several varieties of stags.

Celebrate New Year's: The monstrous Conrad hotel—it has 296 rooms and 30 suites—could be Nevada circa 1978, replete with gold chains and hairy chests. But since it's on the ocean and attracts throngs of cosmopolites, it can still be fun. In addition to the gambling basics—roulette, poker, blackjack—there are also flamenco performances, tango lessons, fashion shows, and rousing games of bingo.

Stay in style: Mantra Resort, Spa, and Casino. Opened in 2003, the 100-room boutique hotel has quickly become a haven for gorgeous people who want to hit the slot machines by night and relax from the effort by day. The resort's signature restaurant, Zafferno, features many of the classic dishes from Harry's Bar in Venice; the 26,909-square-foot Balance Spa combines Ayurvedic medicine and Western treatments. More palatable than the Conrad, and it's pretty.

Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino
Tel: 598 42 49 11 11

Mantra
Tel: 598 42 771 000
Doubles from $720, with a 7-night minimum

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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