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The House of Shields, San Francisco

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, December 29 05:09 PM

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So what if this beautiful old bar in downtown San Francisco doesn't have a clock (or a TV) to help count down the last seconds of 2010? We're hoping it means there won't be a last call, either.

The House of Shields has been around for a while--over 100 years, in fact. But it has just reopened after a renovation that's added some extra polish to the wood-paneled walls and brass statues and stripped the floor back to the original tile mosaic. Owner and chef, Dennis Leary, also runs Canteen restaurant and the much-loved Sentinel sandwich shop next door, so expect some quality eats soon, too.

Grab one of the spruced-up wooden booths for you and your posse to toast 2011...just make sure one of you wears a watch.

Padma Lakshmi Collection, The Surrey Hotel, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, December 28 05:13 PM

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New York City's Upper East Side, home to the pretty of face and the deep of pocket. Could there be a better place to shill the new jewelry line of model-turned-reality-TV-star Padma Lakshmi?

To catch the eye of chic peripatetic types, the Top Chef host has checked her baubles into the neighborhood's recently renovated Surrey hotel (look for the customized armoire in the lobby). We love the boho elegance of the bold pyrite and garnet necklace that references Masai bead wear and the 14-karat-gold earrings reminiscent of Southeast Asian orchids.

While a touch of Lakshmi's glamour is an added attraction, there's no need for her cooking prowess here--the top chefs of Café Boulud at The Surrey have all that in hand.

Our Favorite Hotel Skating Rinks

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, December 27 05:15 PM

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The Standard NYC

Sitting at street level in New York City's Meatpacking District, the Standard's winter wonderland (pictured) is a good spot for people-watching both on and off the ice (note the sexy staff clad in custom Roxy snowsuits). Blade runners can refuel with cheese fondue and tempura onion rings. But go easy on the spiked hot chocolate, or the only thing you'll be putting on ice is your behind.

Open through winter. Tickets $12, skate rental $3.

Hotel del Coronado
Forget frozen fingers and tingly toes. At the Hotel del Coronado, in San Diego, you can practice your figure eights and work on your tan. The palm treeringed rink overlooks the Pacific, and a portion of the proceeds from each two- or three-hour skating session goes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Open through January 2. Three-hour session: $20 for adults, $15 for kids. Two-hour session: $15 for adults, $10 for kids. Skate rental: $5.

St. Regis Atlanta
Tented in billowing white fabric and illuminated by twinkling fairy lights, the St. Regis Atlanta's rink is the place to go to win you serious romance points. Afterward, cozy up for hot chocolate and s'mores around the outdoor fireplaces or head upstairs for free leg and foot massages at the spa.

Open through January 3. One-hour session: $30 for adults, $18 for kids.

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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