DUBAI // Dubai has topped the rankings as the most expensive city to see in the new year for the second year in a row.
According to the annual survey of seven of the most popular cities by the currency exchange firm Travelex, celebrating New Year’s Eve in the city costs Dh2,240 per person on average. New York ranked second at Dh1,850, followed by London at Dh1,435, Paris at Dh1,170, Amsterdam at Dh955 and Sydney at Dh950.
Edinburgh was named the best value option for the second year in a row at Dh725.
Restaurants and hotels in the UAE are offering various packages for the big night, with prices ranging from Dh500 per person for a seat at the bar at high-end Peruvian restaurant Coya in the Four Seasons Hotel, Dh850 for a table and Dh1,250 for a table on the terrace.
The Five Guys burger outlet, which has seating by the fountains at Dubai Mall, offers unlimited food and soft drinks for Dh1,200 while the Treehouse restaurant in the Taj Hotel in Business Bay prices its New Year’s Eve packages at Dh1,500 including free flowing drinks. Big spenders will have to part with Dh20,000, for a group of eight to 12 people, to see in the new year on the hotel’s upper deck lounge which has views of the Burj Khalifa and the fireworks show.
Roberto’s restaurant in the DIFC is charging Dh1,700 per person for indoor seating and Dh2,900 for outdoors with a view of the Burj.
Marc Thomas, from the UK, said the prices being asked by venues this year were “staggering”.
“You need to be quite wealthy to be able to afford some of the prices these Dubai restaurants charge,” he said. “I usually go to a friend’s house. It’s just not worth it otherwise.”
Mariam Saleh, a Lebanese resident in Dubai, said she used to go out for New Year’s Eve when she first moved to the UAE seven years ago, but has decided against spending so much in recent times.
“Prices have gone up so much that it’s become unaffordable,” said the 31-year-old. “You don’t even get to enjoy the night anymore when you realise how much you are spending. I could use that money to pay for a ticket and hotel in another destination which would make it a lot more worth it for me.” Abdullah Ahmed said he was not surprised Dubai’s ranked as the most costly.
“Prices have been increasing yearly,” he said. “It’s almost become the norm to pay at least Dh1,000 for New Year’s Eve which is crazy when you think that it’s just one night. I think it is overrated anyway, it’s just a night like any other for me.”
The 28-year-old from Egypt usually flies into Dubai to visit his sister for new year but opts for a more cost effective way to celebrate.
“We usually go to the beach next to Burj Al Arab to watch the fireworks and grab a bite to eat in the area. It’s much easier with traffic and cheaper.”
Aleksandra Terminova, from Russia, regularly visits the emirate for the holidays. “We go out to a restaurant or a club with my friends,” said the 35-year-old.
“It can end up being very expensive, especially if you go to a place that has the view of fireworks, sometimes up to Dh2,500 per person, but at least we are in one place and we don’t get stuck in traffic. “They also provide us with a lot of benefits with food, drinks and sometimes costumes but I don’t think I would spend this much on a regular night out. I just think New Year’s Eve is special.”