Ringing in Luxury: New Year’s Eve in South Florida

To ring in 2008 in “Beyond Paradise” style, The Setai, alongside Dylan McDermott and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, toasted in elegance and simplicity for a night of Hollywood entertainment.

By Valentina Zuric


The major purveyors of partying know one thing best in Miami: New Year’s Eve. As the world’s largest combined party, starting in Sydney and traveling around the globe like a synchronized pyrotechnic explosion, New Year’s Eve in South Florida always promises to be a dazzling event.

To ring in 2008, the Setai exceeded all expectations by throwing one of the most extravagant parties of the night, with general admission tickets priced at $1000 and a dress code beyond chic. Hollywood actor Dylan McDermott arrived as the host of the evening in a striking navy blue Marc Jacobs suit, while Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, wearing a form-fitting, two-piece, stunning winter white skirt suit by Donna Karan, made a majestic entrance onto the red carpet with her family and entourage.

Sponsored by Haute Living, DKNY and Knights Head beer, 2008 was celebrated in East-meets-West decadence, through a corporeal adventure of exotic beats and five-star service. And what could be a better way to kick off the New Year than with a revved up performance by superstar Hudson? The acclaimed actress and singer glowed in front of the world’s media, as she belted out four songs from her upcoming album as well as her hit, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” blowing kisses to the audience while adorned in more than $150,000 worth of jewels, including a gorgeous $55,000, 7.5 carat, platinum-and-diamond watch provided by Armaan Swiss Diamond Watches, and a 10-carat butterfly-shaped diamond ring by Rosalina. Thrilled to be performing at The Setai for such a prestigious New Year’s Eve celebration, the Dreamgirls star’s resolution was to “focus more and always be happy, even though I work all the time.”

And on this haute night of celeb-studded entertainment, dancing, and decadence, McDermott took to the stage to introduce Hudson at 11:30 p.m. in front of a capacity crowd who had enjoyed an extravagant five-course meal, prepared by The Setai’s acclaimed Executive Chef Jonathan Wright. The incredible feast included delicious entrées such as Miso caramelized black cod, roasted wagyu tenderloin, and osteria caviar. Shortly after a champagne toast at midnight, fireworks exploded over the oceanside beachfront.

Guests then moved on to the Beyond Paradise late night soiree, where the renowned international DJ Sky Nellor was spinning the latest beats until 3 a.m. for the overflowing A-listers and partygoers. As the hotel courtyard was transformed into a gorgeous and seductive, scarlet-washed nightclub filling The Halle, Courtyard and Z-Zone Lounge of The Setai, the ultra-VIP party featured live performances by exotic caged “bird” dancers, while the jungle-themed party roared with high-energy and extravagance.