Lions and Tigers and Chimps, Oh My! NYE South Beach Style 2010

New Years Eve always seems so stressful.  Where to go?  What’s the best party?   Who to kiss at midnight?

Since South Beachers party 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week, New Years Eve is almost anti-climactic.  How can we outdo what we do everyday?  And how do we top the big bashes of Basel and last year’s NYE party?

For me, I have experienced New Years Eve for many years in NYC, a few in LA and many more in Miami.  The past few years I have added Punta del Este to my NYE repertoire.  This year I almost went to a jet set spot in Brazil called Angra where each party is only accessible by boat.  But in the end, South Beach won out since I had many international visitors coming.  Plus, my friends Malinka & George Wallner sent me a ‘save the date’ for NYE 2010 at their “Circus”. So with the circus coming to town, I decided to stay!

The countdown begins with all my friends jockeying for invitations to what is coined to be the best NYE party.  This year the Circus on Hibiscus Island got the top ranking.  My phone started ringing off the hook from my friends near and far who wanted the ‘hook up’.  I am known as the ‘go to gal’ who knows everyone worth knowing about town.  Being that I throw parties of my own, I am in good standing with other hosts and get some tickets thrown my way.  Now the tough part is selecting who to share them with.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t….

As NYE night approaches the calls, emails and texts start multiplying and getting more desperate.  This year I had my friends Lord Alain & Lady Dayah in town so they were top of my list.  Then some lovely friends from Munich, my funny British friend Andrew & his Turkish girlfriend Leyla, my Estonian friend Monica with her Italian boyfriend, one Swiss fit boy toy, one Swedish Prince, my French wine client from Cote d’Provence, France and one American doctor for good measure along with his “Barbie-like” babe date with plenty of silicone plus one requisite model.  So our “All-Star” international lineup was in place.  Ready, set, go!

New Years Eve afternoon, I chilled at my favorite R&R spot, The Standard Hotel pool.  The scenery is always interesting at this waterfront oasis.  Boats come and go for lunch and a few virgin mud bathers slap on the dirt and soak in the sun in funny shades of green, blue or yellow looking like aliens.

Mother Nature not only cooperated for NYE 2010 in Miami, but blessed us with a full blue moon! What an extraordinary site!  Yes, once in a blue moon…..the stars aligned perfectly and all the pretty partiers showed up on cue to the Circus on Hibiscus Island.  You couldn’t miss the entrance which was blown up with multi-colored balloon arches.  The top-hatted doorman took our circus tickets and the show began once inside.  A unicorn pony was the first to greet the guests, and then a cute little chimpanzee dressed to the 9’s for NYE.  Time for a champagne poured by male model-like servers.  Then off to check out the lion cage.  And stationed next to the beast was our very own drag queen glamour puss, DJ, Miss Elaine Lancaster spinning the tunes for the night.  Across the stepping stones and over to the buffet to fuel up for the long evening.  Healthy options of crudités complimented by mini hors d’ouvres of spinach pie and chicken satay among other goodies to satiate our tummies were served.

Now through the house and over to the treats table filled with all sorts of sweets.  And then time for more champagne at the back bar with big boobed babes serving endlessly flowing bubbly.  Select vodka was on hand for the hard liquor drinkers.  For those that could not be bothered with trekking back to the bars for refills, bottles were available for the taking.  So my glass was never half empty, but always full!

Every twist and turn a new surprise showed up.  Their was a python available for picture posing.  Costumed performers interfaced with the crowds everywhere.  In the pool, a babe was rolling around inside a bubble.  And baby lions and tigers were oohed and ahhed over.  Beyond was the South Beach skyline seen through the spaces between the yachts docked poolside.  And of course, the crowd of 1000 VIP guests were a site to be seen as well, parading the premises of this waterfront property.  The low-key owner, George Wallner is an engineering genius and invented the softwear for credit card machines….ka ching!  His party partner, Malinka is queen of the castle with her name bestowed upon the villa as Casa Malinka and for the night it was known as Circus Malinka.

The countdown to midnight had folks figuring out who would be there significant other for the first kiss in the New Year with fireworks flying overhead. More food, more drink, more kisses till the party roared to a close.  Then we island party hopped over to Palm Island to check out the festivities there.  Next, back to our South Beach stomping grounds.  We drove back in my vintage red convertible with classical music blasting out over the causeway with revelers in tow.

We lost Lord Alain & Dayah along the way…they were not in training condition for our endless party schedule.  I had a few party partners in crime head over to the new W South Beach with me where we had a penthouse party to attend.  This took some fast talking to the doorman to advise him of our VIP status so we could get past the velvet ropes.  Yes, even the trendy hotels here discriminate on who should be privileged to pass through their doors.  We passed one check point, but now had to get up to the penthouse level which required a fob to unlock the elevator.  Well, just my luck, one of my buddies, Eric was headed to the lobby for a room service menu…..he and his PH entourage had the 4am munchies.  So off we all went to the top!  Our first stop, Penthouse 1 was a bit quiet…so we moved onto Penthouse 5, but couples had started to get cozy there on the pool deck under the stars so off to try Penthouse 7.  Then back to Penthouse 1 in time for room service delivery followed by the 6am arrivals waiting for sunrise over South Beach.  These cool and sexy penthouses are all duplexes with pools on the upper level.  One had a long lap pool and another had a mini pool where the bartender babe served from inside it.  The views were all spectacular in every direction.  By this time, the magnitudes of champagne consumed were making us silly.  I got the last party picture just as the son of my friend, Eric couldn’t coordinate both his glass of bubbly and my camera.  He saved the glass, but dropped the camera….so the rest of the night went undocumented…which by 6am was probably a good thing.

The next day, I ran into my neighbor who went by boat to the Circus party.  I thought I had an eventful evening until he rattled off all of his party pit stops –  from Hibiscus Island to Biscayne Bay for the fireworks, back to the Circus, then to downtown Miami, then Sunset Island and finally the W penthouse circuit.

New Years Day God cleansed us with some rain.  I ran on the beach and then called it a day!   Welcome 2010! May you be better than 2009 by a long shot!

HOPE GAINER, President of Hope International is a global imagemaker, marketer and branding expert with 30 years of lifestyle experience with a focus today on the luxury market.  She produces unique, upscale events around the world.  Gainer is a founding member of the Florida Luxury Council and a contributor to several luxury magazines including Elite Traveler, Haute Living and Social Affairs.  She also represents spectacular ‘trophy’ real estate properties worldwide as well as Miami where she is based.

To see more exclusive photos from the party, visit our events page.