BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (MainStreet) -- As much of the U.S. shivers, the other half of the world is enjoying 80- and 90-degree temperatures -- and the perfect New Year's escape. Summer in the southern hemisphere offers a trove of beach club hot spots that lure glitterati and famous faces fresh off a 10-plus-hour flight. Some offer little more than a cocktail bar on the beach, while others are culinary pilgrimages that mix starry dining and sunshine in the most idyllic of summer settings.
In South Africa's Cape Town you'll find a bar called Caprice in the city's Camps Bay neighborhood. Located on the main promenade of one of Cape Town's most exclusive beach communities,
exudes coolness even from the outside with its all-white facade and Miami-style neon lighting. Caprice, which calls itself an all-day "Eat, Drink and Play" pad, is within a '40s building with a large terrace and indoor dining room with bar. Accented in whimsical chandeliers and grand columns dividing inside from outside lounge areas, the main floor bar is surrounded by low-flung sectionals that double as midnight dance tables. There is a staff of gorgeous barmen and prettier waitresses, and the Caprice rules local social life with weekend volleyball competitions, Champagne-sponsored bashes and spinoff pool parties.
A continent away in Sydney, Australia, lies the famous beach community of Bondi (pronounced
), where a 12-room beach hotel offers one of the sexiest bar scenes on the sand. Called Ravesi's Hotel, this historic design property is on the colorful Bondi promenade next to the main beach, with views of the shoreline and rock pool and access to the equally famous Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Ravesi's, however, is all about local surf life attracting a post-beach mingle of professional singles for summer events such as its New Year's Eve Bondi Bash. The hotel features two floors of bars, including the main-level Terrace Bar at
that lures a flip-flop-and-sundress set of afternoon revelers with its open windows and DJs fueling a weekend apres-beach scene.
In recent years the arrival of fashionable brands such as
have created a Thai Riviera in Koh Samui that competes with scenes such as Phuket. With no shortage of beach club competition from the likes of
, Koh Samui is also home to the day-and-night
waterfront playground along Lamai Beach. It's a beachfront pool with double-thatch canopies, chunky loungers and an indoor lounge pavilion that offers an apres-beach scene by day and bar scene by night. The owners looked to recreate the glittery scene of St. Tropez, Cap d'Antibes and St. Barts with a destination eatery offering gourmet global fare from Phuket lobster bisque to a grilled Wagyu beef fillet, and entrance is free or for a minimum tab of 500 Baht for weekly events such as Sunday Sessions with live DJs and periodic outdoor movie nights.
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On the northern strip of Mexico's Playa del Carmen is
, widely considered one of the best Euro-style beach clubs in the area -- and perhaps all of Mexico. Built on a strip of white-sand beach lined in midrise hotels and rows of sun loungers and rentable catamarans, Mamitas boasts a Balearic-style facade of open architecture, stacked stone and white stucco that looks every bit the Ibiza-style beach club. Inside are interconnected lounges, outdoor bars and a lagoon-style pool deck with luxury changing cabanas and direct access to the beach. A terraced dining room above the sand offers all-day lunch service and more formal dinners with a regional menu of seafood specialties. As host to annual events such as the
Winter Beach, the club sponsors parties and beach concerts regularly throughout the December-to-February high season.
Mustique, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies, is what St. Barts was before the onset of the beach club conglomerates and luxury mass retailers -- a colonial-style escape free of DJ-fueled circuit events and yacht parties. The
restaurant and boutique stands out among the few nightlife options. It sits on stilts above the sea and offers an oceanfront playground for high-living island residents and visitors including Hollywood celebs and European royalty. A beach eatery by day and restaurant and bar by night, Basil's Bar has been part of the scene since 1976 with nightly lobster feasts followed by DJs and house bands for annual events such as the Mustique Blues Festival. There may not be champagne showers like on other islands, but Basil's delivers an authentic local touch that's a rarity come January in the Caribbean.
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Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.