Best Day Parties of 2011
Some say "Live easy in the summertime." Others say "Party like you never have before." Join the jet set on a Champagne-powered, high-fashion roundup of the most exclusive day parties of 2011.
By Lena Katz
Photo Credit: KU DE TA
KU DE TA | Bali
It's on the other side of the world from the USA, but that's inconsequential. Good-life connoisseurs from California to Mumbai to London know that the ultimate idyllic-meets-hedonistic party scene is going on year-round in Bali, with peak season in July and August. For years, bi-level beachfront hangout KU DE TA has been the epicenter, thanks to its mood-enhancing DJ sets, catalog-length cocktail list - all featuring fresh ingredients and top-shelf spirits - and downright perfect vibe. Most of the time, this is an all-ages place where blond Aussie families and Italian supermodels coexist on neighboring day beds, awaiting the sunset over Bali's silver waves. During annual parties like Bikini Day, pictured here, the clothes come off and the children stay home.
Southampton Social Club | The Hamptons
Come summertime in New York City, the Hamptons are everyone's go-to getaway. While some people are simply there to relax by the beach with their family, many are there for "the scene," which is Hollywood mingled with high society and funded by Wall Street fortunes. Every summer season has its must-hit events and news-making openings - this year, Southampton Social Club, seen here, is among the most-buzzed. It opened Memorial Day weekend, with celebrity guests including Estelle, Kyle MacLachlan, and Chelsea Handler and her new beau Andre Balazs.
Photo Credit: Liam McMullen of Patrick McMullen
Gansevoort Summer Series | Manhattan
Of course, there are reasons to stay in Manhattan over the weekend. One is the Gansevoort Summer Series, a Sunday afternoon party that takes place rooftop at the Gansevoort Park Avenue and books DJs spanning the gamut from semi-underground (LA Riots) to household-name (Paul Oakenfold). Every other day of the week, the Gansevoort pool bar is restricted to hotel guests only, and the door in the evening is tough - which means even though this event is ostensibly first-come first-serve, no cover, if you want drama-free entry, the best way is to reserve a VIP table with bottle service.
Photo Credit: Ander Kazmerski
SPLASHDANCE | The Standard Hollywood
The Sunset Strip's iconic The Standard, Hollywood hosts a monthly party called SPLASHDANCE in conjunction with FoundTrack. In addition to the requisite elements (gorgeous crowd, dirty beats, frisky bikini action in the swimming pool), this party distinguishes itself by having a quasi-approachable door policy (even if you're not friends with the DJ, you can ensure entry by RSVPing to firstname.lastname@example.org) and a sense of humor about its own Hollywood-style decadence. Case in point: A note on the event's Facebook page specifies "Special Valet Price $6 - unless you roll up in a Delorean, in which case we'll cover your valet - no joke." Next SPLASHDANCE on the calendar: August 6 and September 3.
Photo Credit: Jasmine Safaeian
Amnesia | Ibiza
If it's cheesy clubbing, bikini girls and big giant sound systems that you're after, there's one place that does it around the clock all summer long, and has since you were barely at the drinking age. Years ago it was declared over-and-done-with by hipsters...and yet, it somehow came back around and is now fixed on the circuit eternally. This place is, of course, Ibiza. You can hit a megaclub every night here, party till 8 a.m., catch a few hours of sleep in the high noon, and start it all up again around 4 p.m.. And that's what many do, for as long as they can stand it. Visually capturing the over-the-top outrageousness that is Ibiza is this image of a daytime foam party in Amnesia, four-time "Best Global Dance Club" winner with a maximum capacity of 5000+.
Photo Credit: Derak Shanian
Room Mate Oscar | Madrid
Just like not every New Yorker can get away to the Hamptons, not ever Madrileno can make it to Ibiza - nor do they want to, if they're grown up. And summertime visitors to Madrid want to experience the city, not sidetrip away. For socialites and globetrotters and Madrid residents looking for a city-style poolside soiree with no foam added, the terrace bar at Room Mate Oscar is a favorite. It's chic and boutique, with an international crowd, fun style and a central location. A perfect sunset lead-in to evening frolics.
Marquee at Cosmopolitan | Las Vegas
When people in the United States are looking for poolside debauchery, they generally go no further than Las Vegas. But a sophisticated and tasteful scene can be harder to find. And if you want somewhere that's tasteful yet buzz-worthy...well that's the hardest of all. Marquee is the newest and the best of the bunch. It's located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a venue that's distinguished itself as having edgy, artistic sensibilities since opening. The Cosmo is reputed to have the best music booker in the city, and at Marquee, up-and-coming electronic acts and tastemaker favorites play to a crowd that's more savvy and more fashionable than the usual Vegas stripper-and-juicehead set. Thanks to desert weather, this day party will be going for a couple months yet - perhaps even into October, if Mother Nature allows.
Photo Credit: Al Powers
Mondrian | South Beach
When winter does hit Las Vegas and all other points in the U.S., Miami will still be warm, sunny and sexy - at least on a good day. And the crowd by the pool at Mondrian and sister hotel Shore Club will still be a golden mix of muscle guys, Latin American lovelies, cheerleaders and New York stockbrokers looking to get lucky. The crowd crush and the decibel level are a few notches down from Las Vegas, while the scene on the other side of the door is more relaxed (the beach, as opposed to the Strip).
Photo Credit: Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com
Nikki Beach Club | St. Bart's
The name Nikki Beach Club was synonymous with jet set daytime decadence before most beach destinations even understood the concept of daylife, much less had a scene. While the brand originated in Miami, St. Tropez and St. Bart's have always been the iconic locations. St. Tropez is where you get the mega-yachts in the distance and the models spraying each other with Champagne. St. Bart's is where the models are (as pictured here) scampering in the sea and probably whisking their tops off once they get out of the frame. Both venues are equally hard to get into, but St. Bart's not quite so hard in summertime, as it's low season in the Caribbean. Christmas season is peak - best start planning for it now.
Nikki Beach | Koh Samui
While we vowed not to give one brand double placement in this gallery, Nikki Beach Koh Samui proved the exception to the rule. The marriage of an iconic brand with a legendary tropical destination was just too dreamy to leave out. It's also our newest and least-trampled place in the sun, having just celebrated its one-year anniversary.