One of the most exclusive and expensive places to spend New Year’s Eve is St. Barts, a tiny slice of France in the northeastern Caribbean about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico. A big chunk of its 8 square miles and is covered with ultra high-end villas (David Letterman and Steve Martin have places there) but no one has a bigger compound than Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, which stretches across 80 acres above a stunning beach called Goveneur.
This is the site of Roman’s annual New Year’s Eve party, which draws A-list celebrities around around the planet. The fireworks display alone is reported to cost $6 million. And when it comes to entertainment, Roman spares no expense. In past years, live music has been provided by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon. This one party figures huge into the island’s economy.
But last year, there was no party. With the Sochi Olympics about to start, Vladimir Putin called all his buddies back to Moscow. That meant Roman and his girlfriend, Dasha, couldn’t be in St. Barts for New Year’s. The whole island wept over the lost income, which amounted well into eight figures.
This year, though, there will be two mega-parties: Roman’s soiree (will Lady Gaga perform this year?) and whatever Diddy plans to do on his yacht, which is parked in Gustavia harbour. The island is abuzz over this duel–and the locals are giddy with the prospects of some ultra-high spending.