Trump in Palm Beach: A look back at New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago

Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club, has hosted some of the most lavish and expensive New Year’s Eve parties in Palm Beach.

Trump has made a tradition of ringing in the new year here. Mar-a-Lago bashes are known for starting early and for the year-in-and-year out practice of serving baked Alaska for dessert.


Here’s a look back at the galas.


For last year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, party-goers walked 100 yards of red carpet leading to the resort’s pool area. They dined on crab claws, caviar and champagne.

The entertainment was provided by Party on the Moon, a popular cover act. Lead guitarist Dennis Lee Smith told Billboard magazine the band has played the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party every year since 2009.

Donald Trump Jr.’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve. This year, he will turn 40.

Read Palm Beach Daily News report on Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve 2016.

Ticket prices last year were $525 for members and $575 for guests. Politico reports that this year it will be $600 for dues-paying members and $750 for their guests.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach



By New Year’s Eve 2015, Trump had announced his candidacy for president and participated in five debates.

The candidate himself, live on FoxNews, led the New Year’s countdown.

READ the Palm Beach Daily News’ account



Palm Beach Daily News Society Editor Shannon Donnelly wrote:

The night began with a cocktail reception that filled the dining room, terrace, living room and tea room. Guests moved to the Grand Ballroom, decorated in true Versailles style with tables set with gold-and-white table linens and centered with dramatic arrangements of hydrangea, roses, and orchids climbing a tall gold candelabra. Even the good dinnerware -- the gold-rimmed white-bone china embossed with the Mar-a-Lago seal -- came out of the butler's pantry for the night. 
 After dinner -- wedge salad, truffle and ricotta ravioli, short ribs and sea bass with mashed taro root and baby carrots -- and dancing, host 

Donald Trump led the New Year's countdown, broadcast live from Times Square on two giant television screens flanking the stage.  

Celebrities spotted included Serena Williams, Martha Stewart and Rod Stewart.


According to the Palm Beach Daily News’ Donnelly:

Bob Kraft, Woody Allen and Donald Trump spent New Year’s Eve at The Mar-a-Lago Club, where the theme for the night's celebration was Moulin Rouge. 

The evening began with cocktail hour -- or, in this case, hours -- on the terrace, with raw bars, carving stations, caviar and '70s music.

After cocktails, the 400-plus members and guests moved to the Grand Ballroom, decorated in the rich colors and fabrics of La Belle Epoque, for a dinner of pear and spinach salad, ravioli with duck confit, beef tenderloin, and baked Alaska. 

Follow President Trump on our Facebook page





According to the Palm Beach Daily News, Trump invited golfer Tiger Woods to the club's New Year's Eve party. 

Tiger was a no-show.

So Trump's people did the next best thing. They hired Al Smith Jr., an Orlando Tiger impersonator. 

 "I didn't hire him," Trump said when asked if he didn't worry he'd antagonize Woods after having been one of the only high-profile supporters of the golfer. "I'm not the party planner."  Trump pointed out there were real celebs at his shindig: Rocker Rod Stewart, who's waiting for the birth of his new baby a few doors south of Mar-a-Lago, and TV host Regis Philbin.

Said Trump: "People came up to me to say that the Rod Stewart and Regis impersonators were great but that the Tiger guy was so-so. I don't think they realized Rod and Regis were the real ones."


The Palm Beach Daily News reported the kickoff began early in the evening at The Mar-a-Lago Club, with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on the patio to mark the final happy hour of 2009.  

From there, guests moved to the retro-chic ballroom -- with its checkerboard dance floor, white carpet and Studio 54-style sofa seating around the dance floor -- for a four-course dinner at tables covered in zebra-print linens and centered with masses of white hydrangeas in black vases.

Dance interludes saluted the '60s-era Beatles and the '70s-era Tina Turner, then jumped to "Donald Trump Hosts the Party of the Decade."


The Palm Beach Daily News noted the canny businessman extended the cocktail "hour" to cocktail "hours," thus ensuring that his 300 guests were plenty celebratory once midnight rolled around.


The Palm Beach Daily News reported that in 2007, Trump got the night off from being the center of attention. 

Instead, it was all about his tablemate, Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who accepted congratulations, shook hands and posed for pictures. His team won every one of its regular season games that year.


A 2006 Palm Beach Post story that poked fun at the most exclusive New Year’s Eve parties in Palm Beach County described plans for the Mar-a-Lago bash like this: 

What: New Year's Eve Gala at the posh Palm Beach club. 
The dish: A Vegas-style bash, where Donald Trump, family, friends (Regis Philbin says he's coming) and members party through the night. 
Think caviar, a seafood bar, a vodka slide, followed by four courses (including truffled ravioli, filet of beef and lobster) and, much later, a breakfast buffet. 
Highlights include the Vegas showgirl dancers and the fireworks extravaganza -- free to the public, as long as you're far away from Mar-a-Lago. 
The damage: $500 a head.  


The Palm Beach Daily News reported: Guests at The Mar-a-Lago Club's New Year's Eve celebration learned firsthand what has often been said about their host.  Donald Trump loves to take credit for any project in which he's involved.

Case in point - after dinner, Trump took the stage to address his more than 600 guests and said he wanted his very-pregnant wife Melania to stand up "so you can all see what I've done to her."


The Palm Beach Post reported:

The New Year's Eve bash at Mar-a-Lago felt like it could have been thrown by King Louis XIV. 

Granted, the master of the palace, The Apprentice's Donald Trump, looks nothing like a short French king with bad hygiene. But his new Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom, on the grounds of the Palm Beach property, glitters like a mini-Versailles. 

Seven hundred guests toasted the new year inside the $35 million ballroom, which was being used for the first time in a preview of Trump's Jan. 22 wedding there. 

"I'm very happy about the way this building turned out," Trump said between bites of crab. "The exterior was designed to keep up with the vision of Mrs. (Marjorie Merriweather) Post, but the inside is more me. It's got the feel and look of Louis XIV, and that's my favorite style." 

The building, one of the few additions to the 1926 property built by the cereal heiress, is breathtaking in its attention to detail and luxury. Since the groundbreaking on Thanksgiving 2003, workers have hand-applied sheets of 24-karat gold to the hundreds of yards of wall and ceiling moldings. The Donald says that the gold alone cost him $7 mill, a couple of million short of what he spent to buy the entire property in 1985. 

Each of the 17 crystal chandeliers that hung over the New Year revelers, who were serenaded by gorgeous Vanessa Williams, set him back $250,000. There are also mahogany doors; a state-of-the-art sound system that will be used by the likes of Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett during the next few weeks; and rare apple-green onyx on the bathroom floors. The bathroom basins are gold, and The Donald insisted that their piping be as well. 

One topic of party conversation was the 58-year-old businessman's nuptials to 30-year-old pillow-lipped model Melania Knauss, just three weeks away. It'll be marriage No. 3 for Trump, whose first wife, author and jet-setter Ivana Trump, was celebrating the new year in her mansion a few blocks north. 

"I feel just fine about getting married again," The Donald said. "I'm not nervous about these things anymore." 

Said his and Ivana's daughter, 23-year-old model Ivanka Trump: "I'm excited for my dad. I don't know if my mom will be here, but I'm happy for him."


The Palm Beach Daily News reported: New Year's Eve 2003 at The Mar-a-Lago Club was truly a ringing-out-the-old, ringing-in-the-new evening as members and guests celebrated the arrival of the new year in the club's enormous party tent for what is probably the last time. 

Construction of the new ballroom is under way, Trump told his guests, and said he expects it to be finished in time to welcome 2005. 

In the meantime, however, it was party as usual, with a good mix of locals and out-of-towners, young and not-so, couples out for a night on the town and couples out for a night with the kids. 

The evening began with an al fresco cocktail reception and all kinds of hors d'oeuvres stations set up on the terrace, including a raw bar and a sushi boat as big as - well, a boat. 

After dinner - winter greens with artichokes and duck breast, veal chop and jumbo grilled shrimp, cheese and onion tart, and a chocolate balthazar - KC and the Sunshine Band took the stage. Heavens to disco! It was like the '70s were back. 

The tent was all done up in the colors of precious metals - silver, gold and platinum, with metallic table linens and thousands of glittering balloons that fell from the ceiling at midnight. 

Each table included a menu card printed on white chocolate.


The Palm Beach Post reported that Mar-a-Lago Club charged $2,000 to ring in 2001 and fielded a crowd of 500.

They downed roasted pecan-crusted sea bass, grilled quail, fois gras, champagne sorbet, petite angus filet with Maytag Blue focaccia crust and venison medallions. On the upper terrace, they got a huge ``2000'' ice sculpture that incorporated a martini luge.

Gladys Knight provided the music and everyone went home with souvenir millennium champagne flutes. 


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Online scammers stole $350,000 from wife of Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Online scammers stole $350,000 from wife of Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Online scammers attacked the personal email account of the wife of Florida Gov. Rick Scott on two occasions and robbed her of $350,000, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday. >> Read more trending news  The email account of Ann Scott was hacked in 2012 and 2014 and both incidents were connected to Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the...
Despite ADL letter, Loxahatchee Groves holds meeting on Yom Kippur
Despite ADL letter, Loxahatchee Groves holds meeting on Yom Kippur

The Town Council narrowly voted to move forward with a meeting at the beginning of Yom Kippur, despite input from a handful of residents and a national Jewish civil-rights group asking that the meeting be moved to accommodate those marking the holiday. The meeting at Loxahatchee Groves’ Town Hall had been scheduled for a year, Vice Mayor Todd...
‘Skeeter syndrome’ can cause allergic reaction in children
‘Skeeter syndrome’ can cause allergic reaction in children

Mosquitoes not only are annoying, but they also can make you sick.  >> Read more trending news  “Skeeter syndrome” is not just a clever name. It’s a description for an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva that can cause problems, particularly for children, Health Magazine reported. That red and...
UPDATE: Man, 77, dies after strong-armed robbery in Gardens parking lot
UPDATE: Man, 77, dies after strong-armed robbery in Gardens parking lot

The 77-year-old Jupiter man attacked in a Palm Beach Gardens parking lot has died, city police said. Bernard Leonard Fairman of Jupiter died “a couple of days ago” from injuries sustained in the strong-armed robbery Sept. 11 in the parking lot of the Stein Mart store at the Shoppes at Oakbrook shopping plaza on U.S. 1 north...
More Stories