When the rich and famous need an escape from the oppressive adoration of us dull normals, they tend to spare no expense to head somewhere exclusive, where the premium is on personal privacy.
Of course, with a few exceptions, these fabulous destinations are open to just about anyone who can pony up the cash. So even the little people can live it up celebrity style if they so choose. Here are some of the best places in the world to vacation like a star.
If the French Riviera is a playground for the wealthy, Saint-Tropez is the rumpus room. Ever since Brigitte Bardot’s heyday, Europe’s elite has had a torrid love affair with the place. What makes one location so desirable for so long? Who knows? Whatever it is, Saint-Tropez has held that mysterious allure ever since the Invasion of Normandy. The beaches are gorgeous enough, the hotels swanky and the yachts oh-so secretive – not to mention bigger than your house.
St. Barts is one of several celebrity hang-outs in the Caribbean and probably the most traditional and entrenched in the area. Hollywood stars and Euro-socialites have cavorted here for generations. The island is known for exquisite beaches, although in this part of the world, that is not such a rarity. Like other hotspots on the list, St. Barts gained a reputation as a first-class destination among an influential set of famous people decades ago and soon, became incredibly trendy. So much so that it almost sounds old hat to declare that you rent a villa on the island. Nonetheless, it still has that unmistakeable celebrity pull. The prices on the island reflect that of course.
The ultimate old money, classic celebrity ski resort is without a doubt, Aspen. Once a quaint, historical Rocky Mountain hamlet, the area has been besieged with the best and worst consequences of the Hollywood buzz machine. Ultra-swish condos and luxury resorts now dot the Aspen landscape as stubborn locals fight celebrity gentrification and hold on to legacy homes. The battle was lost long ago however and now Saudi royalty, Fortune 500 executives and Hollywood starlets hobnob on the slopes and spend Christmas in this fantasy Winter Wonderland.
George Clooney has become synonymous with Lake Como, because of his affection for the Lombardy region in Italy but to be more precise, because of his massive waterfront villa. His celebrity cohorts certainly took note of his praise for Lake Como and ever since, the area has seen a virtual Hollywood inundation. It would be silly to credit Clooney with the discovery of Lake Como as a prime destination of course. Villas in the areas of Como, Bellagio and Lecco have been home to the elite of Europe, from royalty to tycoons to entertainers, for years. Indeed, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote of Como in 1818: “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney.”
With a name that conjures up the exotic, Bora Bora is about as remote a celebrity destination as you can find. While honeymoon season ensures a huge swath of young couples, the regal scenery of the “Pearl of the Pacific” still draws the jetset crowd. The island is a prime location to bump hips with a household name from the entertainment world. The best place to spot the stars in Bora Bora? Bloody Mary’s Bar and Restaurant. Not the most authentic title for a restaurant in French Polynesia but nonetheless, ground zero in Bora Bora to snag autographs witness naughty fodder for the tabloids.
Check out places to stay in Bora Bora.
Some celebrity holiday destinations come and go with time and for whatever reason, cease to endure. These flavors of the month wish they could grow up to be like Mallorca one day. The Balearic island in Spain is a classic celebrity and royal retreat. Where neighbor Ibiza is raucous and wild – by reputation but to be fair, not always in reality – Mallorca is elegant and exclusive. It costs big money to live and vacation well here. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones own a property worth in the area of $8 million and a Vespa tour of the island will whizz you past homes that belong to F1 drivers, tennis pros and Brit footballers and pop stars.
The “new St. Bart’s” as many refer to Anguilla, is a jewel in the Caribbean at a crossroads. Once a sleepy, pristine island that few knew of with a handful of luxury resorts and a tiny expat community, the cat is now out of the bag. The island is magnificent and everyone from Conde Nast to Lonely Planet knows about it. Past the point of no return, will Anguilla go the way of St. Bart’s or remain the most accessible gem in the Caribbean? However way you slice it, the rich and famous love it. The beaches and restaurants are the best in the Caribbean, bar none, and the resorts are posh and private enough to serve the likes of Mariah Carey. Even in high season, the island is relatively quiet and seems devoid of tourists. For now that is.