Lifestyle

10 hideaways of the rich and famous

The rich and famous are just like us, but with more money. And better looks. And access to blood sorcery that keeps them young forever. Okay, so they’re not like us, but they do go on vacation like us. Sort of. While none of the following are your time-share in Idaho, they’re all holiday getaways... albeit much, much, much nicer than your timeshare in Idaho.

Hotel du Cap, Antibes, France

A château set in 22 acres of pines on the southern tip of Cap d'Antibes near Monte Carlo, du Cap was immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Tender is the Night. The Kennedy family summered here in 1938 when JFK was 21 and guests have included the rich and famous ever since. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton loved it so much that they honeymooned here. Twice.

...Kevin Costner gets his special cheeseburger

Every spring, the stars descend. During the Cannes Film Festival, Tom Cruise has the Hotel du Cap make his special salad, John Travolta has the three-star chef whip up two vegetable quiches a day, and Kevin Costner gets his special cheeseburger.

Within the complex there are two clay tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, and a spectacular salt-water pool cut into the cliff. Room rates run from $600 per night and suites from $1,200.  
 

Villa d’Este, Como, Italy

With room rates averaging $1,400 a night and top suites at $5,000 per night, the villa is a true luxury hotel by the shores of Lake Como north of Milan.

Built by a Renaissance Cardinal, it was a resort for politicians, intellectuals, and ecclesiastics before becoming the home of an English Queen. In the modern era, the biggest stars of every decade have made a call here: De Niro, Elton John, Madonna, Clooney, and more celebs then you could shake a diamond encrusted scepter at.

How do you pass the time in this expensive Eden? Swim in the cool waters of the crystal clear lake or explore it by boat, play tennis on clay courts, or work up a sweat hitting squash balls or jogging on their track. Afterwards, you might choose to luxuriate in a sauna or submit body and soul to the Zen inspired beauty center.

La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

This Hispano-Moresque palace near the center of Marrakech is a favorite haunt of Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, and Hugh Jackman (and Winston Churchill long ago).

Set in what were once royal gardens, the hotel overlooks the desert, the city’s ancient Medina, and the glorious Atlas Mountains. Here you will find the best food in Morocco -- two of La Mamounia’s four restaurants have Michelin stars.

La Mamounia’s spa is an immaculate marble and mosaic seraglio fit for a star. Black soap, Ghassoul clay, Argan oil, rose water, and orange blossom water are among the unguents on offer. To truly pamper yourself, try the three different Turkish baths.

 

Round Hill, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Half a century ago, prominent American and European socialites and creative types were invited by Round Hill’s upper-crust founder John Pringle to build villas and become shareholders on the 100-acre estate. Long-time Jamaica resident Noel Coward was the first, followed by Adele Astaire, Bill and Babe Paley, Oscar Hammerstein, and a bouquet (technical term) of English lords.

When their owners are not around, the 27 cottages  -- many individually decorated and furnished by Ralph Lauren who owns one  -- can be rented. They mostly have private pools and offer full maid and butler service.

Princess Margaret loved it here. She could escape the prying eyes of the nosy press. Photographs of her often very un-Royal antics line the wall of the striking Ralph Lauren-designed bar in the Great House. What went on at Round Hill between her and many another celebrities all those many years ago remained -- and still remains -- Round Hill’s secret. That’s the hallmark of a classy joint.

 

Laucala Private Island, Fiji

Set on 3,500 acres and once owned by Malcolm Forbes, this jewel is the largest private island in the Southern Hemisphere and currently owned by Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of Red Bull.There'll be a horse drawn buggy to take you wherever you wish to goYour Fijian-style villa -- one of only 25 on the property -- will be set either in a coconut plantation, beside a deserted beach, or, best of all, high in the island’s volcanic mountains with lush jungle views. The Peninsula villa hugs a cliff, the Overwater villa is set above an emerald-green lagoon, and the Hilltop Estate sits at the island’s highest point overlooking distant coral reefs.

Your bedroom will open onto to a private tropical garden with an infinity-edge pool, and there’ll be a horse drawn buggy to take you wherever you wish to go.

There’s even an 18-hole championship golf course overlooking the Pacific. What more could you want?

 

Cotton House, Mustique, Grenadine Islands, West Indies

Over 50 years ago, English aristocrat Lord Glenconner came across the tiny island of Mustique in the largely uninhabited Grenadines in the Caribbean… and bought it for $50,000. In 1960, he gave his good friend Princess Margaret a plot of land there as a wedding present, which created huge media buzz. He then hired Oliver Messel, her husband’s stepfather and a leading British theatre set designer, to design her house. The rest is West Indian history.

Messel and Glenconnor converted an old ruined warehouse on the island into a small hotel, The Cotton House, and established a design concept for the island as a whole, splitting it into 120 exclusive plots.

In the 1970s these plots were bought by an eclectic group of socialites, rock stars and artists, like, oh you know, Mick Jagger.
 

Little Palm Island, Little Torch Key, Florida

No iPhones, no TV, and -- best of all -- no kids. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Little Palm is Florida's most secluded and romantic retreat, a tropical idyll set along a white-sand beach on a private six-acre island in the Keys. Celebs like Scarlett Johansson come here for the privacy and seclusion.
 
On arrival, you (or Scarlett Johansson) are welcomed with a tropical rum punch and your name carved in wood on your room door. You will slumber and lounge in an enormous four-poster bed, and bathe in a shower under the stars.  And by the way, you will not be using the room phone. There isn’t one -- nor a clock.

As for the food in this American Garden of Eden, it is a three-star fusion of French and Latin. Yeah, you won’t want to leave. Ever.

 

Las Alamandas, Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Alamandas is Mexico’s most remote, romantic, and exclusive resort.  Situated on the dramatic Costalegre (two hours south of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast), it’s a private Shangri La created by heiress and environmental campaigner Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño.

With a maximum capacity of only 35 guests on a 1,500-acre estate including four private beaches, you don’t have to see anyone or be seen by a single soul save the dedicated staff if that’s the way you want it.


Robert De Niro sometimes stays for months

Admittedly, there's not much to do. Las Alamandas is not for everyone. You can ride horses. Watch sunsets. Hike through the nature reserve in search of rare birds. Talk with friends. Read books. Walk for miles on remote and empty beaches. Robert De Niro sometimes stays for months.

It is some people’s idea of simple, stylish, beautiful bliss. Or the greatest location for a horror movie ever.
 

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson bought a deserted speck of sand and scrub in the British Virgin Island in 1978 for the knockdown price of $180,000. He saw it from a helicopter when he was wooing his wife and bought it to impress her, setting up a home in which they still stay for at least two months of every year.

In 1984, he opened a luxury resort there that has since welcomed a long line of rich and famous guests, among them the late Diana Princess of Wales, Hollywood stars Kate Winslet and Robert De Niro and statesmen like Tony Blair.

Google co-founder Larry Page married his girlfriend here.

You too can stay on Necker… although it will cost you $60,000 a night. But a chef in a canoe at the beachside pool serves lunch, so really it’s a steal at twice the price. Take to the water with sailing instructor George. Meet Vaman Ramlall, who looks after the island’s wildlife -- giant iguanas, tortoises and chattering lemurs mostly. Play tennis. Scuba. Dream of owning your own island paradise.
 

Frégate Island, Seychelles

Frégate Private Island is many a seasoned traveler's idea of “the ultimate” -- as secluded, beautiful, ecological, and luxurious as any tropical paradise on earth.


There are even two resident biologists

There are 17 villas (including the Presidential villa) all with private butler service. The chef, who oversees the growing of everything he cooks, has put out meals for the likes of Michael Douglas, Pierce Brosnan, and Tom Cruise. There are seven beaches to amuse you (one, Anse Victorin, is regularly voted “the world’s best”), a library to challenge your mind, a fitness center to exercise your body, and a world-class wine cellar to pamper your senses.

And then there’s the wild life. Since it became a resort, the preservation and protection of its unique flora and fauna has remained fundamental to its ethos. There are even two resident biologists.

A night for two will set you back you $5,000 or more depending on the villa you choose, but at this point, why scrimp?