By Melissa Hunter
Oh, celebrities. They work so hard, don't they? So when summer comes along (or spring, winter, or fall), stars need some time to decompress and take a little vacay. But where do these stars go to get away from it all? Last time I went to Mount Rushmore, I didn't see a single movie star. So in case you want to fantasize about a luxe vacation, or find your favorite celeb to stalk, here's a field guide to the hottest star vacation spots.
Paradise Island: An island in the Bahamas, this is an ever-popular star-cation. Something about the clear blue water, pure white sand, and sunny 80-degree weather appeals to them. Go figure. It's best known for the Atlantis resort, a Vegas by the sea, if you will. Gambling in paradise? Sounds like the perfect A-list bait to me. Miley sure seems to like it.
Lake Como: Como has become synonymous with George Clooney ever since he purchased a waterfront villa at the Italian vacation spot. Como happens to be particularly fond of its bachelor pads, with many famous European royals owning castle-like villas along its mountainous coast. And as Clooney is a trendsetter, the lake has become a celeb destination for other A-listers, such as Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, and the Beckhams … all of whom stay with their buddy: the Cloons. Paparazzi and fans alike have flocked to the Lombardy lake to try to snag a glimpse of the star. Hopefully, George is getting a commission on their tourism profits.
Rome: While Michelangelo, Julius Caesar, and Federico Fellini aren't exactly gracing the covers of Us Weekly, Rome has had a rich history of celebrity residents. So it's no wonder that the stunning architecture, priceless art, and rich culture have piqued the curiosity of Hollywood. Uma Thurman, Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Biel are some celebs who have recently taken a Roman holiday. The Hotel Hassler and the Hotel Eden are just a couple of the five-star accommodations that are accessible (well, to some, at least) in the Eternal City. Oh, and did we mention the epic pizza?
French Riviera: While many stars do travel to Cannes every year for work (tough break), some aren't exactly there for the movies. In fact, I don't think Hayden left her boyfriend's yacht the entire trip. Hayden Panettiere, Paris Hilton, and Mariah Carey were a few, um, "cheerleaders" for this year's Cannes Film Festival. Such sweet girls, supporting independent films like that. The South of France has been an elite vacation spot ever since Brigitte Bardot debuted the very first two-piece in St. Tropez (making it especially controversial when it became a one-piece) in the '50s. Celebrities and lecherous men haven't been able to stay away ever since.
Anguilla, in the Caribbean: Famous for its pristine, isolated beaches and first-class accommodations, this is yet another island paradise for stars who want to get away from it all. The most popular spot for the star breed is the Cap Juluca resort, where Paris and Doug had their final vacation (or at least one of them) before splitting up. Incidentally, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had some of their last days of coupledom at the resort, as well. Is there a Cap Juluca couples curse? Maybe something about the overabundance of romance and relaxation drives these celeb power couples crazy.
Paris: Ah, gay Paree. A place for lovers. Really good-looking, famous lovers in particular. Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal were recently spotted (and promptly swarmed) in the City of Lights, while traveling through Europe. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken of the duo kissing on a bridge over the Seine at sunset, but we can't have it all. With enough swanky establishments to house every movie star in the biz, Paris is an old favorite for celebs. With its abundance of style, beauty, grace, and elitism, Paris has celebrity hot spot written all over it, especially during its fashion week.
Hawaii: Possibly the most popular Hollywood getaway, Hawaii is no stranger to celebrity. With its volcanoes, rainforests, beaches, and luxurious accommodations it's no wonder that Lindsay Lohan, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jack Black, and Paris Hilton make their way across the Pacific. Lindsay even recently used the island of Maui as her private "make Sam jealous" weeklong photo shoot. Seemed to work. Have at it, rebounding celebs.
Aspen: Who needs white sand beaches when you can have white powder snow? Mischa Barton, Mariah Carey, and Jack Nicholson seem to agree (who'd have thought those three could exist in one sentence?). Aspen is a favorite winter holiday spot for many a snow bunny A-lister, particularly the Mountain Club, the ultimate uber-elite ski resort. At the MC (That's what the insiders call it. Or, at least, that's what I call it), one can enjoy ski lessons, exclusive parking, private ski lockers, and access to a restaurant at the mountain's peak for the bargain price of $125,000. Lockers and parking? Sign me up!
Cabo: Just a hop, skip, first-class two-hour plane ride, and private car away from L.A. is Cabo San Lucas, the impulse trip for A-listers. Jen Aniston has gone several times with bestie Courteney Cox, along with everyone from various "Hills" celebs (who shall remain nameless), to Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow, George Clooney and Bono. Bringing together the perfect combination of white-sand beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and, um, vacationing underage college students, this destination brings together first-class relaxation with SPRING BREAK '09!
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India: Voted as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World," (you know, like how Megan Fox is the "New Angelina Jolie"), the Taj Mahal attracts people from around the world. It even has attracted celebrities away from their beach vacations. Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder visited the mausoleum earlier this year on a trip through India. Though she is one of the few stars to venture outside of the American/ European vacation realm. Might scare some celebs off as that much stunning architecture and rich history put things like "press" and "stardom" in perspective.
Costa Rica: When trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica, beware of supermodels lurking in the shadows. Gisele Bundchen, who had her (second) wedding to Tom Brady there has spent much time in the country. Costa Rica not only boasts beautiful rainforests and wildlife, but its beaches have some of the best waves in the world, so it's a popular surfing spot for stars and regular folks alike. Though the jungles have gotten a little less classy lately ever since Speidi and other D-listers started filming "I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!" You can probably bet that Gisele and the like have fled the rainforest since then.
Miami: If you're a celebrity who's looking for a not-so-private beach vacation, make your way to South Beach like Gerard Butler (and friends) here. Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian are just a few Miami-lovers (lest we forget the ultimate Miami-lover, Will Smith circa 1998). The party beach town attracts celebs who need a break from Los Angeles to go to the beach, swanky nightclubs, and get their picture taken. Wait, are we still talking about L.A.?
St. Lucia, Caribbean: There are vacations and then there are perma-vacations. While some celebrities seem to endorse one vacation spot or another, Amy Winehouse has proved to be the ultimate mascot for St. Lucia. Her now-six-month stay on the island has been troubling to her fans and family alike, though I give her some credit for picking this beautiful volcanic Caribbean island with crystal-clear water, rich green foliage, and bright blue skies as her stay-cation locale. And when her record company is paying her way, can you really blame her?
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