By Randee Dawn
Tabloid magazines may spend a lot of time telling us that celebrities are just like us, but when it comes to vacations forget it: celebrities are a breed apart. Sure, they want to get away like the rest of us, but with big bank accounts, great connections and an atypical holiday schedule (they can usually go whenever they want), they have an edge on us mortals.
Except that we have one advantage on them: We can follow in their footsteps! So start taking notes and saving up your vacation days now: Here are 5 of the hottest celebrity getaway spots around the world.
Or to those who know her best, “St. Barts.” Legendary among celebrities, this French-speaking Caribbean island has just 36,000 people – and at any given time a good percentage may be famous. Stars head out to St. Barts on the white sand beaches, scuba diving, jet skiing and hitting the nightclubs. There are dozens of islands in the area, but St. Bart’s is the most chic; none other is known as a “summer camp for wealthy, well-known New Yorkers.”
Who you’ll see: Gwen Stefani, Derek Jeter, Usher and Lindsay Lohan
The downside: The place is so popular rental cars can clog the island, and beware the high prices: villas can go for $150,000 per month.
It’s a tossup as to whether Kauai or Maui is the best island to stay at during a trip to the Pacific paradise, but whichever you pick expect to find celebrities ducking in and out everywhere. As a U.S. state, the islands are friendly to American visitors, who won’t need to change money or take a passport. Options include communing with nature, visiting volcanoes, kicking back on the beach and luaus. Kauai is a bit less touristy and considerably less populated than Maui, which can make it more appealing.
Who you’ll see: Katy Perry, Kanye West, Owen Wilson, Britney Spears, Megan Fox (who got married to Brian Austin Green in Maui).
The downside: The prices are exorbitant compared to the mainland (Hawaiian consumers pay nearly double the national average for a gallon of milk). This is probably not an issue for Katy Perry.
American celebrities would seem to find it harder to disappear into Japanese culture, yet they all love it – and tend to flock to, of all places, Tokyo Disneyland Park. It’s bigger than either Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California, and provides twists like soy sauce popcorn. Celebs love the city not just for Disney, though; the Japanese are known for amazing customer service and top notch hotels like the Park Hyatt and the Ritz Carlton. Stars also love checking out Yoyogi Village, an urban retreat in the middle of the city.
Who you’ll see: Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba, Justin Bieber
The downside: While it isn’t crucial to speak Japanese, remember that not everyone is fluent in English. And the already-crowded capital is seeing a growing surge in tourism ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
We kid you not: This Eastern European gem has been attracting more movie shoots, which means it’s also attracting more celebrities. Just across the Adriatic Sea east of Italy, it has all of the coastline and a lot fewer tourists than its neighbor. Dubrovnik, which is situated at the southern tail of the country, has gorgeous medieval architecture, rugged coastline and beautiful ocean views. Its Old Town is a walled city and a UNESCO World Heritage sight. Plus, Beyoncé named her daughter Blue Ivy after visiting the place!
Who you’ll see: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, John Malkovich, Tom Cruise, Bon Jovi
The downside: Driving can be very precarious, and most rental cars are manual transmission. And in the high months of summer, some of the most popular activities (like walking the wall) can be brutally hot.
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
This one’s a bit of a ringer: Richard Branson (chairman of the Virgin Group) owns the whole island, and it’s designed to be ultra-exclusive to keep out the regular folks. It covers just 74 acres and at any given time has more workers than residents; when Branson bought it, it was uninhabited. Now it’s a grand resort, with room bookings that of 7-night stays that at minimum cost nearly $30,000 for the week. Oh, plus 7% tax. Branson himself often resides on the island, and was on hand with family members and guest Kate Winslet (who eventually married Branson’s nephew) when the Great House burned down in 2011. (It has since been rebuilt.)
Who you’ll see: Branson, Winslet, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg
The downside: The tremendous cost is prohibitive for most casual holidayers. Instead, try the Mango Bay Resort – still luxurious, and right nearby!