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Celebrity beach resorts
Los Cabos, Mexico
Los Cabos was a Hollywood hit in the ’50s, when stars like Lucille Ball and John Wayne popped in by private plane for the year-round sunshine. Now just a two-hour flight from L.A., it’s a red-hot sunshine destination for superstars like the Cox-Arquettes and Jones-Douglases, who rent private villas in the area. Many celebs choose to be pampered in one of three luxury resorts overlooking the Sea of Cortez, with their five-star cuisine, private beaches and pool butlers.
Using a token from her Oscar-party goodie bag, press-shy Gwyneth Paltrow honeymooned at Esperanza (www.esperanzaresort.com) with her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, staying in a ground-floor villa with private plunge pool, whirlpool spa and personal butler service. John Travolta celebrated his 50th birthday at the One&Only Palmilla (www.oneandonlypalmilla.com) with 280 of his closest pals (including wife Kelly Preston, Oprah Winfrey, Meg Ryan and Barbra Streisand). And, while filming Troy in the area, Brad Pitt was spotted enjoying a drink at the luxurious Las Ventanas al Paraíso’s (www.lasventanas.com) open-air Tequila & Ceviche Bar, waiting for Jennifer Aniston to finish up at The Spa (which offers everything from a Crystal Light Healing Massage to Raindrop Therapy).
Turtle Island, Fiji
With its pristine sugar-white beaches, crystal-clear water and 14 private thatched cottages, couples-only Turtle Island (www.turtlefiji.com) is a popular destination for monied just-marrieds. The Bachelorette‘s Trista and Ryan and Newlyweds‘ Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey found much-needed seclusion at this eco-resort (the setting for Brooke Shields’ desert-island coming-of-age movie Blue Lagoon). This may be why Britney Spears and Kevin Federline chartered a private jet to spend their 10-day honeymoon there away from prying lenses. Welcomed with fragrant leis and tropical drinks, the couple settled into the laid-back pace of the island, enjoying quiet beach strolls and romantic gourmet dinners. Britney tried a lomi-lomi foot massage and, in Turtle Island tradition, the couple inscribed paving stones to commemorate their visit. (Britney signed hers “BF.”) The only sour note came after the trip, when Britney attacked US Weekly magazine for publishing unauthorized pictures of her and Kevin on the beach taken by staff for the couple’s souvenir scrapbook. “Coming from a celebrity who sold pictures of both her wedding and her stepdaughter, it’s unlikely the issue here is privacy” was the magazine’s statement.
Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
When Julia Roberts broke up with Benjamin Bratt, she chose Parrot Cay (www.parrotcay.como.bz) — a former pirate’s haven just three hours from New York — as her getaway. A hit with Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Eva Herzigova and Liam Neeson, this private Caribbean island is owned by wealthy Singaporean hotelier and fashion-industry magnate Christina Ong. The 56 rooms and beachfront villas are the ultimate in castaway chic. (Think unpolished wood floors, white cushions and linens, mosquito netting and modern-colonial furniture.) Its popular holistic Shambhala spa offers reiki, acupuncture and herb-infused Ayurvedic therapies, along with yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and pranayama classes. No wonder yoga devotee Donna Karan built her very own beachfront villa on the island.
Photography courtesy of Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Check out ELLE Canada’s top 10 honeymoon destinations.Active
Ilha Grande, Brazil
With more than 100 unspoiled beaches, Ilha Grande looks like hammock heaven-but don’t be fooled. It’s also home to Body & Soul Adventures (www.bodysouladventures.com), an active spa that nourishes guests physically, emotionally and spiritually. Loosely based on The Ashram health resort in California-where A-type A-listers shed pounds and attitude-this bikini boot camp is making a name for itself in celebrity circles. (Laura Linney and Liev Schreiber both survived to tell the tale.) Working with 12 guests at a time, instructors spend six days buffing up body and mind with intense exercise, massage and a low-cal, healthful diet. (No caffeine, no caipirinhas and absolutely no ice cream!)
Every day starts with yoga at 6:30 a.m., followed by either a long hike through hilly rain forest (to a remote beach for swimming) or a long kayaking session. Kayaks are the spa’s only form of transport; there are no roads on the island. Back at the lodge, a massage awaits. Tough love it may be, but the group bonding and sense of achievement are to die for.
South Beach, Florida
With its sizzling mix of hot clubs, cool bars, art deco hotels and glitzy designer stores, South Beach is a celebrity magnet. Stars like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz and Sean Combs are attracted by SoBe’s Latin energy and carefree vibe. (Beyoncé revealed to USA Today that she relishes the ocean, the air and the sunshine. “I love Miami. It doesn’t feel like America. People don’t bother me here.”) Across from the wide, white sandy beach, Ocean Drive features an endless stream of glossy models, buff rollerbladers, cute dog walkers and luxe convertibles. At cocktail hour, the beautiful people mingle at the Delano Hotel’s Rose Bar (www.delanohotelmiamibeach.com) or at The Shore Club’s Moroccan-themed open-air Skybar Miami Beach (www.shoreclub.com) before snacking on sushi and sashimi at Nobu. Then, hopping the velvet ropes of the super-exclusive Mynt Ultra Lounge, they get ready to party on down.
Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island
Just down the road from trendy Tofino-reputedly Vancouver Island’s most beautiful village-Chesterman Beach is a hit with surfers, kayakers, whale-watchers and nature lovers. One draw is the luxurious Wickaninnish Inn (www.wickinn.com) and its award-winning Pointe Restaurant, where Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell and Uma Thurman have all dined on fresh coastal foods. Sur-rounded by the ocean on three sides and with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve as a backdrop, this Relais & Châteaux property offers panoramic views of the Pacific, airy suites with ocean and beach views, and relaxing, Aveda-based spa treatments at its Ancient Cedars Spa. Adjacent to Wickaninnish Bay, farther down the coast, is Terrace Beach Resort (www.terracebeachresort.com). Owned by handsome homeboy Jason Priestley, this pooch-friendly back-to-nature hotel offers two-storey cabins, boardwalk lofts and suites.
Frégate Island, The Seychelles
Frégate Island Private resort (www.fregate.com) has exclusive-reclusive down pat. With only 16 beachfront villas and seven private sandy beaches, it’s the ideal destination for the paparazzi-shy superstar. But some people aren’t content until they’ve covered all the bases. In 2001, Brad Pitt rented out all the suites for his week-long honeymoon with Jennifer Aniston-at a cost of US$170,000. Frégate Island Private is also where Pierce Brosnan stayed after filming 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. He booked three palatial villas-equipped with antique Balinese four-poster beds, Thai silk furnishings and outdoor Jacuzzis on vast sundecks-for himself and his extended family. The vibe here is so laid-back, many guests never make it out of their nests-which leaves the coco-de-mer-lined beaches Robinson Crusoe empty.
Photography courtesy of Wickaninnish Inn