If you and your honey have VIP taste when you travel, you’ll be in good company at these romantic resorts. All of them have made headlines for hosting celebrity couples, from Brad and Angie at Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S Virgin Islands to, most recently, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and his girlfriend at Half Moon in Jamaica (where he either did or did not suck her toes in a hot tub, depending on whether you believe the New York Post). So what makes these resorts special enough for the likes of Hollywood royalty (and in some cases, royalty royalty)? We’ll give you the inside scoop.
When Eliot Spitzer and girlfriend Lis Smith vacationed together at Half Moon, Jamaica in early January, they made headlines for some racy hot tub behavior (specifically, Spitzer was reported to have sucked on Smith’s toes). The report turned out to be unreliable, but we imagine the pair had a lovely time at Half Moon even without the toe-sucking. The 400-acre resort has two miles of pristine beach, a dolphin lagoon, horse stables, and a spectacular spa; it’s fit not only for American political royalty (JFK and Jackie stayed here long before Spitzer) but actual royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and The Prince of Wales have also visited).
Reese Witherspoon and agent husband Jim Toth traveled to Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu this January for the intimate wedding of Hangover star Justin Bartha (Toth’s client). The sprawling property has five miles of beaches, horse stables, and helicopter tours, as well as modern rooms renovated in 2013.
The Setai is arguably South Beach’s top luxury hotel, with striking Asian-influenced design and dim mood lighting. Huge, handsome rooms have lots of teak as well as soaking tubs in the main living space. Jay-Z and Beyonce have stayed here, as well as Gisele and Tom Brady — and they’re hardly the only big-name celebs to stop by.
San Ysidro is one of the most exclusive and romantic properties in the country, which is probably why Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin secretly eloped in the Willow Suite. The room had everything a newlywed could want, from four-poster beds with Italian linens to stone fireplaces to a hot tub. The Willow Suite overlooks a creek and has part of an oak tree growing right out of the deck.
The evening after Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin had their secret ceremony at San Ysidro Ranch, they took a private jet to Esperanza Resort, one of the poshest properties in Mexico. The gorgeous Baja-style rooms start at 925 square feet, and all have private terraces with ocean views; some have whirlpools. There are only 57 rooms so guests get plenty of individual attention, and the staff hands out free refreshments (such as fresh fruit) at the gorgeous oceanfront pool. Lauren Conrad and William Tell are also fans.
The laid-back and luxurious Caneel Bay is situated on a 170-acre peninsula, and its seven remote beaches are considered to be among the best in the world. Its level of privacy makes it popular with both honeymooners and celebrities; Brad and Angelina brought their kids to Caneel’s Cottage 7, formerly the home of Laurance Rockefeller.
The 251-room St. Regis Princeville is considered by many to be the premier luxury option in Hawaii, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s popular with celebrity couples; Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have stayed here. Guests can expect warm, sophisticated decor, suites with personal butler service, world-class golf, and a memorable breakfast buffet on a terrace with gorgeous ocean views.
Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy visited the Rosewood Mayakoba for Topshop CEO Philip Green’s birthday bash — and so did Leonardi DiCaprio and his then-girlfriend Erin Heatherton. The resort’s serene atmosphere, mile-long beach, and upscale restaurants make it a favorite with couples, and overwater lagoon suites have swim-up access.
Mandarin Oriental is located on the tiny, beautiful island of Brickell Key (connected to downtown Miami by a short bridge), and Jennifer Aniston reportedly lived in a suite here while filming Marley & Me. She also caused a stir when she got cuddly in the pool with John Mayer. The resort offers great views of Biscayne Bay and completed a major renovation in 2010.
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