Secret Celebrity Hideaways
The rumor mill was churning—an A-list celebrity going by the code name “Cherry-Cola” had checked into the newly renovated Four Seasons Nevis and was happily installed in a beachside cabana with her love. It turns out Mary Louise Parker, actress and star of Showtime series Weeds, and her singer/songwriter beau, Charlie Mars, were indulging in a little together time.
It’s no surprise that sometimes paparazzi-plagued celebrities want their hideaways (and trysts) to remain a secret. Whether they’re heading off on a honeymoon in the Maldives or a romantic Mexican beach weekend with someone who may or may not be their spouse, stars are choosing hotels that offer more than just impeccable service, palatial suites, and sunset views. They want discreet check-ins, private entries, empty beaches—and sealed lips.
“Some of our guests register under an assumed name. They don’t want to be identified,” says Mark Kerwin, director of sales and marketing at the super-secretive Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort in Los Cabos, which recently hosted Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson—together. Thanks to the property’s reputation, it’s become a choice destination for Hollywood types looking to fly under the radar.
But while stars crave privacy, they also want romance. For A-listers, these two things often go hand in hand. “Guests bring their own romantic ideas, but sometimes they need a little help [in making sparks fly]. The Romance Director meets these needs,” says Kerwin of Las Ventanas’s unique staff position.
While everyone’s idea of romance is different—staff at Las Ventanas have buried a proposal-containing bottle in the sand (and stood nearby to make sure the right woman found it), sent a cowboy in an elaborate silver-studded outfit to read a love poem, and screened private movies on the beach—it’s almost always on the hush-hush.
Sometimes however, word leaks out. While Aman Resorts won’t confirm or deny that staff at Aman-i-Khás, a luxury safari camp in Rajasthan, India, organized pop star Katy Perry and actor-comedian Russell Brand’s exotic, over-the-top wedding last fall, it did drop a few hints about special moments other unnamed guests have enjoyed—a private “Maharaja-style” dinner by the lake; breakfast near the 1,000-year-old fort; rose-petal baths; and “poojas” (special Hindu blessings).
Read on to discover where the stars stay—and where you can, too.
Christina Aguilera & Matthew Rutler — Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego
Between her divorce, legal troubles, and a lyric malfunction at the Super Bowl, Christina Aguilera had a tough start to 2011. Maybe that’s why her new guy—music marketing executive Matthew Rutler—planned a getaway following the Grammys in February. (Let’s hope Aguilera’s new role as judge and coach on NBC’s The Voice is a step in a happier direction.)
The Hideaway: The pair checked into the Rock Star Suite (think bold geometric patterns, animal prints, and a killer sound system) and enjoyed a couple’s massage at Rock Spa, heart-shaped pancakes, and a bouquet of white roses (her favorite).
Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony — La Concha Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico
New American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez has been billed as the sweet, kindhearted critic who tears up when participants are cut—which probably isn’t a surprise to doting hubby, Marc Anthony. The loving duo frequently jets off for romantic escapes.
The Hideaway: On a recent break from Idol, the couple chose San Juan’s chic La Concha Resort—its undulating curves and open-air design define tropical architecture. A recent $220 million renovation added luxe poolside cabanas, plush bedding, and showers built for two.
Scarlett Johansson & Sean Penn — Las Ventanasal Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico
Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn are apparently smitten with each other. They became an item when Johansson was in Los Angeles filming We Bought a Zoo and soon headed to Cabo to get better acquainted.
The Hideaway: Las Ventanas’s super-private M.O. (the resort doesn’t even have a sign) is surpassed only by its reputation for romance. Not only does it have stand-alone casitas with private pools, outdoor showers, and long stretches of empty beach, the resort even keeps a Romance Director on staff who organizes personal beachside concerts and opportunities for couples to sleep under the stars.
Mary Louise Parker & Charlie Mars — Four Seasons Resort, Nevis
Star of Showtime’s hit series Weeds, Mary Louise Parker has raised a few eyebrows by dating much younger singer-songwriter Charlie Mars. (She also stars in his music video for “Listen to the Darkside.”) But, by Hollywood standards, the nearly two-year-old relationship has stood the test of time.
The Hideaway: The two were the first celebs to check in to the newly reopened Four Seasons Nevis, whose $120 million upgrade includes revamped cottages and luxury suites. The resort also added private beachside cabanas, which turned out to be the perfect place for the couple to kick back and relax.
Fergie & Josh Duhamel — One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie and actor Josh Duhamel (who, along with half of Hollywood, will show up on the big screen later this year in New Year’s Eve) took five years to get to the altar. But once they made it (in January 2009), they celebrated by honeymooning in two locations, including the Maldives.
The Hideaway: The newlyweds spent six nights in one of the exotic resort’s secluded, thatched-roof villas set over blue lagoon waters. While there, Fergie and her new hubby went scuba diving for the first time, played tennis, and took an aquatic yoga class at the spa.
Hilary Swank & John Campisi — Waldorf Astoria, Park City, UT
Hilary Swank (who will also be in New Year’s Eve) and longtime boyfriend, top Hollywood agent John Campisi, hid away in plain view at Canyons ski resort in Park City. (Swank, who received her third SAG nomination as leading actress in the 2010 movie Conviction, is a big ski buff.)
The Hideaway: The couple proved you don’t have to ditch the kids to enjoy time together. For Christmas, they, along with their son, checked into one of the mountain resort’s six hotels—the Waldorf Astoria, which has big fireplaces and handsome suites with mountain views. The couple took private ski lessons and enjoyed a romantic dinner at Talisker on Main.
Katy Perry & Russell Brand — Aman-i-Khás Resort, India
When pop singer Katy Perry and British actor-comedian Russell Brand exchanged vows in a made-in-Bollywood ceremony at India’s Aman-i-Khás in October 2010, they raised the bar for exotic romance. In contrast to their glamorous nuptials, it’s easy to imagine real life (the title role in a remake of Arthur for Brand and a world tour for Perry) may almost seem dull.
The Hideaway: The multiday celebration was reported to include elephants and fire-eaters, as well as the Rajasthan wilderness camp’s famous tiger safaris. No doubt the newlyweds also had plenty of alone time in the resort’s dreamy canvas tents.
Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher — Hotel ReyJuan Carlos, Barcelona
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher may have a 15-year-plus age difference, but the two have been happily married for six years, notwithstanding their busy work lives. Each has two movies coming out in 2011—for Moore, Margin Call and LOL: Laughing Out Loud (where she plays Miley Cyrus’s mother), and for Kutcher, No Strings Attached and celeb-packed New Year’s Eve.
The Hideaway: Balancing love and work is a knack the couple may have developed during their 2005 Barcelona honeymoon, when they stayed in the stylish urban high-rise (built for the 1992 Olympic Games), with gardens filled with jasmine and pomegranate trees, while Moore made time to film a commercial.
Johnny Depp & Vanessa Paradis — SanssouciCollection, Marrakesh
Once a year two rumors circulate: Johnny Depp and longtime love Vanessa Paradis will wed, and Depp will reprise his role as Jack Sparrow. There’s no word on wedding bells for the couple, who have been together since 1998 and have two kids, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will be released in May 2011, so one rumor was true.
The Hideaway: Trip to the altar aside, Depp and Paradis know how to plan a romantic escape. They recently visited Marrakesh and stayed in a decadent Sanssouci Collection riad hotel. The boutique property, decorated in traditional Moroccan style with colored tile work, arched doors, and lattice window screens, can host only a few guests at a time. Each riad also comes with its own hammam and spa.
Jewel & Ty Murray — The Cove Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Pregnant with her first child, singer Jewel is also hard at work on a new children’s album. The baby (and album) will arrive right around the time the singer and her rodeo-riding husband, Ty Murray, celebrate their third wedding anniversary in August.
The Hideaway: The two married and honeymooned at the towering Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas, known for its water garden, lagoons, meandering walkways, and private beach cabanas. Their next trip, though, will probably include a kiddie pool.