Category: Celebrity travel gossip

Vacation like a celebrity in Vegas (if you have the cash)

Just got a press release on where celebrities vacation in Vegas and since i haven’t posted anything in my Celebrity travel gossip category in a very long time, I figured this could be a nice change of pace:

Dining in Decadence

Where does Taylor Swift eat in Las Vegas? At the innovative Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at Bellagio. Enjoy Chef Akira Back’s signature Popping Spicy Crab hand roll and maybe catch a glimpse of a celeb at the acclaimed restaurant where Usher, John Mayer and Pink have also been seen delicately eating delicious bites. If you’re looking to make a reality TV debut, check out STACK Restaurant & Bar at The Mirage where the Kardashians love to get together and enjoy a family meal.

Red Carpet Ready

Be sure to make the “Best Dressed” list and have a personal shopping concierge at Crystals pick out the perfect celeb-inspired outfit from the widest collection of Las Vegas exclusives. Pick up a Tag Heuer LINK LADY watch that Cameron Diaz has been seen wearing on and off the red carpet to ensure a fashionably late entrance to any event. Then choose from the Crystals-exclusive runway collection at the largest Prada store in the U.S. and have “frenemies” green with envy.

Famous Fun

Fight nights at MGM Grand Arena bring out some of the country’s hottest stars including Justin Bieber, Charlize Theron, Rihanna, Mariah Carey and Leonardo DiCaprio. No, the celebrities aren’t the ones duking it out, but they can be found front and center watching world-renowned boxing and UFC legends face off inside of the ring or octagon. Another place to get up close to a favorite celeb is at Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at Bellagio or The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage where Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman and the cast of “Glee” have been spotted during recent Las Vegas visits.

Party Rocking

Party like a rockstar (and make sure to stay out of the tabloids) at some of Las Vegas’ newest nightclubs, Hyde Bellagio and 1 OAK at The Mirage, and rub elbows with some of the biggest names in the industry. Be the star at Hyde Bellagio and purchase the $250,000 package that includes a 30-liter bottle of Ace of Spades champagne, reservations at the best table in the house, lavish goodies and the ability to control the breathtaking Fountains of Bellagio. The following night, dance until dawn at 1 OAK where Katy Perry, Fergie, Jessica Alba and Bruno Mars love to enjoy VIP treatment.

Anthony Bourdain fighting the Travel Channel

Not too long ago I talked about Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Collection 7. Today I happened to be scanning the news and his name popped up again. Seems he’s mad at the Travel Channel. I’ll give you my summary below, but if you want to hear it straight from Mr. Bourdain, visit his Tumblr page and find the “fighting mad” headline.

My little summary: Anthony Bourdain says he tries not to endorse products because he wants to say what he thinks and he wants people to believe him when he does. He did once take money from a credit card company and he got a car from BMW in exchange for driving one of their products but otherwise he’s pure. Until now.

Travel Channel took some Bourdain footage and turned it into a Cadillac commercial. According the the No Reservations writer, executive producer, and star, his contract does not allow that sort of thing to be done without his permission.

What I find slightly more interesting than the public relations and presumably legal battle over whether the Travel Channel should have used Mr. Bourdain’s image to make a commercial without asking him, is what he has to say about the Travel Channel’s new management. Considering that we were asking years ago why there were so few travel shows on the Travel Channel, hearing their star say they have been getting worse over the past year or two is cause to abandon hope. And that’s what he says – things are taking a turn for the worse over at travel Channel management.

2003 Miss USA Susie Castillo feels violated after choosing TSA body search

I hadn’t thought about the TSA body scanners since last Thanksgiving so I was surprised to see TSA searches and scanners mentioned on a headline on Yahoo’s front page.

Of course, the surprise was quickly explained. All it takes to make an impact story is a former Miss USA talking about her breasts and Vagina. In this case 2003 winner, Susie Castillo, had this to say:

To say that I felt invaded is an understatement. What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina!

I felt completely helpless and violated during the entire process (in fact, I still do), so I became extremely upset. I just kept thinking, ‘What have I done to deserve this treatment as an upstanding, law-abiding American citizen?’ Am I a threat to US security? I was Miss USA, for Pete’s sake!

Like everyone else flying in America, former Miss USA can either get scanned or searched and she chose the search so why cry about it?

Plus the law is fairly old by now so it’s not like travelers can’t know what to expect. Seems like she’s looking for sympathy but I find I have none for her. Get the scan next time if the search is going to make you cry. If they both make you cry then take the train.

Although I have spoken against the scanning process in the pas, I think my objection was more to the possible (probable?) lack of professionalism on the part of TSA employees.

Just missed a Maui deal but if DiCaprio can do it then so can I

A few days ago, a Korea version of Groupon had a deal to Maui – 6 nights / 7 days for about $900 each including airfare. It was such a good deal that all 700 spots sold out before we even called to ask for more information. So there was one missed opportunity to visit Maui but I’m pretty good at creating travel opportunities for myself.

For those of you who like to keep up with celbrity travel gossip, when I searched for maui travel news I found a few articles about Leonardo DiCaprio visiting Maui with the following quote:

“For the past five years, Leo and his best friend Lukas Haas have gone on a trip every January to stay at the Four Seasons in Maui or the Kahala resort in Honolulu. They always invite some glam friends along. In the past, invitees have included Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen.

“This year, Cameron, who’s been good chums with Leo since they starred in ‘Gangs of New York’, tagged along with A-Rod, Tobey Maguire, Naomi and her man Vladimir Doronin. Leo got to know Naomi last summer after sailing round Sardinia on a boat,” said a source.

I’m a little suspicious of, “a source,” but it’s easy enough to believe that celebrities like Maui:

Nice beaches; I want to go too. Now when my wife went to Kauai, she stayed in a condotel in a resort. 2 people so about $50/night each. That one had no kitchen area but I like the idea of a slightly bigger place that has at least a little kitchenette.

If you had a bigger budget though, how cool would it be to stay in a villa? On this site, villas in Maui seem to start around 800/night – this one seems to be good for about 4 people so you’re looking at at least 200/night each.

Thinking of villas, I have to wonder if it would be feasible to get some of my Korean relatives and some of my American relatives together in Hawaii. It’s kind of halfway between New York and Seoul and we could have some fun if we all stayed in a nice big villa. I may not have the resources of Leonardo DiCaprio and his friends but it should be doable on a slightly smaller budget.

Celebrity Travel Destinations – Costa del Sol

Travel destinations on the Spanish Riviera, or the Costa del Sol, attract celebrities, royalty, and the wealthy, as well as the not so rich or famous, for the mild climate and the endless days of sunshine.

From the grand opening of Puerto Banús in 1970, attended by such famous people as Prince Rainier and Grace of Monaco, the Aga Khan, Roman Polanski, Hugh Hefner, and Julio Iglesias, it has rapidly gained in popularity as a travel destination and place to have fun. It is now connected to the town of Marbella, a well-known tourist spot, by a wide wooden footbridge across the Rio Verde to the 8-mile long seashore esplanade. There’s much more to vacationing in Puerto Banús, however, besides admiring the fabulous yachts at the marina and the luxurious automobiles, and hoping to see a few celebrities such as Kate Moss, the Beckhams, Simon Cowell, Sean Connery, and Saudi King Fahd, who are frequent visitors.

Dali’s 3-ton statue of a green rhinoceros in lace, a gift to the port in 2004, stands at the entrance of this interesting old fishing village, now a thriving town with shops and small boutiques, trendy bars and clubs, a wide selection of restaurants and cafes, and lots of things to see and do. Known as an outstanding travel destination for golf enthusiasts, one of the best in the world, there are over 20 championship courses and driving ranges in the area around Puerto Banús and Marbella. Valderrama, Flamingos, Aloha, Los Naranjos, and San Roque, to mention a few, offer vacationers an incredible golfing experience.

Beach goers will enjoy sunning and the spa at Buddha’s Beach, the Caribbean atmosphere of Pedro’s, jet skiing at Mistral’s, or perhaps the more exclusive Ocean Club. In addition, there are numerous entertainment venues including the huge Tivoli World amusement park, adventure and water parks, as well as a zoo open until midnight and the free Lobo (wolf) Park. A 15-minute ride on the cable car to the top of Mt Calamorro offers a spectacular view, often as far away as Gibraltar and the Moroccan coast. While in the area, travelers may visit the sanctuary for the giant Andaluz donkeys in danger of becoming extinct.

Hours & Admission:

Tivoli – Open Sat & Sun, 12 Noon – 8pm (Sundays only in November). $8.

Cable Car: Open daily, 10am – 6pm. Adults – $16, Children – $11.

Ancraa Sanctuary: Sun, 11am – 2pm. Free, donations welcome.

Zoo – Open daily, 10am – 6pm. Children ages 3 to 9, $12, Adults – $17.

If you’re looking for even more family entertainment, the Casa Loca provides something for all ages with large play areas, special events, a restaurant, and bar.

Hours: Mon & Thurs – 2 to 9pm, Wed – 10am to 9pm, Fri – 2 to 11pm, Sat – 12:30 to 11pm, Sun – 12:30 to 9pm.

Admission: $10 – all day.

Puerto Banús is a shopper’s dream with over 95 boutiques, large shopping centers, and upscale stores to suit extravagant tastes from designers such as Armani, Dior, and Versace to the less expensive Precio Justo (the right price) shops, Bershka, and the large department store El Corte Ingles, with prices to fit the average traveler’s budget. There’s always the Saturday street market for bargain hunters.

Restaurants & Nightlife:

Travelers will find great seafood at Antonio’s, popular with celebrities, Italian at Don Leone, and the unusual baked fish in salt at La Dorada. If you enjoy fine dining, the Ristorante Regina features the best in Italian dishes, with an impressive wine list, superb atmosphere, outdoor terrace, live music, and impeccable hospitality. Every Thursday from 6 to 8, Regina’s offers champagne and cocktails, $2-6 a glass, and Sunday lunch is now available for $20-$24. February is carnival month where guests can enjoy a fabulous meal for $27. Visit their website for more information and make reservations for lunch, a romantic evening, or special occasion.

A tourist favorite is La Moraga in Puerto Banús, where the menu is extensive and the food delicious, well worth the price of $70 to $80 for two full meals, drinks, and dessert. Guacho features Argentine fare, and Los Bandidos specializes in Swedish and French dishes. Try Spain’s famous tapas and other regional specialties at La Taberna del Pinxto in Marbella, avg price under $20, and El Baracon de las Tapa.

The Costa del Sol is known for nightlife and there are an abundance of places in Marbella and Puerto Banús from cozy pubs and friendly bars such as Sinatra’s, Irish Banús, Conga, El Corsario, and Salduba to the glittering discos at the swanky Olivia Valére, Vanito, and The Loft, or Dreamers and Scream for the younger crowd. La Comedia offers late night entertainment, open from 11pm until 6am. If disco and dancing is not your thing, the Library Bar, Lulu’s, and Linekers are recommended for cocktails and “hen and stag” parties. Other popular nightspots are the Havana Bar, the News Cafè, and the Buddha del Sol for something different.

Accommodations:

The ultra luxurious Marbella Club Hotel, located on the “Golden Mile” between Puerto Banús and Marbella has catered to many international film stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Sir Laurence Olivier. It offers elegant guest rooms and suites, a beach club, golf club, riding stables, a fully equipped spa, as well as informal and formal dining options.

Rates: $400 to over $1,000 per room (obviously not affordable for the average budget).

Among the more reasonably priced are the Andalucia Plaza Hotel in Marbella, which offers over 400 guestrooms, a fitness center, casino, and golf and tennis nearby. Conveniently located for both leisure and business travelers, travelers will appreciate the top-notch service at this hotel, earning the First Choice Gold Choice Award in 2000-2001. Rates: From $104 . Others recommended include

The Melia Marbella near the boardwalk with rates from $110, and the Gran Hotel Guadalpin with rates from $180. Numerous apartments, hostels, and private villas (if you prefer) are available in the area.

Getting there: Major airline carriers to Malaga Airport include British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, & Iberia. If you rent a car, be sure and get good directions Рfrom the airport to Marbella 30-45 minutes. Taxis are also available, but a less expensive alternative is to take the bus for $6. Puerto Ban̼s is a short drive or bus ride from Marbella.

Whether you’re looking for romance, relaxation in a beautiful setting, the excitement of a cosmopolitan atmosphere, or planning a golf vacation holiday, it’s quite possible you’ll find it on the Costa del Sol.

Sharon L Slayton

Discovering Celebrity Travel Destinations – Anguilla

Travelers from every country often choose to vacation on a Caribbean island, where the climate is warm and moderate, the beaches are sparkling white sand, the people are friendly, and the atmosphere is inviting. If you want to go where the celebrities go, one of the most popular islands is Anguilla, a small eel shaped island, 16 miles long x 3 miles wide in the British West Indies. Located east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, just 6 miles north of the island of St Martin/St Maarten, Anguilla has played host to many of the rich and famous including Brad & Angie, Uma Thurman, John Malkovich, Robert de Niro, and Ethan Hawke. Even so, it is a vacation destination that should be well within any traveler’s financial planning powers.

Accommodations: The Anguilla Great House resort on beautiful Rendezvous Bay offers 35 large rooms with all amenities, private porches, and views of the sea. Enjoy a variety of water sports, soak up the sun, or just lounge on the beach or beside the freshwater pool at this popular resort. Dine on local Caribbean specialties or try an exotic tropical drink in the open-air restaurant. Open 7:00am for early morning risers. The staff will help you arrange other excursions such as dolphin watching, scuba diving, horseback riding, day & evening cruises, as well as bike and scooter rentals to explore the island on your own.

Seasonal Rates: 1 Oct – 15 Dec 2010 – $210 garden view, single or double; $240 ocean view. 16 Dec – 10 Apr 2011 – $290 single garden view, $310 single ocean view; $310 garden double, $340 ocean double.

Lloyds B&B, a favorite of David Letterman, provides a genuine Caribbean atmosphere near the beach at Crocus Bay, and a short walk to the commercial center, restaurants, and art galleries. It has kept its elegant, old-fashioned charm since it first opened in 1959, and entertained numerous dignitaries and world leaders including the 1973 reception for Prince Charles. Each room reflects a different décor from the traditional and the romantic to the secluded and the inspirational.

Reasonable Rates: $99/single, $145/double (includes breakfast & taxes)

If you’re looking for more private accommodations, consider renting a villa on Anguilla. These range widely in price, depending on size, number of people, and any extras such as a personal chef or dining vouchers, massages, and other services. Couples can splurge on a 5 or 7 night package for $2400 or $3360 at the Jasmine Villa. The Panarea Villa offers a 7-night package for 1 to 3 bedrooms, from $2755 to $3245. Another highly recommended place is the upscale Bellamare Villa on Shoal Bay East, considered one of the 10 best beaches in the world.

Rates: Averaging $800 to $1500 per night, depending on the season.

A $10 million real estate development is ongoing at Crocus Hill, which will bring jobs and increase revenue to the economy. These villas will be environmentally friendly and maintained by a condominium association in keeping with the natural beauty and appeal of Anguilla.

Restaurants: For the ultimate dining experience, visit Santorini at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa, owned by Conair, and located on Rendezvous Beach. With over 860 varieties of wine and a cellar of 4,000 bottles, they offer dinner 5 nights a week – Tuesday is lobster buffet and Friday a Caribbean buffet. They even have luncheons twice a week where guests choose their own produce from the resort’s hydroponic garden.

Hours: 7pm to 10pm, closed Tues, Fri, & Sun.

Prices: Average $95p/p. Under 12, $48.

We need to include the award winning Pimms restaurant at the very exclusive Cap Juluca resort on the southwestern corner of Anguilla, which features 18 private resort villas. (Rates of $1500 a night are definitely out of range for most travelers, unless you’re a celebrity of course.). Renowned Johnny Clero from Savoy & Claridge fame is the culinary expert at Pimms, serving gourmet cuisine such as Kobe Beef and Lobster Ravioli, with manageable prices of $30 to $36.

If you’re looking for the casual open air beachside restaurant, go to Gwen’s Reggae Grill at Shoal Bay East, one of Rod Stewart’s favorite places. After a delicious meal of barbequed ribs or fish, homemade coleslaw, a glass of rum punch or Caribbean beer, you can grab a hammock and relax beneath the palms.

Hours: 8am to 5pm, Mon thru Sat. 8am to 7pm, Sundays, live music 1:30pm to 7pm.

Prices: $12 to $14 – from the grill, $10 to $20 – sandwiches & salads, $8 – kids menu. Seafood is somewhat more expensive.

Other recommended restaurants: Blanchards, Tasty’s, and the Straw Hat.

Things to Do: Besides sunbathing, swimming, diving, fishing, golf, and tennis, Anguilla offers horseback riding on the beach and over the island. Rates at Seaside Stables: $60 1 hour; $40 ½ hour, $75 private rides, $85 moonlight rides. (first time and advanced riders.) Two rides daily; call for times – 1-264-235-3667 or e-mail seahorses@caribcable.com

Swim with the Dolphins: Dolphin Discovery offers several programs including the Royal Swim at $165p/p, the Adventure at $129p/p, the Encounter at $99 and children $89. Ph: 1-866-393-5158

You can visit any number of spas and/or beauty salons on the island or do some shopping for a unique gift or souvenir. Find driftwood carvings at Cheddie’s Studio, beachwear and other fun things at Irie Life near Sandy Ground Harbor or the Why Knot at Crocus Bay, and island art at Lynne’s Gallery.

Attractions: The Anguilla Heritage Trail, officially opened in June of this year, follows interpretive plaques at 10 historic sites including Rendezvous Bay, the Pumphouse, Old Valley Well, and the Factory. The trail is free and visitors can obtain brochures from hotels, car rental agencies, etc. The first stop on the Heritage Trail is the Heritage Collection Museum. Colville Petty, curator of the museum, has an outstanding collection of artifacts representing the archaeological and cultural history of Anguilla. The exhibits feature items used by the Arawak Indians and those used by the British from the 1600’s through the early 1900’s and the 1967 revolution, which led to the island becoming a separate overseas territory of the British. Emphasis is also placed on fishing, boat building, and salt production, which provided a way of life for the islanders.

Hours: 10am to 5pm. Admission: $5 – Adults & children 12+, Under 12 – $3.

Transportation: A few airlines such as Cape Air and LIAT fly into Anguilla, with connections from San Juan, Antigua, or St Maarten – there don’t seem to be any direct flights from North America or Europe. Charter air service is also available, and ferries from St Maarten, about a 20 minute ride, depart every hour from 7am to 7pm, cost – $15/pp + $5 departure tax.

(Note: Prices are always subject to change, and may not be up to date on every website.)

Despite its worldwide celebrity reputation, Anguilla is not on a regular cruise ship itinerary, so it remains a delightful hideaway from the paparazzi and the crowds of tourists seen at other island destinations.

Sharon L Slayton

Get a workout and maybe see a celebrity at Muscle Beach

I’ve never been to Muscle Beach, but according to Wikipedia, “Dave Draper, Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo and Crips Co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams used to be regulars, among many famous bodybuilders and actors who have trained there. In fiction, Hulk Hogan appeared training there in an episode of TV show Baywatch.”

These days your more likely to run into current bodybuilders like Jay Cutler:

Actually I think that was more of a one-time thing so I don’t think you’re like to run into many Mr. Olympia-types but you could at least get in a workout.

And they have different events like bodybuilding and bikini contests, arm wrestling competitions, etc. Anyway, certainly a unique place to visit!

Nice pay day coming for Sarah Palin and new travel show for us

Supposedly we’re getting an Alaska wilderness reality travel show on Discovery Channel. Sarah Palin’s Alaska (temporary title) comes from Sarah Palin and Mark Burnett Productions.

This article says Palin wanted 1.2 million per episode. More than the stars in Friends or Seinfeld. However, Variety reports an estimated budget of $1 million per episode – I don’t know what production costs might be but I would assume Palin ends up with significantly less than $1,000,000 per episode if it’s true. I’m sure she’s making out just fine though…

Hopefully the show will be useful to those of us who want to do some nature-watching in Alaska.

And speaking of travel shows, how is the Travel Channel doing these days? Over 2 years ago, Pat Younge commented on this blog that the Travel Channel was moving in the right direction fast. I guess someone more familiar with the shows can tell us if it was true.

By the way, I’m holding a number of comments in moderation that I’m leaning toward not publishing. I appreciate the comments and am not a huge fan of censorship but all of these comments seem like they are political or will likely lead to political comments. I want to avoid political discussion here as much as possible since it has gotten nasty in the past so to all of you who left comments, thank you and please understand why they are not being published.

Susan Lucci talks travel

I’ll take a break from talking about my own travel planning to share this article in which USA Today interviews Susan Lucci.

She talks about her recent trip to Rome. Then when asked about her best experiences she mentions La Rèserve de Beaulieu in the south of France and Pebble Beach in California. The most surprising / unexpected place she visitied: Nairobi, Kenya and Finch Hattons safari park (in Tsavo West National Park). And when asked to give some advice she offered a couple of restaurant recommendations for Palm Beach.

Actress Melina Kanakaredes talks travel

I found this article a week or so ago and have been meaning to share it. It’s a travel interview with Melina Kanakaredes, one of the starts on CSI: NY.

She talks about traveling in Greece mostly. For example her favorite vacation spot:

Monemvasia, Greece. It’s in the Peloponnese. It is one of the most romantic, beautiful places in Greece and it’s where the Greeks go for their honeymoon. I’ve traveled to Greece so many times and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered it. It’s a mountain that had been separated from the mainland during an earthquake in 375AD. It is now an island without cars. You are either on foot or donkey. The exterior of the buildings are 500AD, but the inside is 2009. You dive off the rocks into the ocean to swim. You are surrounded by amazing 360-degree views of the water. It has five restaurants, all great. It is the ultimate secluded honeymoon getaway.

Sounds like a nice visit but I wonder if you have to have TV star money to enjoy this island. With only 5 restaurants I guess they could charge whatever they want…

The closest thing I could find on this blog was a Santorini vacation plan.