Signing autographs, swilling champagne and wearing the latest designer duds: The daily lives of celebrities aren't half bad. And you should see where they go on vacation.
Take the South Pacific island of Fiji, where the exclusive Turtle Island resort hosted a honeymooning Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, as well as Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. The resort accommodates just 14 couples at a time, and each private bure, or thatched-roof cottage, has an outdoor verandah and four-poster bed. Staff can arrange everything from private champagne picnics to horseback riding on the beach, and room rates start at $1,975.
If you'll take snow over sand, St. Moritz, Switzerland will give you chills. European royalty and movie stars alike descend every winter, booking rooms at Badrutt's Palace or the Kulm Hotel (which is owned by the family of Paris Hilton's on-again-off-again boyfriend, Stavros Niarchos). George Clooney and a swath of other stars are known to retreat to Badrutt's Kings Club after a day on the slopes, where guest DJs rotate throughout the night.
Indeed, from the shores of St. Bart's (as it is sometimes known) to the slopes of Jackson Hole, Wyo., some places are just more celebrity-friendly than others. For the first time this year, Forbes.com has scouted 10 of the top places stars go each winter to unwind. Of course, nice weather is important. But beyond that, there are three main criteria that distinguish a celebrity hideaway from a regular old Club Med. Stunning natural scenery (think mountains or coral reefs), exclusive resorts (think thousands a night), and, most of all, the ability to keep the paparazzi away, make a celebrity winter hideaway complete.
What’s more, with celebrities fond of travelling with personal posses, there needs to be plenty of room to spread out. "Lots of our clients like to be in private villas or houses," says Pascale Gherardi, vice president and chief operating officer of Larchmont, N.Y.-based Island Destinations, The Authority for Luxury Travel, a luxury tour operator that books high-end packages for clients. "You can have your own entourage in-house, security guards, nannies, etc. Anguilla is a great place for that, with high-end, large villas like Cerulean or Altamer."
Gherardi, whose celebrity clients include Michelle Pfeiffer, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, estimates that the average cost for a seven-night trip, booked through Island Destinations, is $15,000 to $20,000. That includes airfare, accommodation, transfers and service--plus plenty of practical know-how.
"We once booked Arnold Schwarzenegger into Guanahani in St. Bart's," Gherardi continues. "He asked for a bodyguard. We said, 'Who wants a bodyguard in St. Bart's?' Everyone's in a bathing suit, hat and flip flops! We found him a bodyguard, who just ended up playing with the kids the entire time."
"In Aspen, there is a pecking order," says Janet O'Grady, editor in chief of Aspen Magazine. "You have people who've been here since the 1970s, like Jack Nicholson. He comes here, his family's here and he's had the same ski instructor forever. But the person all the locals make fun of is Mariah Carey. None of the manicurists wanted to go do her nails when she visited! Aspen has a power-elite--we have intellectual and political celebrities. We'd rather see Bill Clinton [who is another well-known Aspen vacationer]."
No matter who is on your celeb-spotting wish list, check out our slide show of Celebrity Hideaways. For each destination, we listed hot hotels and celebrity visitors. The rest is up to you.
© 2012 Forbes.com