Image: The Hamptons
A favorite of billionaires, millionaires and the just plain famous, the Hamptons is where privileged and glamorous Manhattanites (and those willing to travel farther) go to spend weekends and summers.
updated 3/9/2007 12:06:51 PM ET 2007-03-09T17:06:51

Cue the violins.

For the rich and super rich, some decisions are more complicated than choosing between the Bulgari and the Cartier.

Indeed, those with a net worth exceeding a billion dollars have a limitless area for escape. And for these lucky few, a vacation spot is not just a place to bask in the culture and climate, it's a place to be seen with notorious neighbors and famous faces.

One, of course, where the living is good. Indeed, whether the locales are snow-capped or sun-kissed, Monaco or Mustique, all offer the world's best service and amenities.

"When you have unlimited budgets, you can get whatever you want," says Susan Breitenbach, a Bridgehampton, N.Y.-based senior vice president of the Corcoran Group. And billionaires are "used to good restaurants and used to world-class shopping."

Top travels
Recently, the traditional break from the Big Apple, the Hamptons, has upped its ante, becoming a destination for Europeans eager to take advantage of the current exchange rate and to share a beach with billionaires such as Steven Spielberg.

Aspen, Colo., is another big-spender hub due in part to the annual celebrity pilgrimage for the city's film festival. Jack Nicholson, Mischa Barton and Susan Sarandon are just a few of the celebs who have been spotted roaming the mountain town among the likes of Michael Eisner and David Geffen.

Yet some high-rolling travelers have chosen to go beyond these time-honored escapes.

Image: Bermuda
The subtropical climate and pink sand beaches may be what draw the tourists to Bermuda, but the relaxed and classy attitude is what likely draws the famous flock.

Remote retreats
Ted Turner owns a land in Patagonia, Argentina. He bought his first La Primavera estate in 1996 and has since added land in Neuquen and Tierra Del Fuego to his portfolio.

"The area is known for its Andes mountain range, regal glaciers, world-class fly-fishing and its privacy," says Donna Foersom, marketing manager for luxury travel and tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. "It remains one of the least populated regions of the world."

Island living
It's that combination of luxury and seclusion that is also credited with drawing well-heeled clients to Bermuda.

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Just a quick flight from most anywhere on the eastern seaboard, Bermuda's pink sand beaches have been trodden by billionaires such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Ross Perot for decades. The British culture of the island "respects the privacy of the famous and wealthy," says Susan Thompson, agency manager for Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty. "The British have a certain class and sophistication so they are not overwhelmed by celebrity."

For the exceptionally private traveler, there is always the private island. Whether renting or purchasing, like Richard Branson, private islands hold an unparalleled sense of seclusion.

Branson's 74-acre Necker Island and 120-acre Moskito Island are both in the British Virgin Islands. Necker Island, purchased by Branson in 1976, is currently used as a private resort for rent (one can rent the entire island or share with others in off-weeks). Branson hopes to turn both Necker Island and Moskito Island, which he bought earlier this year, into eco-friendly resort islands featuring Balinese-style lodges of sustainable materials and wind, wave or solar power.

Luxurious amenities
The ultra-rich are also used to traveling without hassle. Private cars, personal jets and chartered yachts are a few of the perks.

Todd Harris, senior vice president of hospitality and member services for the luxury destination club Exclusive Resorts, says gourmet kitchens, first-class spas, designer linens and state-of-the-art electronics are some of the amenities his mega-rich guests prefer while away from home.

What's next for the billionaire tourist?

Foersom says the "untouched and unexplored" destinations are the future. Antarctica may be the next big thing for those have been to the other six continents, while Papua New Guinea and Botswana combine top-end, luxury accommodations with extreme remoteness that should impress the most discerning — and most distinguished — traveler.

© 2012

Video: Forbes' releases billionaires list


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