Heidi in Mexico, Gisele in Brazil, Kate in Spain. In the world of supermodels, no last name is required for complete recognition—and no getaway is too decadent or exclusive.
Travelers clamoring for a glimpse of these uber-svelte beauty queens will find them at hotspots like Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz, where Claudia Schiffer has been a guest. The chic mountain resort is located in the southern part of the Swiss Alps and provides a healthy dose of Champagne-sipping starlets. Badrutt’s has seven restaurants, four bars and deluxe suites that cost up to $19,200 a night in peak season. Liz Hurley and Kate Moss are known to frequent the King’s Club, a star-studded nightspot owned by the hotel.
Kristin Hutton, a Badrutt’s Palace spokesperson, says the palace is popular with celebrities and models because the staff is “accustomed to dealing with high-profile guests who require a certain level of discretion, attention and service.” Indeed, Badrutt’s gives the word “luxurious” a whole new meaning: The hotel provides butlers on every floor, certified concierges and on-site stores like Cartier, Gucci and Versace.
Supermodels yearning for more discreet vacations opt for private villas or boutique hotels at a safe remove from the public, according to Melissa Sarrazin, a manager at IMG Models. Sarrazin says that while “models differ in their ideas of the ideal getaway vacation,” they often “stay away from the large resorts and more commonly prefer renting a charming house.”
Stylist Charles Davis with East Photographic, who has worked with a number of supermodels, agrees. “Villas, boats, and luxury houses are very popular because they mean utter relaxation and the possibility that they can stay in one place in peace for awhile,” Davis says. “You have to remember that for supermodels, a two- or three-week vacation may be the longest period of time that season they don’t have to take a train, plane, or change hotels for various jobs.”
Victoria’s Secret angel and Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue goddess Selita Ebanks is a gorgeous illustration of Davis’ point. The Caymanian supermodel is fan of the tranquil Hotel Guanahani & Spa on St. Barts, and calls it one of the most relaxing hotels she’s ever visited. Set on 16 acres of private peninsula, the rooms at this colorful, French-style hotel face the sea or tropical gardens teeming with coconut trees. For guests seeking more exclusivity, six deluxe butler-serviced suites are available, 14 of which come with private swimming pools.
Beautiful bad girl Kate Moss also seeks out low-key getaways. Moss recently made headlines when her Topshop boss, billionaire Sir Philip Green, treated her and rock-star boyfriend Jamie Hence to a vacation worth $200,000 in Mallorca, Spain. In previous trips to the island, Moss has checked in at La Residencia Hotel, a charming hideaway nestled in the hills of Mallorca’s northwest coast. Guests at this picturesque refuge can luxuriate in a four-bedroom villa that comes with its own heated pool and views of the Mediterranean Sea. Moss isn’t the only celebrity in town: aging A-listers Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones all own homes here.
The once-quiet fishing town of Montauk, N.Y., is another destination rapidly becoming a favorite among fashionistas, with the new Surf Lodge leading the movement. Since its opening in June, the relaxed hotel designed by Robert McKinley has already attracted male supermodel Tyson Beckford. The 32 modern rooms flaunt views of the water, private decks adorned with a hammock, and glass-walled spa bathrooms. Combining the laidback spirit of Montauk with the Hamptons’ stylish (if sometimes stiff) elegance, it’s no wonder Ralph Lauren, Cynthia Rowley and Donna Karan are also fans.
When away from New York, Czech bombshell Karolina Kurkova—one of the youngest models ever to grace the cover of Vogue at the tender age of 17—calls The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach her home away from home. Guests here enjoy free use of the lavish spa, which includes a plunge pool, mud lounge and Roman-waterfall hot tub. Legendary fashion photographer Bruce Weber recently shot a “Summer Camp” series forW magazine at The Standard, the cover of which featured Kate Moss, Daria Werbowy and Lara Stone tucked in one of the hotel’s beds.
Perhaps more than most supermodels, Heidi Klum’s business acumen has dispelled the myth that models are lacking in the intellect department. As a Victoria Secret starlet, executive producer of "Project Runway", wife of musician Seal, and mother of three children, this German wonder-woman is no stranger to success. Klum and Seal own a villa in Costa Careyes, Mexico, an upscale development located on a 30,000-mile nature reserve between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. Favored among well-heeled celebrities for its unspoiled beaches, exotic architecture and bohemian spirit, the 50-villa community has been seducing the likes of Christie Brinkley, Claudia Schiffer, Uma Thurman and Giorgio Armani since it opened.
Wayne Hudson, a representative of Costa Careyes, the company founded by Gian Franco Brignone that builds and rents villas in the area, says that privacy is “the single biggest appeal” of the development to stars like Klum and Seal. “In Careyes, which is a small isolated community, they have extreme privacy from the outside world. And the Careyes residents who are VIPs for a variety of reasons just treat them as another member of the community.”