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Best places to spot a star this summer

Between her work for "Project Runway" and Victoria’s Secret, mom-of-three Heidi Klum manages to find time to relax. Where does she kick back? Sardinia, Italy.
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The Turkish Riviera hosts celebrities seeking solace from the crowds at the Greek Islands. Stars spotted on the Turquoise Coast in Turkey are Uma Thurman, Tom Hanks, Sting, Dustin Hoffman and Michael Douglas.Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images
/ Source: Forbes

Between her work for "Project Runway" and Victoria’s Secret, mom-of-three Heidi Klum manages to find time to relax.

Where does she kick back? Sardinia, Italy.

There, visitors like Klum find a less-crowded, higher-end alternative to Spain's oversexed Ibiza. Summertime luxury-seekers may stay in the Supramonte countryside at the 60-room Hotel Su Gologone, with a spring water pool and an impressive collection of Italian art. Those in search of family-style Italian food should try La Petronilla in the town of Gallura, which serves everything from lobster to linguini. To burn off those carbs, go dancing at Nikki Beach, which plays house beats to an exclusive crowd.

Celebrities looking to stay Stateside spend time on the East End of Long Island. Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker have homes there. Visitors not lucky enough to own property head to the Mill House Inn, an East Hampton bed and breakfast that's homier than a hotel, but just as refined, with Frette linens, gas fireplaces and flat-screen TVs. For steak and sushi, try the buzzy Prime 103 restaurant and lounge, also in East Hampton. Patrons enjoy live jazz while lounging on ostrich skin banquettes.

Though the world’s A-listers are privileged enough to enjoy life's ultimate luxuries, what most of them want is privacy, says Bill Fischer, founder of Manhattan-based Fischer Travel Enterprises who charges his clients a $100,000 entry fee for his services.

"What these people want most is to avoid the paparazzi,” he says, “so we try to help them do that." How? By scouting out private villas and castles a safe distance away from the crowds.

Still, it's possible to mix and mingle with celebrities if you know where to look for them. Their summertime playgrounds continue to be chic spots popular with the jet set.

"St. Tropez is never going to become passé,” says Rina Anoussi, a 30-year veteran of the travel industry who runs a 24-hour dedicated service, which includes booking travel as well as providing concierge-esque advice for her by-referral-only clientele. “Like Mykynos or St. Barts, it has always been very chic and will always be very chic."

You're destined to spot some celebs at Benita, a 38-room hotel designed by Philippe Stark protégée Patrick Join. Once you've settled into your whitewashed room, venture to chef Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the nearby Byblos Hotel, where the Mediterranean menu is inspired by classic dishes from Catalonia, Andalusia, and Morocco. Cocotte de Legumes with watercress sauce is a standout.

For the hottest nightclub on the French Riviera, try Les Caves du Roy, also in the Byblos, which has welcomed Beyoncé and Elton John. Top 40 hits mix with house beats on the dance floor.

Under-The-Radar Options
Travelers interested in up-and-coming spots might head to Turkey's Turquoise Coast and Croatia's Dalmatian Coast.

** FILE ** Beyonce arrives at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in this Feb. 10, 2008, file photo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ Chris Pizzello, file)Chris Pizzello / A-PIZZELLO

Make like Tom Hanks and Uma Thurman and visit the Turkish port town Bodrum. Stay at the Marmara Bodrum, a 100-room hotel filled with two-level suites furnished with natural woods, neutral linens and one-of-a-kind art. For dinner, head over to the Secret Garden, where English owner-chef Helen Ozer creates Mediterranean dishes like razor clams with garlic and Parmesan au gratin and grilled goat's cheese with olive tapenade. After-dinner drinks, like the traditional Turkish Raki (made from grapes, figs and plums) can be had at Küba, an open-air bar popular with Turkey's upper crust.

On the Dalmatian Coast, consider the walled city of Dubrovnik, where the well-heeled check into Dubrovnik's Pucic Palace, right in the center of town. In the evening, venture outside the walls and visit underground art collective and nightclub Lazareti, which hosts film festivals, art openings and dancing nearly every evening.

But the best—and maybe the most beautiful—place to spot celebrities is back in Italy. George Clooney owns a home on Lake Como in Lombardy and has welcomed many of his Hollywood friends, including Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for a visit.

For those not invited to the Clooney home for the weekend, Villa d'Este is a luxurious option. Its 152 rooms are decorated with period furniture and brocade silk drapes, and its grounds include a zen spa and an 18-hole golf course. Ristorante Barchetta offers savory Italian fare—goat's cheese ravioli in pear sauce and fresh lake fish—and Hotel du Lac draws in dancing fashionistas.

But for all their luxuries, the best thing about these places is the chance to see a celebrity in town one evening, ready to hobnob with the local glitterati. The spotlight is a difficult thing to avoid, after all, even if it's only for a week's vacation.