IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Unveiling the hush-hush hideaways of celebrities

Johnny Depp and longtime love Vanessa Paradis recently visited Marrakesh and stayed in a Sanssouci Collection riad hotel. Each riad comes with its own hammam and spa.
/ Source: a href="" linktype="External" target="_blank" resizable="true" status="true" scrollbars="true" fullscreen="false" location="true" menubars="true" titlebar="true" toolbar="true">Travel + Leisure</a

The rumor mill was churning — an A-list celebrity going by the code name “Cherry-Cola” had checked into the newly renovated Four Seasons Nevis and was happily installed in a beachside cabana with her love. It turns out Mary Louise Parker, actress and star of Showtime series "Weeds," and her singer/songwriter beau, Charlie Mars, were indulging in a little together time.

It’s no surprise that sometimes paparazzi-plagued celebrities want their hideaways (and trysts) to remain a secret. Whether they’re heading off on a honeymoon in the Maldives or a romantic Mexican beach weekend with someone who may or may not be their spouse, stars are choosing hotels that offer more than just impeccable service, palatial suites, and sunset views. They want discreet check-ins, private entries, empty beaches — and sealed lips.

“Some of our guests register under an assumed name. They don’t want to be identified,” says Mark Kerwin, director of sales and marketing at the super-secretive Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort in Los Cabos, which recently hosted Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson — together. Thanks to the property’s reputation, it’s become a choice destination for Hollywood types looking to fly under the radar.

But while stars crave privacy, they also want romance. For A-listers, these two things often go hand in hand. “Guests bring their own romantic ideas, but sometimes they need a little help (in making sparks fly). The Romance Director meets these needs,” says Kerwin of Las Ventanas’ unique staff position.

While everyone’s idea of romance is different — staff at Las Ventanas have buried a proposal-containing bottle in the sand (and stood nearby to make sure the right woman found it), sent a cowboy in an elaborate silver-studded outfit to read a love poem, and screened private movies on the beach — it’s almost always on the hush-hush.

Sometimes however, word leaks out. While Aman Resorts won’t confirm or deny that staff at Aman-i-Khás, a luxury safari camp in Rajasthan, India, organized pop star Katy Perry and actor-comedian Russell Brand’s exotic, over-the-top wedding last fall, it did drop a few hints about special moments other unnamed guests have enjoyed — a private “Maharaja-style” dinner by the lake; breakfast near the 1,000-year-old fort; rose-petal baths; and “poojas” (special Hindu blessings).

More from Travel + Leisure