Hollywood on Holiday: 10 Inspiring A-List Getaways

5:31 PM 12/29/2016

by Elycia Rubin

Cruising at a steady 55 MPH on the 405 or the 101 at 10 am means just one thing… it’s late December in Hollywood (a.k.a. The Annual Shut Down). From the sand to the slopes, these ultra luxe destinations are a year-round perennial lure for the town’s elite craving a high dose of adventure.

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    Carmel Valley, Northern California

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    The Monterey Peninsula, with its lush vegetation and epic ocean views is a longtime Hollywood favorite, and has hosted Lee Daniels, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Aniston. Located on a 500 playground, the area’s most luxurious rustic haven, Carmel Valley Ranch offers endless, one-of-a-kind experiences for all ages. Don a head to toe beekeeping suit before entering the hives to learn about the magical work of these busy little creatures with resident beekeeper, John Russo. Hop on a horse for a sunset trail ride into the majestic hillside, or team up with family members for a round of Geocaching - a high tech scavenger hunt utilizing GPS devices. Book the 1,200 sq. ft. Carmel Suite (from $1,500) for the ultimate in hillside indulgence.

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    Park City, Utah

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    Home of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival (January 19-29), this historic wonderland draws everyone from Taylor Swift and Harvey Weinstein to Will Smith and Jeffrey Katzenberg. After connecting Park City and Canyons, it’s also the largest ski resort in the United States - easily ski-in, ski-out right from the Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons (1-4 bedroom Penthouse Suites from $900). Those who need a break from back-to-back days of shredding can add dogsledding or sleigh rides pulled by draft horses to the list. Follow that with a adrenaline-packed zip down the face of the mountain on one of the longest alpine slides in the world.

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    New York City, New York

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    City trips never disappoint and The Big Apple offers a nonstop barrage of memorable exploits. A quintessential visit calls for a stay on the Upper East Side at The Carlyle Hotel (decadent Central Park Tower Suites from $10,000), where Steve Jobs, John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana stayed and residents include Barry Diller and Brad Grey. Engage in a history lesson with a boat ride down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty. Take in the towering skyline views from the platforms of Top Of The Rock (observatory at Rockefeller Center) or the outdoor decks of The Whitney Museum. Spend an afternoon getting pulled by a horse drawn carriage followed by climbing the rock formations at Central Park.

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    Newport Coast, Southern California

    This alluring coastal enclave is ripe with comfortable weather and thrilling pursuits. Craving a taste of Europe but not in the mood for the 11-hour plane ride? Drive an easy hour south to The Resort at Pelican Hill where Sofia Vergara and Mark Wahlberg have been spotted. Book one of the fully appointed home-style villas (from $800) outfitted with butlers, a concierge and private clubhouse to ensure a memorable visit. Meticulously modeled after an Italian hillside village, families can indulge in pasta making classes, kayak camps or a hike down to the historic Crystal Cove, a National Natural Landmark. End a perfect day in paradise with a Ferris wheel ride at The Fun Zone on Balboa Island (once frequented by John Wayne and Lauren Bacall), and never to be missed is one of the island’s famed chocolate covered frozen bananas and Balboa Bars.

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    Aspen, Colorado

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    One of the most enduring celebrity-packed destinations (David Geffen, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn), this tony mountain escape continues to delight discerning visitors with its small town charm and exclusive vibe. The Little Nell maintains its reign as the only 5-star ski in/ski out hotel in all of Colorado complete with the consummate Ski Concierge. Located right at the base of Aspen Mountain, book any one of the six Luxury Suites (from $2,000) for the ultimate Alpine experience. Ever groomed a mountain? Hop inside a Prinoth “Bison 350” snowcat (limit two guest passengers per day) for a one-of-a-kind ride of smoothing out the runs. Skiers have their choice of hitting any of the four surrounding mountains (alongside one of 1,200 expert level private instructors if preferred). There’s something for everyone, from very first timers to expert shredders. The ideal way to soothe your limbs after conquering the slopes is an indulgent massage. Remede Spa is just a few steps away inside the nearby St. Regis, and where “Apres” takes on an entirely new meaning as guests are lead to the cherry on top after each treatment - a discreet, candle-lit oxygen inhalation lounge.

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    Los Cabos, Mexico

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    A preferred escape of the town’s gliterrati including George Clooney, Primary Wave Entertainment Vice Chairman, Mark Burg and Jimmy Kimmel, the most desirable areas in Baja are along parts of the Sea of Cortes where the waters remain sheltered from the rough Pacific undercurrents. The latest offering is the ultra posh community of Costa Palmas located on the relatively uninhabited, pristine section of the Caribbean-like East Cape. This is a dramatic two-mile stretch of tranquil beachfront and waters; ideal for families who love to swim, boat and surf. Book one of the modern beach cabanas at the soon to be unveiled Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas (room rates TBA), and let the resident Aventura Club create a custom itinerary of delights guaranteed to ignite the senses. Parasail, snorkel, fish, kayak, and dive until sundown. Wake up the next day and simply press repeat.

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    San Juan Islands, Washington State

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    Breathe in the soothing fresh air and laid-back vibes of this enchanting archipelago where tech billionaire, Paul Allen has resided (on his very own Allan Island, of course). From hiking at Spencer Spit State Park and mountain biking on Orcas Island to an eye-opening Polar Bear plunge into the lake, there’s never a shortage of excitement in this Pacific Northwest haven. It’s also where Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, who both grew up in Washington, own a home and often retreat to along with their three-year old son, Jack. Become one with the great outdoors by booking one of the traditional log cabins at the 82-acre Lakedale Resort (from $600). Witnessing the grandeur of the resident Orca whales occurs throughout the year.

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    London, United Kingdom

    London (otherwise known as Hollywood across the pond), is always a good idea regardless of the weather. Pre-book a spot in one of the private glass capsules on the London Eye for unbeatable views of the entire capital. Cruise down the Thames River to get up close with Big Ben, Westminster and the Tower Bridge. Stay in one of the newly remodeled park view suites at the historic Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (from $1,500), host of the pre-Royal Wedding dinner of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, where it’s easiest to access the horses for a ride through the bridleways of the lush grounds. Follow that up with a jaunt to nearby Buckingham Palace and dinner at the area’s liveliest pub, The Grenadier, frequented by Gwyneth Paltrow and The Beckham’s.

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    Machu Picchu/Cusco, Peru

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    Bill Gates, Cameron Diaz and Ron Howard have all delved into mystery high on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains with a visit to one of the most revered ancient cities in the world. The Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel ($1650 for the Imperial Suite designed in traditional Incan décor) is just 20 minutes from the archaeological site and the only 5-star hotel in the area (The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah is a recent guest). Get an intimate understanding of Inca culture with an exhilarating private excursion lead by an authentic Shaman. End the day further immersed in the culture with Pachamanca (“Earth Pot”), a festive outdoor feast where the family engages in a traditional Andean meal by cooking up meats, potatoes and beans in an underground oven hand-formed with stones.

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    Stowe, Vermont

    Courtesy of Destination Hotels

    There’s just something so appealing about a winter in New England. And, the village of Stowe, visited by John Travolta, Chelsea Clinton, and The Kennedy’s, is about as quaint as it gets. Hit the road for a thrill of a drive up Mount Mansfield, one of Vermont’s most scenic routes, and get immersed in the views of the Adirondack Mountains. Stay in one of the Front Four Private Residences at Stowe Mountain Lodge (from $1,500), where Brad Pitt has been spotted, and is the only ski-in/ski-out luxury property in the northeast. Ever tried ice climbing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling? The concierge will tickle any fancy with an array of thrilling escapades. Sure it’s cold outside, but both kids and adults will relish a 30-minute tour of local favorite, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Nothing like ending a day in the mountains with a hot fudge sundae.

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