During the summer and holidays, a five-and-a-half-hour flight from L.A. often means Hawaii for Hollywood's bold-faced crowd. "It's the same as going to New York for the weekend, except you end up in paradise," says Don Cheadle's partner, actress-designer Bridgid Coulter. "You're in tune with the land, eating the fruit, catching the fish." Hawaii is currently trending even more than usual, thanks to its many new indulgences and lack of Zika. "Hawaii is huge this year," says Jaclyn Sienna India of travel company Sienna Charles, which caters to high-net-worth clients. (All major carriers go, but passengers who don't fly private might want to check out Hawaiian Airline's tech-advanced A321neo planes, rolling out later this year. Its JFK- and SFO-to-Honolulu routes just debuted a new cabin, with lie-flat leather seats and menus by Top Chef star Sheldon Simeon.)
Everybody loves the Aloha State: Fox Television Group co-chair and CEO Dana Walden vacations with Fox casting exec Sharon Klein and NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke; Bob Iger hits Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina on Oahu, that island that J.J. Abrams also likes; Margot Robbie has enjoyed Kauai; and Usher paddle-boarded in Kihei, Maui, last month. In 2016, Woody Harrelson applied to open — and was denied — a medical marijuana dispensary on Maui. Last year, Greg Burns — partner at Elite Pacific Properties, whose clients include award-winning directors — helped an A-list actor buy his father a $4 million condo and has seen a client's parrot board a Gulfstream V as the sole passenger.
Property taxes in Hawaii, coincidentally, are among the lowest in the country, while tax credits and incentives also have boosted Hawaii's appeal as a filming destination. "The crews are great and we have so many different looks: jungle, resorts and even a downtown New York," says Snatched director Jonathan Levine, who shot on Oahu. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell first discovered the islands when filming Lost, and says, “I’m captivated by the place and the people, but most of all Hawaiian nights — you’ve never felt a breeze so soft or seen a moon so bright and big. It doesn’t feel real.” Adds The Descendants helmer Alexander Payne: "It's great to be on the remotest significant landmass on Earth. You're out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean." The insider's guide to the five islands that Hollywood flocks to: