It might seem like a lot of celebs are on a perma-vacation, moving from one buzzing social occasion to another. But their nights out are often tied in to their work. For example, although we might all have loved to go to the Brit Awards or the Oscars, many celebrities are also there to keep themselves in the public eye. Of course, this depends on the celebrity and the occasion.
So, which are the top destinations celebs choose to visit in order to let their hair down and have some fun? And where should you go if you hope to spot them?
Marvellous Monte Carlo
While many celebrities like Bono, Lewis Hamilton and Roger Moore choose to live in Monte Carlo, even more flock to this glamorous location on the Mediterranean coast for a break. One of the major draws in Monte Carlo is its bustling casino scene. There are four casinos in Monte Carlo - the Casino de Monte Carlo, the Café de Paris, the Sun Casino and the Salle des Palmiers. They are all owned by the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, the largest employer in Monaco with over 4,000 staff. Its gaming sector alone brought in revenues of €196.4 million in 2014.
Photo: R Meehan - Own work, Public Domain/Wikimedia
Monte Carlo is a regular stop for the European Poker Tour – in fact, it usually hosts the Grand Final, just as it will do this year. In Season 11’s Main Event last year, 564 players from 60 countries took part and between them created a prize pool of over €5.6 million. Around 190 of the players had qualified for their seats online at PokerStars and amassed a prize total of more than €1.6 million. At the events you can spot big-time poker pros like Ivan Luca, Adrian Mateos, Daniel Negreanu and Martin Finger, as well as celebrities like Gerard Pique and Rafa Nadal.
Another big event that pulls celebs to Monte Carlo every May is the Formula One Grand Prix, where the streets are turned into an adrenaline-charged race track. The race first took place in 1929 and is a highlight on the F1 calendar. More than 100,000 attend the Grand Prix in person which is three times Monaco's usual population of 31,109. Last year, the VIPs were out in force and spectators included Cara Delavigne, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid. Of all the different F1 venues, this is probably the most popular destination for celebrity racing fans to attend in person. Tickets for the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix range from €83 to €2,799.
Sunshine and Good Times in Florida
Miami is another travel destination where you’re very likely to spot celebs. Famous folk love the beach as much as everyone else. According to Visit Florida, 97.3 million visited the Sunshine State in 2014 and 11.5 million of them were from overseas.
South Beach (aka SoBe) is a great place for people-watching. Celeb Miami sun seekers include Christina Aguilera, Cameron Diaz and President Barack Obama. Away from the beaches, Miami has its fair share of culture and sporting events to entice visitors. From high-rated zoos to boat tours to shopping centres, the city is full of attractions. However, we suspect you’re looking for something more specific – celebs, perhaps?
One of the most popular eateries is at Joe’s Stone Crab, established in 1918. Famous diners over the years include Al Capone, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali. Stars can enjoy retail therapy at The Webster, a multi-brand boutique retailer established in 2009. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Amber Heard have all browsed at the flagship store in Miami, which is an Art Deco building designed by Henry Hohauser in 1939.
Follow the A-listers to Cannes
Cannes, on the Cote d’Azur, is another favourite celeb holiday destination. Famous faces attend the Cannes Film Festival in droves. All kinds of A-listers attend at the film screenings and the parties that follow them.
Stars at last year’s Festival included Eva Longoria, Robert Pattinson and Lana Del Rey. Top hotels for celebs to stay at include The Martinez and the Majestic Barrière Cannes. The Grand Hyatt Cannes is another popular choice, having hosted stars like Julianne Moore, Bruce Willis and Eva Longoria among many others.
Every year, the Festival draws 200,000 visitors to Cannes, where the normal population is around 75,000. Thousands of films are screened during the Festival, with access restricted to those who have an invitation or badge. However, the Cinéma de la Plage has screenings open to the public.
As for places to wine and dine, La Palme d’Or is the obvious choice, with its two Michelin stars. You can spot big-time celebs enjoying one of its luxurious (and pricey) meals during the twelve-day festival, including Elton John and Sharon Stone. Basically, the point is that celebs flock to Cannes every September, so if you can make it there, you’ll be practically surrounded by them.
Mindy Kaling, John Lasseter, Phyllis Smith, Amy Poehler | Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
Renaissance splendour and an international film show
Thirty years ago, Venice had a population of 120,000 but today only 55,000 residents remain as city rents have become unaffordable. Still, Venice’s 20 million visitors a year make the city feel very active, yet maintaining an enchanting atmosphere thanks to its beautiful churches, palazzi and the maze of canals that serve as the city’s streets. It’s no wonder George Clooney chose to get married there.
You’re likely to spot celebs in Venice at any time of year. But there’s always a big influx for the Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest international film festival, established in 1932 and held annually in September. Famous faces who have attended the Festival over the years include Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Banks, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock. The list is virtually endless, as is expected of a prestigious film festival in a glamorous location that combines business with pleasure for cinema and television stars. In 2015, the 72nd Venice Film Festival opened with the film Everest and closed with Mr Six.
Under four hours' drive from Venice is the beautiful Lake Como. This is another celebrity holiday hotspot, thanks in no small part to the fact that Clooney purchased a villa there in 2002. Many people visit Lake Como hoping to sneak a peek at George and his entourage, so he also bought the villa next door to ensure his privacy. Sir Richard Branson and Madonna also have homes there and celeb visitors without their own place often stay at the hotel Villa d’Este.
Hit the slopes
One of the most exclusive ski resorts has always been Alpine resort Klosters in Switzerland. Prince Charles and Diana took William and Harry there, and there’s even a cable-car named after the former. William and Kate famously had their first public kiss on the Klosters Ski Resort slope. Other famous Klosters fans include Rupert Everett, Katie Price and Bill Gates. Favourite hangouts include Casa Antica and the Chesa Bar. Both are said to often be visited by the British royal family. The Waserhof hotel is where Prince Charles stays and features seven different exclusive suites.
Deer Valley in Utah is another celeb-heavy ski resort. A limited number of tickets give access to manicured runs, ski valets and heated sidewalks, so that the likes of Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta and Bruce Springsteen never feel like it’s too crowded. Olympic medallist Stein Eriksen’s Lodge is one of the most luxurious accommodation options. The best time of the year to spot celebs in Deer Valley is when the Sundance Festival is in town – every January. In 2016, Daniel Radcliffe, Matt Damon, Elijah Wood and the Jonas brothers were all there, as well as popular music producer Diplo, who along with DJ Vice performed for the crowds at the Tao Park City.
Pick any of the destinations above and you might run into a star or two. You may not get close enough for a chat, but you might snap a pic or even get a selfie with a famous face sharing your vacation. Or you can choose one of these spots if you want to feel like a celebrity yourself, just for a little bit. Whichever the reason, bon voyage!