The place: The Greenwich Hotel; New York City
Ever wondered what the A-list does when they need to get away from it all? The answer is simple: They flee the Hollywood Hills and head to their multimillion-dollar vacation homes. Some stars go to Europe. George Clooney, for one, takes his annual trips to his private estate in Lake Como, Italy. Others stay stateside. Oprah Winfrey has not one but two places to choose from when she needs a break, with residences in both Maui and Montecito. Decisions, decisions. Galavante went globe-hopping to track down the best celebrity vacation homes, and here’s our roundup.
Who: Uma Thurman and Arpad Busson
Where: Harbour Island, The Bahamas
The scoop: Uma and her French financier husband call this three-mile stretch of land their home away from home. “The new St. Barths” is a celebrity hotspot for its ritzy stores, pink-sand beaches, and proximity to Miami, which is just an hour’s flight away.
The gossip: The former lady of the manor was none other than Busson’s ex-wife, Elle Macpherson, who was known for filling her home with fresh flowers every day. Because of “The Body’s” floral fetish, Thurman has reportedly banned anything bouquet-related from the house. Meow!
Who: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Where: Miraval, France
The scoop: Only Brangelina could have a home this grand. Their $60-million, 1,000-acre 17th century countryside retreat features a three-mile driveway, 20 fountains, a private lake, a recording studio, a winery and lush vineyards, and even a moat. All hail to King and Queen Brangie.
The gossip: With an on-site winery, it was easy for the couple to play vintners. And given their Midas touch, it’s no surprise that their 2012 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé sold out in less than five hours.
Who: Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady
Where: Mal País, Costa Rica
The scoop: Bündchen purchased a villa in this remote Costa Rican surfing mecca when it was still undeveloped. Celebrities like Mel Gibson and Bobbie Phillips have followed in her footsteps, building palatial homes for a song in this Punterenas town.
The gossip: This is where the Brazilian supermodel and hot NFL star Tom Brady said “I do” again for the second time in a year. Their 2011 dream wedding hit a slight snag when the couple’s security detail shot at paparazzi attempting to snap the nuptials. Despite the snafu, Gisele, Tom, and their gorgeous brood return every year for a month of R&R.
Who: Sir Richard Branson
Where: Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
The sccop: The Virgin Group CEO’s 74-acre isle is available to rent for $60,000 a week. For this whopping fee, you’ll be treated to a staff of 60 including a water sports crew, personal trainers, and Michelin-starred chefs. Best of all, you get to ride in the Necker Nymph, a three-person aero submarine.
The gossip: Necker Island should be called the “Island of Love.” Houseguest Kate Winslet found romance during the stormy weekend of Hurricane Irene with Branson’s nephew Ned Rocknroll; they’ve since married and are expecting their first child. Plenty of royals have frolicked on the island too, including Prince Harry, who visited Necker Island before his infamous Vegas strip trip.
Who: David Copperfield
Where: Musha Cay, The Bahamas
The scoop: The magician’s $50-million island is available for rent at $37,000 a night. For that price tag, up to 24 people can enjoy Dave’s Drive-In, Copperfield’s beachfront movie theater, an arcade, jet skis, a banana boat, kayaks, a lighted grass tennis court, two Boston Whalers, a 23-foot jet boat, a Nautilus Rib Catamaran, and a 37-foot-long Midnight Express. Extras include fireworks, a three-hour treasure hunt, and laser tag. No, you won’t get bored.
The gossip: Copperfield didn’t simply pick Musha Cay out of the hat, so to speak. He used magic to select the perfect holiday home destination. He zeroed in on four places he believed possessed magical power – Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Pyramid of the Sun in the Yucatan, and Easter Island – drew a line connecting the spots, and found that Musha lay right in the middle. Presto.
(Necker Island photos courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)