When A-list stars and those high-powered execs in the entertainment industry want to get away from it all, they often choose the most exotic and most exclusive spots in the world. They can afford to find that special place where luxury and privacy reign. From St. Barths to the Hamptons, from Monaco to Necker Island, these are among some of the hot spots for celebs.
However, there are lesser known places that the stars go to enjoy themselves. And while they aren’t household names, that’s exactly what stars want in terms of privacy. The less you know of the place, the more celebs flock to it. So, have you ever wondered which are the places you never knew A-list stars go for vacation? We have, and we’ve got the list that reveals the secret locations where celebs live and play. Now count them down!
10 Marina di Portofino, Genova, Italy
A port town in Italy that was once a small fishing village, Portofino is one of the places you never knew celebs go for their vacation, simply because it’s a very private retreat known only by the wealthy. It’s far from the stresses of tinsel town. It’s expensive. These factors make for a highly-attractive vacation place for the super rich.
Talk about exclusivity. You want in? Well, Portofino has only one road for entry and exit. Still think you can slip in? Well, you can’t because the road is closed most of the time. Try finding it, and you may be able to park your ginormous yacht, except you better get there fast before the likes of Steven Spielberg and Rihanna start docking, because there are only 14 berths. Oh, and also bring thousands of dollars with you since it costs around $3,000 a night for a mooring. Are we sensing a trend? Indeed, we might be. Its obstacles reinforce the privacy for visitors and the exclusivity of the marina, allowing the town to remain unspoiled. Now, where’s our suitcase full of cash?
9 Porto Cervo, Sardinia
This is where the uber-wealthy go because it’s hard to get to. This is where they take their yachts to. They like Porto Cervo because not many know of the far-off town, topping our list at #9 for places you never knew A-list stars go for vacation.
There’s exclusivity, but don’t think the celebs go without fantastic amenities. There are high end boutiques, excellent food and a bustling nightlife. You want in to one of the many nocturnal hot spots? Well, you can’t. And don’t feel bad. This is the place known for denying George Clooney entrance into one of the exclusive nightspots. This is also the place for the Billionaire Club, businessman Flavio Briatore’s nightclub. So who comes to Porto Cervo? Stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Steven Spielberg. They come here to get away from other A-list vacation spots like St.Tropez, Bora Bora and St. Barts, places that are still for the rich and famous, but have become overtaken by—and infiltrated by—hip-hop stars and the young and drunk of Hollywood.
8 Aalsmeer, The Netherlands
Another famous mega yacht port, Aalsmeer is a small town in the Netherlands that’s gaining notoriety as a destination hotspot for the rich. Located just outside Amsterdam, the village is also known as a shopping destination.
There are very few wealthy people who are part of the exclusive Mega yacht owners. They come to get their yachts built and designed, and rely on strict secrecy from shipyards about their details. An undisclosed owner who’s building a 150 feet-long yacht is costing that owner more than $40 million. People like Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison got his yacht built here. And Steve Jobs’ yacht made its first public appearance here, more than a year after his death.
7 Amelia Island, Florida
When you think of Florida, you think of Disney Land, spring break, South beach and retirement communities. But there is one town in Florida that is known for being laid-back and low-key and yet, has many activities. And that’s the reason why many celebs flock here. Located in Nassau County, Florida, Amelia Island is known for its many golf courses and for its car auctions. We’re not talking about mini golf with Uncle Bob. We’re talking about a place where Bill Clinton and basketball legend, Michael Jordan choose as a golfing hot spot. As for the car auctions, we’re not talking about a public Carfax outing or about the chance to trade-in your 1998 Subaru wagon with the missing bumper. We’re talking about an event that goes on every March, where the island is infiltrated by rich car collectors. A place where one recent sale of a car cost the collector $4.5 million. Yup, that much.
Amelia Island is also known for its serenity. And it has thirteen miles of uninterrupted pristine white sand to back it up. These things are also why celebs descend to Amelia. John Travolta is known for flying here in his private plane. Tom Cruise has also been spotted here. Additionally, the legendary Paul McCartney stays at Amelia’s Ritz-Carlton.
6 Dutchess Country, NY
A fertile ground for the stars, Dutchess County is a serene nature’s paradise in the Hudson Valley, two hours away from New York City. Relatively anonymous to the LA and Hollywood A-lister crowd, East Coast celebs and high-powered execs in the entertainment industry who live here like it that way, allowing them to unwind and relax from their stresses in the city, and still be close to it. Known largely as an agricultural region, with many farms and rolling meadows, Dutchess County is often described as a more tranquil Hamptons because of its privacy and because its houses are few and far between.
Those who live here are fierce about protecting it from the paparazzi and the star gazers. Why? Because they claim nature to be the biggest celeb here. What residents concern themselves over is not whether or not their Manolo’s match their raincoat. They’re wondering who the best chimney sweeper is, and if they can come on weekends.
But nowadays, you really can’t go for a second without spotting a celeb. You pretend to not notice Parker Posey walking her poodle. James Earl Jones lives in Pawling and Liam Neeson, Liev Schreiber, Aidan Quinn, John Leguizamo and Steve Buscemi all have second homes around here. So just know one thing if you plan on visiting: don’t stare or fawn, and you’ll be okay.
5 Charleston, SC
Nearly three thousand miles from Los Angeles, Charleston, South Carolina has quietly become a star’s haven. And while it’s been known as the hot new “secret” spot for celebs, the sixteen block thoroughfare through the historic district still supplies the comforts of home with its very own mini-Rodeo Drive that boasts trend-setting stores, high-end designer boutiques and many dining options.
Conde Nast ranked Charleston as the number one city in the world in 2012. This SC hamlet doesn’t need to sell itself. It has a perfect backdrop, and astounding cuisine. In addition, there’s a bustling local night life and of course, that touch of southern hospitality, everything an A-list star might want when they want to get away from it all. Taylor Swift was seen recently shopping on fashionable King Street. Sofia Vegara visited the Lowcountry. Newlyweds, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds tied the knot here. An odd choice? Well, what you might not know is that Charleston is a major wedding destination spot because of its relaxing aura and its tranquility. Just ask Ryan and Blake that.
4 Monticello, NY
Monticello, like the hamlets in Dutchess County, is only two hours away from New York City. No wonder millionaires and stars schlep down here. Its proximity to the city is a plus, but you still feel like you’re getting away from it all. And it’s not a well-known place where too many of the A-list go.
But go they do. It’s the secret spot for the wealthy who want to test and drive their limited edition sports vehicles. Monticello is home to its elite motor club, the Monticello Motor Club. Its over four miles of terrain attracts members. They use the asphalt for their driving pleasures. So how do you join this club? Well, if you have a whopping $125,000 lying around, you can be a member. Which is why Monticello caters exclusively to the rich and only to the rich.
3 Pound Ridge, NY
Pound Ridge is literally one of those towns you haven’t heard about, where the rich go for vacation or for peace of mind. They even live here, using their houses to get away from the stresses of Hollywood.
Located in Westchester County, two hours away from New York City, it’s the kind of town that is nowhere near a highway, a mall or a name-brand store. It’s the kind of town where there isn’t even a single traffic light. What you get here are stone walls, lining beautiful winding roads, densely wooded hills and meandering brooks. Even though celebs have put down their roots here, the town has managed to remain unspoiled.
A place for stars to have a chance at a rural way of life, Pound Ridge is home to stars like Richard Gere, Mike Myers, Jane Pauley, Susan Sarandon and Vera Wang. But that lifestyle might soon change. Richard Gere owns a restaurant in nearby Bedford, and uber-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, famously known for many of his pricey and tony restaurants in New York City, has recently opened up one here, The Inn at Pound Ridge. A recent New York Times Dining Review called the place “Excellent.”
2 Bedford, New York
This beautiful community, for many decades home to the wealthy, is high on our list of 10 places you never knew celebs go for vacation, because it’s not a household name. But those in the know, are aware that Bedford, tucked into the woodlands of Westchester County, is a destination hot-spot and a country getaway for the rich and famous. Just under an hour away from New York City, this exclusive town is home to many famous celebs.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds recently bought a weekend home here. Ralph Lauren, Glenn Close and Martha Stewart, all have get-away homes here. Bedford is the kind of place where white clapboard homes, fortified by white picket fences, share space with million-dollar estates on large acres of land, where you can go horseback riding around rolling hills, and where you can idly walk around its picturesque town green that has a retro-style movie theater—one of the town’s only nightlife attractions. But the town, just like nearby Pound Ridge, is gaining some fame outside the rarefied world of the stars, because Richard Gere recently opened the quaint Bedford Post Inn. You can eat at the Barn for casual fare, or at Campagna for fine dining. There’s an eight-room luxury inn and even a yoga loft offering daily classes.
Fun fact: Martha Stewart served her five-month house arrest, after being released from federal prison at her $15 million home, on 15-acres of land.
1 Alpine, NJ
Forget about Brentwood or the Hollywood Hills. A tranquil, little-known town in New Jersey is one of the most expensive places to live in the US, with its lavish mansions that cost, on average, around four million. Twenty-miles north of New York City, and overlooking the Hudson river, Alpine has higher property values than the Hamptons. But that few have heard of Alpine and yet, that it is populated by mega-millionaires, is why it tops our list at #1 for the ten places you never knew A-listers go for vacation. Well, technically, most of the celebs use their homes in Alpine as second houses and retreats from their tony penthouses in New York City, but you know what we mean.
If you’re not from Alpine, you don’t come to Alpine. There’s nowhere for tourists to look around or visit, unless they’re shopping for a mansion. That’s because the town’s attraction on its Main Street is a garage and a church. There aren’t even postal deliveries here, as the super-rich opt to pick up their mail at the tiny post office. It’s a quiet, sleepy town with large plots of land to build estates that keep the rich coming here.
On the 4th of July, there are no fireworks because most who have homes in Alpine are elsewhere. It’s surprising then, that those known to make noise—err, music—make their home in Alpine. The musicians who live here are mostly rappers. The New York Times described it “as the home of hip-hop royalty” Chris Rock, Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy and Lil' Kim, all own mansions here.