Our resident travel queen and hopeless romantic Si Si Penaloza takes us on an around-the-world tour of Hollywood stars’ favourite destinations for Valentine’s Day…
From cozy villas in Sicily to Ayurvedic retreats high in the Himalayan foothills, the over-the-top love nest knows no bounds. In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are a few drool-worthy escapes setting Hollywood hearts aflame, tales from which have slipped by unreported. Until now.
Montage Beverly Hills
The Montage Beverly Hills is a true-blue pin-up property. I can’t think of a more impressive trophy stay, where you spoil yourself silly just by waking up. If the holidays really took their toll on your relationship, the Montage Beverly Hills is ready to kiss and make it better. Trust me, this is the ideal place to reignite lost passion and rekindle wedded bliss. Devout care has gone into maintaining the character of Scarpetta, and holding court at the heart of this hotel, it is pitch perfect. Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes got cozy in the Montage embrace; if they can swoon over baby snaps in the signature Scarpetta booths, hey, anything can happen here.
Speaking of A-List boldface, after announcing their pending nuptials, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie dropped in for nibbles in a takeover of the hotel’s £10 lounge. Known for an extensive whiskey list featuring a Macallan single malt that can be aged as long as 64 years (which goes for $64,000 and is one of the most expensive drinks we’ve ever seen), this is the kind of place you can’t even find without someone who works there to show you the way. Tucked discreetly above Scarpetta, £10 caters to true connoisseurs by specializing in Scotland’s globally-adored whisky, The Macallan Single Malt.
On our stay, my boyfriend and I had a three hour breakfast in bed — complete with bolster pillows monogrammed with the letter “P” — which pretty much says it all. From personalized bedding to baseball caps tucked on top of your dashboard on a particularly sunny day, the valets at the Montage truly think of everything. The spa here is a wonderland of delights, sprawling over 20,000 square feet across 17 treatment rooms. Inspired by ninth-century Andalusia, the Moorish design touches are a discreet nod to the sensual hedonism of early Spain. The steam rooms are piping hot — as they should be — and the therapists are stunningly chic. This is by far Beverly Hills’ best romantic getaway for sun-starved East Coasters.
Rocca delle Tre Contrade, Think Sicily
Colour me obsessed. I haven’t stopped dreaming about this villa since I nearly dislocated my jaw oohing and ahhing over its sheer magnificence. Rocca delle Tre Contrade is more fortress than villa; a retreat for the most discerning of design and restoration aficionados. The region’s real gems can be found in the villa inventory of Think Puglia and Think Sicily, the go-to portfolio of Italy’s most desirable holiday villas. Each and every one boasts a “wow” factor. When the impossibly-chic Jude Law and Sienna Miller sought escape from London, they hid from prying eyes at Think Puglia’s Villa Elia, nestled near Gallipoli amidst glorious sand beaches.
With George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding at the historic AMAN Canal Grande Venice, Celebrity PDA is on the rise in Italy. I was asleep on a chaise lounge in an executive suite at the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea in Sicily when who should check in next door but Hollywood sweethearts Kirsten Dunst and Garrett Hedlund. Dolce Amore! And who can forget Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s wedding at Borgo Egnazia in Puglia?
Ananda in The Himalayas
You’ll rub yoga mats with royalty, entrepreneurs, loaded honeymooners, and Fortune 500 types. Ananda is not for the average tourist, or the average celebrity for that matter. When it comes to re-aligning doshas and chakras (which we imagine is pretty key when managing a Mercedes G Wagon full of kids), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie put their faith in Ananda Spa in the Himalayas. On my last jaunt to Ananda, I also I spotted the gushing scrawls of Oprah and Charlize Theron in the guestbook. They’re big fans, to say the least.
The retreat was conceived for the world’s most discerning travellers — those who expect the finest and are prepared to pay for it. Despite its reputation for luxury, Ananda is not glitzy or forbiddingly glamorous. The secret of the property’s enduring prominence is the enticing synergy of its location in a region famous for healing bush medicine, renewal, and spiritual reinvention. The typical guest has burned out on the boot-camp approach and is hungry for a complete philosophical shift.
I recommend the sacred Abhyanga, a four-handed massage that will usher you into the deepest slumber imaginable. It’s just one of the more than 80 body and beauty treatments available at the 24,000-square-foot facility. Ananda’s staff – including many Tibetan refugees – are its most meaningful asset, serving up a distinct brew of camaraderie and cheerleading. Let yourself be unraveled, let your partner see you laid bare. This is so much more than a “romantic getaway.”
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis escaped prying eyes at the beautiful five-star resort Amanusa in Nusa Dua, Bali. The That 70s Show co-stars reveled in the resort’s hushed vibe, far from the hubbub of Hollywood. With only 35 thatched-roof villas, Amanusa is a monument to rarified luxury. Back in the day, this exclusive retreat was one of Princess Diana’s favourites and it’s easy to see why — the high paras-stone walls are built castle thick and give the feeling of a secure fortress. Service is gracious, intuitive, and, well, perfect on all fronts.
Imagine a botanical bounty galloping down the peaks so abundantly you feel the island’s fertility getting under your skin. There is a reason they call Bali the “babymaking” island. Welcome to the sweet life in the slow lane. Without a hint of cliche, this is a lover’s paradise for those we-just-want-to-be-left-alone types. Every villa opens to an outdoor terrace with a cozy daybed beneath a protective canopy. For basking and bathing in privacy, Ashton and Mila enjoyed one of the eight pool villas, which have their own swimming pools, veil-draped four-posters, sunken baths, and outdoor showers. Collective sigh.
What are some of your favourite vacation hot spots to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.