Hang out with celebs without spending their kind of cash. Stacey Lane points to the destinations you can afford while still living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
It was at the uber-VIP Mapula Lodge that Prince Harry romanced Meghan Markle for her birthday. They slept in a rustic thatched cabin under the moonlight and explored the spectacular Okavango Delta region by day.
If you want the royal treatment, it’s in Zimbabwe, but there’s plenty to offer for everyday explorers, too, from the breathtaking Victoria Falls to the Chobe National Park where you’ll spot elephants, lions, giraffe and zebras in numbers that’ll take your breath away.
For a royal feast, be sure to book an evening at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge where local delicacies like Zambezi River bream and warthog steak are on offer. Then rest under the stunning starry sky at the lodge.
More budget-friendly restaurants also boast mouth-watering menus impossible to pass by. Most accommodations will have advice on action and adventure to be had on a Zambezi River tour, white water rafting through Victoria Falls, bungee jumping
and much more.
- Victoria Falls Safari Lodge: A luxury tree house built on the natural boundary of the Zambezi National Park. victoria-falls-safari-lodge.com
With stunning mountains framing beautiful beaches, you could spend endless hours ambling through Montenegro’s ancient villages. This impressive Mediterranean destination is built on a diverse cultural history, with plenty of sights that will charm both the celebrity (hello, Madonna) and the everyday traveller. Lazing the day away by the seasides is an option, but so is horse riding or hiking the coast or the Biogradska Gora forest.
The most popular stop, Budva boasts a riviera filled with superyachts and a pumping nightlife. Another coastal stop, Herceg Novi is the gateway to the Bay of Koto, famous for its history, ancient churches, sparkling sea and al fresco drinking and dining.
- Aman Sveti Stefan: Splash out in Budva at this resort located on a tiny island. aman.com
- Hotel Poseidon: a budget-friendly offering on Jaz beach. The family-run hotel offers sea-view rooms with balconies. poseidon-jaz.com
St Barts in the Caribbean has been beckoning the rich and famous for decades. Bursting with glamorous hotels, restaurants and boutiques, don’t be surprised if you rub shoulders with Beyoncé on the dance floor or sunbathe alongside the supermodel Hadid sisters. This billionaire’s paradise welcomes the wealthy, who moor their mega-yachts in turquoise waters off the west coast beach Colombier.
A celeb favourite for partying and crashing is the Eden Rock Hotel. Known for its tight security, you’ll find the wealthy here all year round. For something a little more budget, check out Le Village, with rooms that look out to Saint-Jean Beach.
- Eden Rock: Celebrity hang with incredible views both interior and exterior. oetkercollection.com
- Le Village: Both standard rooms and a cottage terrace rooms with a kitchenette and a oceanview terrace. levillagestbarth.com
New York celebs spend summers on the star-studded stretch of Long Island known as the Hamptons. Famous for being a playground for the rich and famous — from Madonna to Kanye — it’s also a place where they can fly under the radar. The locals don’t care much about A-listers, and the paparazzi are scarce.
Among the rich and beautiful you’ll find a bohemian crowd up for a good time. Our pick is the Surf Lodge in Montauk. They have a wellness program with yoga, boxing and Pilates taught by NYC instructors, a cool fashion collab with Kooples and a line-up of popular music artists playing on an outdoor deck during summer.
- The Surf Lodge: It has it all, including a restaurant serving fresh seafood and a bar serving idyllic summer libations. thesurflodge.com
Perfectly combines ultra boho chic with beachside eco-friendly hotels, with boutiques and bars on the jungle side of town. Aussie Ash Hart is a regular with her gal pals from LA. The Caribbean waters are the perfect backdrop for the Instagram feeds of wanderlust seekers, yoga enthusiasts and haute hippies vibing a holistic holiday.
Many of the thatch-roofed hotels have their own spa and yoga studio onsite. Sanara Tulum also boasts a wellness restaurant, The Real Coconut, which dishes up fresh local fish ceviche, seafood tacos, barbecue chicken and mahinga fries with smoothies and cocktails to indulge in. Other notable eats can be had at the popular Hartwood restaurant.
Cycle to Yäan Wellness Spa for Mayan-themed treatments to nix any lingering stress you haven’t yet washed away with tequila. Local cenotes (underground pools) are plentiful and swimming in their mineral-rich waters is a must.
- Sanara Tulum: contemporary villas with traditional Mexican touches like a dreamcatcher wall hanging, deep outdoor baths and deck hammocks to laze in. sanaratulum.com
With adventure, culinary delights, shopping and a deep culture to explore, Marrakech is a travel must. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend documented their vibrant vacay here on Instagram last year, and David Beckham celebrated his 40th here with a guest list that would make Hollywood blush.
As well as the bustling Medina’s maze of souks and cafes serving mint tea, there are designer hotels aplenty. La Mamounia is a must-visit hotel with views of the Atlas Mountains, mere steps from the buzz of the Jemaa el Fna market square where you can spend your coin on treasures. Guests have included Gwyneth Paltrow and Poppy Delevingne who’ve basked in the property’s palatial amenities.
- La Mamounia: Splash out on the opulent. mamounia.com
- Rodamón Hostel: The Rodamón rooftop bar, restaurant and dance floor is a non-stop party place. rodamonhostels.com
Just a two-hour flight from LA and you’re basking in the stunning Sea of Cortez. This paradise has been a celeb hideaway.
Resort One & Only Palmilla has world-class rooms with infinity pools and epic views, and sits astride a swimming beach. The El Ganzo Hotel in San Jose del Cabo features its own underground music studio where rock stars come to hang out. The Cape is perched on a clifftop overlooking the famous surf beach Monuments. It has a sexy-cool vibe that’s taken up a notch by the glassed-in Mescal bar.
Cabo’s rugged coastline is home to endless surf beaches, exotic marine life and fishing village charm, so be sure explore outside of your resort.
- One & Only Palmilla: Nothing is left untouched. oneandonlyresorts.com
- El Ganzo Hotel: A diverse artist’s hotspot. elganzo.com
- The Cape: A cool beachfront retreat. thompsonhotels.com
A three-hour road grind from El Paso will take you to Marfa in West Texas. Since the 70s a steady influx of artists and hipsters have weaved their way to the small town’s curious landscape. Once it was Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, today it’s Natalie Portman, Matthew McConaughey, Beyoncé and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Marfa’s art trend began when minimalist Donald Judd set up shop in a former railroad waterstop. Marfa now lures the jetset and the gypset to its art galleries Chinati Foundation and Ballroom Marfa, and music gatherings like Trans Pecos Music Festival are held at the colourful and quirky camp ground El Cosmico.
In town there are plenty of dive bars, pool haunts and restaurants. They all keep their own hours — call it “Marfa time”. The famous Food Shark serves up Mediterranean fare and mean falafel, or dine in the charming fairy-lit garden at Cochineal. Padres is the place to drink with local cowboys.
- El Cosmico: a nomadic campground where you can sleep in a fully-equipped vintage trailer or glamp in a yurt. There’s a communal cooking area, wi-fi-friendly community room and a gift store. elcosmico.com