Just when you thought Hollywood had invaded every aspect of popular culture it could, along comes another one: celebrity-owned hotels. The properties attract a mix of curiosity-seekers, celebrity-pursuers and some vacationers who are completely unaware that their hotel host happened to appear in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Here are our Top 10 favorites.
10. The Big Sleep, Cardiff and Cheltenham, U.K.
The exterior of this groovy boutique hotel is positively dreadful, a '60s midrise tower of cubist glass rising above an otherwise ordinary street corner in Wales. But inside, the owners, which include proactive partner
, have created a whimsical lobby area cast in shades of Tiffany blue mixed with the mod spirit of Austin Powers.
For the best room, book the penthouse complete with in-room Jacuzzi and open-style lounge area complete with ceiling tiles straight out of
. Can't get enough? Hit up its newest location in Cheltenham housed within a former government tax office.
9. Marley Resort, Nassau, Bahamas
Originally a governor's mansion on a secluded stretch of Cable Beach in Nassau, this hot new resort property was originally used as the summer home of
. The resort opened in June 2007, conceived by the Marley family as an exotic getaway for spa-minded music lovers. A relaxed luxury aesthetic exists, with intricate hand-carved details throughout the open-air lobby and hotel's 16 guest suites. Rooms are named after various Marley song titles, including
. Beyond the Marley mystique, rooms offer rain showers, flat-screen televisions and ocean-view courtyards.
8. Cypress Inn, Carmel, Calif.
A few blocks away from the bustling shops of Carmel's Ocean Avenue is the pet-friendly, Mediterranean-style hotel retreat owned by
. Formerly an artist's colony and workshop for Sidney J. Yard, the two-story hotel offers 44-rooms and jazzy lobby area surrounded by manicured English gardens with crackling fireplaces.
Upgraded guest rooms feature their own private entries along the main street, perfect for dog owners to enjoy the hillside neighborhood with their four-legged friends. The hotel recently expanded to include a new workout facility and 12 additional guest rooms.
7. Clarence Hotel , Dublin, Ireland
Located on the banks of the River Liffey, this old-school luxury hotel in Central Dublin is far tamer than you would ever imagine for a rocker hotel. Owned by
of Irish rock group U2, the Clarence is a historic Dublin hotel built in the late 19th century as a stomping ground for Victorian tourists and government officials. The lobby is home to a bustling tea room and Octagon bar full of Dublin intelligentsia and dignitaries like Bill Clinton. Guest rooms are individually decorated in bold crimson, gold and chocolate, with Shaker-style furniture and hospitallike white porcelain bathrooms.
6. Gaia Retreat, Byron Bay NSW, Australia
"Have You Ever Been Mellow" could be the mantra of this well-being retreat located on Australia's Byron Bay co-owned by singer
. The holistic hot-spot offers a "think green" approach to luxury, operating its Amala Day Spa with saltwater pool and indigenous body treatments. Guests of the retreat participate in daily yoga classes in between instructed meditation, pilates and tai chi. The rest of the day is spent between art classes and trekking the surrounding hills and beach areas on complimentary mountain bikes looking for "Xanadu."
5. Fairmont Resort, Tamarack, Idaho
Better known for its potatoes and colorful sectarian community, Idaho is hoping to become one of the hottest ski destinations in North America with a little help from tennis legends
. Located two hours from Boise, Tamarack is a luxury resort development built on the shores of Lake Cascade boasting a winter ski scene and lakeside summer sports destination. The resort centers around a massive condo-hotel project managed by Fairmont Hotels, slated for a 2010 opening having attracted prospective buyers like Jessica Biel, Matt Leinart and Jason Lewis.
4. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vt.
By the time Julie Andrews ever sang about her
had long been a fixture in Stowe, Vt. It's the perfect sequel, namely, a 2,400-acre mountain resort with Alpine ambiance and enough rolling hills to recreate your favorite mountaintop Maria moment. The hotel is a virtual theme park, featuring an Austrian-style Main Lodge recently expanded to include 96 rooms and two- or three-bedroom guest houses available through time-share or fractional ownership. The lobby features fires year-round with cups of hot chocolate and weekly
Sound of Music
3. Number Eleven Cadogan Gardens, London, U.K.
Located in central London, this former estate is composed of four conjoined townhouses overlooking a manicured park area midway between Harrods and Sloane Square. Number Eleven has long been a preferred hotel for visiting celebs looking for a paparazzi safe-haven, so much so that actress
joined the partnership that owns the hotel. A lone receptionist and porter assists with check-in within an informal lobby area with fireplace and Victorian furnishings. The rooms are a bit sedate for modern jet-setters, but with bathrooms stocked in Molton Brown and floor-to-ceiling marble.
2. Ferrero Hotel, Bocairent, Spain
Another tennis star turned hotelier is
Juan Carlos Ferrero
, who recently opened an ultra-hip hotel near Mariola Mountain in Bocairent, Spain. At the insistence of his tennis coach, Ferrero acquired a 19th-century house in 2003 and embarked on a three-year renovation led by architect Luis Sendra. The resort is equipped with a dazzling infinity pool overlooking the countryside with super-fit collection of stylish guests lured to the spa operated by Ferrero's own personal trainers. With just 12 suites, rooms are meticulously designed in a mix of modern European and traditional Japanese styles.
1. Turtle Inn, Placencia, Belize
Francis Ford Coppola
hit the Central American hotel scene in 2004 with the Blancaneaux Lodge located in the Guatemalan jungle near the archeological wonders of Tikal on Lake Peten Itza. Recently, Coppola embarked on a new hotel, Turtle Inn, located near the end of Placencia Peninsula, which is surrounded on one side by a real crocodile lagoon and on the other by the sea. The 18 renovated bungalows are built in traditional Balinese style with thatched roofs, screened porches and exotic carved wood furnishings. The main lodge offers a high-ceiling sanctuary of regional dining with seemingly infinite views of the sea.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.