|Nygard Cay attracts celebrities like Robert DeNiro and Oprah Winfrey.|
At $42,000 a night, Nygard Cay in the Bahamas offers one of the most expensive escapes in the world. The $50 million resort lures celebrities like Robert De Niro, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson, who come in search of luxury, privacy and sunny, 77-degree days. Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard developed the five-acre property in 1987, designing it to host 20 guests inside 10 glass-walled cabanas facing the ocean.
Nygard, who runs Nygard International, took 13 years to complete the Mayan-themed project, which includes a 50-foot-tall temple and a giant stone cobra that hisses steam. He splits his time among his company's headquarters in New York, corporate facilities in Canada and the resort he created from the proceeds of his women's clothing business. By building the haven at the end of Lyford Cay, Nygard follows high-level executives Henry Ford II, the grandson of Henry Ford and former chairman of Ford ( F); Ted Rogers, chief executive of Rogers Communications ( RCI); and Charles Lazarus, the founder of Toys "R" Us. If you go: While the glitterati get first priority at Nygard Cay, regular people can also book cabanas. The resort dispatches Hummers to pick up guests at the airport in nearby Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Visitors have two of the jumbo sport-utility vehicles and drivers at their disposal during their stays. During the day, guests can explore the resort's beaches, palm trees and rainforest. There's volleyball, snorkeling, jet skiing, waterslides, basketball and a water trampoline for people looking for more activity. A 48-foot fishing boat is available to take visitors to see the parrotfish that roam the Caribbean's deep blue waters.
Loungers can sign up for beachside massages, sip cocktails or soak in one of the property's dozens of hot tubs. Members of the 20-person staff are available to respond to visitors' requests. For entertainment, islandgoers can check out the 150,000-gallon aquarium or watch a movie in the 24-seat rainforest movie theater. Thrill-seekers can stop by the nightly shark feeding or have a chauffeur drive them to the Wyndham ( WYN) Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, which is 15 minutes away, for some gambling. The cost to stay at Nygard Cay includes meals and drinks. Guests can dine in the resort's main entertainment hall, a massive structure whose walls and ceiling are made of 100,000 pounds of glass. This 32,000-square-foot space includes an opulent dining table that seats 24, a private breakfast room, a fully stocked bar, a game room and a five-star kitchen. At night, the temple becomes a smoking volcano whose steps are lit with flaming torches. Revelers dancing on the main hall's elevated floor can lose themselves in this modern Mayan kingdom.