In southern Italy, you can stay in a lavish 19th-century palazzo owned by none other than the Godfather director himself and in Westchester, New York, a romantic inn owned by Richard Gere. Sometimes, travel is as much about the hotel as it is the destination, and these 10 celebrity-owned hotels prove it
A stay at the Cromlix is like being invited to a friend’s Victorian country house for a weekend of tennis, croquet and other apropos high-brow activities. Except that it’s owned by tennis superstar Andy Murray who grew up in the area. Less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh, the 15-room hotel sits in 34 acres of land in Kinbuck, Scotland which includes an herb garden and loch. The rooms are decked with restored furnishings and paintings, plus beddings with muted palettes convey understated luxury. If tennis isn’t your forte, have a whiskey neat in the whiskey room.
Godfather fans rejoice! The famed director fell in love with his grandfather’s hometown, the sleepy hilltop town of Bernalda in Italy, when visiting and bought a crumbling 19th-century palace. It’s now an enchanting little hotel with wisteria-draped archways and nine individually-designed rooms that are every bit Copolla-esque. They come splashed with colours and patterns such as turquoise and white zigzagged-patterned floors, blue marble walls and gold-rim armchairs. And of course, the homecooked southern Italian-style food here is superb.
This resort owned by Bob Marley’s family stands out on West Bay Street with its cheery orange façade. After Bob Marley’s death, his family used the place as a vacation home before Rita Marley converted it into a resort in 2008. Their daughters picked out the hand-carved furnishings and Caribbean and African artwork found throughout the premises. The 16 rooms are decorated according to a different Bob Marley song and lime-green beddings and rattan blinds match perfectly with the blue expanse of ocean by the hotel’s doorstep.
Actor Robert Redford built this ski resort in 1969 to fund the arts and it’s lively as ever 50 years later. Though it has 100 guestrooms, the resort feels snug and cosy, and in fact, it has all the makings of a humble ski lodge, including wood-panelled walls and red-patterned rugs in rooms. In the summer, the resort is a haven for cyclists who can explore the surrounding forest on mountain bikes. During this time, it also hosts wellness retreats, free lawn concerts and the annual Sundance Author Series.
Put Versace in a place like Dubai and the result is a sprawling replica of a 16th-century Italian palazzo so regal and lavish – there’s a three-tonne chandelier in the lobby – that it works. Linens, armchairs and other pieces from Versace’s home collection fill the more than 200 guestrooms which come in beige, salmon, blue or turquoise colour schemes. Sketches of her most iconic dresses and gowns are framed and hung in the hallways. Cool off in the palm-tree-lined pool, just a stone’s throw from Dubai Creek.
If you’re in a party mood, this snazzy boutique hotel in Sitges, southwest of Barcelona, is the place to be, especially during the warmer months. Owned by Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, rooms at Hotel MiM are sleek and simple with pink bed runners and light-wood panels. The rooftop bar serves tapas and cocktails that guests can enjoy by a pool that overlooks the Balearic Sea. But you’ll also want to spend some time outside as the hotel is near the beach town’s lively gay bars.
Live out your dream of being forever young at Dolly Parton’s integrated resort by the Great Smoky Mountains which includes an Appalachian-themed amusement park, a waterpark and a 299-room hotel. The country music songstress bought the amusement park in 1986 with plans for expansions to create jobs for locals and opened the hotel in 2015. Inside, guestrooms exude a rustic, timeless charm with cream-coloured walls and white linens while some rooms come with bunk beds for families with children. There’s a wonderful outdoor pool and playground, too.
Once owned by Bono, this red-brick hotel stands like a faded beauty in the middle of Dublin’s buzzing Temple Bar area. Rooms are furnished with simple oak beds and velvet drapes and decked with Art Deco touches – ask for a room with a balcony and view of the River Liffey. Beer lovers will be happy to know that they’ll be within walking distance to many pubs, and in daylight, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Irish Film Institute are all fine places to visit on foot.
This is the classic 1930s-era Florida beach resort made ever more glamorous by the fact that it’s owned by singer Gloria Estefan who decorated the hotel’s common areas with some of her furnishings and artwork. Guestrooms are spacious and many come with balconies or patios with views of the Atlantic Ocean. Soak in the Florida sun with a snorkel or kayak session at the beach and tee off at one of the five golf courses nearby. Back at the hotel, look out for the hallway photo montage of films that were shot here, including Bird Cage and There’s Something About Mary.
An hour’s drive from downtown Manhattan, the pastoral town of Bedford in Westchester County awaits staycationers. Check in at the Bedford Post Inn, a converted 18th-century house with eight guestrooms. The inn is owned by Richard Gere and seems like a fitting stage for the smooth-talking characters he plays on screen. Rooms have four-poster beds and marble floor bathrooms, and there’s a yoga loft where guests can sign up for complimentary classes. Best of all is the farmhouse restaurant where flickering lights and vines creeping around exposed wooden beams really set the mood.