Celeb-Approved Vacation Destinations: No Passport Required
Hollywood’s love affair with Palm Springs is certainly not new — even before it was incorporated in 1938, the desert destination had hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Loretta Young. In fact, Palm Springs’ rise as a vacation locale can be directly credited to its popularity with some of the entertainment industry's earliest celebrities; just a two-hour drive from LA, it’s a natural getaway for those looking to get away from the smog and traffic. Since these not-so-humble beginnings, Palm Springs has grown to include an airport, international film festival and a number of 5-star resorts — while continuing to be a go-to weekend getaway for today’s stars, from Justin Bieber to Emma Roberts.
Travelzoo recommends the 4-star, hacienda-style Triada Palm Springs, Autograph Collection.
When celebrities want to get away from press, over-eager fans and 405 traffic, Ojai’s natural beauty and keep-to-yourself philosophy delivers time and time again. Less than 90 miles from LA, Ojai has managed to retain its signature small-town vibe, artistic community and co-existence with the local farms despite its booming popularity with Hollywood’s hottest names. This is, in fact, what makes Ojai noteworthy — nobody seems to care with film or TV show you were in, as long as you can appreciate a good glass of wine, pixie tangerine and pink sunset.
Travelzoo members score $85 in extras at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
The quintessential California beach town, Santa Barbara is beloved among celebs for its balance of low-key beach vibes and high-end spa resorts, as well as its location less than a two-hour (scenic) drive along the coast. Some — including Oprah, which is all you need to know — own homes in the swanky Montecito neighborhood; others can often be found hiding away at Santa Barbara’s luxury coastal resorts on warm weekends or at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Sure, you don’t have to be a celebrity to love Napa Valley’s renowned restaurants, wineries and retreats — but most of us can’t quite afford to buy our own vineyard or frequent The French Laundry. Celebrities have long been drawn to this Northern California region’s impressive wine and culinary experiences, including the Napa Valley Wine Train, multiple Michelin-starred restaurants and tastings across one of the world’s most impressive and prolific AVAs. The valley — which includes the towns of Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena and Yountville — is popular both as a vacation destination and as an investment; sports, film and even political stars including Joe Montana, Nancy Pelosi and Francis Ford Coppola have bought into Napa Valley wineries.
Travelzoo members are treated to a bottle of wine when staying at Solage, An Auberge Resort.
When Hollywood’s biggest stars are ready to hit the slopes (or indulge in some apres-ski shopping and hot toddies), they head to Aspen, Colorado’s premier ski destination and place to see and be seen. The white wonderland is especially popular over the holidays, when onlookers can often catch celebrities like Mariah Carey, Kate Hudson and Kurt Russell stepping out in their most trendsetting winter wear. Looking to do some celebrity spotting while in Aspen? Check out ski-in, ski-out hotel The Little Nell, members-only Caribou Club or Western retailer Kemo Sabe.
Save by staying just outside of Aspen at the ski-in, ski-out Westin Snowmass Resort.
With its wide-open skies, year-round outdoor sports and striking natural landscape, Jackson Hole offers celebrities more than a few breaths of fresh air. Over the years, the Wyoming town’s Grand Teton views, quiet lifestyle and outdoor activities have attracted everyone from former President Bill Clinton to Sandra Bullock, Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Harrison Ford. Though the town itself offers ruggedness reminiscent of classic Westerns, local restaurants and resorts offer tourists top-level amenities that make staying inside sound just as appealing as hitting the slopes or hiking trails.
Stretch out — and save money for the slopes — at The Lexington at Jackson Hole Hotel & Suites.
Between New Orleans’ lively jazz scene, Creole influence and Mardi Gras mentality, there’s plenty for celebrities to love in this Louisiana cultural epicenter — including the ability to blend in with locals. In fact, Hollywood visits New Orleans to escape both the paparazzi and LA studios; “Bad Moms” (2016), “The Big Short” (2015), and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2013) were all filmed here. But don’t think the relationship between LA and New Orleans is anything new: The destination has a long history of raising luminaries such as Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Rice and Louis Armstrong, and helping to develop the careers of Lil Wayne, Emeril Lagasse and local tastemaker Leah Chase.
Jazz up your trip by staying at Bourbon Street’s only luxury hotel, the 4.5-star Royal Sonesta New Orleans.
The warm temperatures, late-night club scene and Kardashian presence make Miami’s premier waterfront strip one of Hollywood’s favorite playgrounds. Among South Beach’s Art Deco landscape, celebrity sightings are perhaps most frequent along Collins Avenue, home to a series of luxury resorts, exclusive nightclubs, world-class restaurants and rooftop pools.
Just south of Santa Monica, Malibu caters to those who work in entertainment but don’t want to live in the center of the city; it’s most popular with families, surfers and celebrities looking to avoid being photographed in their bathrobes. You can often catch celebrities like Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid and Mel Gibson stretched out on one of the coastal county’s best beaches – such as Zuma, El Matador and Point Dume -- shopping at the Malibu Country Mart or hanging out at the adjacent Nobu and Soho Little Beach House locations.
From Hotel Erwin, visitors can head south on the Pacific Coast Highway and be at the Malibu Country Mart in less than 30 minutes.