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Hollywood's Travel Version

Lonely Planet’s guide to traveling “with the stars”

Nelson Alcantara, eTN editor-in-chief  Aug 18, 2011

If you can’t be a star, join them, aptly sums up Lonely Planet’s “new list.” Compiled by the travel guide’s US travel editor, Robert Reid, the list reveals ways you can travel “with the stars.” From visiting shops, restaurants or hotels that are owned by “stars” to staying on their private island, there are some great ways to travel that will give you a special taste of Hollywood.

Hotels and villas
Richard Branson: Necker Island (British Virgin Islands )
The goateed man behind Virgin, Richard Branson has opened up his home on his private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands to visitors. It’s all his, and you can get exclusive use – rooms in the Great House, as well as the six Bali Houses scattered around the 74-acre island – for $54,500 a night (for up to 28 people). Prices at least include all meals, all drinks as well as service from the 60 staff members. If you’re on your own, couples can book during are a handful of ‘celebration weeks’ when individual rooms are available (from $26,500 a week). Best are the Bali Houses, each coming with a private pool, open bedrooms catching sea breeze and private beaches.

Keith Richards: Rocky Point Villa (Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos)
For beach-time luxury, Keef really does home here – it’s just one of a series of celeb-studded three-bedroom villas with big sundecks, private pool and butler service in the Turks & Caicos that start at $10 million if you’re looking to buy. To rent, it runs $8100 a week in peak season, but $4500 from June through October.

Kate Pierson of the B-52s: Lazy Meadow (Woodstock, New York)
Far far far more economical – and funky – is Kate Pierson of the B-52′s boutique hotel, a renovated ’50s cabin complex a couple hours from New York City in the Catskills. Rates start at $175 a night. Each cabin was decorated by the artists who lent their colorful home for the B-52′s ‘Love Shack’ video, and there are ’50s-era Airstream Trailers to rent out too. There’s nearby streams, hiking trails and towns to explore.

Doris Day: Cypress Inn (Carmel, California)
Most equate Carmel with former mayor Clint Eastwood, but Doris ‘Que Sera Sera’ Day calls it home too. Airy, terra-cotta hallways give a Mediterranean feel to this historic hotel, open since 1929. And Doris’ seriously pet-tastic rules (quote open to canine guests) is quite, um, ‘que sera sera’ too.

Clint Eastwood: Mission Ranch (Carmel, California)
Speaking of Clint, his Carmel ranch features a complex of 1850s buildings spread across sea-facing fields in Carmel too. There’s some surprising deals from $135 a night for a room in the ranch house.

Francis Ford Coppola: Coppola Resorts (Belize & others)
Coppola’s not just in it for the tourist dough, he steps in to help rebuild communities. Highly regarded resorts like Placencia, Belize‘s Turtle Inn are made from hurricane-wrecked predecessors transformed into a dose of paradise, with nice beaches and diving opportunities. Summer rates start at $285.

Restaurants and bars
Mike Dirnt of Green Day: Rudy Can’t Fail Cafe (Oakland, CA)
The recently opened second rock’n'roll themed café – named for a Clash song – is set next to the historic Fox Theater in Oakland’s rising ‘Uptown’ neighborhood, which was pretty much a ghost town a few years ago. Makes sense to co-owner Mike Dirnt (Green Day’s bassist), who was born in town. It’s a bit of a ’50s throw-back, with thematic dolls and a hearty gamut of diner fare.

Morgan Freeman: Ground Zero Blues Club (Clarksdale, Mississippi)
Near the fabled crossroads – down on Highway 61, where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul for guitar prowess – Clarksdale is a slightly worn Delta town with a heavy dose of blues and barbecue. (April’s Juke Joint festival is a sidewalk-spiller scene of ribs and blues bands; unreal). The town’s focal point, right by the tracks, is the paint-peeling brick building known as Ground Zero, a blues bar co-owned by Morgan Freeman. It’s only 10, but looks 80 – in all the right ways.

Carlos Santana: Maria Maria (Walnut Creek & San Diego, CA; Austin, TX)
The Grammy-winning guitarist named his mini chain (four locations) of modern Mexican fare after his hit song. Food makes regulars forget any celeb connection, though if they look closely at the artist signature they can remember (Carlos’ art decorates the walls).

Shops and clubs
ack White: Third Man Records (Nashville)
Jack Whites – of White Stripes (and ‘Cold Mountain’ let’s not forget) fame – opened this record shop in Nashville a couple years ago. He won’t likely be manning the register when you go by, but it’s clearly a business true to his unique aesthetic and something he means. It recently starred on the Comedy Central TV show, the Colbert Report, where the mock-conservative talking head recorded with the label’s band Black Belles. (See Jack hold his own with Colbert.)

Dave Eggers: 826 Valencia (San Francisco)
Eclectic author, the guy behind the ever-artful McSweeney’s literary journal, created this not-for-profit writing center/shop to inspire youth to write in San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s also a shop, famed for its pirate supplies for the ‘working buccaneer.’ When all else fails, what’s wrong with a little fun and a lot of inspiration? See Eggers talk, nervously, on how he started it for TED Talks.

Susan Sarandon: SPiN (New York City)
She doesn’t know how to play ping pong, or really care to learn, but sees her ownership role of the star-studded ping-pong club in Manhattan as something like ‘Miss Kitty’ from the TV show Gunsmoke. Why though? She said, after getting beaten in China, she likes any sport where a little girl can beat a tough guy. It’s as much playing as, the site confesses, drinking or people-watching. The catch is to play you must apply for membership – starting at $65 a month (the application requires self-evaluation at ping-pong skills, a seven-tiered rating from ‘embarrassing’ to ‘professional’).

Carly Simon: Midnight Farm (Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts)
In Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard – the town that still makes boats, true to the island salty past – Carly Simon co-owns the shop Midnight Farm, a precious little shop that covers most bases: wall art, sundresses, hand creams, books, and signed copies of Carly’s CDs (her music always makes the website).

Lonely Planet’s guide to traveling “with the stars”
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