Let’s face it: celebrities are on the pulse of what’s hot. They create trends in fashion, in film and in music. So why shouldn’t they set the course for what’s destined to be a must-do in travel? St. Barts, Aspen, Miami and Las Vegas are go-to vacation destinations for the A-list, but these twelve locales are where you’ll find the risky, the bold and the trailblazing famous folk of 2012. Get your passport ready!
1) Myanmar (also known as Burma)
Why They’ll Go: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finally given this Southeast Asian country her stamp of approval. It’s remote, unspoiled and as close to paradise as it gets. Which means, of course, that those in the know will start buying property there before you can say ‘McMansion.’
Stay at: Golden Island Cottages (http://www.gicmyanmar.com/), which are built on stilts in the middle of the stunning Inle Lake. It’s truly a unique experience for those who thrive on the new and unusual.
Why They’ll Go: Nicaragua has been touted as ‘the next Costa Rica’ – and what celebrity doesn’t want the next (and improved) best thing? Surfers flock here for the gnarly waves, zip-lining over the Mombacho Volcano and hiking in the picture perfect cloud forest. It’s the ideal getaway for those who thrive on Mission: Impossible style activities or want to be at one with nature. Also, perhaps you’ve heard of a little-known show named Survivor? It was shot here in 2010.
Stay at: Jicaro Ecolodge (http://www.jicarolodge.com/ ), which is the perfect hideaway for any eco-friendly A-lister. This tiny, private island resort sits on roughly one little acre and has a menu of relaxing amenities – from yoga to spa – that a celebrity can enjoy.
3) Tasmania, Australia
Why They’ll Go: True, many celebrities aren’t known for having healthy appetites, but there are more than you think that enjoy a five-star meal and a fine glass of wine. The remote island of Tasmania, which is a two-hour flight from Sydney, is a foodie’s paradise – and even an A-lister won’t mind getting his or her hands dirty in the name of harvesting their own oysters … and enjoying a fabulous bottle or two as a reward. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling reportedly even shelled out $10 million for an estate near Launceston.
Where To Stay: What’s not to love about the Tarraleah Lodge (http://www.tarraleahlodge.com/)? There are only nine rooms, and each comes equipped with a butler, a wilderness guide and a private chef. Celebrity high life indeed.
Why They’ll Go: 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Uganda’s independence, making it a celebratory time for A-list explorers to trek through its exotic wilderness. Those who seek to finally take a peek at the Nile, or see a place where the jungle meets snow-capped mountains will visit this east African country this year. Hollywood has done its fair share to help boost the country’s tourism, as well: Forrest Whitaker won an Academy Award for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, while American Pie actor Jason Biggs spearheaded the Friend-A-Gorilla initiative.
Stay at: Apoka Lodge (http://www.safariuganda.com/apoka_lodge.htm), one of the most remote safari camp locations on the planet. Sit in your outdoor bathtub and watch zebra, elephants, buffalo and giraffes meandering by. Seriously.
5) London, U.K.
Why They’ll Go: Prince William and Kate Middleton made this destination a top spot when they tied the knot last summer, but a slew of big events in 2012 make it a prime travel destination for famous folk. Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne, will kick off with a river pageant on the Thames and a concert at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of June, while the city hosts the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in July and August.
Why They’ll Go: Kim Kardashian may have briefly made Capri famous during her short-lived marriage to Kris Humphries and George Clooney has the monopoly on Lake Como but celebrities will be flocking to an entirely different part of Italy this year. The A-list will retreat to Sicily for its undisputed beauty, fabulous food and mellow atmosphere. Sean Connery and Madonna are frequent visitors, as are Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise. The island’s real estate market is booming, which explains why designer Giorgio Armani already has a home on the island and why Vogue editor Anna Wintour considered buying property there. A must-do for the A-list fashion set.
Stay at: Think Sicily (www.thinksicily.com) vacation rentals. Why stay in a hotel when you can rent a Sicilian villa for a week or two? Live like an Italian – la dolce vita, darling!
7) Barcelona, Spain
Why They’ll Go: Celebrities obviously love being on top of the trendy and new, and what’s cooler than the world’s first orbiting hotel? Guests at Galactic Suites will reportedly orbit the earth every 80 minutes, see the sun rise 15 times a day and crawl around pod rooms using Velcro suits. You best be able to live like a celebrity if you want to stay here, though: a 3-day stay will cost approximately $4 million. Celebs that have tried to go to space and can afford the hefty price tag –like Bill Gates, Tom Hanks and N’Sync singer Lance Bass – will surely go for the next best thing.
Stay at: Galactic Suites (http://www.galacticsuite.com/) when it actually opens or at the Hotel Arts Barcelona
(http://www.hotelartsbarcelona.com/), a playground by the sea for the jet set, publicly touted by none other than Gwyneth Paltrow, until it does.
8) Mayan Riviera
Why They’ll Go: According to the Mayan calendar, the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. Expect conspiracy theorists, those who love opulent surroundings and A-listers who loathe the thought of flying as far as St. Tropez to head there by the boatloads this year. Explore the ruins of Tulum and make time for some revelry afterward (enjoy what remains, right?) in the nearby town of Playa del Carmen. If you need more proof that Hollywood loves the Mayan Riviera, just look at its regulars including: Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul McCartney, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Eva Mendes.
Stay at: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa (http://www.sandos.com/en/sandos-riviera-adults-only.html) which has launched the Xcalacoco Experience, a spiritual package, as a nod to the end of the Mayan calendar or the Reina Roja (http://www.reinarojahotel.com/), a sexy, unique hotel located right in the heart of Playa del Carmen.
Why They’ll Go: Just as tourism is surging in the U.K. this year, it’s up in Brazil as well, which is hosting the 2016 Olympics as well as the 2014 World Cup. But it won’t only be sports enthusiasts that make the voyage: there’s sexy samba dancing to be done, Amazon wilds to be seen, sunny beaches and a plethora of South American delicacies to try. Trancoso has been the jet set location of choice for awhile but Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, the party of the year, is never out of style. Think sultry Ipanema beaches and barely there bikinis. Among the elite who ventured to the country in 2011: Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Ke$ha.
Stay at: The Uxua Casa Hotel (http://uxua.com/) which is beautiful to look at, given that its interior was decorated by former Diesel designer Wilbert Das. It’s also an ethereal spot of calm and quiet. There are only ten guesthouses so it’s private, and each has a view of the hotel’s feature attraction – a swimming pool lined with 40,000 aventurine quartz crystals known for their healing properties.
Why They’ll Go: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has a lot to do with it. All those scenes of blustery winters aren’t enough to put off intrepid actors, who really want a role in the series’ second and third films, or who are attracted to the sleek depiction of its capital city, Stockholm. Day trippers will want to visit Kiruna in July, as there are 24 straight hours of sunlight. Who you won’t find enjoying bright daylight: Tattoo star Rooney Mara, until shooting resumes again, that is. Whom you will find: Swedish True Blood native Alexander Skarsgard, who visits his homeland often.
Stay at: The Grand Hotel Stockholm (http://www.grandhotel.se/en), a renowned spot for visiting celebrities due to its opulent exterior, fabulous restaurants and prime location – overlooking the Royal Gardens.
11) Oahu, Hawaii
Why They’ll Go: Oahu’s North Shore is a place where celebrities can get away from it all without being gawked. Still, they do like to get out and let their hair down – without being caught, of course. Surfer – The Bar is one reason celebrities have already come flocking to this Hawaiian destination. Lindsay Lohan has already hit up the lounge within a month of its opening, which means it’s destined to be a prime hotspot.
Stay at: Turtle Bay Resort (http://www.turtlebayresort.com/ );
not only does it house Surfer – The Bar, but both Lost and Pirates of the Caribbean, were filmed there.
12) Breckenridge, Colorado
Why They’ll Go: The 2012 Farmer’s Almanac promises “clime and punishment” for the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., which adds up to some amazing skiing and snowboarding conditions. Trust the sporty set to make their way to this mostly male-dominated destination this winter. Unattached snow bunny celebs like Paris Hilton and Kelly Osbourne should book flights there immediately while married winter sports lovers like Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham and Heidi Klum will enjoy it just as much.
Stay at: One Ski Hill Place (http://oneskihill.rockresorts.com/), a cozy yet completely luxurious mountain resort that allows you to ski in/ski out to your hearts content.