Riviera Maya, Mexico
Located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and just thirty minutes from the crammed beaches of Cancun lies Mayakobá — an idyllic blend of fertile jungle meets flawless, white sand beaches. Pampered travelers such as Simon Cowell, Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara, Ashton Kutcher, Maria Shriver, and Paul McCartney are flocking to this eco-friendly resort for its 80-miles of stunning coastline and world’s second largest coral reef, a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers. For the ultimate in decadence, look no further than Rosewood Mayakobá (rooms from $695) where guests are whisked off to waterfront accommodations in alluring vessels, escorted by butlers who cater to every request — from planning activities and making reservations to unpacking luggage. After arriving at the dock, glide past a beckoning plunge pool and into the spacious, modern lodging with thoughtful touches of Riviera Maya décor. Bathrooms boast oversized soaking tubs and the indoor shower opens up to yet another private outdoor shower leading to a rooftop deck. Adventure enthusiasts are right at home with zip lining, jungle adventures and sport fishing, and there’s even a Greg Norman designed golf course nearby where a PGA Tour event, the Mayakoba Classic, is held. Privacy seekers will feel right at home in Casa Laguna ($12,500 per evening), the most coveted and requested room on a private lagoon. Let the dedicated staff, including chefs and housekeepers, do all of the thinking for you while getting lost in paradise.
South Beach, Miami
The appeal of this vibrant, international metropolis set against miles of warm, turquoise water never fades. With it’s mix of breezy tropical weather and decadent nightlife, South Beach is a year round draw for Hollywood elite — Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon and Pharrell Williams have all called Miami home. And, it’s the alluring, eco-friendly vibe of 1 Hotel South Beach ( rooms from $450) that’s attracting George Clooney, Leonardo Dicaprio, Rihanna, and Lebron James. With a commitment to sustainability, the property is heavy on repurposed and recycled design elements including the use of driftwood, branches and moss along with organic cotton sheets, purified water taps and hemp-blend mattresses in the guest rooms. Upon entry, guests are instantly enveloped in a light-filled Zen oasis. Choose from four pools (including the adult’s only rooftop) flanked by luxe oversized loungers, daybeds and intimate beachfront cabanas. After an invigorating dip, the new wellness wing beckons complete with the first of its kind Spartan Gym (from the team behind Spartan Races) the Bamford Haybarn Spa (from U.K. based organic farming and holistic living entrepreneur, Carole Bamford), and famed plant-based chef Matthew Kenney recently debuted his latest eatery, plnthouse on property. Indulge on sumptuous vegan delights followed by a dreamy sun-drenched afternoon amidst the soothing salty air and swaying palms.
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
What is referred to as the St. Tropez of South America, the tony fishing village of Jose Ignacio is a luxurious bohemian hideaway that plays host to an A-list crowd: Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz, Shakira, and Cinema Society founder, Andrew Saffir. Nestled along the coastline, this is an artist’s retreat steeped in intimacy and understated glam. Located between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay maintains a low profile but has long been a summer hot spot for South Americans, and is now attracting many American and European travelers (travel time is about 10 hours from Miami) who crave anonymity and paparazzi-free destinations. About a 40-minute drive northeast of Punta del Este, think lustrous boutique hotels and quaint cottages overlooking the sea. The most exclusive architectural beachfront haven is Playa Vik Jose Ignacio (rooms from $500), attracting those seeking privacy in a relaxed setting reminiscent of a sleek, art-filled beach house, including Katy Perry, designer Jason Wu and Chief Content Officer at Felix and Paul Studios, Ryan Horrigan. Situated on the most desirable section of the Uruguayan coast, this exotic locale offers unspoiled beaches, rugged terrain and majestic views spanning the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a lazy, late afternoon bite at one of the local rusty beach shacks, then doze off by the hotel’s 75-foot black granite pool jutting out towards the ocean, giving the illusion of being at one with the Atlantic. Awake in time to catch the sunset, lauded as one of the best in the world.
St. Barts, French West Indies
This coveted slice of France in the Caribbean has long been the playground for celebrities and 350-foot super yacht owning titans including: Bill Gates, Beyonce, Pippa Middleton, David Letterman, James Packer, and Miranda Kerr. With wall-to-wall white sand beaches, innovative cuisine, designer wares, and luxury vessels galore, St. Barts oozes extravagance. While the ambiance is see-and-be-seen, those who prefer a more down-to-earth setting amidst this jet-set oasis will appreciate one of the newest beachfront properties on the island, Le Barthelemy (rooms from $650). With its picturesque location adjacent to a tranquil lagoon, the 46 spacious, light-filled rooms offer the essence of understated luxury, with most enjoying views of the sea and infinity pool. Decorated in soothing shades of sand, turquoise and white, the environment pays homage to Parisian flair meets island life -- while the breezy, open-air design creates a harmonious indoor-outdoor flow. After a dip in the pool and colorful libations at the beach bar, guests easily submit to complete relaxation in this tropical splendor.
Santa Barbara, California
For those who prefer a quick jaunt to paradise, the “American Riviera,” as it’s referred to, is just 90-minutes from Los Angeles and a year-round draw for the glitterati. James Cameron, Drew Barrymore, Ivan Reitman, Oprah, Natalie Portman, and George Lucas have all called Santa Barbara home. Nestled between the ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains (and neighboring wine country), this hamlet of relaxed glamour and sophistication is the idyllic, backyard getaway. With it’s storied perch on the shorefront of the Pacific and just a 5-minute stroll to haute cuisine on Coast Village Road in Montecito, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (rooms from $595) reigns as one of the region’s most adored hotels. A celebrity hideaway since the early 1900’s (everyone from Lana Turner to Gwyneth Paltrow, Anderson Cooper, and Jeff Bridges have visited), one step onto the flora-saturated grounds and guests are instantly transported to a lush rainforest. If you can tear yourself away from the serenity that is the hotel pool (complete with attendants serving samples of frozen grapes, smoothies and margaritas throughout the day), do indulge in old Hollywood glamour just steps away at their private beach club, Coral Casino. Sip on a Santa Barbara Breeze at Coral Reef Bar inside Tyde’s restaurant and you’ll swear you just flew 11 hours to the Mediterranean.