Hollywood-style vacations for the average Joe

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Woman sunbathing with puppy (Photo: One&;ampOnly Resorts)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 2, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Cabo San Lucas, destination, Jackson Hole, Kate Hamman, Miami, Scottsdale, vacation package, Vancouver.

Celebrities may live a glamorous and exciting lifestyle, but even they need a place to unwind and relax. Many settle on classic vacations like a Palm Springs spa retreat or a whirlwind party in Monte Carlo. Although many of these destinations typically cater to VIPs, pricing out the rest of us, some welcome everyone with first-rate luxuries and trendy scenes. If you've always dreamed of living a life of fortune and fame, then follow in the footsteps of some of Hollywood's heavy hitters for a star-studded vacation at down-to-earth prices.

Miami, Florida

With its white sandy beaches and year-round summerlike temperatures, Miami has been a favorite celebrity destination for years. More recently, South Beach, dubbed the "American Riviera," has ripened into a hotspot for the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ricky Martin as reported by Foxnews.com. This area is known for its Art Deco hotels, fashionista boutiques, and parties until dawn in its happening clubs. All this action would suggest exclusive prices, but Miami remains a destination accessible to anyone.

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Many A-listers prefer to repose at designer boutique hotels famed for original artwork and first-rate amenities such as the Sagamore Hotel, where it's rumored Kate Moss, Pamela Anderson, and Adrien Brody have been on scene. Unfortunately, prices aren't as alluring, starting upwards of $200 per night for a standard suite in the summer low season, $345 for an ocean-front room. However, properties with similar style and offerings can be had for less. The Park Central Hotel, for instance, keeps up with artsy design details, a central location and ocean-view rooms, and similar amenities like Wi-Fi, pools, and onsite dining, all starting at $110 per night.

Low cost airfare also makes Miami an affordable destination. Since so many airlines offer frequent service to the city, fares remain competitive, starting at around $150 round-trip from the East Coast and about $100 more from the West Coast. Many members of the glitterati frequent hot clubs such as Crobar and Mansion in South Beach, but it can be tough to get in as an unknown. If you want to party like a celebrity, and avoid waiting in the terribly long lines, ask the concierge at your hotel to put you on a VIP list. If shopping is your forte, but you can't afford Gucci or Dolce and Gabbana, then look for shops like C. Madeleine's for ultra-chic duds at vintage prices. "It's a little off the beaten path, but definitely a find," says Suzie Sponder of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For further tips on saving money, read our Miami Travel Guide.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Located on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, the once sleepy fishing village of Cabo San Lucas has become a hip destination for the crème-de-la-crème of Hollywood stars. Its year-round tropical weather, high-end resorts, and posh restaurants have attracted celebrities like Brad Pitt, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, and Orlando Bloom in the past year.

Many come to blow off steam at the chic nightclubs, while others enjoy invigorating spa treatments or participate in rigorous outdoor activities. Some even take chartered cruises or scuba diving trips. Tour companies will arrange these activities, as well as more affordable ones like horseback riding, whale watching, and surfing lessons for any Joe Schmo. The area is also fast becoming a golfer's paradise with four world-class golf courses, including the Jack Nicklaus-designed El Dorado that has seen the clubs of Tiger Woods. If $230 greens fees seem a little out of your price range, there are several other courses in the area that offer high-caliber courses at competitive prices, some as low as $70 for nine holes.

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