In mid-October, Nike ran an interesting promotion where two lucky people got the chance to win an overnight stay in a San Francisco art gallery curated by NBA superstar Kevin Durant. It makes sense that fan response to the campaign would be good, seeing as how many of the space’s design elements were Durant’s own.
Can you imagine what the clamoring would be like if the place was actually owned by the all-star basketball player? Well, fans of some other celebrities don’t have to merely imagine. As Forbes Travel Guide’s star-struck editors have found out, many of our favorite properties around the globe have very famous owners. And while actual glimpses of these familiar faces may be rare during your stay, the stars’ influence on the design, the menu and hotel’s overall feel can be seen at every conceivable turn.
Gloria Estefan’s Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa
Grammy-winning singer Estefan says her favorite place in the world is Florida’s Vero Beach, a charming coastal town that takes her back to her childhood in Miami (which is 150 miles south of Vero Beach). Estefan adored it so much that she bought a home there and decided to open a hotel.
The creator of the Broadway musical On Your Feet! and her husband, Emilio, wanted Costa d’Este to feel like their home, too. The retro Miami Modern façade is made of white circles (it nods to the pair’s love of nature, where there are no sharp corners), but inside the rooms are minimalist and thoroughly chic, with teak wood, a chocolate and white palette, spacious limestone bathrooms and views of the Atlantic.
Some of the artworks around the beach hotel are the same pieces hanging at the Estefans’ abode. And even the buffalo horn resin lights in Costa d’Este were inspired by similar panels in the couple’s home.
Elizabeth Hurley’s 11 Cadogan Gardens
It’s somewhat fitting that Hurley’s latest acting role would center around British royalty. As Queen Helena Henstridge on E’s The Royals, Hurley oversees a compound that’s filled with hanging tapestries and gold-leaf armchairs. London’s 11 Cadogan Gardens is slightly less ostentatious but no less dramatic.
Slyly cloaked behind a warm brick exterior, the 56-room property flaunts dark wood paneling, oil paintings and regal plum and indigo tones. Though some of these touches existed before the Austin Powers star took over the property, a few of the more elaborate elements (metallic finishes, padded walls behind the reception area) have come since an early 2016 renovation.
For fall, 11 Cadogan Gardens’ Sloane Suite package includes a stay in the 1,291-square-foot unit, a welcome bottle of champagne, a luxury airport transfer and more, giving non-royals the chance to at least live like a queen for a few glorious evenings.
Robert De Niro’s Various Hotels
One of the more celebrated partnerships in hospitality, De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa have made Hollywood-worthy magic with restaurants (32 around the globe) and hotels (the first Nobu Hotel opened in Las Vegas in 2013) for the past two decades.
With the recently debuted Nobu Hotel Manila inside City of Dreams Manila, the dynamic duo has taken things to even more exclusive heights. When you visit Asia’s first Nobu Hotel, expect to be greeted with wood textures, neutral hues and, if you’re lucky, a sighting from chef Nobu in the kitchen. Similar natural materials and Japanese-inspired architecture will remain prevalent in the aesthetic when Nobu properties open in Los Cabos, London and a few other destinations over the next year or so.
But if you think all of that is enough to keep De Niro busy, try again. In addition to making sure these new endeavors get off on the right foot, the 73-year-old actor also plays an active part in his Four-Star Greenwich Hotel’s day-to-day operations; stars in The Comedian (set to hit theaters in January); and co-owns (with Australian billionaire James Packer) one of the Caribbean’s most anticipated new hotel projects, Barbuda’s 50-villa Paradise Found.
Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort
Redford is known for starring in iconic films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and for founding the preeminent Sundance Film Festival, but many people don’t know that in 1969 the famed actor also purchased the land that would eventually house this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel.
He saw the possibilities for the pristine Provo, Utah, land and wanted to preserve it. Stay in the tranquil, rustic and luxurious retreat nestled among 5,000 acres of wilderness and go hiking, biking, fly fishing, skiing, snowboarding and ziplining. Of course, Redford adds artistic flair, offering summer theater programming, music performances, festivals, an author series and more. Since the boutique hotel is where the Sundance Institute was founded, expect some movies from the well-known film festival to be featured in the onsite screening room.
You’ll find other ties to Redford at Sundance, including Native American artifacts from his own collection and the Bearclaw Cabin featured in his 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson.
Julio Iglesias’ Tortuga Bay Puntacana Resort & Club
This exclusive Dominican Republic getaway counts Latin crooner Iglesias as one of its owners, along with the late Oscar de la Renta (who originally designed the cheerful sunny-yellow villas). Iglesias owns a home in the gated community that encompasses the 30-suite Four-Star hotel, so perhaps you’ll run into him on the hushed private beach, on one of the two scenic golf courses or at Six Senses Spa.
Even if you don’t spot him, you’ll feel like an A-lister in your own right at the hotel. You’ll be assigned your own personal villa manager and get a cell phone programmed with his number to use during your stay. Don’t be surprised if your attentive villa manager goes above and beyond. During our stay, he had a candlelit bubble bath scattered with rose petals waiting for us after dinner — and the water was still piping hot.