With their busy, globe-trotting schedules, most celebrities are no strangers to hotels. But some A-listers have gone a step further, getting in on the hospitality business themselves. Whether they’ve opened wellness retreats in Australia or refurbished historic palazzos in Italy, these stars-turned-hoteliers have one thing in common: their hotels and resorts all provide guests the same level of VIP service and seclusion that their famous owners desire for themselves.
Francis Ford Coppola: Family Coppola Hideaways
Hollywood legend Francis Ford Coppola has transferred his impeccable attention to detail from the screen to the hospitality industry. He owns five hotels as part of his Family Coppola Hideaways Collection. Three are in Central America: the 20-room Blancaneaux Lodge in the mountainous jungles of Belize, Turtle Inn on the country’s Caribbean coast, and La Lancha, a lodge on the rainforested shores of Guatemala’s Lago Petén Itzá, near Tikal. In southern Italy, Coppola’s ancestral home, the director has transformed a nineteenth-century private villa into the ornate Palazzo Margherita, with hand-painted frescoed ceilings and original marble floors. And in Buenos Aires, Jardin Escondido is a verdant oasis of a hotel, with three levels of gardens in the heart of bustling Palermo Soho.
Robert Redford: Sundance Resort
In 1968, Robert Redford purchased an entire ski resort in Utah, renaming it Sundance, after his character in the soon-to-be-released Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At the base of 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos, Sundance Resort has become an all-hub of activity all year round, with hiking, dozens of ski runs, and, of course, a namesake film festival. Redford became “the godfather of indie film” with the annual event, which has fostered rising American talents and introduces small-budget films to big-budget studios. During the ten-day festival, screenings take place at the resort’s theater (along with in nearby Park City and Salt Lake City). In between showings, guests can enjoy Sundance Resort’s Wild West vibes; expect lots of timber, spa treatments, and mountain adventures.
Robert De Niro: The Greenwich Hotel
Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro opened The Greenwich Hotel in 2008, and it’s been a celebrity magnet ever since. A-listers are drawn to its unique rooms—all 88 are individually designed with decor inspirations ranging from Manhattan to Milano to Mumbai—and its dedication to privacy; the lounge, lantern-lit spa, and pool are for guests only. Even the restaurant, Andrew Carmellini’s ever-buzzy pasta sanctuary Locanda Verde, serves guests in the exclusive drawing room and courtyard should they prefer not to eat in public. Oh, and De Niro’s hotelier status goes beyond The Greenwich Hotel. He’s also a co-founder of the expanding restaurant and hotel brand Nobu, with seven hotels already open and another nine in development.
Richard Gere: Bedford Post Inn
Leading man Richard Gere has taken a small step back from the limelight in recent years, perhaps to hone his skills as an innkeeper. Along with his ex-wife Carey Lowell and friend Russell Hernandez, Gere owns the eight-room Bedford Post Inn, a hotel in Westchester County. It’s a relaxing respite from Manhattan (which is just an hour south), with wooded grounds, a serene pool, and sun-soaked yoga studio. The rooms, designed by Lowell and decorator Tiffany Vassilakis, come in muted tones, and most have fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Well-heeled locals and day-trippers from the city make a point to stop by the inn if only for a meal at one of its two restaurants: The Barn, and the more refined Farmhouse, both which serve American cuisine in country-chic setting.
Olivia Newton-John: Gaia Retreat & Spa
Grease star Olivia Newton-John is a co-owner of Gaia Retreat & Spa, set on 25 acres near Australia’s Byron Bay. Opened in 2005, the resort’s name comes from the ancient Greek mother goddess of the earth. As such, its mission is to help guests find their spiritual center and reunite with their surroundings. The resort specializes in creating customized wellness packages for each guest, fine tuned to their health and fitness goals. Residential-style rooms and villas overlook the rolling hills of New South Wales, and the lush grounds offer a wealth of activities, from morning yoga—at the highest point in the region— to cooking classes.
Hugh Jackman: Gwinganna Health Retreat
In between stints as Wolverine in X-Men (along with other award-winning roles), Aussie A-Lister Hugh Jackman practices pilates and creative dance at Gwinganna Health Retreat. He’s a co-owner of the luxe wellness resort, located on a hilltop half-an-hour inland from Queensland’s Gold Coast. Guests rise at dawn for sunrise qi qong (a form of tai chi), under the watchful eyes of expert instructors and wallabies, before venturing on to other activities, like boxing, hiking, water polo and yoga. And at the Gwinganna’s outdoor dining deck, meal time consists of gourmet, clean eats, sourced largely from the resort’s own organic gardens. Think that’s Logan himself at your table? Check the name tag: Jackman wears one whenever he stays.
Clint Eastwood: Mission Ranch Hotel
In dreamy Carmel by the Sea, longtime resident Clint Eastwood rescued a nineteenth-century dairy farm from impending condo development, purchasing it and transforming it into the low-key luxe Mission Ranch Hotel. Its 31 rooms, divided amongst ten buildings (several of them historic), reflect the 22-acre ranch’s heritage with craftsman-style designs. Many of them overlook a sheep-filled meadow and the Pacific Ocean. Guests can play tennis on the property’s courts, and walk into town or to the nearby Carmel Beach before dining at the resort’s indoor-outdoor restaurant. Fittingly, produce from local farms dominates the menus, and wine lists offer a prime showcase of Carmel Valley vineyards.
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Leonardo DiCaprio: Blackadore Caye
Leonardo DiCaprio has long been a vocal advocate for sustainable living and environmental activism. His 20-year-old foundation has awarded millions of dollars to raise climate change awareness and promote biodiversity, and he used his (long-awaited) Oscars’ acceptance speech for The Revenant as a further platform for the cause. It makes sense, then, that the actor is transforming his private island in Belize into an eco-resort. Dubbed Blackadore Caye, DiCaprio’s tropical escape is set to open later this year with 72 uber-green bungalows and homes designed by Jean-Michel Gathy. The pyramid-like, thatched-roof structures pay homage to the region’s ancient Maya heritage, while solar panels and water treatment plants will keep the resort’s carbon footprint to a minimum. Half of the island is being left as a wildlife preserve, with ecologists, marine biologists, and zoologists on staff to help restore the area’s biodiversity.