By Rowena Carr-Allinson
1. St Regis Punta MIta
On the west coast of Mexico is the celeb-magnet beach resort of Punta Mita, where Kylie Jenner celebrated her 18th birthday; Kim and Kanye his 37th, Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy their babymoon, and even Lady Gaga has been spotted surfing. A lot of the stars stay in private villas like the beachfront Casa Amaraba but Gwyneth holed up with the family last winter at the five star St Regis Punta Mita – raving on instagram about the beach and the buffets. 'The kids were in heaven. Activities galore, endless buffets, and a pristine beach just steps away'
Regulars love it for the flawless service, the butlers, the two pools (one adults only), four restaurants and the miles of soft white sand right on the doorstep. Rooms are huge - ranging from basic rooms around the size of an average London flat, up to the 3100 square foot presidential suite, which we reckoned Gwyneth & co would have bagged.
The style is cabana-luxe with beamed wooden ceilings and lots of indoor/outdoor spaces, and in some suites you can wallow in your hot tub right in front of the sea.
St Regis Punta Mita, Carretera Federal 200 km 19.5 Lote H-4, Punta Mita, 63734 Punta Mita, Nay., Mexico, +52 329 291 5800. Doubles from around £328, room only
2 Shangri La, Paris, France
Stylish, elegant and brilliantly located near the Trocadero and a mere hop across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, this former palace was built in 1896 for Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew. Today it's all about fantastic views, a sophisticated East meets West ambience and reverent staff providing faultess service. The gorgeous rooms come with plenty of gilt edging, plush furnishings and French antiques, as well as splendid marble bathrooms and Bulgari bubbles. The Duplex Terrace Suites are the perfect place to indulge and relax, and even better for breakfasts-with-a view on the terrace. What's not to love about a croissant with your own Eiffel Tower panorama? Gourmets should also visit the restaurant, La Bauhinia, where they will find a chic Asian atmosphere and a menu that combines Oriental inspiration with classic French gastronomy, not to mention a gloriously oversized Murano chandelier. Don't miss the cosy, slightly louche bar for a nightcap…
Shangri La, 10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris, 0800 028 3337. Doubles from around £480, room only
3. Inn at Irving, NY, USA
Gwyneth calls this hideaway 'a very rare gem in NYC', and we have to agree: the 12-room Inn near Gramercy Park is utterly charming. These classic brownstone townhouses were first built in 1834 and have since been home to a speakeasy, a men's club and beauty parlour. Today, as the Inn, they house Lady Mendl's Tea Salon (very popular with local ladies-who-lunch - and love cupcakes), and baby showers), a lower ground floor 'Cibar lounge' bar and the cosiest bedrooms in New York. Each is furnished in individual style, with gorgeous original fireplaces, Tiffany lamps, cherry-wood flooring and shabby chic rugs giving off a distinctly Victorian vibe. Within walking distance of Union Square, Greenwich Village and SoHo, you're very well placed for exploring. Despite taking a step back in time, the hotel has plenty of 21st century treats, from Frette bed linen to (free) wifi and iPod docking stations, and their little al fresco patio is just the place to sip an Apple Martini in style.
Inn at Irving, 56 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003, +(212) 533-4600. Doubles from around £290, room only.
4. Esperanza Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico
Long before they ever even contemplated uncoupling (in fact they had only just officially coupled), Gwyneth and Chris escaped to the 57-room Esperanza resort in sunny Baja California, Mexico. Rumour had it that the pair took a bunch of friends with them for a party style honeymoon just after tying the knot. The Ballena point destination is a favourite with A-listers who go for the beautiful white sandy beaches and its proximity to LA. Other famous fans include Nicky Hilton, and LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, who honeymooned here, too. As well as the usual swanky resort trimmings, like a fantastic spa, wonderful pool and gourmet restaurants, the Esperanza Resort ups the romance factor with al fresco dinners at 'El Restaurante' perched high on a cliff, where you can feast on organic chicken or cashew quiche, while being serenaded by mariachis.
Esperanza Resort, Carretera Transpeninsular km 7, Manzana 10, Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas BCS Mexico 23410, +52 624 145 6400. Doubles from around £395, B&B
5. Shutters On The Beach, Santa Monica, USA
Set on a prime beachfront location in glamorous Santa Monica, its elegant but laid-back style has made Shutters a firm favourite with the Hollywood elite. The rooms are all about relaxing seaside style: white wooden panelling, shutters, soft blues and beiges and bracing ocean views. Little touches like DVDs and books on the shelf, and the odd conch shell and trinkets around the room, make for a homely vibe. Subtle artwork of all things beachy run throughout the hotel and the grandiose bathrooms are all soothing baby blue walls, fragrant candles and jet tubs with ocean views. The service is impeccable and friendly: and its restaurants, One Pico (fine dining), and the more relaxed brasserie, Coast, make the most of the seaside setting. Shutters At The Beach manages to do the impossible in LA: feel totally authentic. Hardly surprising, then, that Gwyneth says 'Shutters is my favourite place to stay in L.A.'
Shutters On The Beach, 1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405, + (310) 458-0030. Doubles from around £424, room only.
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