Instead of coming back from your next vacation with a tan and bug bites, why not bring home a story about "running into" your favorite celebrity? At our picks for the ten best celebrity spotting hotels in the world, chances are good that you'll spot an actor, supermodel, politician or musician relaxing at the bar, restaurant or swimming pool. And even if the celebs are hidden away enjoying room service instead of mingling, you'll know you're in excellent accommodations because these hotels are where the A-list stays. So choose your destination, make your reservation, live like a star and maybe even see one — and sneakily snap a pic with your iPhone. As a souvenir, that beats an "I HEART New York" T-shirt any day!
Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas
Los Angeles, California
There's nothing quite like seeing stars in their natural habitat. When in La La Land you might just as easily spot one walking on the beach in Santa Monica as you would haunting a gallery downtown. But if you want an almost guaranteed celebrity sighting, head for the Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas. Hidden on a tree-lined cul-de-sac just steps from the Sunset Strip, this hotel boasts a long-standing history of welcoming big names, from Joan Jett to Mario Batali. An on-site recording studio makes it easy to see why Chris Cornell, Green Day, Slash and the Kings of Leon have all been found roaming the halls here. Private villas also help. One of our favorite aspects of this hotel is the Mediterranean-style pool area. If you're not up for a night at the super sexy Bar 1200, opt for brunch at The Restaurant, the on-site eatery run by chef Guillaume Burlion.
The Shore Club
If you're young, hip and want to party all night long, then head for The Shore Club on perennially trendy South Beach. Jessica Simpson and her sister Ashlee have both been spotted here, as have Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey. Equal parts Art Deco Miami and exotic Marrakech, this exclusive hotel features plenty of discreet garden corners for hiding away. Although the standard rooms are nothing to sneeze at, you're not likely to find the A-listers checking into one. Instead, they opt for the designer bungalows or 6,000-square-foot triplex Penthouse. But even the rich and famous have to come out and play sometime, so find yourself a prime viewing perch at the sexy Skybar. And if you need a break from the rigors of celeb hunting, slip away for a divine treatment at the spa.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso
San Jose del Cabo
Back when the term movie star was favored over celebrity, Los Cabos lured big names like John Wayne and Ava Gardner. These days, the area still holds appeal for Hollywood denizens, who frequent the ultra-gorgeous Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort. Views, oceanfront suites and privacy galore — that's why they come here. As for who "they" are ... JLo, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Robin Williams, Jennifer Aniston (with Gerard Butler, Courteney Cox and Chelsea Handler in tow), Jessica Alba, Sheryl Crow, Charlize Theron, Adam Sandler. Need we say more? Oh yeah, keep in mind that those in-room telescopes are for watching the whales, not spying on your neighbors.
The Little Nell
When it comes to the ski season, Aspen holds great appeal for movie stars. And in this snowy haven of high-end fun, The Little Nell is the place to spot your favorite big screen idols enjoying the pre- and après-ski scenes. A traditional mountain chalet with gorgeously urban guest rooms and suites, this hotel has welcomed Jack Nicholson, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey and numerous other famous names over the two decades it's been in business. The hearty fare at Ajax Tavern is sure to warm you up after a day on the slopes. A ski concierge team, pampering spa treatments and plenty of fireplaces round out the reasons this hotel draws its exclusive clientele.
Palms Casino Resort
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ever since Frank Sinatra and his pack of pals put Vegas on the star sighting map, Sin City has been the place to go to take a gander at celebs. Some can be seen at their high-profile shows — like Celine Dion or Sir Elton John — while others can be found bunking down at hotels like Palms Casino Resort. The 40 Sky Villas and Mega-Suites feature everything from a bowling alley to a basketball half-court complete with locker room. Other draws include a state-of-the-art recording studio, hot nightclubs, an intimate performance venue and a high stakes gaming area. It's no wonder the hotel continues to attract big names like George Clooney, Mariah Carey, Brad Pitt and David Beckham.
New York, New York
There is a lot of new competition for the king of celebrity hotel haunts in New York City these days. But the undisputed home-away-from-home for the rich and famous is SoHo's The Mercer hotel. The hotel made celeb gossip headlines in 2005 when Russell Crowe fired a telephone at a hotel employee. But beyond the Aussie-style meltdowns, The Mercer's lobby is a virtual red carpet, catnip for the paparazzi (who, not surprisingly, are always staked out nearby). The reason? The hotel not only caters to its famous guests, but the 75 loft-style rooms are a cozy spot for anyone who can afford to stay here. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Renee Zellweger have all been spotted hanging out at The Mercer.
London offers stiff competition for L.A. and New York when it comes to celebrity-filled hotels. Along with Old World favorites such as Langham Hotel London and The Savoy, Metropolitan Hotel brings in the stars. And these aren't any ol' B-listers! Among the guest list: Madonna, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Perhaps they like the break from traditional style, since the décor here is contemporary and chic, and rooms offer the added bonus of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the London skyline. Met Bar in the lobby is for hotel guests and members only, which means you won't have to share your fandom with the riffraff.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley has always been attracting the rich and famous. And while we cannot guarantee that you'll run into famous “ski-lebs” like Tom Hanks or Bruce Willis, you'll find plenty to write home about at this luxuriously furnished, fully serviced private residence resort. Les Saisons refuses to release the names of any famous clientele, and we appreciate their devotion to privacy. Located in the heart of historic Ketchum, the resort is inspired by the grand, rustic lodges of the American West. Channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl as you luxuriate in your living room with vaulted ceilings, gas fireplaces and those priceless mountain views. Your bedroom offers a marble bathroom, a steam shower and a jet tub. And you'll dine well in your very own gourmet kitchen. As for celeb spotting, you can do this at the resort's fitness center, health club, either of the two rooftop spas, or the year-round heated outdoor pool.
A celebrity's love affair with a specific hotel tends to come and go faster than gossip on TMZ. But ever since Hotel Cipriani opened its doors in 1958, it has attracted a high-wattage clientele. Old-school names like Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston mingle in the hotel's "Golden Book" with hot properties like Clive Owen and Jennifer Lopez. Accessible only by boat, this waterfront property is perfectly set for those seeking seclusion. Everything from the personal butlers to the private gardens is discreet. The glass-enclosed Palladio Suite is a favorite with the rich and famous, but there's no need to try your hand at stalking. Simply book a table at Fortuny Restaurant, and you're sure to spot a bigwig before the night is through.
Landmark Mandarin Oriental
With a design-friendly interior (sleek, clean lines and lots of glass) and a smack-in-the-center-of-it-all location, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental is where celebrities like Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani lay their jet-lagged heads when they're in Hong Kong. Maybe it's the 400-thread-count sheets or the three in-room flat-screen TVs. Perhaps it's the hip MO Bar. Whatever it is, hang out in the lobby long enough and you're sure to have a brush — quite literally — with fame.
MORE ON GAYOT.com