Travel may not be on the cards for any of us right now, but our curiosity doesn’t need to be similarly reined in. Here’s a look at places (spanning country houses to tropical resorts) that celebrities and members of royalty have chosen to visit for getaways in years past – places that we can consider staying at ourselves, when the coronavirus situation improves.
Coworth Park, Ascot (United Kingdom)
This Georgian manor house is where Prince Harry spent the night before his wedding. Coworth Park, Ascot borders Windsor Great Park, and is 45 minutes by road from Central London. It also has its own helicopter pad. This refined 70-room luxury country house hotel and spa is situated amid a 97ha picturesque parkland and offers polo fields, an exceptional equestrian centre, an award-winning luxury spa and outstanding restaurants (the Michelin star-awarded Restaurant Coworth Park counts among them). This retreat is a popular weekend getaway spot for Londoners. The jewel in the crown of Coworth Park’s 21 suites is The Dower House. This three-bedroom house built in 1775 even has a secluded garden with a stream that is home to a family of swans.
Dating from 1776, Coworth Park has passed through the hands of a long list of Lords and Ladies, including the Earl of Derby who owned the estate for the early half of the 19th century.
The hotel has had a long history with the British Royal Family. For instance, the Queen hosted a dinner here to celebrate Prince William’s wedding in 2011. It is also home to the ballroom where Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret learnt to dance. With a 117-year history, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London boasts one of the only two Forbes Five-Star spas in the city, as well as a two-Michelin-star restaurant – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. It is located in the heart of London’s fashionable shopping district of Knightsbridge, while the north side of the hotel faces Hyde Park, offering panoramic views of Royal Parkland.
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Legendary film star Grace Kelly has a connection to this hotel. Of its seven individually designed speciality suites, one includes the Grace Kelly suite – this was where she chose to have her post-Oscars photoshoot, after clinching an Academy Awards win in 1954 for her role in The Country Girl. It was also where she lived before her marriage to Prince Rainier Grimaldi III. When she was dating Russian fashion designer Oleg Cassini in 1950s, she used the hotel’s stationery to pen him love a letter. This Los Angeles hotel opened in 1946, and is one of Hollywood’s most beloved hideaways for the rich and famous, offering absolute privacy amid lush gardens. All its suites offer grand residential style livings, and come with large garden patios and fireplaces – some are even equipped with jacuzzis.
The resort is popular among A-list celebrities; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once stayed here for a five-day holiday. It is the only five-star resort in the Con Dao archipelago of 16 islands, with more than 80 per cent of the archipelago being a marine-protected area and national park. The largest island, Con Son, hosts Six Senses Con Dao, with the villas stretching across a mile of golden sand, and looking out to sweeping scenic views against the dramatic backdrop of the Lo Voi Mountains. The intimate villa resort boasts a contemporary design that reflects the essence of a traditional fishing village.
Meeting a princess in the flesh is a possibility at this hotel’s two-Michelin-star French restaurant Le Normandie, where Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana is frequently spotted. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the first luxury hotel to open on Bangkok’s vibrant riverside and is only a short boat ride away – the hotel provides teak shuttle boats – from the shopping and entertainment options at IconSiam, historical sites, as well as the heart of the city’s new Creative District. Many literary greats have stopped over at this haven, with suites named after them, including Dame Barbara Cartland, James Michener, John Le Carre and Kukrit Pramoj. The hotel is home to 11 restaurants and bars, including Lord Jim’s, fondly known as Bangkok’s meeting place. Visitors can also enjoy afternoon tea like the royals at The Author’s Lounge, one of the most booked-out spots in the country.