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(2019 - Spring/Summer Issue)


Celebrities frequent such great places, don’t they?

Think of the thrill on any getaway if you should see or catch the eye of one of your favourite persons, while dining, shopping or simply moseying around your chic hotel. You might not say a word to each other but from that time onward, you and this person-of-renown will share a moment in common. 

Certain places, of course, increase the odds of spotting the stars, especially in the working hubs of Manhattan, Los Angeles, periodically in Hollywood North, or anywhere, in fact, during a film, sports or music festival. This very thing has happened to Travel Sleuth over the years. Personal experiences have ranged from simple sightings of Tom Brady, Uma Thurman and Mary Tyler Moore on the Upper East Side of New York City to actually chatting with the Beatles’ record producer George Martin while on assignment in Montserrat, with Rod Stewart at The Roxbury nightclub in West Hollywood, with Chris de Burgh at the Park Hyatt in Toronto, and with John Travolta at a very modest Chinese restaurant in South Los Angeles.


In the Caribbean, upscale St. Barts is known to cradle the stars in style, and, at the Montpelier Plantation & Beach Hotel in Nevis, guests can ask to stay in the secluded suite, which Princess Diana and her charming little princes William and Harry occupied in 1993. Consider asking as well at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This is where a late-December sleuthing assignment delightfully coincided with the Paul McCartney family vacationing there with the Ralph Lauren family. Even today, returning guests still recall a New Year’s Eve “of a lifetime” when McCartney spontaneously got up from his dinner table to jam all evening with a local band.  

So, keep your eyes peeled, especially in the most pleasing of places, which, in London, might include the neighbourhoods of Chelsea and Kensington, and in Paris, Avenue Montaigne and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Hotels across the world in the “elite” category include Dorchester, Relais & Châteaux, Mandarin Oriental, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Shangri-La and the Grand Hyatt, although it’s often the lesser-known hideaways recognizable faces prefer to frequent.

Luck has to be on our side of course, but it’s worth digging around online as well for insider information. Booking.com, for example, delivers a helpful dual-service. The site posts tantalizingly different vacation ideas and then, if you like, will take you to the booking options. Celebrity-quality hotels on this website include the Taj Holiday Village in Goa, India, a property of beachfront cottages so sublime it’s charmed Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, and the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat on the don’t-miss French Riviera, a favourite hideaway for Miami Heat champion, Dwayne Wade and actress wife Gabrielle Union. Of equal appeal, the Ikena Lani retreat in Kaua’i, Hawaii, is apparently still aglow from hosting a bachelorette weekend for actress and music artist, Lea Michele, plus six of her closest girlfriends.


Stay alert on your trips throughout Canada as well. Seeing a film crew hints that a star or two could be nearby. As you explore Toronto, shop and dine in the storied Yorkville area. In Montréal, enjoy the atmospheric Old Port, and, in Vancouver, be sure to spend time in trendy West End or Gastown.  

But surprises can be just that. Across Canada, reports of chance sightings include unexpected places like Muskoka, Ontario, especially around lakes Joseph and Rosseau, where locals say they’ve seen Martin Short, Justin Bieber, Cindy Crawford, Kaia Gerber, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg; Bancroft, Ontario, where Jim Carrey has a waterfront home on Baptiste Lake; the Laurentides region of Québec, where Halle Berry has been seen more than once in Saint-Hippolyte; the quiet cottage country of Georgeville, Québec, where actors Donald Sutherland and son Kiefer own a hideaway; and the Okanagan region of British Columbia where no one can miss the vibe caused by repeat-visitors Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban as they stroll on by. As well, online insiders seem to agree that the lavish Fairmont hotels—especially those in Banff, Whistler and Québec City—are a good bet for celebrity sightings.     


Or, for somewhat less money, why not simply dine out in style? In Los Angeles, for instance, the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel has long been the place “to see and be seen.” So is the Rainbow Room in New York City, and since the Big Apple is indeed a showcase for the world’s most exquisite cuisines, dining out there could very easily lead to recognizable tablemates.

So let’s dine out. Celebrity chefs tend to attract celebrity guests who could easily be seated near you. Consider:    

•          Park, Montréal, an eatery of sushi and other fish-centric fare, perfected by celebrity chef Antonio Park and known to have attracted Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and others.

•          Da Emma, Montréal, where Roman cuisine is artistically delivered by chef Emma Risa and has been sampled, they say, by Bill Clinton and Johnny Depp.

•          Sassafraz, Toronto, where Colin Firth, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, and Susan Sarandon have all been elegantly served from a menu of French-inspired cuisine.

•          Momofuku, Toronto, with a specialty cuisine known for its eco-responsible farm ingredients attracting Al Pacino, Felicity Jones and Robert Downey Jr.

•          Island Gardens, Miami, located among the superyachts of a private marina and where the rich and famous have included Patrick Schwarzenegger, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen.

•          The Polo Bar, Manhattan, where a table at this Ralph Lauren-owned exclusive must be booked weeks in advance unless you have sway like Tom Hanks, Bradley Cooper and Martha Stewart.

•          The Spotted Pig, Manhattan, a West Village hot spot serving unforgettable pub food to unforgettable patrons such as Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and, perhaps sometime soon, you and me.

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