From a limestone palace in Jerusalem to a sleek skyscraper in Singapore, lay your head where the likes of Nelson Mandela, Yoko Ono and the first queen of Egypt have slept by booking accommodations at one of these celebrity-studded hotels.
The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai
A year after his momentous election, then-U.S. president Barack Obama came to Shanghai, staying at China’s very first Ritz-Carlton. The Portman, as it’s affectionately known, has an unparalleled location on tree-lined thoroughfare West Nanjing Road, surrounded by all manner of places to eat, drink and shop.
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is inside Shanghai Centre, an open-air plaza with a handful of restaurants, an international supermarket, a post office and the locations of several consulates and embassies. This central spot can be pleasantly frenetic, but within the 593 -room Ritz-Carlton, all is calm, quiet and orderly.
The accommodations have plush carpets, pretty gold curtains and white bed linens that contrast nicely against the brown tufted headboards. In the marble bathrooms are Acqua di Parma toiletries and deep bathtubs that beg you to indulge in a relaxing soak.
Obama stayed in the 44th-floor Presidential Suite, and though he may not have had time to enjoy the rooftop pool, basketball courts, trampoline and playground open to all guests, hopefully you will.
Marina Bay Sands
Given its dazzling rooftop infinity pool and a whopping 80 dining options, it’s no surprise that Marina Bay Sands is a Singapore celebrity favorite. The list of past guests reads like a proverbial who’s who in pop culture and politics, but standouts include David and Victoria Beckham, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Diana Ross.
Composed of three 57-story towers, the Four-Star hotel always buzzes, be it from the exclusive pool available only to those staying at the massive resort or the top-floor Sands SkyPark, with its breathtaking 360-degree views of the skyline and South China Sea.
Whether you choose to book a room at the resort or not, be sure to explore its myriad restaurants and bars. From celebrity chef-helmed spots (Wolfgang Puck’s Four-Star CUT Singapore) and fine-dining establishments (Five-Star Waku Ghin) to vintage bars (Hide Yamamoto) and waterfront tipples (Bazin), every craving will be satiated and, with some luck, side helpings of celebrity spotting may be on the menu as well.
Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa
It’s a testament to what an oasis Johannesburg’s Saxon is that the prodigious Nelson Mandela chose to live at this 53-suite hotel in 1990 after his 27-year incarceration. It was in this former home of an insurance magnate that Mandela wrote his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
Johannesburg is chaotic, but Saxon, tucked away in the inner-city suburb of Sandhurst, is blissfully tranquil, with its infinity pool, koi pond and, in the spa, a Turkish bath. Suites are done up in calming tones of beige, taupe and tan, with handsome South African prints on the bedspread, pillows and chairs.
For two years, celebrity chef Luke Dale-Roberts has run the acclaimed restaurant at this elegant hotel; it will close at the end of March and a new establishment will open in April helmed by Dale-Roberts’ former head chef, Candice Philip. Expect toothsome modern fusion befitting the property’s scenic surroundings.
King David Jerusalem
Since its inception in 1930, this Jerusalem landmark has played host to the well-heeled set, thanks to its elevated location, striking views and great service. Among the property’s first celebrity guests was Nazli Sabri, the first queen of Egypt. But more recently, familiar faces such as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Yoko Ono and Barbra Streisand. The 233-room hotel, situated right in the middle of the city and overlooking Mount Zion, is as popular with visiting dignitaries as it is with tourists.
Despite hosting high-security heads of state, musicians, artists and royalty, the King David is also welcoming to tiny travelers; there are a number of family rooms, a pool surrounded by greenery and a playroom. And at the King’s Garden restaurant, its terrace seating overlooking the Old City, even the pickiest eaters will find something to their liking from the meat-free menu.
When celebrities want to go to popular Tulum, they hide out in this secluded retreat. Formerly the home of an Italian duchess, Hollywood producer Kevin Wendle snapped up the property and turned it into a stunning stay that attracts the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Kate Bosworth, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.
The intimate boutique hotel has 38 suites and three villas with a crisp, minimalist aesthetic on its 50 acres. Take a cue from Nyong’o and reserve the two-story Pool Villa, which comes with a full-size swimming pool, two bedrooms, a media room, a courtyard with hammocks and more residence-like amenities.
But the biggest perk to draw stars to this Mayan Riviera hideaway is the privacy. Shrouded by the jungle and boasting its own pristine stretch of beach, the luxurious Hotel Esencia keeps prying eyes at bay.