Romance and travel are usually happy bedfellows, each bringing a special sparkle to the other. Here, we take flight with five celebrated couples of past and present, showcasing the properties they visited for an idyllic getaway.
Barack and Michelle Obama
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
In January 2017, soon after leaving office, Barack and Michelle Obama left behind the hubbub of Washington for the extreme exclusivity of Necker Island, a private Caribbean enclave owned by English mogul Richard Branson. The entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast even joined the couple during their ten-day sojourn, noting in his autobiography that when they reached the island, Michelle expressed her satisfaction by saying, “We’re free.” For his part, the former president was able to rekindle his enthusiasm for surfing and kiteboarding, something forbidden to him during his presidency. Those without a Secret Service detail are also welcome to visit Necker Island, which can be leased entirely for up to 40 guests at $105,000 per night (select weeks allow travelers to rent rooms or suites beginning at the comparative bargain of $36,000 per night). Naturally, the fees reflect the quality of the amenities, which include everything from water sports and luxe dining options—such as a floating sushi bar—to sightings of flamingos, iguanas and lemurs.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
Paradise Valley, Arizona
After their 2008 nuptials in New York, Beyoncé and Jay-Z headed west to honeymoon at the ultraluxe Sanctuary Camelback resort near Scottsdale. Set on 53 acres dominated by the distinctive silhouette of the 2,700-foot Camelback Mountain, the property ensconces guests in a feeling of desert Zen, exemplified by the Asian-inspired spa and treatments such as Luk Pra Kope, an herbal Thai massage. High-profile guests who wish to avoid prying eyes (and paparazzi) can book one of Sanctuary’s eight private mountainside villas. Each is individually designed, with never-need-to-leave features such as tennis courts, game rooms, spas, gourmet kitchens and expansive decks with sweeping mountain views. Food Network star chef Beau McMillan helms the on-property Elements restaurant, with signature dishes such as black truffle and lobster risotto. It’s an ideal spot for those who are crazy in love.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
Santa Monica, California
One of the most glamorous couples of Hollywood’s Golden Age could often be found at this splendid art deco property, an eight-story gem constructed in 1933 across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Clark Gable, still regarded as one the filmdom’s greatest leading men, and Carole Lombard, the glittering star of a number of the era’s iconic films, pursued a not-so-secret affair in the mid ’30s—he still being married to his second wife—before they finally wed in 1939, three years before Lombard’s untimely death. Before and after they tied the knot, the couple would often repair to this beachside property, which continues to charm guests with its Old Hollywood style. Vintage-tinged, comfortable guest rooms overlooking the sparkling ocean offer perfect sunset views. Downstairs, the Veranda is an ideal spot for cocktail-enhanced people watching on Ocean Avenue.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Another star-crossed couple, the famously feuding pair spent early blissful days at this Mexican hideaway when Richard Burton was filming The Night of the Iguana in 1964 and Elizabeth Taylor slipped down from California to be with her paramour. As both were still wed to others, discretion was the rule, with Taylor occupying a casita directly across from Burton’s; he built a bridge connecting the two buildings and, eventually, bought the house for her. Today, a boutique hotel occupies both properties, and guests can still pass over the bridge and float in the original lozenge-shaped pool. Nine opulent suites—with names referencing the couple’s films, such as Sandpiper, Cleopatra and The V.I.P.S—incorporate details such as 19th-century furniture, Swarovski chandeliers and terraces overlooking Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre mountains. For a true Hollywood moment, book the signature Elizabeth Taylor suite and spend time lounging in the star’s heart-shaped pink-marble bath.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
Inn at Mystic
After meeting on the set of To Have and Have Not in 1944, Humphrey Bogart, who by then had perfected his hard-boiled persona in a number of film classics, and Lauren Bacall, a newcomer fresh to Hollywood, transformed their on-screen chemistry into a romance that would become one of history’s most iconic. They would have to wait a year until Bogart’s divorce came through, but in May 1945, the stylish pair—both native New Yorkers who enjoyed life away from California—married at a friend’s bucolic Ohio farm before honeymooning in the idyllic Connecticut seaport of Mystic. There, yet another friend, a high-living financier named Frederick Mosel, owned the 1904 Haley Mansion, a Colonial Revival house built by the widow of the founder of New York’s Fulton Fish Market; the newlyweds stayed in the adjacent gatehouse. Today, the mansion and gatehouse are part of the 15-acre Inn at Mystic, perched on a hill overlooking Fishers Island Sound, about 50 miles southwest of Providence. Vintage charm abounds at the Rocks 21 restaurant, which offers New England specialties such as clam chowder, lobster rolls and baked cod with Ritz cracker crumbs. The old house itself, with its 18th-century pine paneling and hand-carved fireplaces, is still a popular wedding choice: To paraphrase the ’80s song, you can have it all, just like Bogie and Bacall.