A new year brings time for pause and reflection—plus the chance to follow celebrities on their jaunts to locations that are inevitably much warmer and more glamorous than wherever you are.
While many of us wasted our Jan. 1 ordering takeout and mindlessly refreshing Instagram, tabloid photographers were hard at work catching glimpses of stars frolicking on sandy beaches or selfie-ing aboard private yachts, with the emphasis on photographing as much (mostly female) flesh as possible.
The time-honored tradition of stalking celebrity getaways is crystallized by headlines like the Daily Mail’s, “Molly Sims shows off her jaw-dropping physique in racy clashing swimsuit during fun-filled family day at the beach in St Barts.” (Sims, like most insiders on the French Caribbean island, would probably spell it St Barth's.)
The style guide-defying locale has long been known as a celebrity playground, though other destinations such as Turks and Caicos, the Maldives, and Barbados are nothing to snub your non-famous nose at.
Please get out your plebeian Tupperware lunch and join us on this transatlantic journey:
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, and Pippa Middleton have all vacationed on this 9.7-square mile island, which has a population of under 10,000.
In 2015, Leonardo DiCaprio infamously surrounded himself with a small percentage of that figure, when tabloid photos showed the actor relaxing on the sand with a bevy of bikini-ed woman in tow.
Despite such hype, the island is constantly praised for its “accessibility.” This means that buttoned-up business types and those of the no-shirt, no-shoes persuasion can live in harmony — if they have the funds to stay in a $1,300 a night villas. The island faced its share of challenges in 2018, which included bouncing back from significant damage done by Hurricane Irma.
Wendi Deng Murdoch, a film producer and ex-wife of Rupert, spent the holiday posing on the beach in an impromptu photoshoot with Jean-Philippe Piter, and spending time on businessman Roman Abramovich's $385 million yacht. Sir Paul McCartney, wife Nancy Shevell, and daughter Stella reportedly also boarded the 533-foot yacht, the second largest in the world.
Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews also spent time at the $2,000 a night Eden Rock retreat, which his family owns. Pippa joined her brother James and brother-in-law Spencer for a shirtless run on New Year's Eve.
Page Six reported that inclement weather put a damper on the 2019 New Year’s plans of Chris Rock, Jared Leto, and Darren Aronofsky. The three planned to celebrate on Alan Tisch and Michael Rubin's yacht, but a “Gilligan's Island”-esque storm prompted them to turn back. It wasn't all a bust, though—the three had partied with Sir Paul earlier that night.
The yacht drama did not end there. The tabloid also reported that the just-fired CBS chief Les Moonves was spotted aboard magnate David Geffen's $590 million yacht, “Rising Sun,” alongside wife Julie Chen.
Turks and Caicos
Sports Illustrated dubbed the vision of Danish model Nina Agdal posing naked on the shore in Turks and Caicos “the best present we received this holiday season.” (Guess they did not unwrap an electric kettle this year.)
Agdal and her fiancé Jack Brinkley-Cook are no strangers to the destination, where they frequently travel with the rest of the Brinkley-Cook clan, including mother Christie and sisters Sailor and Alexa Ray Joel. The R&B singer Ashanti and 2020 anchor Amy Robach also rang in the new year at Turks and Caicos.
The cluster of 40 islands just east of Cuba is a short flight from Miami. Though travel blogs insist that you can visit Turks and Caicos on a budget, that’s not why celebrities go. One week in a private villa during the holidays can cost up to $220,500.
This perennial favorite sits smack-dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean around 1,000 miles south of Sri Lanka. It’s made up of 26 coral atolls, which makes the destination perfect for snorkeling—or at least posing in a goggles and a bikini, as Rita Ora did this year.
There must be some calming in the Maldivian water that Gwyneth Paltrow will no doubt try to bottle up and sell on Goop, as the actress and her new husband Brad Falchuk felt zen enough to spend their New Year's vacationing with Paltrow’s ex Chris Martin and his girlfriend Dakota Johnson.
Elsewhere, fashion designer Chiara Ferragni opted to stay on the private island Kudadoo. Landlubbers beware: every villa in Kudadoo is built over water. Those brave enough to ditch their sea legs for a vacay will be rewarded with multiple infinity pools, butler service, and a lack of screaming children (as the resort is adults-only).
Barbados, which smartly tapped Rihanna as a tourism ambassador, boasts a west coast known for its pristine, coconut tree-lined beaches.
This year, a pigtailed Jerry Hall and husband Rupert Murdoch spent time wading through super-clear water (with Murdoch later photographed sleeping, and both Hall and Murdoch reading books), while Simon Cowell and partner Lauren Silverman were spotted walking their new rescue dog Daisy on the shore.
The Kardashian clan touched down in the well-heeled ski town, but they didn’t quite trade in their swimsuits for snow pants—both Kendall Jenner and Khloe Kardashian donned string bikinis and posed by fresh powder for Instagram.
Taking a page out of Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin’s conscious uncoupling vacationing, the latter Kardashian also spent the new year with her ex-husband Scott Disick and his girlfriend Sofia Richie.
And the ones who stayed home
May those of us who did not have the chance to get away this year find solidarity with the Beckham family, who opted to stay in their nine-bedroom mansion in the English countryside this New Year's Eve... and hold a party allegedly costing $38,000, with fireworks, Liv Tyler, and Victoria's favorite tequila. Celebrities: they're just like us!