You read the stories – the celebrities jetting off to their private islands, their secret trysting spots, the over-the-top properties where they escape to get away from it all.
But if you’ve ever wanted to experience that, you can!
There are a number of homes that have been previously owned by famous actors and other show biz people, and spots where many celebs have taken their own vacays, that are actually available for anyone to rent.
Here are a few places where you, too, can live like a rock star – at least for a few days!
Once owned by the legendary Elizabeth Taylor, this Palm Springs home is a sanctuary for object d’art, photography, oil paintings and is complete with priceless possessions and objects d’art which belonged to the iconic actress. It's the only home ever owned by Elizabeth Taylor in Palm Springs. Renovated and furnished by Kathy Ireland, this estate is frequently called, ‘The Jewel of the Desert’.
Did you ever think that you could stay in the home where JFK and Marilyn Monroe used to tryst — for only $120 a night? This storied 4-bedroom home was designed by a student of Frank Loyd Wright and very recently was exquisitely remodeled. This modern masterpiece is located in the best area of metropolitan 'Phoenix'. Just minutes from the Biltmore and Scottsdale shopping areas, it is a great place to travel from. The Frank Lloyd Wright design, completed by one of his students, is timeless. Large glass windows and door allow the visitor to feel as if they are living out-of-doors. A 1000 sq. ft. view deck give the visitor a breath taking 240 degree view of the city lights of Paradise Valley, Mummy Mountain, Camelback Mountain and the Paradise Valley Country Club Golf course.
The King’s former Beverly Hills estate boasts 3-bedrooms, 4-baths, and spans 5,367 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows and walls of glass in every room. 4th Bedroom and 5th bath are located in the guest house. This Trousdale property, perched on a small cliff, was one he shared with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie in the late 1960's. The backyard features expansive lounging and entertaining space, including a large pool and spa. This magnificent property still has the original gates that Elvis used to come and talk to fans through.
Set far back behind gates and mature trees, a long driveway and four-car motor court lead to the newly renovated 5,400-square-foot mid-century residence and attached guesthouse. Spacious interiors are magnified by high ceilings, warm hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in abundant natural light. Features an incredibly luxurious master suite, skylights, fireplaces and coffered ceilings are complemented by contemporary updates.
Ample outdoor lounging and entertaining space is offered throughout a large patio featuring a fireplace, custom pool and spa, as well as lush lawns, set against breathtaking panoramic vistas. Only minutes from the best shopping, dining, and entertainment of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Trousdale is a celebrity enclave within Beverly Hills and is currently the most desirable neighborhood in the City of Beverly Hills. Most homes are designed by some of the most notable names in architecture. Some of the other notable personalities have lived in this neighborhood include Richard Nixon, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jennifer Anniston.
This property has seen a host of celebrity guests, including Meryl Streep and Tracy Ullman. In fact, Oscar Hammerstein wrote 'The Sound of Music' from the terrace, overlooking the beautiful hillside!
This villa is filled with history and is very private; located about 5 minutes from the beach and 20 minutes from the airport. The home is fully staffed with a chef, butler, housekeeper, gardener and laundress. A van and driver can be arranged for any size group. Private spa treatments are available on site. The home also has a tranquil pavilion ideal for yoga retreats and the like.
If you REALLY want to splurge (to the tune of $18,000 per night!) – you can stay at the same over-the-top home where the Kardashians have stayed. With 12 bedrooms and 14+ bathrooms, this magnificent beachfront retreat is nestled amid acres of lush tropical gardens in Punta Mita, Mexico. Located just below the Tropic of Cancer on the Pacific Mexican Riviera, it combines natural beauty, warm tropical weather, priceless seclusion, warm ocean water, a five-star chef, world-class service, and unparalleled luxury accommodations into a getaway destination unlike any other place on earth.
This house provides a carefree environment for relaxation and recreation that is the very definition of paradise. A discrete, but attentive staff is available around the clock to accommodate any request with an array of amenities to satisfy the most discriminating wish list.
Additional home vacation rental tips:
Use Sites with the most inventory. The more homes to choose from, the better your chances will be of finding a property that fits your budget and meets your needs. Those needs could be a dozen bedrooms, a private pool, or proximity to a sporting event. For example, HomeAway.com has more than 2 million listings in 190 countries.
Use the search filters. When sorting through the inventory, narrow your search by choosing the number of bedrooms you want and the amount you want to spend. Filters also allow you to specify property type, proximity to certain attractions, features like an outdoor grill or pool, and whether pets are welcome.
Read the reviews. There is no better indicator about what the home is really like than reviews from past travelers.
Take advantage of map functions. When searching for a condo near the beach in Destin or a ski-in/ski-out cabin in Breckenridge, use the map function to figure out which properties are closest to your desired location.
Book or pay on the platform. Completing your booking through a large, reputable platform like HomeAway (versus agreeing to rent directly from the owner or off non-verified sites) provides you with invaluable guarantees and coverage should something go wrong. Not likely, but it happens! And when it does, it's the last thing you want to have to worry about on family vacay.
It was with some trepidation that I agreed to go on a Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival camping trip.
While it is universally regarded as one of the hippest music festivals in the northern hemisphere - style muses Alexa Chung and Chloe Sevigny are regulars - as a Gen X indie-rock survivor, I thought my days of drinking cans of warm VB while standing in portable toilet queues had gone the way of my faded Nirvana T-shirt. However, the pull of seeing live music outdoors again - Nick Cave, Tame Impala, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - was too great, even if I was going to have to bring ear muffs.
Heading into its 15th year, Coachella has become one of the most successful art and music festivals in the world.
What began as a one-day gathering on an Indio Polo Club field back in 1999 has become so popular it stretches over two weekends, with bands playing the same set twice to cater for the demand.
Part of its appeal is that Coachella attracts the biggest names in the business - The Stone Roses, The Cure and even Madonna have performed.
It also taps into the upcoming music scene, scouring the world and inviting the best still largely unearthed talent to play alongside the megastars.
In preparation for the weekend, my travelling crew check into the Andaz Hotel on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip in West Hollywood to overcome jet lag. The hotel is famous for having hosted parties by rock'n'roll royalty such as The Rolling Stones and The Who back in the day.
While still "cool", the hotel is more of a relaxed oasis for weary travellers.
The two-hour road trip from LA to Coachella is broken up with a quick stopover at the Desert Hills Premium Outlet to collect some cut-price jeans, sunnies and yet another pair of Converse shoes.
Upon arriving in Indio Valley, where the festival is setting up, we climb into golf buggies and are driven to a field of white-marquee style tents - the luxury safari tents camping ground. Across the field, there is a pool with deck, massage tents and showering trailers with mirrors and power.
Inside my tent, a wrought-iron bed covered with '70s print cushions takes the place of a sleeping bag. There's power. A fridge. Even aircon.
The "mess hall'' is yet another luxuriously furnished tent that serves hot breakfasts and late- night snacks.
With a three-day festival ahead, we plan our days.
The advantage of staying next to the festival grounds means we are a short golf buggy trip to the stages.
Despite its popularity - the festival attracts about 85,000 over the two weekends - there is never the feeling of being in a crowd, except, of course, near the moshpit.
It is a relaxed atmosphere with the fashion - think Woodstock, Ali McGraw, Michelle Phillips - and the celebrity-spotting is just as entertaining as the onstage acts.
The stark but stunning desert landscape is best appreciated from atop the now iconic Coachella ferris wheel.
Both toilet and drinks queues are surprisingly short, while the fast food is so good that even singer Katy Perry queues.
The VIP area - tickets can be bought at extra cost - is teeming with celebrities who appear to enjoy mingling with the masses instead of taking advantage of their backstage trailers. We spy Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart huddled in a corner (they broke up a few weeks later), Paris Hilton with her chain-smoking sister Nicky and actor Lindsay Lohan.
True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard outed himself as a fan of The Stone Roses, as did Katy Perry and UK Vogue cover girl Lily Donaldson.
Even back at the campground, we have a celebrity encounter when Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, famous for partnering with Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, walks past on his way to have a shower.
Being a desert, the days are hot, think mid-30C and the nights cool. To avoid the midday heat, there is the option of joining the pool party scene in downtown Palm Springs. The hotels open their doors to the public - except for those hosting the real VIPs like Bono - to lounge by the pool with a cocktail under one of the district's ubiquitous date palms until it cools down.
Others wile away the hours with a yoga or Pilates session, or take photographs of the 9m tall statue of Marilyn Monroe who lived in the neighbourhood.
It is hard not to fall in love with Coachella. Not just for the music but also for the afternoon desert sunsets - arguably the best act each day - and the chilled-out nature of the crowd.
Not even an eye-stinging violent desert dust storm could dampen my enthusiasm for the festival, nor the headline act - the Red Hot Chili Peppers - who gritted their teeth and crunched their way through the final hour.
After four days and more than 40 bands, it is time to go into recovery mode - and a long, luxurious shower.
We check in at the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, opposite the famous pier, before heading further south to stay at Belamar Hotel in the artist and surfing hub of Manhattan Beach.