Cal Azzouni, owner of New York's Village Divers school, names Bonaire
as his favorite Caribbean diving destination. He says the Dutch Caribbean
island, just 50 miles north of Venezuela, "has warm water and is accessible
to the novice as well as the experienced diver." Try Plaza Resort Bonaire
(800-766-6016), he says: "They've got everything."
Babbo chef Mario Batali takes his family to the Virgin Islands
twice a year, and he raves about the breakfast buffet at the Caneel
Bay resort on St. John (340-776-6111). "I've got two kids, and dining
out is never easy. But they've got pancakes and omelets made-to-order,
and everything else fruit, cheese spread out to choose from.
It's only fifteen feet from the beach, so my wife and I can read the one-page
New York Times fax while the boys run back and forth, grabbing
a mango square or a couple of Frosted Mini-Wheats on their way. It's perfect."
When Wyclef Jean heads down to Kingston, Jamaica, for
the town's reggae and dancehall festivals, like "Overloaded" (held annually
in December) and "Fully Loaded" (July), he takes the stage to "battle"
with Jamaica's prodigiously talented indigenous M.C.'s. "Kingston plays
host to the best soundclashes in all of Jamaica," Wyclef says, "so when
I'm there, I know I'm battling with the best." (Call 876-755-4042 for
Makeup queen Cristina Bornstein (she co-owns Tony&Tina)
maintains her alignment at Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica (888-767-7375;
"You can do yoga, visit a volcano, go white-water rafting, and benefit
from om cho, a Tibetan massage technique traditionally taught only
to blind men," she says.
"Nude sunbathing is the best way to feel the sun, the wind, and the
water without being stuffed into hot, sticky Lycra," says Judi Ditzler,
editor of Nude & Natural magazine and a member of the Naturist
Society. Club Orient (590-87-33-85), on the French side of St.
Martin, is her personal favorite. "Orient has that free-spirit island
feel combined with a unique European flavor. You can't find that on South
Pat Buckley has explored the Caribbean dozens of times with
sailor hubby William F., so she knows better than anyone where to find
the best island shopping. "You go to St. Martin," she insists.
Not St. Barts? Or Puerto Rico? "No, no, no. Listen to me. Go to St. Martin.
In Marigot, on the French side of the island, you can get your Chanels,
your Manolos. At Christmas, they fly in the most marvelous foods. Foie
gras whatever you want. It's St. Martin. Hands down."
Hotelier Jeff Klein pal of Alexandra von Furstenberg
and Lulu de Kwiatkowski is opening his City Club Hotel in Manhattan
this winter. He's usually secretive about the getaways of his friends,
but he still happily names a few of their haunts: "Mustique and
Careyes, Mexico, are always chic, and you won't get the couple
with their screaming kids. I love kids, but come on. It's all about getting
a massage at sunset."
Plotting out nuptials for Tom Clancy, various Rockefellers, and Kyra
Sedgwick keeps wedding planner Marcy Blum with her finger on the
haute honeymooner's pulse. "Last year, there were two destinations:
Bali and the Amalfi coast," she says. "But now everyone is going to the
Caribbean. Jamaica, Antigua, the Bahamas." She recommends Sandals Royal
Bahamian (242-327-6400) and the intimate Small Treasures properties
in the Bahamas (www.smalltreasures.bahamas.com).
"There was a trend away from just lying on the beach. But now people are
traumatized and are returning to old-fashioned, relaxing honeymoons."
Bed & Breakfast
When British handbag designer Lulu Guinness is looking for
inspiration, she heads to Florence and the Residenza dei Pucci:
"There are incredibly comfortable beds and lots of chintz fabrics. It
only has eight rooms and is perfectly located only 50 paces from the Duomo."
After visiting the Uffizi and stopping by the Santa Maria Novella perfumery
(which inspired her Perfume bag), she hits Zibibbo in Via di Terzollina
for dinner. "The menu is different every night."
Where does Artisanal's fromagier, Peter Kindel, go
when he needs a quick fix of the stinky stuff? "Paris," he responds. "Without
a doubt." Kindel goes to Barthelemy in the Seventh Arrondissement.
"They have Vacherin Mont d'Or the biggest cheese to get in France
right now. I'm a cheese-o-phile and a Francophile, so it's perfect!"