Wondering where to go on your next vacation? We asked several of our favorite TV personalities (and avid travelers) for the inside scoop. Here are their picks:
1. Celebrity chef Todd English, host of international travel and cooking series “Food Trip with Todd English,” plans to travel to Thailand. He has plenty to recommend there and elsewhere:
Phuket, Thailand: The super-luxurious Amanpuri (amanresorts..com) resort on the West Coast of Phuket (pictured above). English enjoyed over-the-top pampering when he stayed at Leonardo DiCaprio’s villa there.
St. Barts: The Eden Rock (edenrockhotel.com) is the place to go for the ultimate in pampering. The resort offers a private villa for rent that with a private recording studio.
While the famous Nikki Beach can be celeb central, English prefers to eat at La Plage at Tom Beach Hotel. “You can sit at a table with your feet in the sand and have a lunch of whole grilled fish. Plus, the french fries are great,“ he said. He also recommended L’Isola for good Italian food on the island.
His all-time summer faves: Italy's Amalfi Coast and Sardinia, and the South of France.
2. Andrew Zimmern, host of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World” on the Travel Channel plans to visit his dad in Portland, Maine. He usually makes it a road trip.
“We hit Mystic Seaport (mysticseaport.org) on the way up, along the (Connecticut) coast. We like to stop in Boston, too.” While in Boston, he enjoys the pizza at Santarpios (santarpiospizza.com), “a super unique place. There’s an old, retired grizzled bartender, and he grills lamb and Italian sausage in a little barbecue fireplace built into the bar.”
“One of my top-five restaurants in the country is a Japanese place in Boston called o ya.” (oyarestaurantboston.com).
In Maine: He loves the steamers at Day’s, a seafood takeout spot in Yarmouth, outside Portland. “We’ve actually gone their twice in one day,” Zimmern said. He also enjoys the buttery lobster roll at Red’s Eats shack in Wiscasatt. But his personal fave: Five Islands Lobster Company (fiveislandslobster.com). “The location is spectacular — it’s at a dock sticking out into the ocean. The deep-fried clams, fries and homemade coleslaw are great.”
Most recent weekend getaway: The Ritz-Carlton on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. “It’s the perfect getaway for a couple, ” Zimmern said. “Restaurants are rocking, the beach is superb. Rates are amazing because it’s summer, the beginning of their off season.” Rates at the Ritz start at $249 a night during summer.
3. Gretta Monahan, style expert on “The Rachael Ray Show,” and Tim Gunn's “fashion accomplice” on "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style,” will be renting a villa in Cap D’Antibes in France and going to Italy. Her top picks for pampered getaways:
Four Seasons Bosphorus in Istanbul (fourseasons.com/bosphorus): “The number one thing for me was experiencing the Hammam [Turkish bath] treatment. It’s done in a classic, but very luxurious way. You get massaged and scrubbed. I haven’t been able to top it, ” she said.
The Greenbrier: Monahan’s friend Katie Lee Joel suggested she try The Greenbrier (greenbrier.com) in West Virginia. “It has a beautiful southern vibe and would make a fun girls’ trip. They have a signature facial I want to get. I’m a facial nut,” she said.
All-time summer faves: Relaxing and going to clamshacks in the Hamptons and Nantucket.
4. Bertram Van Munster, executive producer and creator of “Amazing Race,” where he was wrapping up his 53rd trip around the globe in nine years. When he’s not planning the next race, here’s where he likes to go:
Saint Pedro de Atacama: Van Munster described this area in Northern Chile as “a very, very special place,” with beautiful salt lakes all around. “It’s spectacular.”
Santiago, Chile: “It’s a beautiful, metropolitan city,” he said. From there, you can go across the Andes mountains to Mendoza in Argentina. An added bonus in South America: Little, if any, time difference and jet lag.
All-time summer faves: Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, cities that can normally get a lot of rain, are very nice in the summer, van Munster said.