How Stars like Oprah, Justin Beiber & Jessica Alba Travel

(Variety) When Oprah Winfrey gets wanderlust and sets her sights on a European jaunt, she calls friend and luxury travel expert Simone Amorico, CEO and co-founder of the Rome-based tour company Access Italy.

“We took Oprah to Sicily to see the ‘Godfather’s’ house from the movie,” says Amorico. “We took her to Rome to see the Appian Way, the old Roman roads, which she loved, it was very rustic. You feel like you’re in a Fellini movie. We took Oprah and Gayle [King] truffle hunting in Umbria with a group of truffle hunters and their pack of dogs.”

And yes, rare white truffles were procured on Winfrey’s truffle hunting excursion.

“Now, after all these years and her close relationship with my dad, Angelo, Oprah is a friend,” says Amorico. “We stay at her place in Montecito.”

Amorico, alongside his father and brother, operates Access Italy as a way to provide entertainment industry figures —Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Aaron Paul and Jessica Alba are also clients — and various other well-heeled travelers (think: Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of Yelp) with a personalized curated tourism experience that goes above and beyond what one would get procuring the services of your typical travel agent.

Whether it’s taking a helicopter wine tour of Tuscany or hopping on board a yacht bound for Ponza Island and the Amalfi Coast, Access Italy can arrange all that and more. All while preserving the privacy of the high-profile celebrity.

“Jessica Alba came to Italy at the end of June with her family for a last-minute trip, which was during the busiest time of the year,” says Amorico, who arranged for Alba and family to stay at Rome’s posh Gran Melia hotel. “Our job is to make sure that these high-end profile celebrities don’t feel that it’s very high season, so we were able to have them go visit the Colosseum through the Gladiator Entrance, which was very exclusive. We also have access to behind-the-scene tours of museums and the Vatican and Sistine Chapel when they are closed to the general public. The pope was there and [Alba] got to see him pass by after his morning Mass. He said ‘Hi’ to us. I know his timing.”

Access Italy is only one company amidst a wave of travel experts and resort destinations catering to celebrity jetsetters looking for a vacation that exceeds the average humdrum holiday.

At the Ocean Club Bahamas, a Four Seasons Resort, located on Paradise Island — the property did not incur damage during Hurricane Dorian — those looking to pack light can take part in its no-luggage-required program, paying anywhere between $15,000 and $100,000 for a custom-selected designer wardrobe, from boxer shorts to workout wear to purses and jewelry, which will outfit them during their entire stay. And they get to keep the clothes.

“Most of our guests are high-end travelers from New York, because it’s so easy to get here from there,” says Kristen Whyly, resort manager at the Ocean Club. “If you want a weekend away from the city, you can be here in less time than you would spend sitting in traffic driving to the Hamptons.”

For celebrities seeking out a more far-flung adventure, there is the Four Seasons Bora Bora. From its over-the-water bungalows, with plunge pools, to private snorkeling and diving excursions with a local marine biologist, the French Polynesian hideaway attracts the likes of Justin Bieber.

“The main thing celebrity guests are looking for when with us is the absolute assurance of privacy and comfort,” says Diego Stembert, general manager of the resort. “Our private island setting provides us with geographic privacy, and our security team handles the rest. As many industry guests arrive by private jet, we will either pick them up at the Bora Bora Airport via private yacht or helicopter and bring them directly to the resort.”

Stembert refers to the Four Seasons Bora Bora (pictured) as a “stunning South Pacific sanctuary.” Just an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles, and in the same time zone as Hawaii, Bora Bora is a natural choice, he says, for “a luxury island escape.”

And should a notable big-screen name wish to check in using a don de plume? No problem, says Stembert.

“For guests wanting to stay totally anonymous, we can provide an alias and cater to them directly in their villa, from meals to spa treatments, and arrange private excursions to ensure the utmost privacy as they explore Bora Bora,” he says. “Our team is adept at hosting high-profile guests, so discretion and service are always at the highest level, allowing these guests to simply relax and enjoy themselves in a beautiful place.”

 

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