Celebrites as Tourist Attractions: Jackie Chan, Britney Spears, and More

Celebrity tourist attractions - star maps
Flickr, Donna Grayson

Millions of tourists visit Los Angeles every year in hopes of spotting a celebrity, but rarely see anything more than gated homes and unemployed actors in character costumes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some enterprising celebrities are finding ways to become tourist attractions in their own right, with live performances and theme parks for fans to see their favorites (or at least their stuff) live in person.

-Britney Spears just announced a two-year residency at Las Vegas‘ Planet Hollywood starting in December. Over 1,000 fans gathered in the Nevada desert for her helicopter arrival and performance on GMA. Tickets for the pop star’s first 16 shows this winter go on sale tomorrow.

-Action star Jackie Chan is opening his collection of historic sandalwood houses to the public in Beijing with a new theme park. The proposed park will show different cultural experiences with no admission, with some ticketed attractions to help maintain the antique buildings.

-Film and TV actors on Broadway have become de rigueur in recent years, a way to prove their serious talent and break away from roles they’ve become famous for. This season, you can catch Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Patrick Stewart on stage in New York City.

-Fans of Michael Jackson have been hoping that his Neverland Ranch in California might be turned into a park or pilgrimage spot like Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but part of the property was sold off in 2008 and has since fallen into disrepair. Hearing that his children would like to buy it back, Lady Gaga was rumored to offer to help with costs or open it to the public.

What’s Up With Celebrities Behaving Badly On Airplanes?


We all know that some celebrities don’t seem to know how to behave in public and that the list of celebrities removed from airplanes is continually growing. The most recent addition to this list is Soulja Boy, who was kicked off of an American Airlines flight on Friday when he wouldn’t return to his seat when asked to do so. Soulja Boy seemed apologetic about the incident when he spoke to TMZ saying, “It was a bad night and me and the flight staff didn’t see eye to eye. In hindsight, I’m extremely sorry for all inconvenience caused to the passengers and employees of the airline.”

Other celebrities who have been removed from airplanes:

  • Alex Baldwin for not turning off an electronic device
  • Naomi Campbell for losing her temper over lost luggage
  • Christian Slater for trying to board a plane with an unlicensed pistol
  • David Hasselhoff for being under the influence
  • Courtney Love for refusing to sit down and throwing a tantrum

And the list goes on.Woman Kicked Off Plane For Singing... Way Too Loud

Can You Afford To Stay At A Celebrity-Owned Hotel?

Tennis star Andy Murray, one of the U.K.’s most famous athletes and the reigning Olympic gold medalist, recently purchased the Cromlix House Hotel near his hometown of Dunblane, Scotland. Now closed for renovations, the country manor is expected to reopen in the spring, in time for the 2014 Ryder Cup golf tournament.

Perhaps more than any other sport, tennis requires its stars to become globetrotters. The biggest tournaments take place in the world’s most cosmopolitan locales – Dubai, Paris, Madrid, Miami, Shanghai, Monte Carlo – and as much, a multimillionaire star like Murray should know what constitutes a fine hotel.

Still, he’s the rare athlete that has made a foray into hospitality, a hobby (or investment) favored by Hollywood celebs. There’s no shortage of A-listers in the hotel game. And – surprise – staying under their roofs isn’t always a big-budget proposition.

Actor John Malkovich offers the cheapest access to star style. He’s a (reportedly hands-on) investor in The Big Sleep, a chain of budget hotels in England. Basic but contemporary, they advertise rates starting at £29, and reviews commonly cite rates around £50. In Dublin, U2’s Bono and The Edge revamped The Clarence, and rates at the historic property starts at a modest £109.

Director Francis Ford Coppola owns five hotels in Belize, Guatemala, Argentina, and Italy. Both of his top-rated resorts in Belize, Turtle Inn (pictured, top) and Blancaneaux Lodge, ring in under $300 in the offseason (and start upwards of $350 in high season). But La Lancha, his Guatemalan lakefront rainforest lodge, offers rooms in the low season for $125.Stateside, there aren’t many deals to be had. Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort in Utah is hard to book for less than $250 per night. Doris Day’s longtime pet-haven coastal hotel, Cypress Inn in Carmel, California, has online rates starting at $185 (plus $30 per pet – a small price for getting to frolic on the beach off-leash and accompany owners to all 12 restaurants). Cooking-show royalty Paula Deen rents her two-bedroom beach house on Georgia’s Tybee Island, named Y’all Come Inn, for around $295 per night.

Yet those rates don’t come close to the prices that Richard Gere and Robert DeNiro command at their New York properties. Gere co-owns Westchester County’s luxurious Bedford Post Inn, where getaways start at $400 per night. DeNiro’s posh pad in downtown Manhattan, The Greenwich Hotel, runs $525 and up – topping even Donatella Versace’s resort on Australia’s Gold Coast, the grand Palazzo Versace (pictured), which starts in the $300 to $400 range per night.

[Photo credits: top, Turtle Inn by Coppola Resorts; bottom, Palazzo Versace]

New Website Maps The DC Area Homes Of Stars And Politicos


Bob Woodward Home on BigwigDigs.com


What do Bill Clinton, Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock have in common? In fact, all three have lived in the Washington, DC, area, according to Bigwig Digs, a new website that maps the former homes of celebrities.

OK, so the term “celebrity” is used loosely here. While Hollywood stars like Bullock, Stallone, Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn have called Washington and its suburbs home, most of the stars on Bigwig Digs’ maps are government-related, from former presidents to political strategists and insiders such as Karl Rove, Rahm Emanuel and J. Edgar Hoover. But there are also musicians (Duke Ellington, Dave Grohl), journalists (Bob Woodward, David Brinkley), sports stars (Mike Tyson, Alex Ovechkin), and more.Bigwig Digs, founded by real estate news website UrbanTurf, launched on October 1 with about 80 bigwig listings, a number that they hope to grow with help from the public.

As a 20-year resident of DC, I’ll add a couple homes to the list right now: during the early Clinton years, then White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos lived in a flat above Kramerbooks and Afterwords. Also, during the George W. Bush years, Donald Rumsfeld’s house across from the French Ambassador’s residence was a point of interest during walking tours of the Kalorama neighborhood, mostly because of the 24/7 (not so) secret security detail outside.

In addition to adding more celebrity addresses, Bigwig Digs could enhance its user interface by adding a full metropolitan DC map and neighborhood maps so users can see celebrity homes in context. But all in all, it’s a fun site to browse.

15 palace hotels that will make you feel like royalty

crown Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live like a king or queen? While you may not have been born into royalty, you can still live lavishly, if only for a weekend.

While five-star hotels can offer plush bedding, spacious penthouse suites, and high-class amenities, it’s nothing compared to the luxurious living offered at these palace properties. Genuine artifacts from centuries ago adorn the halls, acres of lush gardens, furniture made of gold – no expense is spared at a palace hotel. Not only that, but you’ll be sleeping in the same space as kings, queens, and society’s most elite members once did, long ago.

Sound like fun? Before you start planning your next royal getaway, check out the gallery below.

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