Photo Of The Day: The ‘Real’ Bellagio

jrodmanjr, Flickr

We’re not talking about the one in Las Vegas. Today’s featured photo is again sourced from our Gadling Flickr Pool. Flickr Pool member jrodmanjr claims the center of Lake Como, Italy may be “the only place where the tourists outnumber the locals.”

We’d love to feature your photos and videos on Gadling, so please add them to our Flickr Pool (with Creative Commons licensing!), tag @GadlingTravel on Instagram or email us at OfTheDay@gadling.com.

6 Destinations Made More Popular By Celebrities

Travel Channel and the Esquire Network are both set to air TV shows that ask celebrities to give local perspectives on their favorite destinations. While one can argue that Travel Channel is taking Esquire’s already developed idea and running with it, it’s undeniable that this fascination with celebrity travel is nothing new. In fact, celebrities have been popularizing places for years. Here’s a few examples of places where the stars have come out to play (and crowds of people soon followed).

George Clooney and Lake Como, Italy
George Clooney bought an 18th-century lakeside villa here in 2001, and it’s been a tourist hotspot ever since. According to the Daily Beast, the actor has an egg-throwing contraption that wards off paparazzi and other gawkers.Brigitte Bardot and Armação dos Búzios, Brazil
French sexpot Brigitte Bardot famously vacationed in Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, but she’s also credited with popularizing the resort town of Armação dos Búzios in Brazil during the 1960s. Townspeople are so happy with the tourism surge they erected a statue in the starlet’s honor.

Elvis Presley and Hawaii
It’s no secret Elvis loved Hawaii. From his first visit in the 1950s, it remained his favorite vacation destination. Elvis made three movies there, including the immensely popular “Blue Hawaii.” It’s also the setting of the first broadcast concert via satellite, “Aloha from Hawaii,” which Elvis starred in.

Sir Richard Branson and Necker Island, British Virgin Isles
Sure, he owns the island, but he also made it a popular vacation spot. Famous names like Steven Spielberg, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, Harrison Ford and Pamela Anderson have all visited at one time or another. For those that can afford to go to Necker Island, it’s ultra-luxe accommodations and private submarine make it one of the ultimate destinations.

Britney Spears and Turtle Island, Fiji
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline famously vacationed to this private island after their marriage in 2005. It was also the honeymoon locale for Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Both marriages ended in divorce, but the island still remains one of the most sought-after (and priciest) honeymoon destinations.

Jay-Z & Beyonce and Cuba
This is just a projection, but earlier this year Jay-Z and Beyonce visited Cuba to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. As travel restrictions become more loose, it’s likely more Americans will want to follow in their footsteps.

Photo Of The Day: Contemplating Lake Como In Italy


In northern Italy, the Alps meet Lake Como at the comune of Bellagio to form some of the most beautiful vistas in Europe. Not only has the region provided inspiration for the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, but it is unequivocally gorgeous. Instagram user Jason Rodman absolutely captured the best thing to do at locations such as this, just sitting alone with your thoughts.

If you have a great travel photo, share it with us and it could be featured as our Photo of the Day! You can do so either by tagging your Instagram photos with #Gadling and mentioning us @GadlingTravel, like Jason did, or by submitting it to our Gadling Flickr Pool.

[Photo Credit: Instagram user jrodmanjr]

Gadling’s favorite hotels for 2011

gadling favorite hotels 2011

Where do your loyal well-traveled Gadling contributors especially love to spend the night? We polled Gadling writers on their favorite hotels in 2010. Think of Gadling’s favorite hotels for 2011 as our version of a hotel tip sheet.

Laurel Miller. The Kirketon in Sydney for its quirkiness, cool bar, small size, helpful staff and retro-mod style, blissfully free of big-city attitude. Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, South Australia as a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence in a staggeringly beautiful, intimate setting hovering over a private beach covered with wallaby tracks. For high-end luxury, Ecuador’s Hacienda Zuleta. It’s historic, in the foothills of Andes in northern Ecuador, a working dairy/horse farm/creamery/condor preserve. It offers an intensely Ecuadorean experience, from the local indigenous culture to hospitality, geography, and food that is worth the trek. And lastly theWit in Chicago with its ideal location on the Loop, across the street from the river.

Mike Barish. The Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming. Located right in the heart of Jackson, a historic hotel steeped in cowboy tradition. Grab a drink at the hotel’s Silver Dollar Bar after a day exploring Grand Teton National Park.

Grant Martin. Favorite hotel of the year was the Elysian, right in downtown Chicago. Beautiful, huge rooms, clean, elegant and sharp appointments, razor-sharp staff and a perfect location make this the best spot to spend a long weekend in the Loop.

Annie Scott. The Capella Hotel in Singapore remains a favorite, as does the Hotel Imperial in Vienna. I’m a sucker for luxury. I also loved staying at Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, a treehouse hotel in Zambia, despite a harrowing adventure with a giant bug which I eventually captured with a teacup and saucer.

McLean Robbins. CastaDiva Resort, Lake Como. Opened in June, this is the first five-star resort to open on the lake in about 100 years. It’s stunning and unique. Used to be a private home to the muse of Bellini, sat empty for decades before being gutted and re-done. Top-notch service, food and spa.

Don George. This year’s hotel highlights were the following trio in Peru. All combined great style and comfort with a deep sense of immersion in the local place, through their architecture, cuisine, artful decorations, and programs that featured local people to promote local sights and attractions. In Urubamba: Sol & Luna. In Aguas Calientes: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. In Cusco: Inkaterra La Casona.Tom Johansmeyer: My favorite hotel will always be On the Ave, on W 77th Street, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway in Manhattan. I once lived there for a few months, and while doing so, I fell in love with the Upper West Side, ultimately moving into the neighborhood. Since my stay in 2004 the rooms have been renovated, but the sixteenth-floor terrace remains. On your next trip to the city, skip the big names, and head up to my neighborhood: it’s worth it to stay a bit out of the way.

Melanie Nayer. Sticking with the Shanghai theme (see yesterday’s favorite destinations post) my favorite hotel this year is the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong.

Karen Walrond. I’m a big fan of the boutique hotel. Recently I stayed at Hotel Lucia in Portland and was blown away by the customer service, and it’s not too expensive. In my homeland of Trinidad, I love the Coblenz Inn, an upscale little boutique place. I also love Acajou, an upscale-yet-very-rustic eco lodge in Grand Riviere, Trinidad. Lovely.

David Farley. The Royal Park Hotel in Tokyo. If you can, get upgraded. Upgrades mean an early-evening cocktail hour with complimentary drinks and snacks every evening.

Kraig Becker. The Chico Hot Spring Resort located in Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park in the beautiful Absaroka Mountains. Rooms start as low as $49/night and range up to $300/night for luxurious cabins with some of the most spectacular views around. After a gourmet meal in the Chico dining room, guests can soak in the pool, which is drained and refilled each night with water from the local hot springs.

Catherine Bodry. Songtsam hotels in China

Alex Robertson Textor. Buenos Aires cE Hotel de Diseño. I loved the hotel’s location and thorough minimalism (concrete walls and floors) as well as the ample room size and delicious breakfast. The rate, which I found through Tablet Hotels, was also very reasonable, at $109 including taxes.

[Image: Flickr | doug_wertman]