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]

Missing Cruise Ship Spotted Off Coast Of Ireland

A cruise ship that went missing back in January was spotted drifting toward the coast of Ireland late last week. The M/V Lyubov Orlova was on its way to the scrapyard when it broke away from a Canadian tug in international waters last month and hadn’t been seen since. It has been floating aimlessly across the Northern Atlantic and is now reportedly within 1200 nautical miles of the Irish coast.

The Russian-built cruise liner was seized in St. John’s, Newfoundland, back in 2010 because its owners were in debt to the tune of $250,000 and hadn’t paid the crew in over five months. In February of last year, the ship was bought by Neptune International Shipping and was scheduled to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic. That’s where it was headed when the ship broke free from the tug charged with delivering it to its final destination. When the crew of the tug failed to recapture it due to high winds and extremely choppy seas the Orlova was left to drift across the open ocean. Canadian authorities refused to mount a salvage operation because the vessel was adrift in international waters.

While in operation, the Orlova was designed to serve as an expedition ship, carrying passengers to both the Arctic and Antarctic. The past few years haven’t been kind to it, however, and while it sat empty in the St. John’s Harbor it has fallen into a state of disrepair. At the time of its departure it was also said to be overrun with rats.

The current owner of the vessel, Reza Shoeybi, is now scrambling to reclaim the ship. He says that he is working with salvage companies in Ireland to try to retrieve the vessel. Bad weather in the North Atlantic is hampering those efforts, however, and it may be some time before it can be captured and towed into shore.

In the meantime, the ship is open to rights of salvage as long as it remains in international waters. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own cruise ship, now is your chance.

[Photo Credit: Dan Conlin via WikiMedia]

Around The World Without Flying, Irish Guy Wages War On Thoughtless Living

Traveling around the world without flying, Ireland’s Niall Doherty quit his regular 9-to-5 job a little over a year ago, choosing to pursue his passions and help others escape mediocrity. Living a nomadic life ever since, Doherty has never stayed in one place more than four months and is quick to reveal his secret to breaking away and doing life his way.

“I work online, meaning I can work from anywhere with Internet access,” says Doherty on his website, simply titled “I make most of my money from web design, but a few other income streams include affiliate marketing, donations and an online course I created to help people overcome fear.”

It’s that whole notion of helping others overcome fear that caught our attention. Based on his book, “Disrupting The Rabblement,” Doherty brings key ingredients needed in any recipe for an extended trip around the world where self-reliance is required.Teaching readers “how to think for yourself, face your fears, and live your dreams,” Doherty builds on a 1901 James Joyce essay, “The Day of the Rabblement,” in which Joyce criticized the Irish Literary Theatre for abandoning true and good things and surrendering to the popular will.

Today, says Doherty, 30, people have become the property of rabblement by watching TV regularly, eating processed foods, obsessing with celebrities and other activities.

Sound interesting? Think an around the world trip is for you? Doherty tells all on his website, detailing finances, where he has been and where he plans to go for subscribers (free) to his blog.

How does it all work?

To complete the next leg of his world tour, Doherty needed a way to continue from India, found out that Costa Cruises Romantica was sailing over the weekend and sent Costa the video below.

Costa had the space available and Doherty is currently sailing and blogging his way from Cochin, India, for six days to Phuket, Thailand. Check his Facebook for details or follow @ndoherty13 on Twitter.

[Photo credit- Flickr user Artiii]

‘Twilight’ Film Debut Brings Travelers From Around The World

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2″ opens worldwide on November 16 and fans of the series have some unique options for getting excited about the final installment. Fan clubs, cinemas and tour operators from around the world are offering special events, viewings and even a chance to be on the red carpet with the stars of the film.

In theaters-
Across the country and around the world, theaters have different versions of a Twilight Saga Marathon, showing all five films. In Seattle, not far from Forks, Washington, where the story originates, Regal Cinemas has a special deal: a $15 marathon package that gets loyalty club members the entire saga from the first episode, ending with the 10 p.m. showing of “Breaking Dawn Part 2.”

Live and in person-
The Los Angeles debut of the film brings a red carpet event and Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has a once in a lifetime experience, which they are auctioning off as a VIP package for the world premiere of “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” The winner will get four tickets to the world premiere on November 12.

Starting with a pre-reception with the film’s director Bill Condon along with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and other actors from the film, the winner and three guests then go to the Nokia Theatre where VIP seats await for the world premiere, followed by an after party with the cast.

Fans can bid on the package between now and November 7, 2012. At last look, the bid stood at $6000.

Remote but personal-
Can’t make it to the premiere anyway? Yahoo! will exclusively Livestream the world premiere on Monday, November 12, starting at 8:30 Eastern time. That streaming video will no doubt be the backdrop for “Breaking Dawn” premiere parties held around the world.

Partygoers attending will watch previous installments of the series and play games like Name That Vampire, enjoy syringe blood shots or try special Twilight treats like Werewolf Kibble and Vampire Bites.

Coming from around the planet-
Interest in the “Twilight Saga” is worldwide and the vacation planners at Tour America in Dublin have suggestions for fans of the series that visit the places where the movie was filmed.

One idea is to fly into Seattle for a three-night stay in the Warwick Seattle Hotel, in the heart of the city. Pick up a car and head west towards Port Angeles, a coastal town with access to “Twilight” locations including Bella Italia, the restaurant where Edward and Bella had their first date.

Another idea puts visitors at The Quality Inn Uptown, which has views both of Port Angeles harbor and Olympic National Park where the National Park Service cares for mountain vistas, meadows of wildflowers, colorful ocean tide pools and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests left in the country, not far from the town of Forks.

Win a trip to Italy-
To celebrate the conclusion of the “Twilight” series, our friends at AOL’s Moviefone and Summit Entertainment are giving away an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy, one of the locations on the Cullen’s global quest.

The winner gets a six-day stay in “Lo Stivale.” To enter, like Moviefone’s Facebook page and leave your name and email on the “Breaking Dawn” tab.

To date, the Twilight franchise has grossed over $2.5 billion in worldwide box office. Since the 2005 release of the first novel in the series, Twilight, the books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide with translations into over 30 different languages.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer]

d more here:

Video: Naked Ham Man In Banned British Commercial

I knew it was going to be a good day when I woke up this morning, turned on the computer to browse the news on, and came across a hot naked man singing to a ham sandwich.

Admittedly, such imagery isn’t to everyone’s taste (seriously? But there’s cured meat!). But that’s not why Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned this witty commercial for Richmond Ham. It got, uh, canned, for a failure to uphold truthful standards in advertising, by declaring itself “Britain’s only natural ham made with 100% natural ingredients.” The ham is actually made in Ireland.