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Stars retreat to Mexico

By Kendis Gibson
CNN Headline News

La Casa Que Canta resort
La Casa que Canta is a resort on Mexico's Pacific coast.

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(CNN) -- It's the vacation spot of choice for everyone from Oscar winner Jack Nicholson and model Claudia Schiffer to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and Latin singer Luis Miguel.

La Casa que Canta near Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on the Pacific coast is as remote as one can get from Hollywood. About an hour's flight from Mexico City, four hours from Los Angeles, California, and a 15-minute drive from Ixtapa, many of Hollywood's biggest stars have made the trek to the resort as their retreat from the limelight.

While hotel officials at La Casa que Canta keep tabs on the A-list stars who've made their way to the resort, the staff, including butlers, bartenders and chefs, have their own memories of experiences with some of the best in the entertainment world.

When Nicholson first showed up a few years ago, the actor stayed in the resort's $690-a-night suite. Nicholson had a personal butler, wraparound-balcony views of the bay, and of course, daily spa treatments.

Imagine Jack with his trademark sunglasses sunning by the pool, as many of the hotel's two dozen guests apparently saw at the time. According to the staff, the Hollywood heavyweight didn't push his weight around at the resort.

However, Shannon Doherty may have been a little more demanding. The legendary bad girl wasn't necessarily bad while in the tropics, but perhaps she figured she would be flooded by throngs of fans.

The former star of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Charmed" checked into the hotel under the alias, Maria Chase. She stayed in a suite similar to the one Nicholson had, but she made more requests for privacy than he ever did. Instead of heading to the spa like regular folks, she had her massages and treatments in her room. She eventually stepped outside to go into the town of Zihuatanejo, but when she did, she went swimming with dolphins, the folks at the hotel did. I guess it beats the sharks they usually swim with in Hollywood.

The resort and town have been such a perfect nest for celebs that many come back year after year. Cindy Crawford is a repeat visitor, as is director and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola. When director Luis Mandoki wanted a locale for his 1994 Meg Ryan flick, "When a Man Loves a Woman," a quick location scout trip turned into an immediate fascination with the setting for his movie.

And perhaps that's the reason for Tinseltown's fascination with the tiny town. In an industry where gossip and rumors are the way of the game, this resort can be relaxingly familiar.

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