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How, where to get away like a star

  • Story Highlights
  • You can enjoy the same posh places as the stars
  • Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in California is great for weekend getaway
  • Learn to samba at Fasano in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Shop your heart out in Villa Mangiacane in Tuscany, Italy
  • Next Article in Living »
By Melissa Biggs Bradley
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InStyle

(InStyle.com) -- Check out these seven truly amazing destinations and plan the best place for your great escape.

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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand is the best place for an adrenaline rush.

GIRL'S GETAWAY: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa -- Ojai, California

Why it's great: This Spanish Colonial hideaway offers 308 rooms -- many with fireplaces and private terraces with mountain views. (No wonder Kate Walsh celebrated her wedding here.)

What to do: Activities range from hiking and horseback riding to the more esoteric (take a watercolor class or customize your own massage oil.) Video Watch what stars pack for trips »

Bring it back: Honey lip balm from a local bee farm; pixie tangerines (some of the sweetest fruits in this valley).

Book it: ojairesort.com

HIP SIGHTSEEING: Haymarket Hotel -- London, UK

Why it's great: Haymarket manages to capture the cool, contemporary buzz of today's London to a tee. It's where Posh and Becks stay when they cross the pond and where Jude Law drops by for dinner. All 50 guest rooms are spacious and done in a bold color scheme.

What to do: Shop at OG2 the new shop from of-the-moment designer Duro Olowu, whose vintage prints draw clients like Sienna Miller; visit Eco, a Green store opened by Colin Firth in Chiswick; or head to the Fashion and Textile Museum, spearheaded by designer Zandra Rhodes. For London's hottest new table, return to Haymarket's Brumus.

Bring it back: Blue-suede weekend bag at Conran; new Lulu Guinness jewelry collection (we love the glamour-girl charm); colorful candles or twist tumblers from Nina Campbell.

Book it: firmdale.com

SHOPPING SPREE: Villa Mangiacane -- Tuscany, Italy

Why it's great: You'll feel as if you stumbled onto a Bernardo Bertolucci set at this retreat, with its sculpture garden and gnarled olive grove. The 26 guest rooms are located in two villas, but romantics should stay in the 16th-century main villa, whose loggia is decorated with historic frescoes. You can request to have dinner in a new spot each night (try the dreamy vineyard).

What to do: Florence is a short drive away -- spend the day shopping at the city's hottest fashion emporium, Luisa via Roma, and Loretta Caponi for exquisite lingerie, then head to the roof of Hotel Continentale, where the Ferragamos go for sunset cocktails.

Bring it back: In Florence, find hand-finished leather gloves from the family-run Madova shop; soaps from the historic Santa Maria Novella pharmacy; a bottle of Mangiacane wine (the property produces Merlot and Chianti).

Book it: steinhotels.com/mangiacane

LAZY BEACH TIME: Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico

Why it's great : Located on the super-hot Riviera Maya, which has drawn the likes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Rosewood Mayakoba has 128 suites, which are actually freestanding villas with luminous bathrooms and private plunge pools. It's also eco-minded: Building materials are indigenous, and guests can navigate the property's network of freshwater canals via electric boats.

What to do: Visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum; have dinner in the beach town of Playa del Carmen (try the hip Glass Bar/ Di Vino); snorkel in underwater caves (cenotes); or book a treatment at the Rosewood's spa, which occupies its own little island.

Bring it back: A string hammock from Tulum for lounging; beauty products, like scented candles and linen spray, made with local ingredients, such as tropical wood and coconut, from chic eco-retreat (Coqui Coqui).

Book it: rosewoodmayakoba.com

COZY WEEKEND: Winvian -- Morris, Connecticut

Why it's great: When it comes to throwing the ultimate weekend get-together, this new 113-acre resort is the place. The heart of the property is a restored colonial farmhouse, filled with antiques, but guests stay in 18 lavish cottages -- each boasting a unique design scheme and at least one open fireplace. One pick: Stable, a duplex with a sunken bathtub.

What to do: Plenty of outdoor activities, like hiking and antiquing, but you may want to stick close to Winvian's spa (facials with top U.K. aesthetician Eve Lom's products) and fabulous restaurant (the chef trained under Alain Ducasse).

Bring it back: Furniture from the historic town of Woodbury (once home to American antiques dealer Wayne Pratt); a first edition from a nearby antiquarian book dealer, like Nutmeg Books in Torrington; maple syrup tapped at a local farm.

Book it: winvian.com

ADRENALINE RUSH: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Why it's great: This luxe lodge is situated on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm in Hawke's Bay, one of the country's premier wine regions. It offers 24 suites, spread among several cottages (all have private decks with sweeping views).

What to do: There's no end to the activities, whether you love the beach (surfing) or the countryside (hiking). Ask the lodge to arrange sporting expeditions with an expert guide, a helicopter excursion, or a trip to local wineries. And don't miss the stunning seaside golf course, designed to make the most of the natural topography.

Bring it back: Sheepskin slippers (locally made from merino wool); a bottle of sauvignon blanc (Hawke's Bay is known for it).

Book it: capekidnappers.com

SURFING AND SAMBA: Fasano -- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Why it's great: Rio tops current hot lists, and there's no better place to soak up the vibe than at the new Fasano. Located in a prime spot overlooking Ipanema beach, the hotel has 82 rooms, ten suites and three mini apartments -- all designed by Philippe Starck -- and boasts a 1950s bossa-nova ambience.

What to do: Sip Rio's best caipirinhas, the national cocktail, at Club Chocolate; spend a day at Posto 10 (the city's chicest beach); or for authentic samba music, head to Carioca a Gema (but never before 11 P.M.).

Bring it back: A teeny Isabel Capeto bikini and matching sarong; a CD by Gilberto Gil; loose Thai pants from the outdoor Ipanema hippie market.

Book it: fasano.com.br E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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