Cover story: Holiday like a star! On this World Tourism Day, celebrities offer their plush homes for stay
From celebrities like the Emmy Award-nominee Arjun Mathur, and Mandira Bedi to music sensation Shekhar Ravjiani and the Jaipur royal family — famous folks are now turning hosts
Sit at the head of the table at a celebrity’s home, sleep in the bed that belongs to a star or ask a royal butler at a palace to get you your morning cuppa. These are not fantasy scenarios. Access to the homes of the rich and famous is now a reality and the bookings are just a click away. The stars are now playing host by opening the doors of their lush and beautiful homes for hire. Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney recently announced the name of the lucky guest who was hosted by the Clooney’s at their gorgeous Lake Como home in Italy. The 18th-century luxurious estate has a tennis court, gym, landscaped gardens, ornately carved ceilings, massive bathrooms and a separate ‘pizza room’. The initiative raked up a total sum of $1,272,361 which was pledged to a charitable foundation.
Back home in India, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan opened up their New Delhi house for guests. Gauri, who is a globally renowned interior designer, has redesigned her New Delhi house for SRK’s fans to come and stay. In homage to Shah Rukh’s signature pose from over 30 years of Bollywood superstardom, the ‘Home with Open Arms’ campaign gave residents of India a chance to stay in the Khan family’s home. Gauri Khan had collaborated with a homestay aggregator. Taking the cue from these stars, we have exciting options this season. With the world open for travel now, ahead of World Tourism Day (September 27) we give you a look at the homes owned by celebrities that can be your luxe star-spangled abode for your next getaway.
Sea and believe
Following the footsteps of Khans, actress Mandira Bedi has also enlisted her swanky Madh Island holiday home on the homestay website. Now you have the opportunity to stay at her sea-facing villa with a pool, four bedrooms and five bathrooms. The cost of accommodation per night is around ` 50,000. The house was earlier available for shooting, however with the lockdown it was out of use, and hence Mandira’s old property bought about 15 years ago is now ready to host guests. “It’s a four-bedroom beautiful villa with nice furniture, a little bit like my house and yet not,” said the actress.
A beautiful, fully-serviced three-bedroom villa with a terrace deck, lounge and plunge pool and a mangrove view combines the amenities of a hotel with the comfort and luxury of a villa. Overlooking the Candolim mangroves, centrally located in Baga (Goa), is the fully-furnished property Serene Sol — owned by noted music composer Shekhar Ravjiani (of Vishal-Shekhar duo) — which still retains an innate sense of privacy and tranquility. You can rent the villa at Rs. 35,000 per night.
Emmy-nominated actor Arjun Mathur is also a super host as his home offers a slice of his personal tryst with travel around the world. Tucked in the quiet neighborhood of Siolim in North Goa, the house is named Tranquil Haven. Arjun’s home boasts a pool, a private garden and lots of natural light. What more? The house is personally designed by Arjun and his wife Tiya Tejpal. They have handpicked each item in the two-bedroom home. The wood elements and the shades of blue, green and aquamarine give Arjun’s home an earthy and grounded vibe. At Rs. 7,928 per night.
Switch off and rejuvenate
The white bougainvillea climbs over the cotton tree and hangs like a veil covering the sun at day and dances by night. This 350 sq foot beautiful space, PurrOm Healing Centre, in Kamshet near Mumbai is perfect for a couple or a group of two. And who is the host? Celebrity hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani, who is a popular name in showbiz with a client list including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Hrithik Roshan, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. She proudly calls this place ‘don’t come here to find yourself, instead to lose!’ A private enclosed handmade plunge pool covered with glass all around poses a perfect opportunity for stargazing. This eco-friendly home is nestled between two Gulmohar trees and from the glasshouse, the dome huts to the Yoga platform — everything is handmade. Located in a very remote area with the close concern of the environment, Sapna’s house doesn’t allow you to smoke and drink inside the house and preferably serves vegetarian food with set limited timings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At Rs. 4,000 per night.
Play royal for the day
Meanwhile, royal palaces offer a whole new level of luxe living. Although, there are a few hotels in India that have been converted from royal forts and houses, now you can stay with the Maharajas and Maharanis in their home with them. Leading this category is Jaipur Royal Family’s Princess Diya Kumari. Her royal house called City Palace is filled with stories of the opulent lives and history of the royal family. This breathtaking heritage palace is now a stay option for guests.
The 300-year-old City Palace of Jaipur has played host to numerous guests over centuries including Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Bill Clinton and Jackie Kennedy among many other dignitaries. And since 2019, the Gudliya Suite at the City Palace is accessible to outside guests, with polo-player 23-year-old Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh becoming the first king to host the guests outside the royal family.
Located in the heart of Jaipur in Rajasthan, the City Palace is one of India’s most iconic buildings. Guests can book and stay in the luxurious Gudliya Suite, located within one of the private sections of the royal palace that, until now, has been used for the royals and their special guests. The suite includes a lounge, kitchen, luxurious bathroom and private, indoor swimming pool.
In addition, guests are provided an inspiring journey into the rich history, cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Jaipur’s royal family. The stay also includes a private butler and guide who will arrange curated city experiences including shopping tours, guided walks through local museums and other excursions, which are not to be missed when you stay in Jaipur. Moreover, the proceeds from each booking will go to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, dedicated to supporting rural women and artisans in Rajasthan. Gudliya Suite is priced at about Rs. 595,600 per night.
“I am thrilled that my family and I are partnering with Airbnb to bring the splendour of Rajasthan to life for travellers from around the world. My own travels with homestays have made me feel very welcome in new cities and cultures, and I am happy that the experience of quintessential Indian hospitality will be shared with others,” the statement quotes Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh.
Celebrity houses you can rent outside India:
■ Elizabeth Taylor’s Palm Springs, California house at Rs. 46,900 approx.
■ Charlie Chaplin’s LA house at Rs. 14,200 approx.
■ Julie Andrews’s Accord, NY house at Rs. 27,400 approx.
■ Denzel Washington’s Malibu, California house at Rs. 33,300 approx.
■ Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs house at Rs. 1,81,400 approx.
■ Bing Crosby’s California house at Rs. 5,87,600 approx.
These properties are available on Airbnb