Playgrounds of the rich and famous
Want to know where the A-listers are hanging out this summer? Darragh McManus reveals their secrets
Published 20/08/2011 | 05:00
Portofino sounds like a perfect place: an ancient fishing village on the Italian Riviera, it's charming, picturesque and exclusive. And if you're rich, famous and highly discerning, Portofino makes an ideal place to hang out.
The millionaires' playground is "an exquisitely beautiful place", according to U magazine deputy editor Deanne O'Connor. "Who wouldn't want to spend time there? And by virtue of the fact it's a small village it retains that air of exclusivity.
"Plus Portofino has a long history of being a playground for aristocrats, and they built some stunning villas that are ideal for billionaires or celebs looking for a fabulous hangout. It's no wonder everyone from Elle Macpherson to Ronan Keating has been hanging out there. Francesca Sozzani, editor of Italian Vogue, also holidays in Portofino, so it's definitely a stylish destination."
It may not stay that way, simply because it may not exist as a legal entity for much longer. The Italian government proposes that Portofino, and anywhere else with a population under 1,000, be consolidated into a larger municipality to save money.
Whether or not that happens, Portofino has established itself as one of the most coveted destinations for the rich and famous. Palatial abodes, yachts and glamorous parties are commonplace, while Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin got married there in 2008.
But of course there are others. The rich and powerful have always wanted somewhere a little bit different, a little bit special. And mostly, somewhere a good bit removed from the grubby hoi-polloi. After all, what's the point of having all that money if you must then rub shoulders with the great unwashed?
So what defines a proper millionaires' playground?
O'Connor says: "Super-yachts are the big clue. At the moment, Russians seem to have the major money to spend. The super-rich get their PAs on the case before they fly in by private jet, and employ concierge services to organise everything from yachts to flash cars. And no doubt, under the radar, some female company!
"I think the classic places will always stay in style because old money wants to stay with the classics, and new money wants to get in on that. At the moment, though, Dubai is also popular with footballers and WAGs."
So what are the hottest spots for the in-crowd? We've picked our fab five...