Getaway places of the famous and powerful.
With a little creative investigation, EBONY has uncovered the getaway spots for some of the entertainment world's hottest properties.
Bill Cosby, the most admired man in Black America, usually vacations on the French Riviera with his wife Camille. Cosby, who values privacy and traditional values, usually takes his children along. He spends much of the time playing tennis, visiting art galleries and relaxing.
When Whitney Houston wants to retreat from her hectic performance schedule, she heads to Florida. The popular singer, who had her first child in March, has a 26th floor condominium on exclusive Wilham's Island in North Miami Beach. She has a glorious view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Houston's regular home is hardly a place that inspires the need to get away from. She lives on an %11 million Morris County, N.J., estate that has an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts and a 32-track recording studio. In this luxurious setting, Houston married singer Bobby Brown in an elaborate ceremony in July 1992. The couple also spends time at Brown's Atlanta home. And Houston recently purchased another getaway residence in Boca Raton, Fla.
A number of Black celebrities retreat to Colorado, especially during the winter ski season. 60 Minutes anchorman Ed Bradley has a home in Aspen, and boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard is frequently spotted with his new love, Bernadette Robi, whizzing down the slopes of this winter playground of the rich and famous. Baseball legend Reggie Jackson also frequents Aspen, and entertainment media mogul Oprah Winfrey has a home in Telluride, Colo., a picturesque resort town in the Rocky Mountains in southwest Colorado.
When superstar Eddie Murphy wants to get away, he leaves his mansion in New Jersey and heads to Jamaica, where he frequents the, Half Moon Golf, Tennis & Beach Club in Montego Bay. The exclusive resort takes its name from the half-moon shape of its beautiful white sand beach. The property includes beach front cottages, swimming pools, tropical gardens, gazebos and a golf course. Murphy and his buddy, Arsenio Hall, were spotted in Jamaica in mid-summer.
Rapper Heavy D., a native of Jamaica who now lives in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., also finds his homeland the most enjoyable getaway. "I go home at least twice a year," he says. "Most of my family are still there [in St. Elizabeth] -- my grandparents, aunts, uncles. . . I go there to relax. It's really like going away from home and going back. I enjoy hanging out barefoot."
Among the Black celebrities who Jamaica is actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who enjoys retreating to her homeland, especially Kingston, for rest and relaxation. Other VIPs who own property in their native Jamaica are New York Knicks star player Patrick Ewing and Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff. In addition, Stevie Wonder often stays at Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montezo Bay; Lionel Ritchie favors Negril with its topless beaches and breathtaking sunsets, and Eartha Kitt, the sassy veteran actress, has a "vast estate" in Jamaica.
Janet Jackson says she loves retreating to the West Indies. "I love the Island music," she says. "I went to Anguilla [in the British West Indies] for New Year's and the people there were so wonderful, so nice, so beautiful. I had the best time, and it was not too touristy."
Jackson says she plans to treat her concert tour dancers to a Christmas holiday break in the British Virgin Islands. Her choice destination is a private island that is inaccessible to photographers. "The kids [dancers] like to wear thongs and go topless, so I thought this would be the best place to take them," she says.
Singer Chante Moore, whose debut album, Precious, continues to get rave reviews, says she also enjoys the West Indies. "When I want to get away from it all, I go to Anguilla, where I can lie on the beach and eat everything from fruit to lobster with that special perfect one."
Other Black celebrities who favor the islands include actress Halle Berry and Atlanta Braves star player Dave Justice, who were married at Sugar Bay Plantation Resort on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Walt Frazier, who has a home on St. Croix. Rock star Lenny Kravitz and his mother, actress Roxie Roker, enjoy visiting relatives in the Bahamas. And quite a few among the Black elite prefer to get away to Barbados, including Evander Holyfield, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, and singer Roberta Flack, who has a home on the lovely island country.
Supersinger Gladys Knight and her fiance, motivational speaker/talk show host Les Brown, spent some time in Bermuda over the summer. Chicago Bulls superstar basketball player Michael Jordan also enjoys vacations in Bermuda, which is noted for its spectacular, ocean-view golf courses.
A popular summer resort on the East Coast of the U.S. is Martha's Vineyard, a lovely island seven miles off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. The famed island's Oak Bluffs community is one of the oldest and largest Black retreats in the country. Historically it has been a vacation mecca for well-blacks such as Dr. Martin Luther King jr., Adam Clayton Powell Sr., Ethel Waters and Paul Robeson.
Spike Lee is about the most famous African-American to currently own a home on Martha's Vineyard, but the film maker tries to keep the press away from his private hideaway, which was designed by a Black arhitectural firm in Boston. But according to a longtime Martha's Vineyard resident, Lee's "huge" Oak Bluffs home has "160 windows" and is located on a hill with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Farm Pond and Farm Neck Golf Course.
Others who have had homes on the resort island. where the Kennedys have maintained residences for many years, include former Sen. Edward Brooke, entertainment executive Suzanne de Passe, and UNCF President Emeritus Christopher Edley. Also among those who frequently visit Martha's Vineyard are jasmine Guy, Gordon Parks and Julian Bond.
Sag Harbor is also a popular getaway for the East Coast celebrity crowd. This Long Island waterfront community is a picturesque summer resort town with Victorian-era homes, museums and wineries. Actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee are longtime residents, and model Beverly Johnson and actress Charnele Brown also spend time there. It also must be noted that much of The Hamptons area of Long Island remains the exclusive domain of the rich and famous. Sidney Poitier and Lena Horne are among the celebrities who stay at the maganificent cottages and frequent the art galleries, beaches and antique shops.
In the Midwest, a favorite summer retreat for the Black elite, including media executives, entrepreneurs and professionals, is the Michigan resort area around Union Pier and New Buffalo on the shores of Lake Michigan. Johnathan Rodgers, president of CBS television stations, says he and his wife, Royal Kennedy, spend weekends at their home there. in addition, Oprah Winfrey has a huge farm in nearby Indiana.
Hawaii is another favorite vacation destination of Black celebrities. Randall Cunningham, star quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, says he loves the island so much that he honeymooned there with his bride, Felicity DeJager, a professional ballet dancer. "My favorite spot is Maui," says Cunningham, who added that he and his bride honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of Maui's Ritz Carlton Hotel.
When they want an even quicker getaway from the East Coast, the Cunninghams retreat to their second home in Las Vegas. "We spend lots of time there. We both can train in the hot sun and we like the shows," he says.
Other entertainers who enjoy Hawaii include singer Johnny Gill, who especially loves Hawaii's beautiful golf courses, and rapper L.L. Cool J. "When I want to get away from it all, I go to Hawaii -- anywhere but the mainland," he says. "That's my secret hideaway."
Singer Meli'sa Morgan and her fiance, playwright/producer Shelly Garrett, recently enjoyed a seven-day cruise through the Caribbean, with stops at St. Maartens and St. Croix. "Walking the deck at night is so peaceful," says Morgan. "You can hear the waves and there is a quietness that just takes you away. It is a perfect place to just hold your loved one and be as one with just you, him and the sea." But beware of the abundance of delicious foods that cruises are famous for, warns Morgan, who says she and her fiance both gained 10 pounds during their vacation. "But it was worth every pound," she says.
Actor Ernie Hudson, of Ghostbusters and The Hand That Rocked The Cradle fame, says vacationing in Singapore is a thrill. "What I like about Singapore is that the people are incredible," he says. "It's probably the most multicultural place in the world." Hudson adds that though the South China Sea island country is very commercial, "there are places where you can slip away and be isolated."
Yes, most entertainers, athletes and other celebrities work hard for their big bucks, but they like to play "hard" as well. So when they get a break, they take advantage of the time away from the crowds and adoring fans by relaxing at their favorite getaways.