October, 2010

Oct 10

Queen of America flies into Edinburgh

I’m a big fan of Oprah Winfrey and I’m not alone. Every week, nearly fifty million people tune in to hear her well-chosen words of wisdom, celebrities clamour to be granted an interview with Her Majesty, and her power is so great that Oprah is thought to have been the direct cause of around a million voters swinging in Barack Obama’s direction at the last election. So when I found out that America’s most influential woman had been spotted recently in Edinburgh I just had to find out why this grande dame had chosen Scotland’s capital as her destination of choice.

Oprah Winfrey's Christmas with the Obamas





American Royalty – Oprah with the Obamas






Despite Edinburgh’s one hundred and ninety-one days of rain a year it really is a great place for a bit of stargazing. This year alone, Edinburgh’s cobbled streets have welcomed VIP guests from the Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI to the pop star, Lady Gaga.

Positively crackling with culture and heaving with history this splendid city has long been the realm of sovereigns, intellectual heavyweights, and leaders of finance but with the ever-growing summer Fringe Festival and the recent explosion of über-cool bars,clubs, restaurants and hotels Edinburgh has now become a hot weekend haunt for PYTs and fashionistas too.


Apparently, Oprah swooped in to the Athens of the North to interview another self-made billionaire and fellow wonder woman, J.K. Rowling. The story goes that two of the world’s richest self-made women took tea in room 652 of the elegant Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel – now dubbed the “Harry Potter Suite” as it’s where Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Much as I would have loved to, I didn’t manage to stay at the beautiful Balmoral but I did take the time to pop by and sample their amazing award-winning afternoon tea, as enjoyed by the billionaires. Oprah was otherwise engaged so I promised my darling husband some “afternoon delight” if he would be my escort me for a day of old school glamour.

Initially he wasn’t half as excited as I was at the prospect of teeny tiny sandwiches and flouncy cakes but after taking
one step through the Balmoral’s majestic revolving door, complete with kilted footman, he was assured that even if the food was dainty the atmosphere was certainly going to be grand.

The opulent Palm Court is just gorgeous, the high-ceilings and harp music evoking a lovely atmosphere of time-honoured allure. We soon settled into a discreet and cosy booth for an A-list afternoon indulging in two of my favourite things – champagne and cakes! The cute crustless sandwiches were divine and the cakes, especially the Heather
Honey Scones, had me in raptures. I can totally understand why J.K. decided to stay for here for months – I would never leave if I had the promised of these heaven-sent scones every day!





The Balmoral Hotel has pretty much everything that you would expect from an iconic Edwardian hotel. A Michelin starred restaurant (Number One), a great cocktail bar (The Balmoral) – try the Wild Rose, a delectable mix of rose and strawberry infused vodka with orange and cranberry. It also has an acclaimed spa on site and a regular sprinkling of stardust from its celebrity guests.

The Balmoral’s prime city centre location also means that there is a vast array of great girlie shopping literally on its doorstep – America Ferrera was spotted dress shopping at the Totty Rocks Boutique earlier this year and Oprah Winfrey is apparently a big fan of Scotland’s cosy cashmeres and warm wintry knits



Hide our cake-filledalexander mcqueen tummy and keep out the chilly Scottish winds with this beautiful Alexander McQueen Chunky Knit Fur Cardigan.








Oct 10

The Cancun Ritz-Carlton’s Celebrity Guest List

Cancun, one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean,
became even hotter this summer. The paparazzi descended as a fleet of private
jets delivered some of the world’s greatest actors, including Angelina Jolie
and Julia Roberts, to the Summer of Sony publicity event. The Ritz-Carlton
Cancun played host to the star-studded party so I went to see where the stars
cooled down when the temperature soared. 


Javier Barden, Julia Roberts, and Richard
Jenkins pose for photographers at the media event for Eat, Pray, Love at the
Ritz Carlton, Cancun


Mexico and movie stars go together. Since the Thirties, Hollywood heavyweights have been regularly swooping south of the border for a bit of R and R. By the time we reached the Nineties and Noughties Cancun was welcoming a new galaxy of red-hot stars to its shores – Tom Cruise is rumoured to have wanted to marry on
its snow-white beaches until an unexpected hurricane blew him towards Italy
instead. Jennifer Anniston withdrew to its spellbinding sea to mend her broken heart and Leonardo Dicaprio also recently made it his slice of paradise for a romantic retreat – and now, as we reach out into a new decade, Cancun shows no sign of losing its A-list allure.


It’s fair to assume that the Sony of Summer actors stayed onsite at the glitzy Ritz. Resting on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Ritz-Carlton
has more awards on its mantelpiece than Meryl Streep and is considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Mexico. 

From the moment you walk through its well-guarded doors, the crystal chandeliers, antique tapestries and elaborate artworks promise an A-list experience. Every room has the kind of over-the-top opulence that any celebrity entourage would be happy to bed down in including breathtaking balconies, divine marble bathrooms and tres beau Bulgari toiletries. But celebrities, like Mark Wahlberg and Eva Mendes who were in town promoting their
new movie The Other Guys, are sure to have been hidden away in the Club Level
quarters. These secret suites are positioned around a stunning ivy-filled atrium
in the heart of the hotel and can only be accessed if you’ve got The Key

And celebrity tots Maddox, Pax, Zahara and Shola, Pitt-Jolie would have been treated to their own special service with membership to the very exclusive Itsy Bitsy Ritz Kids Club when they tagged along with mum to the Cancun premiere of Salt.   



Angelina also premiered her new body art in Cancun


The Ritz-Carlton hotels may conform to the traditional concept of luxury but that doesn’t mean that guest can’t partake in some of the most innovative services around. The Kayantá Spa has all the top Tinseltown treatments including the Perfector facial. Using super-fancy nanotechnology the Perfector claims to achieve a surgery-free facelift and is apparently a favourite in current celebrity circles. 

Iconic guests of the Ritz can also mingle
with the masses (well with thirteen other members of the elite really) at the impressive
half million dollar Culinary Centre, where they can explore cooking, wine and
Mexican tequilas and then consume the fruits of their labour at a torch-lit beach party. The restaurants, as expected, are exquisite. The most-memorable being Casitas which is made up of a collection of intimate cabanas on the beach that feel so private you could be on your own dreamy desert island. 


My favourite service at the hotel though is the Turtle Guardian programme. In amongst all the high-end spending opportunities is an experience that is simply priceless. Guests can “give back” by taking part in the release of adorable baby turtles which come to hatch on Ritz’s patch. Each little Tortuga is guided down to the beach, given a name by its releaser and sent with good wished into the biggest bluest sea you’ve ever seen – if that’s not the stuff of Hollywood then I don’t know what is!


No A-list lovely would dare expose themselves to the sun and La
Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Extreme Fluid SPF50 is the dream cream of choice at the moment. Packed with all sorts of UV fighting protection, this French sunblock will keep those celebrity beach bods freckle-free and fully moisturised no matter how hot it gets. There’s only one other must-have accessory and that’s a pair of gorgeous oversized Miu Miu sunglasses to keep out the glare from that diamond white beach. 

Image 1 of Miu Miu Oversized Graduated Jackie O Sunglasses

Must-have Miu Miu Oversized Jackie O Sunglasses.

Oct 10

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to Passport to the Stars! The blog that brings you
the world’s celebrity travel experiences. I’m delighted to have joined the hellomagazine.com blog team and am going to dedicate myself, for your entertainment pleasure, to investigating all the finer aspects of travelling.

Every blog will give you the inside information on which celebrities are staying where, how
Hollywood’s hippest stars travel in style, and where the globe’s glitterati are
choosing to kick back and relax after a hard-day pounding the red carpet.

I hope you are going to join me as I circle the world searching out the kind of
destinations we all dream of and if you happen to spot an A-lister in the lobby
or catch a glimpse of a princess partying, pop or otherwise, then let your
fellow blog-followers know by either leaving your comments or Tweeting me at


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