When price is no object, how do the super-rich choose which hotels to book? For music, fashion and media mogul Russell Simons, it comes down to location, location, location, and a simple matter of (vegetarian) taste. When you jet-set around the world, running multiple empires, it’s nice to know where to lay your head. “I know some good hotels,” says Simmons, putting it mildly.
Photo Courtesy of Rush HeARTS
Arguably one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurial figures of the late 20th century, Simmons began his career as a hip-hop impresario, launching talent such as Run DMC, Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J. The Def Jam music mogul then branched into film and TV (Krush Goove was based on his life in the early days of rap music, and he’s since created cable programs such as Def Comedy Jam), fashion (Phat Farm, American Classics menswear, Run Athletics, Simmons Jewelry Co.), social activism and philanthropy.
A self-made entrepreneur, he’s come a long way from his teenage gang past when “selling drugs was the only way in.” Like no one else, he’s tapped the spirit of success, selling everything from sneakers to energy drinks, wireless phones to Visa debit cards, and has amassed a reported net worth of $350 million. “I’ve created a business that didn’t exist a generation ago,” says the life-long New Yorker, who many believe is preparing to run for the NYC mayor’s office.
Photo Courtesy of Argyleculture/Macy's
As wealthy and driven as he is, Simmons’ personal philosophy keeps him grounded. A vegan, he practices yoga daily and insists that all his employees read and write a book report on Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. “I surround myself with people that share the same spirituality that I believe in. People who are focused on living better.”
Few people are focused on a life more luxurious than Simmons, judging by his list of favorite hotels, each one a gem offering a glimpse of what he appreciates most. “I like water and I like great beaches...I care a lot about beaches...and I care a lot about service,” Simmons said when deciding on his list of hotels he considers paramount. Above all, one particular amenity is essential: “I need to have green vegetable juice and good vegetarian food.”
Russell Simmons’ five favorite luxury homes-away-from-home:
Photo Courtesy of The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel
“I don’t know what the best hotel is in L.A. but I chose The Beverly Hills Hotel because I’m comfortable there,” says Simmons. “I prefer the bungalows, and some of the suites in the main building are nice, too.” Offering unsurpassed privacy, the famous pink palace is a luxe five-star hotel nestled on 12 lush acres in one of the world’s richest neighborhoods, with easy access to Rodeo Drive shopping and dining.
Photo Courtesy of One&Only Ocean Club
One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
“I love the Ocean Club.” What’s not to love? Renowned for its elegant sophistication, this elite, 35-acre, 3-mile-long beachfront hideaway reflects the posh exclusivity of a grand colonial manor, once the private estate of A&P heir Huntington Hartford II. Today its expansive manicured lawns and coconut palms provide an enchanting backdrop to the pristine white-sand beaches of Paradise Island. Featuring 105 guestrooms and residential-style villas, the resort includes world-class golf, tennis, spa, pool, diving, snorkeling, sailing and wind-surfing.
Photo Courtesy of The Dorchester
The Dorchester, London
Situated in the heart of London’s Mayfair, with rooms and suites providing expansive views of Hyde Park, The Dorchester is fit for royalty – including the king of rap. A glamorous art deco gem, it recently celebrated its 80th anniversary with the neighborhood planting of 80 trees, and The Dorchester Spa reopened in May 2009 after a multimillion dollar transformation. A wide range of dining is on offer, from traditional afternoon tea to Cantonese cuisine, and highlighted by three Michelin-star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, one of London’s finest contemporary French dining venues.
Photo Courtesy of One&Only The Palm
One&Only The Palm, Dubai
Located on the peninsula of one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, The Palm offers an exclusive and secluded enclave of impeccable style on white-sand beaches. Amidst beautiful gardens, fountains, pools and miles of key shoreline, guests enjoy exclusivity in a stunning setting like no other. Like Simmons, it is chic and tranquil, exciting and vibrant. On the horizon is the excitement of the New Dubai Skyline, a short journey by water taxi or limo.
Photo Courtesy of Rose Hall Resort
Rose Hall Resort, Jamaica (formerly Ritz-Carlton)
Guests at this luxury hotel enjoy an idyllic escape where they soak up the sun on a secluded beach, with warm sand, blue waters and green mountains as the backdrop. But it’s the accessibility that Simmons finds irresistible. “I like that you can get off the plane and be right there at Montego Bay.” Spectacular water aside, the hotel’s renowned amenities include five fine restaurants, a championship golf course, and each of the 427 guestrooms and suites has a private balcony or terrace.
It was recently announced that Ritz-Carlton, Rose Hall, Jamaica will close this month for renovations and re-open for the 2013-14 winter season as a Park Hyatt property.