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The Relaxation Report

When celebrity chef Alain Ducasse needs to get away from it all, where does he go? Our favorite overachievers reveal their favorite places to relax.

Elizabeth Blau

PARTNER, SIMON KITCHEN & BAR, LAS VEGAS
I crave cold mountain air—the opposite of what we get in the Vegas desert—so I love the Post Hotel in Alberta. It's a small luxury resort near the icy, glacier-blue Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. I hike, fish and canoe (exercise is a necessary antidote to restaurant life) and eat local game dishes: caribou and venison with cloudberries (doubles from $140; 800-661-1586 or www.posthotel.com).

Alain Ducasse

CHEF & PRESIDENT, GROUPE ALAIN DUCASSE
Driving through the French Basque countryside is more relaxing than a spa treatment for me, because it's so quiet. I ride in my 1959 Jeep Willys by myself; sometimes I'll turn on the radio and listen to news or music. I usually stop in Biarritz, at one of my favorite cafés, El Callejón, which is lively and fun (5 rue Monhaut; 011-33-5-59-24-99-15).

Jeff Klein

OWNER, CITY CLUB HOTEL, N.Y.C.
When I went to Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand, I didn't stay at the main house; I got a villa. Mine had a private pool, a driver, a gardener and two maids just for me. My wet bathing suit was miraculously dried, folded and laid out by the time I got out of the shower. My chef had worked for the Thai royal family. She'd catch crabs and cook them with spices from the farmers' market. She was better than a five-star chef (villas from $1,600; 011-66-76-324-333 or www.amanpuri.com).

Prosper Assouline

BOOK PUBLISHER
I've been going to the Colombe d'Or hotel in St. Paul de Vence, Provence, for 20 years. It's like my hospital: I eat and sleep and don't see anybody. The property is in a medieval town but it has an amazing modern art collection. I love looking at the Calder sculpture by the pool; I sit by it and eat the hotel's tomato salad (doubles from $260; 011-33-493-32-80-02 or www.la-colombe-dor.com).

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana

FASHION DESIGNERS
The Italian island of Stromboli is still quite raw. We wake up early and swim, then sunbathe all day and watch the sunset. We used to swim at the beach at Sciara del Fuoco, but since the volcano erupted a year ago, we're not allowed to go, so we miss it. We adore La Sciara hotel—it's furnished with Sicilian, Neapolitan and Florentine antiques, and there's a large seawater pool (011-39-090-98-60-04 or www.lasciara.it).

Christine Splichal

CO-OWNER, KINARA SPA, L.A.
You can only get to the King Pacific Lodge on Princess Royal Island, British Columbia, by seaplane. The lodge, on an old Navy barge, has no TVs, and the satellite phones are too expensive to use often. My family hikes, kayaks and watches the whales, wolves and bears. The chef picks sea urchin from the water for dinner (three-night stay from $2,600; 888-592-5464 or www.kingpacificlodge.com).

François Payard

OWNER, PAYARD PATISSERIES
At the Pearl Beach Resort in Bora-Bora, I stay in a bungalow right on the water. My wife takes bread from the restaurant to feed to the fish at night. The resort has great massages, scuba diving and boating. The fafaru is a local specialty: A very smelly dish of tuna marinated in fish bones and salted water. It's something everyone should try once (doubles from $500; 011-689-60-52-00 or www.pearlresorts.com).

Gordon Thompson

CREATIVE DIRECTOR, COLE HAAN
I discovered Oahu because business takes me to Asia and it's easy to stop in Hawaii. I'm designing a house near Waikiki with a mesmerizing view of the waves. I invariably consume unhealthy amounts of macadamia nuts and lots of Mexican food at an authentic restaurant called Azteca (3617 Waialae Ave.; 808-735-2492).

Zarela Martinez

CHEF & OWNER, ZARELA'S, N.Y.C.
Hotel Playa Azul on Lake Catemaco in Veracruz, Mexico, isn't fancy, but I go for the ritual steam baths in a domed hut (symbolizing the earth's belly button). I'm claustrophobic but these baths were proof of valor for Aztec warriors, so I tried one; they're the best stress-relievers (doubles from $75; 011-52-294-943-0001).

Dany Levy

FOUNDER, DAILYCANDY WEB SITE
I spend half my time in L.A., so Korakia, an inexpensive Mediterranean-style pensione in Palm Springs, California, is my getaway. It's low-key and serene, and the owner plays opera music in the mornings. It's a great place to write: Each room has a wooden table outside—which is also good for picnics (doubles from $129; 760-864-6411 or www.korakia.com).

Dylan Lauren

CO-OWNER, DYLAN'S CANDY BAR, N.Y.C.
I don't like to just sit and read—even at the beach I take eight-mile walks—so hiking in Utah around Moab is my ideal escape. I'm in the candy business, so I pack gummy candies, an orange and water infused with lemon.

Kelly Wearstler

DESIGNER, L.A.'S KOR HOTEL GROUP
Katikies hotel hangs on a cliff in the village of Oia, in Santorini, Greece. The Aegean architecture is reminiscent of the island's cave dwellings, with freeform stairs and bridges. The village is on a hill with roadside paths that take you from shop to shop. I love all the cats that are everywhere (doubles from $240; 011-30-228-607-1401 or www.katikies.com).

Miky Grendene

OWNER, CASA TUA HOTEL, MIAMI
I go to my friend's private island in Exuma in the Bahamas. There's no hot water, and it's like being Robinson Crusoe. We catch hog snapper or mahimahi, then grill it with herbs and lime. Or I'll have conch fritters at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (242-355-2024 or www.stanielcay.com).

Dirk Standen writes for GQ, Details, Tatler, the New York Observer and Style.com.

Published January 2004
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