Where superheroes (probably) go to holiday
"The Avengers" recently leapt tall buildings to the No. 3 spot on the list of highest-grossing films of all time, passing "The Dark Knight" as the top film ever adapted from a comic book.
But what we want to know is what do superheroes do when they’re not battling the forces of evil?
Using our superpowers of investigative journalism, we found the resorts and hotels where superheroes go to chill.
The Incredible Hulk: SHA Wellness Clinic, Costa Blanca, Spain
Having just celebrated his 50th birthday, this funny, fearsome olive-hued natural disaster should probably enroll in an anti-stress program at SHA Wellness Clinic in Costa Blanca, Spain.
Although it hasn’t worked so well for 50-something TV tycoon Simon Cowell, another regular at the discreet mountainside retreat that overlooks both the Mediterranean Sea and Sierra Helada National Park, it could aid in overcoming the blast of gamma radiation that turns the Hulk into a furious engine of destruction.
This hideaway has a tea room, a recently renovated spa and three peaceful gardens, each of which perfectly complement his skin tones should he slip and suffer a meltdown.
Verderol 5 El Albir 03581, Alicante, Spain, +34 966 811 199, From US$273 per night, www.shawellnessclinic.com
Ironman: Empire Hotel & Country Club, Brunei
Neither his degree from M.I.T., his ranking on Forbes annual list of wealthiest fictional characters nor his acumen at inventing high-tech weaponry can overcome the one itty-bitty crack in Tony Stark’s armor: demon rum.
So when the dashing playboy industrialist is not signing away his life story to Hollywood, he should head to Brunei where liquor is largely off the menu (though there is a generous duty-free allowance).
Specifically, the 666-square-meter Emperor Suite at the Empire Hotel & Country Club with its in-room swimming pool, steam room, sauna, movie theater and grand piano where Stark could woo his latest female conquest.
Jerudong BG3122, Negara Brunei Darussalam, +673 241 8888, From US$209 per night, www.theempirehotel.com
Thor: Håholmen Havstuer, Norway
Still harboring a spot in his heart for his Norse heritage, this hammer-wielding superhero might like to relax in Fjord Norway at 18th-century fishing villages along the Atlantic Road.
It was here that Thor, after spending 10 years as a mortal, found his hammer and regained his divine strength. He'd enjoy the Molde International Jazz Festival, watching whales and visiting the Bremsnes Cave which just may be where he was born.
His memory, after all, was erased when his dad Odin sent him to Earth to hone his humility. Best suited is the four-hectare island of Håholmen at a cozy cabin at the Håholmen Havstuer.
Håholmen Havstuer, Kårvåg, 6530 Averøy, +47 47 7151 7250, From US$166, www.haholmen.no
Captain America: Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC, United States
Having recently been appointed head of U.S. Security, Steve Rogers probably vacations at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. because, after all, where else could you get away with a leotard emblazoned with that many stars and stripes?
The adjoining 9,290-square-metersports club with its 100-plus cardio machines, swimming pool and four squash courts would help him maintain that perfect specimen of villain-fighting manhood, with or without Super Soldier Serum.
Of course, when you can bench-press 545 kilos and run like the wind, it does tend to discourage the other guests.
1150 22nd Street, N.W., Washington, District of Columbia 20037, From US$429, +1 202 835 0500, www.ritzcarlton.com
Hawkeye: The Torridon, Wester Ross, Scotland
This former circus performer turned villain turned hero has been hiding ever since watching Jeremy Renner play his role in the recent film.
Renner’s bow skills, not quite up to Hawkeye’s “World’s Greatest Marksman” standards, could have been perfected, if only he’d joined Hawkeye at The Torridon.
This 23-hectare lodge overlooking mystical sea lochs and winner of 2011’s Best Hotel in Scotland award runs, among other things, daily archery lessons. And if that doesn’t work, sorrows can be drowned with the lodge’s selection of 350 whiskeys.
The Torridon, by Achnasheen, Wester Ross, Scotland IV22 2EY, +44 0 1445 700300, From US$266 per night, www.thetorridon.com
Superman: Ace Hotel, across United States
With phone booths disappearing faster than the love from a one-night stand, Clark Kent can find the perfect substitute at the retro-mod Ace Hotels in Portland, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
In each of the hipster-cool lobbies, next to funky art and guests who look like -- but may or may not be -- touring rock musicians, is an old-fashioned, black-and-white photo booth which is a tad roomier for making the switcheroo into leotard and cape.
Plus, when Lois Lane gets left behind with the check, it’s reasonable enough for her to charge back to The Daily Planet with a straight face.
Various locations in United States, From US$109 per night, www.acehotel.com
Spider-Man: Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
His eponymous Broadway musical, written by U2’s Bono and The Edge, is a smash hit, plans are underway for yet another movie and Peter Parker, still haunted by insecurities of his youth, can’t go anywhere without being recognized.
Except to Burj Al Arab, a sail-shaped architectural wonder that dominates the Dubai skyline.
At this 320-meter hotel, the fourth-largest, Spidey can get a daily skyscraper-climbing workout, the luxurious pampering he missed as a kid growing up with Aunt May and Uncle Ben (the hotel’s smallest room is 169 square meters) and complete anonymity under the traditional thobe and checkered red-and-white ghutra.
Burj Al Arab, PO Box 74147, Dubai, UAE, +971 4 301 7777, From US$1,225 per night, www.jumeirah.com
Wonder Woman: Porto Zante Villas & Spa, Greece
Wonder Woman works twice as hard and excels at double the superpowers of her male counterparts.
So when she finally gets the chance to lay down her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets and her bullet-stopping tiara, she could do a lot worse than her Greek homeland, specifically the majestic island of Zakynthos.
Resort of choice would be Porto Zante Villas & Spa, a boutique luxury resort with 24/7 five-star service. Although she doesn’t need it (she can fly circles around Superman), the resort even has its own private jet service.
Tragaki, 291 00 Zakynthos, Greece, +30 26950 65100, From US$867 per night, www.portozante.com
Aquaman: Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives
Still brooding over losing what he assumed would be his comeback role to SpongeBob SquarePants, Aquaman is probably busy writing his memoirs somewhere sunny, like the Republic of Maldives.
By day, he can use his telepathic abilities to communicate with sea anemones and by night, he can use his cybernetic retractable hook to wax poetic about his former days as King of Atlantis.
But it’s hard to feel too sorry for the guy. He’ll be staying at Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives, an ooh-la-la resort with an underwater restaurant and wine cellar.
And his agent asked us to add that, should anybody be interested, he can still swim at the rate of knots, making “a meeting” anywhere on the planet plausible within a matter of hours.
Kihavah, Maldives, +960 660 1020, From US$1,350, www.kihavah-maldives.anantara.com