In 2010 Sports Illustrated chose several unusual settings against which its Swimsuit Edition models posed this year. While a few of the venues — southern California, the Maldives, the sunny coast of Portugal — are well known to sun worshipers, other locations aren't ones bikini watchers normally frequent. Of course, most readers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition don't look beyond the beauties to the backdrop. Yet travelers, especially couples looking for ultimate 2010 getaways, can find inspiration from these locations.
1. Palm Springs, California
The only domestic US destination on the list of locations for the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Palm Springs is a laidback, upscale town with a number of hotels and resorts that provide relaxing spots to soak up the warmth of the sun. Two popular places for couples are the luxurious Two Bunch Palms and the retro-'50s Horizon Hotel.
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2. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler
The 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition got an early jump on the Winter Olympics, with a shoot in Whistler, Canada. The venue, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, stands like a castle at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
It's an ideal venue for couples who love the outdoors in any season. The largest ski-in, ski-out resort in North America, it's a snowy wonderland in winter. As the weather warms, there's whitewater rafting and horseback riding, mountain biking and Alpine hiking. For the ultimate in romance, take a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier and enjoy a picnic lunch that leaves you feeling on top of the world.
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In nearly every city where a Four Seasons Hotel plants its flag, it's the top place to stay. Portugal's Four Seasons Hotel Ritz is no exception. The hotel overlooks the city and the sea. And it's not from the beach that hugs the Atlantic, which makes it an ideal venue for shooting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2010.
Lisbon's unique attractions include its unusual Manueline style of architecture and the plaintive Fado folk songs heard in cafes. Graced with grand town squares, black and white mosaic sidewalks, and gorgeous fountains, it has places of rare beauty. Plan on dining well and staying up late; clubs stay open late.
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4. Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa
The low-lying Maldives, surrounded by the the Indian Ocean, lend themselves to overwater resorts, snorkeling, and lazing on virtually deserted white-sand beaches washed by warm waters. Editors of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition chose this remote suites and villas resort as one of the ideal locations to shoot their bikini models. Among its staff members is a marine biologist who can lead guests on informed underwater excursions.
Another popular Maldives resort, the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa, is also popular with honeymoon couples and other romantics.
Chile's high-and-dry desert was among the uncommon settings for the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Its Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa in the Atacama Desert hosted models Julie Henderson, Daniella Sarahyba, Irina Shayk, and Zoe Duchesne at locations that stretched up to 14,000 feet.
The eerie, moonlike environment is home to geysers and hot springs. Boasting the clearest skies in the Southern Hemisphere, there's no better place than here to watch the night stars come out. Telescopes are provided on the observation deck. Before dark, swim in the hotel pools (there are six), relax at the spa, or chill with a glass of highly regarded Chilean wine.
Once a maharajah's lodge, this elegant, walled-in retreat, part of the prestigious Aman Resorts group, provided a verdant setting for the models in the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Ultra-luxurious Amanbagh is an ideal destination for couples who would like to engage in yoga in the country where it began, swim, go horseback or camel riding and explore the remote Indian hills on guided tours and walks. Guests' quarters are huge marble pavilions with a pool. One of the most romantic meals a couple could conjure, the Experience dinner is served in a private outdoor area decorated with flowers and candles while a sitar player softly serenades.