Sports Illustrated readers able to look beyond the magazine's stunning models in its annual swimsuits edition are rewarded with glimpses of equally beautiful off-the-beaten track locations.
In 2005, Sports Illustrated went on location to photograph its swimsuit models in the following exotic locales and stayed at these leading hotels:
On Exuma (population 3,400), which is one of the most beautiful, secluded, uncrowded Out Islands of the Bahamas, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models posed beside its cays and transparent blue waters, then repaired to the posh Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay. Its top-of-the-line Royal Beachfront Villa has three bedrooms and a swimming private pool.
Francis Ford Coppola's rustic-romantic Turtle Inn hosted the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models on their photo shoot in Belize. Among the individual thatch-roofed quarters is a Honeymoon Cottage with a private garden and outdoor shower, and a Chinese Matrimonial Suite furnished with a two-century-old Chinese fertility bed. We won't expect any Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who slept in the latter to return next year.
Costa Ricas finest luxury resort overlooks the Pacific and its golden beaches. Even if the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models didn't take advantage of the three swimming pools, tropical spa, Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, or the bounty served at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo's Di Mari Italian restaurant, you certainly can on a visit to this pristine hideaway.
Set on a towering cliff with panoramic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the El Conquistador Resort & Spa welcomed Sports Illustrated's swimsuit models. More than likely the fine-boned fillies bunked at the grand hotel's Las Casitas Village, an exclusive hotel-within-the hotel with its own check-in, swimming pool, and round-the-clock corps of butlers. Keeps the riff-raff out, you know.
Set in one of the most beautiful places on earth, did the Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa overshadow even the pulchritude of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models? Readers and visitors must decide for themselves. The resort features 120 luxury suites, but none are more romantic than its thatch-roofed over-water bungalows complete with canopy beds, marble bathrooms, glass floor viewing panels, satellite TV, phones, CD and DVD players, and Internet access.
One of the most romantic, luxurious hideaways in Southeast Asia, Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa is located on the Gulf of Siam. Its setting resembles an ancient Thai village surrounded by fragrant tropical gardens. Oversized rooms with a private balcony accommodated the under-sized Sports Illustrated swimsuit models.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito is a posh retreat located between the largest national park and rainforest in Honduras. More than 275 species of tropical birds inhabit the area (wear a hat!). Jaguars, ocelots, and several monkey species also share the environment. The lodge consists of 22 cabins. In their down time, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models could hike, swim in the pool or the river, snorkel, scuba dive, indulge in spa treatments, and smoke numerous cigarettes in lieu of eating.
Three-star Hotel Liburna hugs the seacoast and is five minutes away from the ancient walled city of Korcula. Its 83 rooms all have a TV, phone, and minibar (although it's doubtful the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models had much use for the latter). Facilities include a large, round swimming pool and air-conditioned tavern. Instruction in tennis, sailing, and windsurfing is available.
Wearing swimsuits in the snow, the intrepid Sports Illustrated models bunked at Hotel Portillo, the only game in town in Chile's best-known ski resort. The grand hotel has 123 simply decorated (no TV) rooms overlooking either the snow-coated valley or lake. Only Sports Illustrated swimsuit models who packed transformers could blow-dry their hair in their quarters.
Baseball fans will recognize Mark McGwire and model wife Stephanie lounging at the beachfront Montage Resort-Spa in Laguna Beach in the 2005 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The craftsman-style inn reflects the ethos of the surrounding arts community and rooms feature ocean panoramas. Secluded beach bungalows contain a fireplace, the perfect amenity to heat up any romantic relationship.