Rihanna was the biggest thing to happen to Valle de Guadalupe, a village, about a five-hour drive from L.A., when she visited the formerly sleepy ranchero-filled wine-producing valley, according to Hollywood Reporter.
It’s been steadily gaining a reputation as a south-of-the-border mecca for adventurous foodies and wine lovers, but since the singer took over the luxe-minimalist Encuentro Guadalupe “anti-resort” (rooms from $380) in 2014, the area has seen industry visitors including Diego Luna, Drew Barrymore and Emily Ratajkowski.
“The new Baja food scene blended with extraordinary wines is a combination that is hard to find in other regions,” says Fernando Castro Perez, owner/winemaker of La Lomita winery and TrasLomita restaurant, of the appeal. He’s also seen Gael Garcia Bernal, Ricky Martin and Karla Souza around. “It’s very reclusive. We cannot forget it is a rural Mexican village with people who are working in the field or minding their own business, so out here Hollywood celebrities are treated like anybody else.”
Rihanna’s favored property boasts a private wine cellar where guests can request a secluded farm-to-table, wine-paired dinner for two. Revered El Cielo Winery (which boasts pristine valley views) just opened the first couple of luxury villas (from $430) — secluded among grape vines — for its future boutique hotel, open fully by the end of the year. And by popular demand, the intimate, sustainable, Alejandro D’Acosta-designed Clos de Tres Cantos winery debuts two guest rooms in May (from $250), which come with a bottle of vino and private behind-the-scenes wine tour. Bruma Valle de Guadalupe winery, too, launches its first restaurant this summer, and for accommodations, two private pool suites at Casa Ocho (from $285).
A further local attraction: a wave of food trucks that feel fresh and modern, like the torta-serving Airstream at favorite eatery Finca Altozano, and Telefonica Gastropark, a culinary commune from Tijuana that just opened a weekend-only location in the Valle. Adds Perez, “One of the main attractions is that it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. You don’t feel forced to follow a pattern; you are on your own. I guess that is one of the most valuable things to have when you are a celebrity.”
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