Hoo do you think you are, mixing with the stars?
Londoners keen to share a holiday home with the likes of Take That and Steven Spielberg need not travel far. Luton Hoo, only a 20-minute train journey from St Pancras, has established itself as a celebrity haunt with 1,065 acres of grounds, a luxury spa and magnificent bedrooms.
This is a property with a fascinating history. There has been a house on the present site since 1601, when Robert Napier bought the estate. Today’s mansion, which forms the main base of the resort, was designed by Georgian architect Robert Adam for the 3rd Earl of Bute. In 1903, Luton Hoo was bought by diamond dealer Sir Julius Wernher, who commissioned the Ritz architects Charles Mewès and Arthur Davis to redesign the interiors in a lavish belle époque style.
A honeymoon destination of the Queen and Prince Philip, it has featured in films from Vanity Fair to the James Bond series. Four Weddings and a Funeral fans should book the Lady Butter bedroom, location of the scene where Hugh Grant gets trapped in a cupboard while a couple celebrate their nuptials (01582 734437, lutonhoo.co.uk).
Mila wants a chance to reward her caring mum and dad
Black Swan star Mila Kunis has a wise outlook when it comes to property and it’s all thanks to her savvy parents. The 28-year-old beauty, who plays alongside Justin Timberlake in the romcom Friends with Benefits, has been acting professionally since she was 14, but her family put her earnings into a bank account which she couldn’t use until she was 18.
Any property investments have since been overseen by her father. But despite her best efforts she cannot convince her mum and dad to let her thank them for their help and buy them a new pad.
They are just focused on securing their daughter’s steps on the property ladder. With her main base located in a Hollywood hotspot, it seems they have done an excellent job.
It's going, going, Goosen
Golf star Retief Goosen has sold his Ascot mansion for £2.85 million with Barton Wyatt (0134 484 3000, bartonwyatt.co.uk). The South African, who has also achieved big success with his Goose Wine company, has kept the five-bedroom, five-bathroom property in mint condition since it was built by Kingsway Homes in 2002.
Off the kitchen/breakfast area is a large family room as well as a playroom, making it an ideal base for family life. Over the garage is an annexe approached from its own access, which is perfect for guests. There are also suitably glamorous surroundings, with wrought-iron electric gates at the entrance and private gardens, both to front and rear, amounting to just under half an acre.
Following a busy few weeks in the golf world, the former US Open winner can now focus on packing his bags and moving to a new house in Virginia Water. Here’s hoping it’s just as fabulous.
How Hanson get homesick
With American band Hanson back on the music scene and set to embark on a world tour, I caught up with lead singer Taylor to find out how he’s finding life on the road.
"A three-month departure from home is about to happen and it can be tough to be away for so long," he tells me. "We live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My five-bedroom, five-bathroom house is pretty rural, with lots of nature and serenity surrounding it. It is very intimate with the local wildlife." He’ll especially miss his piano room: "It has total privacy, which is great for focus and inspiration."
As close as Taylor is to his two bandmates, who are also his brothers, he no longer shares a house with them. "We save that kind of togetherness for a tour bus," he says. "Our wives would probably not dig us all living together."