I’m a huge fan of the Real Housewives franchise. Yes, the middle-aged cast regularly embarrasses itself with juvenile behavior that none of us should ever emulate. But when they’re not pulling each other’s hair extensions out of flipping tables, they’re traveling to beautiful destinations and staying at incredible hotels. The Housewives vacation episodes are the real highlight of the franchise – and the main reason I keep watching. Below are my picks for the 5 best vacation destinations featured on The Real Housewives:
5 – Italian Cruise
After a highly-rated Season 1, the New Jersey Housewives got their production budget increased enough to afford a trip to Italy. The cast boarded the Costa Deliziosa in Venice and sailed up to Naples, before making their way to the town of Sala Consilina. It was nice to see the beauty of Italy without all the petty drama that has become typical of a Housewives vacation episode.
4 – Cape Town, South Africa
In Season 4, the Atlanta Housewives head to South Africa for a 10-day adventure. They spend time at a luxury apartment in Cape Town, before a safari at the Shamwari game reserve. What’s great about this vacation episode is that it’s not solely focused on luxury or drama. The women visit an orphanage and show their human side – a nice change from the selfish, indulgence displayed on most Housewives vacation episodes.
3 – Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco has been on my bucket list forever. I’ve always found its old world charm appealing. For the bourgeois New York Housewives, the selling point is that it’s “westernized” and “sophisticated.” Or as Luanne de Lesseps (i.e. the fake countess from Connecticut) sells it, “It’s exotic…off-the-beaten track…it’s like going to Paris.” I guess Morocco is like Paris, in the sense that both cities are very ethnic and you can totally avoid it by not leaving your fancy hotel room. And that’s essentially what they do for their week-long trip.
While Luanne promises them “dessert, markets, hotels…to show them how sophisticated Morocco is,” the women largely stay put at the 8-bedroom, $10,000 per week riad, making ignorant remarks about the language, culture, and people of Morocco. They do go on an obligatory camel ride and hook up with Jill’s friend Brad, who hosts a party in the lobby of a bed & breakfast, calls it his “kingdom” and fills it with snake charmers and fortune tellers – one of whom informs Ramona of her husband’s infidelity (something that, spoiler alert, comes to light a year later).
It’s sad and embarrassing until you remember Ramona was the one who terrorized the riad staff and reacted to the trip with, “It’s a third world country…I love my family, I don’t want to go away and not end up coming back.” After watching this episode, you kind of wish she wouldn’t. Morocco, on the other hand, looks amazing and it’s a shame we (or the cast) didn’t see more of it in this episode.
2 – Atlantis at The Palm, Dubai
The Beverly Hills Housewives always take the most over-the-top trips (like they really need it). On their Season 6 trip to Dubai, production went all out. The suites at this resort are large enough to host a small village, yet inexplicably every cast member got their own – including the 10,000 sqft Royal Bridge Suite ($35,000 per night) and the $8,000 nightly Underwater Suite. The episode was a real testament to the extravagance Dubai has to offer.
1 – St. John’s, U.S. Virgin Islands AKA “Scary Island”
Before the St. John’s trip, most Housewives vacations consisted of weekends in Vegas, Miami, and maybe a ranch where they could infantilize the locals and reenact the Psycho shower scene every time they encountered bugs. But St. John changed the game. The Real Housewives of New York cast were treated to a sailing excursion on a yacht before making their way to a stunning cliffside mansion, Presidio del Mar. “Kell-amity” ensued, with Kelly Bensimon bringing a pregnant Bethenny Frankel to tears, accusing her castmates of trying to kill her, responding to logical criticism with bizarre one-liners like “Satchels of gold” and ultimately getting kicked off the island for causing too much drama.
The silver lining in all of this? The incredible landscape this insanity was set against. If you want to experience the magic of Presidio del Mar, minus deranged former supermodel, the 6-bedroom property can be booked for as low as $22,000 per week. In other words, just watch the episode because that’s probably as close as most of us will get to Presidio del Mar.
Out with it: How many of you watch the Real Housewives shows and which vacation episodes are your favorites?