Go Away With … Marissa Jaret Winokur

By Jae-Ha Kim
January 4, 2011

Marissa Jaret Winokur won a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway musical “Hairspray,” competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and currently is a co-host on the CBS day-time chat show “The Talk.”

“Life is good,” says the 36-year-old actress who beat cervical cancer a few years ago. “I am so busy working and being a mom that it’s all I can do to get a shower in every now and again. But I’ll take it. The good, bad — everything.”

Winokur and her husband, Judah Miller, are the proud parents of 2-year-old Zev, who was born via a surrogate, and travels everywhere that they do.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Maui, though it’s a little different with a child. But we do really love it there because he can run and play in the sand and we’re somewhere gorgeous.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. We used to go to Las Vegas a lot. My husband is from San Francisco so we would go there a lot, too. It’s not as much fun staying with his parents as it is staying in hotels, but we always have a great time. But we have yet to take a vacation without our son. We may try to do one night away without him, even staying down the street just in case we need to hurry back home. But Zev is really a good traveler. We’re very lucky that he loves the airplane. It’s the waiting at the airport that can be trying. I think he wants to be a pilot.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. My absolute favorite is the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Maui. Go there! I loved staying in a place with such beautiful gardens. I would live there if I could. When in Vegas I go to the Wynn Hotel; it’s not as hokey as a lot of Vegas hotels. I love the rooms there. In New York, I really like The London, which has really nice suites that aren’t that pricey. It’s always nice to have a little extra room, especially in New York. The Paramount Hotel is also another favorite. I liked the W Hotel in Atlanta a lot.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?

A. Right now I’m obsessed with The Counter in Los Angeles. It works perfectly for kids during the day and at night has a full bar. It’s not too pricey and has really good food. I really love the sushi at Iroha Sushi of Tokyo, which is a little hole in the wall in the San Fernando Valley (in California). Aroma Cafe in Los Angeles is delicious. During the time that my surrogate was pregnant and I was on “Dancing with the Stars,” I would get the same salad from there every single day.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I bring a bathing suit no matter where we go because there’s always a pool or a hot tub or a spa in the hotel. That’s one thing you never want to have to buy when you’re out! I bring flip-flops for the lobby. I always have some sort of big hat so that my hair always looks cute. For a week, I might bring two nice dresses, two pairs of sweatpants, leggings and one nice outfit that’s not a dress. I’m always ready to go to a five-star restaurant or Denny’s. In Vegas, I always have to have a huge purse so that I can put my heels in there and wear comfortable shoes to walk around in. You’re always walking in Vegas. But honestly, if I have diapers for the baby, that’s the most important thing. We can improvise the rest.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. I love San Francisco more than most cities. I also really like Atlanta, New York, Miami — although I haven’t been there in a long time — and Chicago. I did “Grease” in Chicago and was there for two different Christmases in a row. It was so beautiful and I loved it there!

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. The best and worst were at the same time. It was four of us sitting in a lobby with no room, because there was a booking error. It all started because we had two friends going to Hawaii and my husband and I hadn’t gone on a honeymoon yet so we poached onto their vacation! We didn’t plan anything. They are the best planners who’d been working on this trip for like a year. They found the hotel, airline and had an itinerary all worked out. But they had bought the hotel reservation online and the hotel had no reservation for us. So we were driving from hotel to hotel to try to find a place to stay. But after we got that worked out, it was the best vacation ever.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. Honestly, after that great experience, I’m a big fan of poaching onto other vacations now! (Laughs.) My sister- and brother-in-law were going to Italy one year and my husband and I glommed onto that. My brother planned a trip to Disney World and we went along on that one, too. I’m very good at that. I want everything planned, but I don’t want to do the planning. Obviously, this only works if you get along with the people you’re poaching, but we’ve always had the best time this way.

© 2011 JAE-HA KIM


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