Go Away With … Jonathan Bennett

By Jae-Ha Kim
July 7, 2009

Jonathan Bennett remembers what it was like watching famous actors check into the hotel where he worked.

“There were tons of them coming in and out for work or to just get in a short vacation,” says Bennett, 28. “There was this A-list actress who needed a hairdryer brought to her room. I about lost it when she opened the door.”

Though it has been years since he worked there, he still won’t reveal the celebrity’s name, because it’s against hotel policy.

These days, the actor has plenty of opportunities to stay at posh hotels himself. Best known for his turn in “Mean Girls,” Bennett has a starring role in the upcoming feature film “Slightly Single in L.A.” And he may also be seen as the titular character in “Van Wilder: Freshman Year” — the DVD will be in stores on July 14.

An avid traveler who likes to get in as much scuba diving as he can, Bennett says you can find him anywhere where there’s a warm beach and an ice-cold margarita.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
I love traveling, especially to tropical places. I’m a lay-on-the-beach-drinking-margaritas-type of guy. I really enjoy going to Puerto Vallerta, Mexico where all I really want to do is relax. I also love Cozumel. I’m a big scuba diver, so that’s a really pretty place for that. It’s not too touristy yet, which is also a bonus. And Hawaii is always a fun trip.

Q. Where is your favorite weekend getaway?
I like to go away to Palm Springs, Calif. It’s the perfect escape from Hollywood ’cause it’s only a short drive but it feels like a totally different world.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
I love the Mercer Hotel (www.mercerhotel.com) in New York. When I was trying to make it in acting, I worked as a bellboy there. When they had the “Mean Girls” premiere in New York, they asked me where I wanted to stay and I said the Mercer, of course! It was the greatest moment to pull up to the hotel in a black Lincoln town car and seeing one of the doormen that I knew open the door for me and saying, “Jonathan! What are you doing there?” None of them would let me tip them ’cause we were all friends. The Mercer Kitchen is amazing. They make the best mac and cheese, which is my biggest weakness. I love the Four Seasons (www.fourseasons.com) hotels. The Colony Palms Hotel (www.colonypalmshotel.com) in Palm Springs is one of my faves and I like to eat at its Purple Palm. They have these giant beds by the pool and you can jump back and forth from the pool to the bed and just really relax. It’s very cool. In Los Angeles, I like to eat at the Hot Wings Cafe. The Yogurt Stop (www.y
ogurtstop.net) is the new spot and you can get all these crazy toppings like red velvet cake and mochi. It’s delicious.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
I’d like to lie and say I’m an underpacker but that’s just not true. I always overpack. But my essentials are some cologne, a sound machine to help me sleep, some tennis shoes and gym clothes. Oh, and my iPod, iPhone and laptop. I cannot go one night without my laptop. I have to have Internet access.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been before?
My dream is to go to Italy. I want to go there more than anything. My friend (actress) Piper (Perabo) has told me all her Italy stories and that just makes me want to go more. After Italy, I’d also love to go to Costa Rica and Fiji. And I hear the diving is amazing in Tahiti.

Q. What is your worst or best vacation memory?
I have a lot of bad vacation memories but one that I feel badly about for my parents occurred when I was about five years old. I love swimming and always looked forward to going to new pools on our trips. My mom was set on staying at the Crowne Plaza (www.crowneplaza.com) in New York but when we checked in, we found out there was no pool there at the time. So I made my parents check out and go to the Renaissance (www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycrt-renaissance-new-york-hotel-times-square) down the street! My best memory is actually work related. We spent about three months in the Dominican Republic shooting “Love Wrecked” and stayed at the Sun Village Resort (www.sunvillagebungalows.com) and had such an amazing time. It almost felt like a vacation. I’m a tropical kind of guy so it was one of the best work experiences I’ve ever had.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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