From glossy interiors spreads in Hello! to full-on home invasions from MTV Cribs, it seems we're obsessed with knowing how the other half live. TV stars, politicians, royalty, musicians and sportsmen - all have, at some point, allowed the public through the keyhole for a tantalising glimpse of their homes.
But what about those who want to go one step further? Now, boutique real estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal has the ultimate in celebrity lifestyle offerings, with families able to book to stay in the newly acquired Portuguese home of former Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne.
The health club magnate bought his luxurious Algarve retreat, which comes complete with five bedrooms, swimming pool and charming garden area, in 2014. He and his family plan to use it for part of the year and rent it out for the rest, affording members of the public the rare opportunity to actually stay in a celebrity's home.
CLICK HERE to see more photos and prices.
Holidaymakers can enjoy access to the excellent golfing facilities at Vale do Lobo, as well as several pristine beaches located nearby. Dining and entertainment options in the area are also first rate.
Chris White, Founding Director of Ideal Homes Portugal, who sold Duncan the property, comments,
"It was great to be able to work with Duncan to find the perfect Portuguese property for him, and it's fantastic that holidaymakers in the Algarve have the opportunity to enjoy his villa as well. It really is a superb property with plenty of room for families or groups of friends to spread out and relax."
Portugal is a popular destination with visitors from across the globe. With a reputed 300 days of sunshine annually, the country's southern Algarve region plays host to many happy holidays throughout the year. The cost of living is low, the beaches are sandy, the cuisine is delightful and good wine can be had for €2 per bottle.
This fabulous combination worked to make 2014 a particularly good year for tourism in the Algarve. The number of visitors in the first ten months of the year exceeded that for the whole of 2013, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE). Desidério Silva, president of the RTA regional Algarve tourism board, comments,
"In 2014 we have achieved the best numbers in recent years and the Algarve continues to be the driving force of tourism in Portugal."
Food and wine were key attractions during 2014, as indeed they were in 2013, when they brought a record 14 million visitors to Portugal (up 4.2% from the year before), according to Travel Pulse. 2013 also saw a marked increase in US visitors to Portugal, with overnight stays by Americans up 16.4% and expenditure by them up 21%.
The Dutch are also falling for Portugal's charms right now, with users of holiday review website Zoover voting the Iberian nation as their second favourite destination (after Austria). Russian holidaymakers too are pouring in, having moved away from previously popular destinations such as Goa, which are now viewed as far less welcoming to Russian tourists.
Part of Portugal's charm is its ability to offer something for everyone. HolidayLettings lists five bedroom villas in Vale do Lobo, for example, at prices ranging from £173 per night to £3,605. One and all are welcome, from those who want nothing more than to sit on the sand with the waves lapping at their toes to those who plan to spend their holidays as high rollers in the region's casinos.
With both the pound and the dollar looking good against the euro right now, Portugal's attractions as a holiday destination are even more tempting. As many families start planning their summer break, it looks like 2015 could be another bumper year for the Algarve.
For further details of properties available to rent including Duncan Bannatyne's villa, or indeed buy in Portugal, contact Ideal Homes Portugal on: