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Couples' essential havens for turning up the romance

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Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece travel to Tahiti

Laird Hamilton, big-wave surfer, and Gabrielle Reece, former pro volleyball player

When your daily life takes you from Malibu to Maui to follow the surf and the seasons, getting away from it all takes on a whole different meaning. Sports super-couple Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece head to Tahiti for romance--and family fun. The husband and wife, who met in 1995 when Hamilton was a guest on Reece's cable talk show, "The Extremists," return often to the South Pacific outpost for its sense of remoteness. With newly born Brody Jo joining sisters Izabella, 12, and Reece Viola, 4, Tahiti's kid-friendly destinations top the couple's itinerary. An over-water bungalow at the Le Méridien resort treats the girls to a view of fish swimming nearby. Naturally, the family treks to Teahupoo, a legendary surf town on the island's southeast end that's a place of triumph for Hamilton, 43. It was there, in 2000, that he conquered what's considered to be the most dangerous wave ever ridden. Closer to shore from the ferocious waves, he says, "you have these lagoons that are incredible for snorkeling and swimming, which makes for inviting water for everybody, even kids." Sometimes, Reece, 38, and Hamilton will take a ferry to the neighboring island of Moorea, about 30 minutes away. But mostly they kick back on Tahiti's black-sand beaches and feast at local restaurants on island specialties such as poisson cru, a ceviche with coconut milk, onions and tomatoes. The mix of cultures on the French Polynesian island charms Hamilton: "For me, it's always bizarre to see a giant Polynesian guy riding a bicycle with a bunch of baguettes on the back. It cracks me up."

Shepard and Amanda Fairey love London

Shepard Fairey, artist, Amanda Fairey, business manager

Street culture mavens Shepard and Amanda Fairey met a decade ago, and now their professional and personal lives are intertwined. He is an internationally known artist, she manages his fine-art career, and together they run the graphics agency Studio Number One in Echo Park. Shepard, 37, and Amanda, 30, live with their 2-year-old daughter, Vivienne, in a Los Feliz home filled with art and are expecting another daughter any day. On the road, business and pleasure also merge. When Shepard recently staged a solo exhibit at London's StolenSpace gallery (his second of three sold-out shows in 2007) the pair rented a modern-cool flat in the East End near Brick Lane. "We must have tried every single one of the Indian restaurants," says Shepard, who gained fame in the '90s plastering his iconic posters of Andre the Giant around the world. And they were regulars at Cargo, a hip lounge/restaurant in the Shoreditch area that serves Latin American and Mediterranean cuisine. (Shepard was creating an installation in Cargo's courtyard.) They shopped for old records and vintage jewelry at Old Spitalfields Market, had drinks with designer Vivienne Westwood in a neighborhood pub near her Battersea office and dined at the swank, members-only Soho House with pop artist Peter Blake. "London is amazing," Shepard says. "It's got all the cultural stuff of New York, but the people are nicer, for one thing."

Tony Alva and Katy Rodriguez cozy up to Costa Rica

Tony Alva, skateboarding pioneer, and Katy Rodriguez, designer

Where in the world could a skateboard legend/die-hard punk rocker and a chic rising-star designer agree on for their ideal vacation? A village the size of a postage stamp in Costa Rica. The coastal town of Santa Teresa fits the bill for Tony Alva, 50, an original member of the famed skateboarding crew Z-Boys, and Katy Rodriguez, 38, co-founder of the vintage boutique Resurrection (she's also known for an eponymous line of playful dresses). "I'm past the point of a backpacking trip," Rodriguez says. "I want to go someplace where I can be really comfortable." Santa Teresa'sFlorblanca resort is her kind of place. Located on the country's Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific, it features private villas with ocean views and outdoor sunken tubs, where "you can be in the bath and there are monkeys above you." Surfing is rough-and-tumble Alva's passion, and he can hit the perfect swells at nearby Sunset Reef.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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