Playboy cover girl Holly Madison stars as Hugh Hefner's No. 1 girl in E!'s The Girls Next Door, which begins a new season in October. After kicking up her heels on last season's Dancing with the Stars, she now entertains crowds in Las Vegas. She appears in PEEPSHOW at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino through Sept. 21, though her contract may be extended. She shares her travel highlights and tips with USA Today.
Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?
A: I really liked Cabo. I went there with a boyfriend so it wasn't really my first choice, not that I wasn't excited to go. The climate reminded me of the south of France and the beaches of a less-crowded south of France. I loved the cave, going into town and going to the clubs. We swam with dolphins. We rode dune buggies. It was just a blast.
Q: What's the best place you've ever visited?
A: Paris. It's so beautiful and has so much culture to offer. There's so much to explore. I love the museums. I love going to the catacombs underneath the city where all of the bones are. I even love the famous cemetery Père Lachaise. I love the feel of that place. It's eerie but beautiful at the same time. Montmartre is so cute. And the outskirts, I love too, including Versailles.
Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you've ever visited?
A: Venice. I kind of knew what to expect but it made more of an impact on me. It's so cool. It reminds me of something of a fantasy. It's like from another world or another planet. You're in a water city. Until you're there you don't quite realize what an adventure it is or what a unique city it is. We had gone to the Hotel Danieli and the lobby is so beautiful that you go back in time.
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?
A: I really love Disney parks. I grew up vacationing at Disneyland all the time. I've been to Disneyland Paris. I love Disney World in Florida. My favorite hotel, even though I've stayed in some of the nicest hotels in the world, is still the Grand Floridian at Disney World. I love staying on the top floor. You can sneak down one floor and they have a breakfast buffet and buffets at night. I love the open atrium area in the middle. There's always somebody playing the piano in the evening. I feel like a little kid and my parents are having a party and I'm eavesdropping. It's just a fun atmosphere. I'm obsessed with the Disney parks. I'm an expert on them. At Disney World there's something for everybody: big thrill rides, things for kids, educational things. At Epcot, I love the whole around-the-world section. It's so fun.
Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?
A: My favorite travel tip is just to go in the off season and some of the more unorthodox times. For example, there's one hotel I really love in Paris. One of the rooms doubles in price if you go in June from what the price is in May. It's totally crazy. And then Disneyland, traditionally, if you go the week before Christmas you can go on all of the rides in such a fast amount of time, whereas if you go the week after Christmas through New Year's Day it's so packed you can't even move. I think researching when you can get the best deal and when it's the least crowded is really worth it.