The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has a patchy record for drama, but its portfolio of cast vacations is surprisingly sturdy. Which one reigns supreme?
As with any ranking, pedagogy is of the utmost importance, so we’ll start by defining a “cast trip.” For our purposes, we’re talking about the main vacation attended by the entire cast (as opposed to mini-jaunts like season three’s trip to Ojai). I couldn’t decide on whether to include the season seven sojourn to Punta Mita, where the Housewives attended Lisa Rinna’s funeral, but decided to limit it to one per season. In brief: we’ll be ranking Hawaii (season two), Paris (season three), Puerto Rico (season four), Amsterdam (season five), Dubai (season six), and Hong Kong (season seven).
6. Paris (Season 3)
Three episodes long when it probably only needed two, the BH Wives’ sleepy trip to Paris is most notable for Kim’s flimsily disguised fall off the wagon (which opened the door for some truly unbearable concern trolling from LVP), and Lisa and Kyle’s lavish confrontation atop the Eiffel Tower. Not terrible, but skippable.
5. Dubai (Season 6)
Impenetrably strategic. If you like watching Vanderpump twist in the wind, you’ll find something here, although Puerto Rico is a more lively bloodbath that does the same story better. If you’re Team LVP, though (why?), there’s nothing to love in Dubai.
4. Hawaii (Season 2)
Distilled, the Housewives’ trip to Hawaii is the saga of Kim Richards at her very messiest completely ruining Mauricio’s birthday. The Umanskys live a little too comfortably for my liking, so I’m always down to see them get put through their paces, and what better terror than Kim? These episodes also feature the spark of young love between Lisa Vanderpump and Brandi Glanville, whose marriage was later commemorated in the Albee classic, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
3. Puerto Rico (Season 4)
The Beverly Hills Housewives toy with ruining Lisa Vanderpump’s life every even-numbered season (we’re due this year; fingers crossed!), but never more thoroughly or explosively than in season four’s trip to Puerto Rico. This is a massacre, where absolutely all of LVP’s Ghosts of Christmas Past come back from the dead to haunt her. The whole thing ends with Lisa and Ken tearily chainsmoking on a balcony before escaping the hotel in the dead of night.
2. Amsterdam (Season 5)
The undisputed highlight of RHOBH’s lukewarm fifth season, Amsterdam is a disaster in every possible sense. Brandi is at her most nightmarish, reaming Kyle outside a pot shop, careening in and out of meltdowns, and slapping Vanderpump. Kim demolishes Lisa Rinna, Eileen Davidson and some glassware in a fancy restaurant. Amsterdam is rich with the kind of direct, loud conflict that comes at a premium as RHOBH reaches middle age. The image of Kyle’s back fleeing out the backdoor into the grey evening endures.
1. Hong Kong (Season 7)
Whether you’re in it for the complete mental unravelling of Erika Girardi or simply some gold star trolling courtesy of Lisa Rinna, there’s something in Hong Kong for everyone. The non-fight footage could be better (sightseeing, shopping, lots of Yulin) but that’s more than counterbalanced as newbie Dorit is predictably mauled, Erika rips a strip off her best friend Eileen in an endless and truly bizarre drunken incident, and Rinna furnishes the most delightful coke accusation in televisual history.