Karina Smirnoff has traveled the world as part of her lengthy dancing career, but the Dancing With the Stars pro tells Us Weekly she'd go back to Phuket, Thailand, in a heartbeat if the trip could echo one of her most memorable vacations to the locale. "I'll never forget my vacation there," Smirnoff told Us Weekly at the May red carpet premiere of Million Dollar Arm in Hollywood. "I still believe it's paradise—Heaven on Earth."
Why was the locale perfect for the dance pro? "The water is warm," she recalls. "The fruits you get are unbelievable and the sand is like baby powder."
Smirnoff—who intends to spend this summer traveling to promote her DanceFit-KS workout program—also took a memorable vacation prior to the start of 2014's DWTS season, and stepped out of her comfort zone by taking the trip alone. "Literally it was me and my suitcases," says Sean Avery's former partner, who jetted off to one of Mexico's Karisma Resorts for R&R. "I was freaking out and told my best friend, 'I'm going to be back tomorrow, wait for me.'"
Once Smirnoff arrived in Mexico, she says the trip proved transformational. "When I got there, it was kind of weird because I didn't know what to do. I sat down and started a journal," she tells Us. "I think it was the turning point in my life where you needed that to be complete with yourself."
While in Mexico, Smirnoff indulged in the luxe hotel's amenities—including a 24/7 butler!—and couldn't get enough of the "ridiculous" beachfront view. "I fell in love with the place and was like, 'We have to go back this summer.' I never felt like I was alone. It's one of my favorite places to go now."