With the passing of 91-year-old soft-porn purveyor and lifelong bon vivant Hugh Hefner, the iconic Playboy Mansion in L.A.’s posh Holmby Hills ‘hood will be handed over to its owner, next door neighbor Daren Metropoulos, who will embark on what will no doubt be a comprehensive and costly overhaul of the fabled estate. Though he occupied it as his home for almost five decades, in recent years the legendary and legendarily sex-fueled Playboy Mansion was not owned directly by Hefner but rather by Playboy Enterprises which, after putting it up for sale in early 2016 with a preposterous asking price of $200 million, sold the estate in August 2016 for $100 million to Mister Metropoulos, silver-spooned businessman son of billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos. Conditions at the time of the sale stipulated Hef, to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe at the Westwood Village Memorial Park, would remain in residence until his death at a rental rate of $1 million per year.
The stately estate, which shares a long border with the tony Los Angeles Country Club, is anchored by an imposing and sumptuous if somewhat down-on-her-heels 29-room Gothic Tudor mansion designed by high-society architect Arthur Kelly and built in mid-1920s for department store heir Arthur Letts, Jr. The estate was later owned by medical device inventor and avid chess player Louis Statham who sold it to Hefner in 1971 for what was then a record-setting price of $1.05 million. In addition to the main residence, which weighs in at not quite 15,000-square-feet according to tax records, the sprawling, park-like compound contains a four-bedroom guesthouse, a games house, commercial and outdoor kitchens, a tennis court, vast lawns and groomed gardens, several aviaries and exotic animal pens — the estate is one of only a few privately owned homes in Los Angeles with a zoo license — and, of course, the world-famous, lagoon-style swimming pool and cave-like grotto where for decades scores of Tinseltown wannabes, A-list actors and show business power players frolicked with a veritable army of scantily clad and silicone enhanced young women.
Now that the Hef has passed, his third wife and widow, 31-year old former Playboy Playmate Crystal Hefner, will presumably move to a not quite 6,000-square-foot contemporary villa high above the Sunset Strip bought for her in April 2013 for almost $5 million. Possession of his epochal party pad will transfer to Mister Metropoulos who plans to combine the five-acre compound with the 2.28-acre neighboring estate he’s owned since 2009 when he picked it up for $18 million from Hef’s second ex-wife, former Playboy Playmate Kimberley Conrad. The 30-something-year-old businessman plans to occupy the combined spread as his own, super-luxe demesne.
Some of the other high-profile residents of Holmby Hills include Napster founder Sean Parker, hip-hop mega-mogul Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, director Sir Ridley Scott, Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine, Google billionaire Eric Schmidt, and British Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone Stunt who has her behemoth faux-chateau for sale with an elephantine price tag of $200 million.
photos via Hilton & Hyland