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Go on a tour of Hugh Hefner’s legendary playboy mansion

Maria Sergeeva
February 6, 2018

Playboy icon, Hugh Hefner, passed away in autumn 2017 at the age of 91 at his beloved house in Holmby Hills. The mansion overgrown with legends as well as its famous owner, was hiding myths linked to an incredible truth. Let’s take a closer look at the lavish 22,000 square-foot $200M mansion where the craziest parties of 70-90s took place.

Technically, the Playboy’s icon never owned the Los Angeles estate. He leased it from Playboy Enterprises and paid $100 a year in rent. In August 2016, the mansion sold for $100 million to Daren Metropoulos, Hefner’s neighbor, the son of billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos,  a principal of the private-equity firm Metropoulos & Co. and a former co-CEO of Pabst Brewing Company.

As a condition of the sale, Hefner was allowed to live in Playboy Mansion until his death. When Hefner died at the home on Wednesday, the property – with that infamous grotto and a zoo license – was officially turned over to Metropoulos.

Surprisingly for lesser observers, the billionaire said his goal was to preserve the architectural heritage of a property that was built in 1927 rather than continue the storied tradition of celebrity-spangled soirees for which it has been known since Mr Hefner purchased it for just over $1 million 45 years ago.

Hugh Hefner had a great love for his home, the Playboy Mansion, and those are the main facts which made this house such a legend.

Playboy’s legendary ‘grotto’

Grotto is a section of the swimming pool hidden in a large, all-natural, cave-like grotto Hefner had built to host the craziest private pool parties in the hidden jacuzzis. Hefner could enjoy this water please with up to 16 women in there at one time.

After its appearance, the swimming pool and grotto were soon be used as a setting for numerous  Playboy’s photo shoots and, as a result, would become one of the most influential swimming pool designs ever, essentially inventing the “lagoon” pool genre that would become synonymous with the 1970s.

MTV explored the mansion to debunk or confirm the exiting myths.

‘What happens in the grotto stays in the grotto,’ bunny Holly Madison told the camera. Hugh also revealed in the program he employed 80 staff to run the place, including butlers and a full kitchen team to freshly prepare him food.

In the midst of Hefner’s party times, the grotto was called the site of modern-day sexual bacchanals.

The movie room

The house features a ‘living room’ which was really a huge cinema, where the Playboy would host film nights three times a week for his bunnies playing old 50s movies, and would pay thousands to play new movies at weekends.

During Hefner's parties, it becomes a central hub for guests who mix and mingle in the room.

Here, the Playboy Mansion is set up for a special movie night hosted by Porsche and Playboy on Aug. 22, 2013.

The games room

There is a separate room filled with $45k worth of games. It has also been a favorite place for many Playboy models to hang out.

The equipment of room includes a pool table and Playboy themed pinball machines, vintage and modern arcade games, Wurlitzer jukebox with jazz recordings, television, stereo,. It also has a player piano and a couch.

A Private Zoo

The Playboy House  is one of the few private residences in America with a zoo license. This private zoo is house for various birds such as peacocks, macaws, flamingos, toucans, and ducks, squirrel monkeys and, of course, bunnies.

In the book “The Bungalow: America’s Arts & Crafts Home” (New York, Penguin Studio, 1995), actor Peter O’Toole, in response to being asked about the Playboy mansion, said: “What God would have done if He’d had the money”. Do we see you nodding your head in agreement?

Two forests outdoors

Apparently one was no fun for Hugh Hefner, who maintained both a redwood forest and a tree fern forest on the Playboy Mansion’s grounds. There’s also a citrus orchard to boot.

A secret room

 There is also a secret room, which was revealed in the making of a documentary titled American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.

The room is on the top floor of the mansion.

It's a library with videos, photographs and a detailed scrapbook that Hefner kept throughout his life. It spanned more than 2,500 volumes in 2011, which broke a Guinness World Record for a personal scrapbook collection.

"It was probably just a way of creating a world of my own to share with my friends," Hefner said, seated amid the archives of his life during a 2011 interview.
"And in retrospect, in thinking about it, it's not a whole lot different than creating the magazine."

Magnificent Fireworks 365 Days a Year

All those luxurious features hidden in 29 rooms and in the private yard were peppered by the atmosphere of the eternal party. Thanks to Hefner’s penchant for partying all the time, the Playboy Mansion is one of the few places in America with a year-round fireworks permit.

This dream mansion is also hiding catering kitchen with walk-in fridge and freezer, a wine cellar that can be accessed through a secret Prohibition Era door, theater with built-in pipe organ, gym, tennis court, six bedrooms (including a two-level master bedroom), six full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a great hall with 22-foot ceilings, and four offices.

This absolutely imaginative adult playground, symbol of Hefner’s personal freedom is a fruit of a veritable dream team of design professionals and artists involved in the project.

In search of the ideal designers capable of fulfilling all his bold ideas, Hefner turned to the husband and wife architectural team of Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith of Chicago, who had been instrumental in designing Playboy’s corporate offices and the original Playboy Mansion, both located in the Windy City.

The Dirsmiths were responsible for the design of a number of the most distinctive features in Hefner’s new playground, which he would eventually occupy as his permanent residence in 1974.