A tour in Hugh Heffner’s Playboy mansion

Playboy’s icon, Hugh Heffner sadly passed away last year at the age of 91 at his beloved Gothic Tudor-style Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The mansion had grown with legends, including the owner himself, and is as magnificent as its mystic. So, what are you likely to encounter in the lavish 22,000 square-foot $200M mansion where the craziest parties of 70-90s took place? Let’s take a look.

Quick facts

The house was designed in the mid-1920s by architect Arthur Kelly and built for a department store heir; Arthur Letts, Jr. In 1971, the Playboy’s icon paid a record-setting $1.05 million to acquire the house from Louis Staham, an inventor and chess player. He made it his permanent residence in 1974.  Heffner lived a lavish lifestyle, which is quite an understatement, and an invitation to the famed Playboy mansion was a dream come true for many during the icons lifetime.

To achieve his bold ideas for the design, Hefner sorts the services of husband and wife architectural team of Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith of Chicago, who had also designed many of Playboy’s corporate offices and the original Playboy Mansion, both located in the Windy City.

While photos from parties in the mansion showed celebrities, playmates, and Heffner himself letting loose and having wild fun, the mansion itself was rarely shown in the photos. However, there are no prizes for guessing that its mythical pool has welcomed some of the most extravagant parties, bringing together the biggest names and the sexiest blondes in Hollywood. Hefner also revealed that he employed 80 staff to run the place including a full kitchen team to prepare fresh food for him.

In August 2016, Daren Metropoulos, Hefner’s neighbor and 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 bought the mansion for $100m, which was actually half its value. There was a catch though; Heffner would be allowed to continue living in the mansion until his death. Upon his death, the 5-acre property that sits on just over five acres bordering the Los Angeles Country Club, its infamous grotto and a zoo license were officially handed over to Metropoulos.

Your dream of visiting the famous mansion may never come true, but I’ll take you behind the scenes to give you a clue. Come with me.

The legendary grotto

The grotto is actually a section of the swimming pool that is hidden in a large, natural, cave-like structure build by Hefner to host some of the craziest pool parties. Hefner could enjoy this with up to 16 women at a time! There were so many sexcapades in the grotto that it was dubbed the site of modern-day sexual bacchanals.

The grotto and swimming pool were also used as a setting for Playboy photo shoots. As a result, they were so famous that they became one of the most influential pool designs ever; giving rise to the “lagoon” pool genre that was such a hit in the ‘70s.

A private zoo

This property is one of the very few in Los Angeles to have a private zoo. This means beautiful birds like peacocks macaws, flamingos, toucans, ducks, monkeys, and the like can roam freely.

So extravagant was the mansion that actor Peter O’Toole, when asked about the mansion, replied with: “What God would have done if He’d had the money.” Some might consider that sacrilegious, but that should give you a rough idea.

Movie room

The mansion also had a ‘living room’ which was, in reality, a huge a cinema where Playboy would host film nights three times a week for his friends where they would watch old 50s movies. They also played new movies in the weekend although that would cost them thousands. Not that they lacked.

It was also a hub for Hefner’s parties where they would freely mix and mingle. In 2013 for instance, a special movie night was hosted by Porsche and Playboy which should tell you the kind of high profile guests who occasioned the mansion.

Games room

This was actually a favorite place for Playboy models to hang out. It is filled with over $45k worth of games. Some of the equipment in the games room includes Wurlitzer jukebox with jazz recording, a player piano and a couch, and a pool table and Playboy-themed pinball machines among others.

Secret room

The secret room was indeed a secret until it was revealed during the making of a documentary titled American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story. The room can be found on the mansion’s top floor.

Inside the room are videos, photographs and a detailed scrapbook that Hefner kept all his life. By 2011, the book had 2500 volumes, entering the Guinness Book of Records for a personal scrapbook collection.

Year-round fireworks

Hefner’s penchant for partying means the playboy mansion was one of the few places in the United States with a 365 days fireworks permit. In fact, the private yard had the feel of an eternal party.

Other things you are likely to encounter inside the mansion is six bedrooms (including a two-level master bedroom), six full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a great hall with 22-foot ceilings, four offices, a theatre with built-in pipe organ and so much more.


The Playboy Mansion is the ultimate adult imaginative playground. It is a symbol of Hefner’s freedom and the dream of design professionals and other artists involved in the project. The Playboy himself may have passed away, but his legacy still lives on in this magnificent structure.

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