The Rat Pack
This is likewise the case at the Twin Palms Estate, Frank Sinatra’s storied, swinging Palm Springs pad. In 1947, Sinatra hired the architect E. Stewart Williams to build the 4,500-square-foot midcentury showplace after spotting the land, and an especially lovely pair of palm trees, from an airplane. The entire estate, including its iconic grand piano-shaped pool and a recording studio, is available for starting at $2,500 a night (up to $4,219 a night in high season), for a three-night minimum, through Natural Retreats.
The owners, Tom and Marianne O’Connell, bought the property in 2009, after renting it for their own short-term stay. “They’re Rat Pack fans,” said Dann Richey, who manages the estate for Natural Retreats. “They were about to retire and saw it both as a vacation home and a business opportunity.”
Of course, Twin Palms attracts those drawn to its remarkable (and stormy) cultural history — a crack in the original primary bathroom’s sink is rumored to be the result of Ava Gardner throwing a champagne bottle at Mr. Sinatra after discovering his tryst with Lana Turner while Gardner was away on location — but it also summons its fair share of design and architecture buffs. In the past, guests have been “a solid mix of international Sinatra devotees and people interested in the desert modernist architecture of the mansion,” said Mr. Richey. “We’ve had requests for the staff to all be wearing Rat Pack-style fedoras when guests arrive, as well as ones that are solely interested in the mansion as a midcentury architectural masterpiece.”
But while business at the Twin Palms Estates has remained steady throughout the pandemic, the profile of the typical renter has changed. “Currently, people are coming from areas within driving distance of Palm Springs, such as the Bay Area and Nevada, and instead of staying three days at a time, are staying up to a week,” Mr. Richey said. “I think the initial draw is Sinatra, but in the end, it’s just an extraordinary place to escape for a few days.”