The VIP Treatment

Stay and play like a star in a celebrity estate, mountain-view mansion, or an architectural gem of a vacation house

Steven Biller Hotels & Resorts, Real Estate

Frank Sinatra used to hoist a Jack Daniels flag to alert to his Palm Springs Movie Colony neighbors — including Al Jolson, Jack Benny, and Cary Grant — that it was cocktail time. At this 1947 midcentury modern house designed by E. Stewart Williams, Sinatra reputedly threw then-wife Ava Gardner’s possessions onto the driveway after she tried to catch him with Lana Turner. Visitors to the house always look for the chip in the sink where Sinatra famously threw a bottle in a rage.

You can see it, too. You can even rent the four-bedroom, seven-bath Twin Palms Estate for a fun getaway for $2,600 a night (there’s a three-night minimum and a $350 service fee).

The 4,500-square-foot property with the piano-shaped swimming pool has been restored with vintage designer furnishings and includes the original sound and recording system (not connected for use) by Valentino Electronics in Hollywood. You’ll also find state-of the-art amenities, including kitchen appliances by Viking, a Kohler powder room, a wireless network, and iPod docks and surround sound.

The property is one of many offered by Beau Monde Villas, which rents some of the most sought-after luxury properties and provides first-class concierge service to schedule your personal trainer, tee time, and restaurant reservations (or even have groceries delivered to the house).

Whether you want to book a guys getaway, a corporate retreat, or a destination wedding, luxury vacation houses ensure a distinctively Palm Springs experience. From classics like Arthur Elrod’s Las Palmas house in Palm Springs to contemporary, Tuscan-style estates like Dolce Vita in the exclusive Madison Club in La Quinta, the desert offers a rich variety of houses to visitors who want privacy, luxury, and novelty.

Vacation home rentals have become a popular option for visitors to the Greater Palm Springs area. They offer big value: large, private spaces at special properties often at prices less than or comparable to hotel stays. With so many houses on the market, searching for the right one can become overwhelming. Palm Springs Life Luxury Vacation Home Collection offers a thoughtful, short list and leads to many other great houses like Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate.

For example, the 1965, Hal Levitt-designed Schwartz House — represented by Vacation Palm Springs — was designed to take advantage of Palm Springs’ idyllic indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The modern design features large walls of glass to maximize views of the saltwater pool and spa with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Light and bright, the house is located in the Twin Palms neighborhood in south Palm Springs and features colorful midcentury furnishings — including a classic surfboard coffee table in the living room — and an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances.

The authentic 1929 Spanish-style Colony 29 Resort — a 10-bedroom, nine-bath Palm Springs property represented by McLean Company Rentals — was built by artist John Burnham, who made it the hub of an early artist colony. Today, it has a saltwater pool and spa, all new period-style furnishings, and state-of-the-art appliances. The location features stone pathways that lead across the San Jacinto mountainside to gardens of cacti, agave, and a variety of citrus. It even has an adult-sized palapa treehouse that offers a great view and enough room to host a small party.

Some properties feel like contemporary resorts. The 9,500-square-foot Dolce Vita, represented by LUXE Vacation Homes (formerly Desert Luxury Vacations), features retractable glass walls that open to the outdoors for free-flowing entertaining by the saltwater infinity pool and fire pit. The house has four suites, five full and three half-baths, a guesthouse, hand-painted ceilings and frescoes, travertine floors, bar areas, two spas, chef’s kitchen, and fireplaces.

Bottom line: You can find almost any type of house in some of the most desirable neighborhoods throughout the desert — Rat Pack party pads, mountainside mansions, architectural gems, and celebrity estates. 

How to Find a Vacation Home for Rent

Consider the options as you would for any other major purchase:

• Start early. The best properties often book up long before the prime season begins. On the other hand, you can also capitalize on someone else’s cancellation. It’s risky to book late, but motivated renters offer sweet deals.
• Browse Palm Springs Life Luxury Vacation Homes Collection and visit and the websites of a variety of rental agencies to get an idea of the type of houses available in the areas you find appealing.
• Know what you want. Significant architecture and design? Celebrity history? Resort amenities? Proximity to shopping, dining, and entertainment? Large entertaining spaces? Kids? Pets? Wireless Internet connection?
Make a list.
• Compare rates, including service fees, as well as amenities such as concierge services. Look for extended-stay discounts.
• Read customer reviews on TripAdvisor and similar sites.
• Understand the obligations, deposits, insurance, housekeeping, cancellation policies, and other details.

Where to Start

Beau Monde Villas
Our favorites: Frank Sinatra Twin Palms Estate, Kir Royale, and Las Palmas Elrod Oasis

Vacation Palm Springs
Our favorites: Bing Crosby Estate at Thunderbird, Midcentury Wexler Steel House, The Lucy House, Harpo Marx Estate

LUXE Vacation Homes (formerly Desert Luxury Vacations)
Our favorites: Desert Ridge Estate, Hamrick House, Villa Mandarina

McLean Company Rentals
Our favorites: Colony 29 Resort, Deepwell Classic

Palm Springs Rental Agency
Our favorites: Howard Hughes Mini-Estate, Midcentury Meiselman, and Desert Breeze