Location, Location, Location… that’s all you ever hear about when Real Estate agents talk about Houses. Obviously location is a big deal but it isn’t everything… it isn’t magic. Almost anything can be imbued with an intangible magic through the osmosis of its atmosphere.
When Christies put up Eric Clapton’s Platinum Patek Philippe 2499 for auction in 2012, everyone knew the result would big. When the hammer finally dropped, the Clapton owned super-watch (which was legendary in its own right) fetched a staggering $3,637,844. Whoever owns that watch now walks out their front door with a special kind of confidence knowing that the wrist that watch used to belonged to was a person who was once referred to as God.
Rock Gods Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath used to find inspiration for new music at the Clearwell Castle in the UK. They would bring their musical instruments and let the castle’s inspiration take hold. They believed the walls of that castle spoke directly to the music they were writing.
If Clearwell Castle is where you go to seek inspiration for Rock music… Hilhaven Lodge is where you go to seek inspiration for a party. The energy its walls have absorbed is straight from the magic and glory of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The parties that have taken place there represent the past, the present and the future of Hollywood celebrity.
In 1927 prominent architect Gordon B. Kaufmann built Hilhaven Lodge as the “entertainment quarters” to his Beverly Hills mansion. The five-bedroom, stone-and-redwood house was a modest structure but its presence was huge.
Ingrid Bergman bought the house during World War II and lovingly nicknamed it the Barn… most likely inspired by the living area’s grand vaulted ceilings. Bergman sold the house to fellow actress Kim Novak (Vertigo) who she knew from both having worked with Alfred Hitchcok. While Novak lived at Hilhaven she had a romantic affair with Director Richard Quine while they filmed “Strangers When We Met.” James Caan rented the house in the early 70’s while he was filming “The Godfather” and turned the living room into a makeshift basketball court so he could play whenever he wanted.
In 1972 Hollywood Producer Allan Carr (Grease) purchased the Hilhaven Lodge and set out on a path to take its reputation to the next level. Carr installed a flashy disco in the basement and started hosting Hollywood’s glitziest get-togethers. By 1999 the years of late-night A-list partying took its toll and Carr invested little in maintaining it.
Keeping in line with the tradition of successful showbiz residents, Hilhaven Lodge was purchased by director and producer Brett Ratner in 2000. Ratner removed the mirrors and leopard print carpet and set out to restore Hilhaven to its original glory (although thankfully the basement disco is still in play).
Ratner has stayed true to the sprit of the Hilhaven Lodge and hosted his own variety of chinwags. He made the clever addition of a vintage photo booth and let the magic happen. In 2003 he released the book “Hilhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures.” It genuinely captures a taste of what it would be like to attend a Tinseltown house party with everyone from Robert Downey Jr. to Heath Ledger. Well done.
Hilhaven Lodge is imbued with a style and character that make it more than just a place to live. It is a destination that inspires a good time. If you are not fortunate enough to be invited to one of Brett’s parties, you still have a way to connect with the energy that lives within its walls.
Hilhaven Lodge is now available as a brand of Whiskey. It cleverly combines Rye and Tennessee Whiskey from 3 decades to capture the spirit of what it might be like to spend an evening at Hilhaven Lodge.