The mansion sits in Holmby Hills, a 3,200-acre neighborhood in West Los Angeles, and part of the “Platinum Triangle” along with nearby wealthy enclaves Bel-Air and Beverly Hills (via Curbed). Holmby Hills was developed in part by the early 20th-century department store magnate Arthur Letts (via Old Homes of Los Angeles), who named it for his hometown of Holdenby, England — according to House Digest, he hoped to create a “bit of England in America.”
It was Letts’ son, Arthur Letts, Jr., who took a 4.5-acre parcel of land in his dad’s development and turned it into what we now recognize as the Playboy Mansion (via The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills). He hired architect Arthur R. Kelly for the English Tudor-style home; he is the one who created the secret store of booze for discreet Prohibition-era ragers.
As you can imagine, the neighborhood wasn’t too happy when Playboy moved in and redesigned the place — the grotto wasn’t exactly part of the Letts family’s original vision. But by 2016, when the mansion was up for sale, a neighbor ended up buying it — for $100 million. No wonder Hefner told CBS News that the mansion was “Playboy’s best investment.”
And though the city of LA has not designated the former Playboy Mansion as a landmark, the resident’s exterior will be permanently preserved as part of a deal between the new owner and the city, according to NBC Los Angeles.