Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010
By Matthew Link
If you’ve ever wondered what it costs to live like a rock god, well, try $15,000 a week. That’s the going rate for a week at Mick Jagger’s Japanese-themed Stargrove villa, www.unusualvillarentals.com, on the isle of Mustique in the West Indies.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the economic times, but Jagger and other top rockers like Eric Clapton will, for the right price, gladly hand over the keys to their palatial Caribbean estates to vetted applicants. “As a graduate of the London School of Economics, Mick Jagger is an astute businessman,” says Richard Klug of Beverly Hills – based Sotheby’s International Realty. “He understands that leasing out the property when he’s not there helps defray costs for the house.” (See pictures of modernist homes available for rent.)
The current travel industry may be on shaky ground, but vacation rental homes are one bright spot. Although $15,000 may sound steep, with its six bedrooms, beachfront location, pool, Jacuzzi, Jeep and a staff of six (not to mention Jagger’s personal photos scattered about the place), Stargrove is actually quite the deal for a group of travelers.
HomeAway.com, which claims to represent the world’s largest collection of vacation rental properties, has estimated that this growing segment generates more than $63 billion in revenue annually, or nearly half as much as the hotel industry. And with popular websites like Vacation Rental by Owner, www.vrbo.com, averaging over 65 million visitors annually, it’s no wonder celebrities want to cash in on the trend. (See pictures of Americans in their homes.)
We’ll never know if Jagger inspired him, but fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards also puts up his private Caribbean estate as a vacation rental. One of the multimillion-dollar private residences at Parrot Cay, www.parrotcay.como.bz, in the Turks and Caicos, Richards’ nearly one-hectare, three-bedroom beachfront property includes a 60-inch rear-projection TV in the living room, an infinity pool and butler service. His pad costs rather more than Jagger’s, however, at just over $8,100 a night. (Comment on this story.)
Nearby, on the island of Antigua (where Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson also own homes), guitar great Clapton rents out his stunning 18-hectare Standfast Point, www.standfastpoint.com, for a cool $50,000 a week. This $14 million estate sleeps up to 14 people, comes with a full staff and consists of three huge buildings interconnected by open stone terraces. A swimming pool, a children’s playroom and a billiard room all make this rock-star hideaway surprisingly family-friendly.
Away from the star-studded Caribbean, the Southern California desert resort town of Palm Springs, about two hours’ drive from Los Angeles, has the largest concentration of celebrity home rentals in the U.S. You can overnight in the former residences of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor or Lucille Ball, but rock-music fans will want to check into the Elvis honeymoon home, www.elvishoneymoon.com. This five-bedroom space-age house on stilts is where the Presleys spent their 1967 honeymoon, and its vintage furniture, circular living room and stone walls make you feel like you have slipped into a midcentury-modern time warp. Nightly rates are a relative steal at $1,500. Not to be outdone, the King of the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, built his four-bedroom home in Palm Springs with a pool shaped like a piano and a then state-of-the-art stereo system dominating a whole wall of the living room. Dubbed Twin Palms, www.sinatrahouse.com, this home was the site of many glamorous Hollywood parties. Weekly rates hover around $15,600. (See 10 things to buy during the recession.)
Last but not least, the former West Hollywood home of iconic Doors front man Jim Morrison can be rented by the month for just $3,000. Located within walking distance from the Sunset Strip clubs where Morrison performed, his two-bedroom, 70-sq-m apartment is adorned with Doors’ posters and memorabilia, and includes a meditation garden where Morrison wrote poetry. It was the last U.S. home he lived in before his mysterious death in Paris. Rates don’t include a Ouija board for contacting Morrison, so be sure to pack your own. See www.vacation-key.com for more.