While the rich mahogany doors, hand carved limestone and Spanish tiles Mead originally chose for his home remain, the historic retreat has been modernized: flat screen televisions, DVD players and WIFI access are available in all of the rooms. Yet despite some technological upgrades, the intimately sized inn, with just eight chambers, has kept faithful to the spirit of the home. The rooms are outfitted with fireplaces and private balconies, tandem claw foot tubs and period-appropriate fainting couches. When construction began in 1924, the home was built on a hilltop overlooking the grounds’ beautifully landscaped gardens, winding rock pathways and 50-foot waterfall. The property also includes a heated pool and Jacuzzi where today’s guests are supplied with ice tea and towels.
Visitors with an interest in Old Hollywood may wish to stay in the Marion Davies Room, which was named for the popular silent film actress who leased the home during the 1950’s. Aside from being a talented performer and one of the richest women in the world during the fifties (She built The Davies Building in New York, which would cost $90 million if constructed today), Marion Davies was also a skillful entrepreneur. However, her relationship with multi-millionaire William Hearst often overshadowed Davies’ true legacy. Current owner Tray Conrad said, “What many people don’t realize is that Marion Davies was a brilliant business woman. Her name and reputation will always be linked with Hollywood, of course, but more often it’s associated with Hearst.”
Inside the inn, her room features an elaborately carved king-sized bed, large fireplace and a balcony with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains. However, before retreating to The Willows, Davies lived in Beverly Hills. In the mid-1920’s Hearst purchased a mansion there for Davies, a woman he was fiercely possessive of. But because she was his mistress, it was bought in the name of Davies’ mother, Rose. For those who really want to channel the colorful life the actress led, Davies' Beverly Hills home can be leased for $600,000 a month. However, if you are perhaps looking for something a bit more economical, the rooms at The Willows start at $325 a night and include a three-course gourmet breakfast as well as evening wine and hors d’oeuvres. The grounds are also a lovely setting for weddings which includes the option of combining event space with the nearby O’Donnell House with its pretty desert gardens and verandas.
Sara graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia with a degree in creative writing. As a military child she spent her childhood living and travelling overseas which shaped her passion for travel, language, food, and intercultural exchange. She has recently joined the JustLuxe editorial team....(Read More)