Frank Sinatra was an avid golfer, but off the course was where he really liked to swing.
The booze. The broads (apologies, his term). The lavish parties. Sinatra enjoyed all of them at his rustic-chic Palm Desert, Calif., retreat, which is now on the market for $3.95 million — and which could make a strong case for the title of Ultimate Golf Home.
Built in 1967 and christened Villa Maggio as a nod to Sinatra’s character in From Here to Eternity, the mountain aerie sits within easy striking distance of more than 100 pristine desert courses, including Pete Dye’s Stadium Course at PGA West, famously scenic Desert Willow, and the emerald layouts of La Quinta, host the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge. More to the point, the high-altitude spread lies at the heart of the Sinatra legacy, a link to the legend and the outsize life he led.
Picture this as your post-round pied-a-terre: a five-acre property dotted with a helipad, a swimming pool, a sauna, basketball and tennis courts, and multiple outdoor fire pits. (No putting green, Frankie? For shame!) There’s also a guesthouse, replete with a secret passageway leading to a bedroom. So THAT’s what he meant by doing it his way.
Taken together, the main house and guesthouse have 8 bedrooms, 12 1/2 bathrooms, 9 fireplaces and 6,400-plus square feet, bedecked in distinctive of-an-era decor. The kitchen, though updated, still sports the Ronson Foodmatic that Old Blues Eyes had installed in the island counter. Don’t blame the realtor for the black-and-white fern wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. Frankie’s choice.
Located at 4,300 feet above the desert floor, Villa Maggio doesn’t swelter like the cauldron beneath it; temperatures are on average 20 degrees cooler. Sinatra used it not just to beat the heat but also to escape the glare of celebrity. Of course his Rat Pack pals were always welcome.
Put yourself in their shoes, on some star-lit desert evening in the wake of a 36-hole bender, the cocktails flowing, a big band playing, the air electric with anticipation. Squint your eyes. If your golf buds don’t already look like Dino and the boys, you probably just need another Jack on the rocks. (Yep, Frank’s drink of choice.)
Property photos provided by Anthony Lagrosa.