About this listing
Historic architectural gem on several acres with lush gardens and sweeping mountain views. Spell-binding beauty, warmth, and serenity are the prime amenities of this bucolic retreat. Built in 1930 as the Silvia Park Country Club, it later became one of Mickey Cohen's Los Angeles' gambling houses in the 40's, a gay club in the 50s and 60s, and the infamous Mermaid Tavern in the 70s. By the 1980s it was a wreck. Now, fully restored, the Mermaid is ready for you to make some history of your own.
PHOTOSHOOTS ARE A SPECIALTY AND PRICED INDIVIDUALLY. Available for overnight stays, filming, memorials, and events with short turn around time of a month or less. Retreats, workshops and events with a longer lead time are only booked directly with the owner. PLEASE DO NOT INQUIRE ABOUT WEDDINGS AS THEY ARE BOOKED DIRECTLY WITH THE OWNER.
The $2,500. day rate is for a group of 9 or less staying overnight. Everything else (photoshoots, filming, workshops, retreats, memorials, for example) is individually priced depending on use, numbers of days, numbers of guests, numbers hours, and many other factors.
Please read Listing and House Rules below before you inquire.
• LOCATION - In Topanga Canyon, the celebrated vortex of art and eccentricity. Minutes to urban Los Angeles, yet seems a zillion miles away.
• NATURE - Surrounded by thousands of acres of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban park in America
• GRAND SCALE - 7,000-square-foot architectural gem on several acres of rural bliss.
• DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS - Candy for the eyes, and food for the soul. Beauty is perhaps the prime amenity.
• AMBIENCE - Great vibe, intimacy and warmth.
• MOUNTAIN VIEWS
• FRESH AIR
• LUSH GARDENS with meandering pathways, fountains everywhere and lots of vintage outdoor furniture.
• WILDLIFE - A Certified Wildlife and Butterfly Habitat. Peacocks roam, bunnies hop about, bees buzz, and hummingbird drink from the fountains helicopter-style.
• SPECTACULAR GREAT ROOM with 16-foot high truss-beamed ceiling, grand staircase, and original hardwood maple floors.
• THREE BEDROOMS - The Siren Room, Mountain Room, and Tower Room.
• 3 ENSUITE BATHROOMS, beautifully appointed.
• BIG FIREPLACE in the Great Room to warm the soul.
• EXTERIORS - Patios, Verandas, Balconies, and Decks.
• BIG CLASSIC SWIMMING POOL - 20’ X 40’, three to eight feet deep with deep azure bottom.
• OFF-STREET PARKING - If you visit, please park inside the front gate, not on the neighborhood streets.
• PHOTOGENIC - A favorite location with photographers and filmmakers for decades.
• NOTORIOUS HISTORY
The property was originally developed in the early 30s as the Sylvia Park Country Club. In the 40’s it was reinvented as a gambling house run by the infamous gangster, Mickey Cohen. In the 50’s it was reborn again as The Canyon Club, a gay nightclub owned and operated by a former vice cop. Other assorted identities include American Legion hall, boarding house, theatre, and a celebrated artist’s haunt called The Mermaid Tavern that featured world-class chamber music and more.
By the late 1980s, the place was an exercise in deferred maintenance, a shipwreck in slow motion listing precariously, with a crumbling foundation, a checkered past, and an uncertain future. In 1989, a local artist with a passion for old houses and history bought the property, moved in with the rats, bats, and one feral cat, shoveled the horse manure from the floor, and began a 25-year journey of rebirth and rehabilitation.
The Mountain Mermaid is now a horticultural retreat for the rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit, and for the preservation of our natural, architectural and historical heritage
The rest is history.
GUEST QUARTERS: Guests have the exclusive use of the main floor and tower level with all of the grand rooms from the country club days -- the spectacular 1,500 square-foot Great Room, the spacious dining room and kitchen, 3 bedrooms with 3 en-suite bathrooms, patios, roof deck, balconies, pool, backyard, front yard, and side-yards.
Interaction with guests
OWNER’S QUARTERS are on the lower basement level. Owner travels frequently, and may or may not be on site during your stay. Guest quarters do not overlap the owner’s quarters. Your peaceful enjoyment of the location is of utmost importance, and your privacy will be totally respected. Owner or manager will be available if you need anything.
Other things to note
Visitors often remark about the Mermaid’s beauty, warmth, and soothing vibe. The location is filled with irreplaceable antique furniture and fixtures. The owner wants guests to thoroughly enjoy their time here while simultaneously being respectful and protective of its furnishings, surfaces, plants, and serene environs. Guests are asked to keep the volume of voices and music moderate and volume levels can be increased inside if all the doors and windows are closed. Guests are to be discreet during their stay so as not to disturb, annoy, endanger, or interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the neighbors and other guests. Sound levels are at the sole discretion of the owner or residing manager.
NO WEDDINGS OR EVENTS ARE BOOKED THROUGH AIRBNB: Weddings and larger events are only booked directly through the owner. The $1,500, day rate is for overnight stays of 6 guests or less. NO PETS PLEASE. PHOTOSHOOTS AND FILMING are negotiated on a per-job basis. Commercial filming and photography and are not included in the listed Airbnb day- rate.
NUMBERS OF GUESTS: Be sure to include the maximum number of people you expect for any use when you first inquire. Guests agree not to assign or sublet any portion of the property to another person or party. Additional guests beyond 6 for overnight stays can be arranged.
NO PETS. Sorry.
OVERNIGHT STAYS: The Mermaid has three bedrooms that sleep six comfortably. Two rooms have queen-sized beds and one has a king that can be divided into two extra-long twins. The day rate is $1,500. for the location with a maximum of 6 guests. Check in is at 3pm, check-out is 11am. Kids and babies are ok. There is a crib if you need one.
LIMITED KITCHEN USE: For overnight stays of 6 persons or less, guests have full kitchen privileges. For larger groups, food can be ordered from a restaurant or caterer, picked up or dropped off. A list of local restaurants that deliver is provided. We can recommend a private chef allowed to use the kitchen. OUTDOOR KITCHEN: There is a large (500 square-foot) patio next to the dining room and kitchen that is frequently used as the food preparation area by caterers and guests for larger groups and events.
PHOTOSHOOTS AND FILMING: The Mermaid has been a favorite location with photographers and filmmakers the world over for 25 years. Usually, film and photo shoots occur during the daylight hours, with no one staying over, but that can be arranged. Hours vary, but 8am to 5pm is a rather typical period for a photo shoot. Rates are quoted on a per-job basis.
SMOKING, CANDLES, AND FIREPLACE: Smoking is ok outside only on the front and side patios, the back balcony, roof and pool deck. All butts in ashtrays please. Absolutely no candles, or open flames outside (it's the law) or in the bedrooms. Candles ok only in the great room and dining room in small votive or larger hurricane glass containers. The fireplace in the Great Room is available with owner's ok and guidance and only on those days approved by the local air quality agency. We are in a high wildfire area and any breach of these guidelines will result in loss of the security deposit.
WILDLIFE and BUGS: The Mermaid is a certified wildlife site and way-station for migrating Monarch butterflies. Birds, squirrels, bunnies, lizards, bats, insects, and other animals call the Mermaid home, as well as the house dog, Buddy. Raccoons, possums, coyotes, deer, and others come to visit. We have an active and healthy ecosystem. No harsh synthetic pesticides and herbicides are used. Plus, we have no screens on the windows to impede the view. Hence, there are more butterflies, bees and bugs here than in town. If you are squeamish about wildlife and insects, perhaps this location is not for you. The owner and residents in Topanga cherish and want to preserve the wild natural beauty of our rural community. Please help us protect and preserve our beautiful natural wilderness by observing NO PESTICIDES, AEROSOLES, POISINS, TOXIC MATERIALS that could get into our fountains, pool, plants, or creeks.
PARKING: Park on the property in front of the Mermaid and on the lower parking lot level. There is lots of room, so NO PARKING ON NEIGHBORING STREETS.
ALWAYS TURN OUT THE LIGHTS WHEN YOU LEAVE.
SENSITIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM: All properties in rural Topanga Canyon are on septic systems and toilets are sensitive to overload and misuse. Therefore, BOATING RULES APPLY; please NEVER put anything non-organic in our toilets, deposit urine paper in waste baskets. Guys, you are encouraged to water the bushes rather than use the toilet.
Cancel up to 7 days before your trip and get a 50% refund plus service fees back.
This host has 84 reviews for other properties.View other reviews
Long-story-short, I was born in Los Angeles, love art, houses and history, grew weary of working for others as a commercial illustrator, so became my own boss reclaiming and preserving old buildings.