How the Other Half Lives

As he sipped iced tea in his blue flip flops, green checked trousers and a white Lacoste polo, Marose cut a relaxed figure. Speaking at length about how Nicole Richie's visit to the Beach House spawned a revival in one sponsor's sunscreen range, a girl walked by with a SuicideGirls tattoo that caught his attention. Always on the lookout for talent, Marose leapt to his feet, introduced himself and handed her his business card. The girl, who was heading to an audition, was blissfully unaware she was speaking to one of the most prominent publicists in America. Marose returned to his seat and gave a wry smile.

"The celebrity circle is very tight-knit," said the 41-year-old Marose. "I worked with my dear friend Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes on a party celebrating Suge Knight's release from jail. We didn't have long to plan so there were no sponsors. The catering alone cost $15,000."

He added, "The house we rented was Fred Durst's Beverly Hills mansion and he gave it to us for the night for just $5,000, which was a third less than usual, as a favor."

It's not just the party scene where extravagant rental agreements are the norm for society's well-to-do. High-priced, short-term leasing has become a niche in Los Angeles, according to Kristie Mele, general manager of Villa Malibu, a new townhouse resort by the beach.

"Our clients want resort amenities brought to them somewhere with a home feel and they feel they are getting value for money," said Mele, whose resort charges $18,000 for a one-month stay. "The trend in this type of leasing has definitely become more marked in the last couple of years."

That is not to say it did not exist before then, however. In 2001, Paul McCartney paid Courtney Love $100,000 a month to rent her home situated in the flats of Beverly Hills.

"I remember her saying to me, 'I can't believe what a good deal this is,'" said Sotheby's realtor Jeff Hobgood. "Certainly that's a high price, even in today's market, but you have to credit Courtney's eye for business."

Hobgood said that for celebrities looking to vacation, $5,000 per week is considered low with prices often running to $10,000 or even $20,000 per week. Just as when they are looking for a place to party, they will have their representatives go through brokers who have the necessary contacts.

Driving his 2007 BMW M5 toward the penthouse featured as belonging to Johnny Drama in the HBO show "Entourage," Hobgood pointed out the homes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Colin Farrell, Courtney Cox and countless others with alacrity.

Located on the 12th floor of Franklin Towers, the "Entourage" penthouse has a $50,000 sound system, a 110-inch home cinema and views to the north of the Hollywood Hills and to the west of Century City. The real-life owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that he had no plans to rent out his place to private entities but said that he would likely be spending some of his summer in Malibu.

"These people don't necessarily worry about how much their vacation costs and if it's less hassle for them to lease than it is for them to buy then that's what they'll do," Hobgood said.

Hassle-free getaways are something the high-rollers can find on the East Coast too. The Hamptons region of Long Island attracts the likes of Steven Spielberg, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jerry Seinfeld.

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