Welcome to My House: Swimply, Airbnb and Other Services

Swimply pool Cartoon by Dan Rattiner
Cartoon by Dan Rattiner

Did you know that you can rent out your swimming pool to members of the public? It’s like Airbnb.

Nobody thought it was legal. Then it turned out it was.

The company doing this is called Swimply. You rent out your pool by the hour. On their website, there’s a pool in Queens that goes for $75 an hour. That’s for up to five guests. For additional guests, it’s $10 an hour. Swimply brokers the transaction and they take a small cut. They will also rent out your hot tub. And they are working on being able to rent out your tennis court. Has it come to the Hamptons? Don’t know.

I write about this not because of the money pool-owners can make — in the scheme of things, it’s not much after all. But the fact is that I never got out to my house in the Hamptons at all last summer. We had plans to do it. My chef bought lobsters and caviar. My yacht’s crew chief bought prime rib and champagne. But in the end, something came up in Dubai I had to attend to. So the trip got scrubbed.

Frankly, I feel I owe it to my staff to give them something to do rather than wait and wait for us. I told them they could keep the money, half of it anyway, and the rest we would use for repairs and maintenance. And with that, I went to swimply.com and made the arrangements.

Helicopter Tour — $50 an hour, per person. Maximum six people. Capt. Rollins will take your group into my 17-car garage where, in the end bay, we keep the six-seat Sikorski for when we need to be picked up at an airport. The captain will arrange for you to sit in the seats, operate the controls, turn on the engine and taxi it out to the driveway and then taxi it back.

Encounter Our Llamas — $80 an hour, per person, maximum 12 people. We have nine of them, and they just love to be petted. We keep them in a small pasture behind the garage, and they sleep in an adjacent air-conditioned red barn we built for them. Ms. Allison Barline, who cares for them, will give your group handfuls of raw chopped dates. Go to the fence, hold them out and the llamas will amble right over and snarfle them up. Your palm will get wet. A badge of honor.

The Star of India — $30 for 15 minutes per person, maximum 80 people. This sapphire, the largest in the world, is the pride of my wife’s jewelry collection. Anis Sadri, her personal dresser, will wheel it out on a cart to display it to you and your party poolside for that short time. No touching. Just looking. It’s ordinarily kept in the unlocked top drawer of my wife’s bedside table. No bad guys would ever think to look there. Too obvious.

The Track. It’s against the law to keep a thoroughbred race horse on private property in a residential zone in the Hamptons — something about cruelty to animals or something — but there is no law against Standardbreds.

“Wild Bill” Rennil, a wrangler who’s been with us for the past nine years, can spend an hour with you and your friends in our standardbred horse paddock for $200 an hour per person, maximum five. You will learn grooming, mucking the stalls, feeding hay, giving vitamin shots and for an extra $300 per person at the end of that hour, climb into a sulky and drive one or more of our eight trotters once around our quarter-mile track. And go lightly with the whip.

Eskimo Goulash. Elon Mook from Fairbanks, Alaska has been our Intuit chef for seven years, bringing us delicacies brought in from way up North that he had been hired to steam cook for us every Sunday night when we are there, which, as I have said, we haven’t been. We’ve been told he does wonders with walrus blubber. He’ll cook a four-hour porpoise souffle dinner that will include Big Foot vintage 1998 wine, sled-dog cabbage and a dessert made from polar bear venom. Elon also, we are told, is a great storyteller about the goings-on in the Aleutians. $750 per person for up to eight plus 25% tip.

The Car. View my 1903 Oldsmobile curved dash Runabout convertible. $25 an hour up to 80 people maximum. In addition to the Sikorsky helicopter in my 17-car garage, I have 16 antique automobiles kept up by “Speedo” Warren, who finished fourth at Daytona three years ago, but who has been out of the picture since I hired him to maintain, test drive, repair and daily polish my collection. Only two 1903 Oldsmobile curved dash Runabouts were ever built. I have one. And I’m told Elon Musk just bought the other. You won’t be allowed to drive mine or even sit in it for a bit. It’s just too valuable. But you could look at it for an hour.

The Chapel. For $200 an hour, you and your friends, up to 100, can spend time in my private chapel pondering the Almighty. Father Alphonso, who is in residence, can conduct a service in whichever religion you choose. And he has the prayer books and wears the special raiments associated with dozens of faiths.

The Workout. Arlie McCarran, my young personal trainer, will make herself available to you and members of your party for three hours of the intense boot camp program she provides me when I’m there. Cost is $600 per person with a maximum of up to 25 others who wish to attend. You will crawl under barbed wire, climb wooden barriers, wade through mud and as a finale, follow behind her on a punishing high-speed hedgerow run, which is 2 miles along the inside of our property line, without stopping. Payment is required in advance and is nonrefundable. Also, beforehand, you will sign a waiver taking responsibility for resuscitation, medical treatment, ambulance, hospitalization, rehab and nursing costs if they become necessary.

See you at the beach!