Malibu’s bold-faced names

The inside story on notable properties owned by the rich and famous

Jul.July 14, 2017 09:00 AM
The view from outside Robert Downey Jr.’s new Malibu home, which he picked up for $3.8 million.

Forget Palm Springs — media moguls, Hollywood sirens, billionaire money managers and even “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. want a weekend romp in Malibu.

The city’s status as the go-to playground for the wealthy was fully solidified — if it hadn’t been already — when it was reported in May that music icon Beyoncé and her husband, rapper Jay Z, are renting a $400,000-a-month estate in the Malibu Colony with their newborn twins in tow.

The mansion, known as La Villa Contenta, has 14 bathrooms and 10 bedrooms and sits on 6.3 acres with unobstructed views of the ocean. The main house features 18th-century chandeliers carved from amethyst and rock crystal and a 2,500-year-old lion’s head reportedly discovered at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, the Daily Mail first reported.

Developer Scott Gillen of the firm Unvarnished said Malibu’s listings always command attention from the world’s wealthiest celebrities, with many of the sales and rentals quietly shopped around off-market. “We have a massive underground thing going on,” Gillen said. “There’s a tremendous amount of discussion off-market that nobody hears about … unless someone tries to leak it. I would say nine out of 10 [buyers] are all extremely press-worthy. It’s interesting how the business is done here.”

Tracy Tutor Maltas of Douglas Elliman said Malibu offers a convenient, relatively private escape for busy celebrities, as opposed to other enclaves like Laguna Beach.

“The reality is Malibu is the closest getaway from Los Angeles,” she said. “To only have to drive that 30 minutes down to the beach — and some of these communities are gated — is an asset.”

Tutor Maltas said the private enclave of Malibu Colony — dubbed the “Malibu Beach Motion Picture Colony” in the 1920s  — is, with about 100 homes, a premium spot for celebrities seeking privacy with beach access.

But Carbon Beach still commands some of the priciest sales and listings. Dubbed Billionaire’s Beach, the area is home to titans Larry Ellison (see all of Ellison’s Malibu holdings here), Eli Broad and CBS President and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, who purchased his pad from Microsoft’s Paul Allen in 2014 for $28 million because Allen “hated the sound of the ocean,” the New York Post reported.

More than 10 years ago, buying a home west of the Colony would’ve been compared to moving to the countryside because of the distance from the retail and restaurant hub. But even that perception has changed due to new developments like the Nobu Ryokan Malibu Hotel, Tutor Maltas said.

Areas such as Point Dume, with its vintage ranch houses, are favored by celebrities such as Pink and Chris Martin, who are seeking a more relaxed vibe compared to the stuffy, contemporary feel in Carbon Beach.

“You have the ritzy Carbon Beach, where everybody sees you; then you have the more protected Colony, where a lot of families want to be, and Point Dume [for celebrities] who care less about the privacy and more about the vintage California experience,” she said.   

Read on for a closer look at the most recent Malibu homes purchased by the jet set.


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