Exploring Beverly Hills’ legendary estates

Beverly Hills mansions landscape aerial view -Los Angeles California

Synonymous with luxury, Beverly Hills is famed for its upscale shopping and fine dining options—and it’s also full of architectural and cultural history. From properties that exude old Hollywood glamor to modern masterpieces, here’s a closer look at some of Beverly Hills’ most iconic residences.

Greystone Mansion:

A stately icon of Old Hollywood glamor

Perched high above the city is Greystone Mansion, arguably Beverly Hills’ most famous home. Located in the exclusive neighborhood of Trousdale Estates, Greystone Mansion is a Tudor Revival-style estate of around 46,000 square feet.

Oil tycoon Edward Doheny had the mansion built as a gift to his son, Edward “Ned” Doheny Jr, and his growing family. The architect: Gordon Bernie Kaufmann, who was known for his Art Deco style and his work on the Hoover Dam. Construction began in 1927 and was completed after 3 years.

Five months after moving into Greystone, tragedy struck the family with the death of Ned Doheny. His widow Lucy continued to live at Greystone Mansion before eventually selling the house itself to industrialist Henry Crown and the expansive grounds to real estate developer Paul Trousdale in 1955. The grounds would eventually become the Trousdale Estates neighborhood. In 1965, Greystone Mansion was purchased by the City of Beverly Hills and it is now a city park.

Greystone Mansion stands out because of its Gothic and neo-classical elements, from the Indiana limestone-clad walls to the Welsh slate roof tiles. The large windows, high arches, and hand-carved oak details also add to its timeless and elegant look. With its thick, steel-framed concrete walls, Greystone Mansion was built to last for centuries.

Greystone Mansion is a timeless icon, a testament to its rich history and architectural significance. This palatial manor home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a well-known venue for private and public use. It has been a set for various films and television shows such as The Big Lebowski, Dark Shadows, Ghostbusters II, and X-Men.


The original Hollywood mansion


The original Pickfair estate in 1920

Located in Beverly Hills, Pickfair isn’t just a part of Hollywood history. The 18-acre estate was once the epitome of Hollywood glamor.

This famous Beverly Hills home was owned by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who were regarded as the King and Queen of Hollywood. The couple called the mansion “Pickfair,” a portmanteau of their last names. When Douglas Fairbanks bought the house for Mary Pickford, it was originally a hunting lodge. Under esteemed architect Wallace Neff’s vision, the property transformed into a luxurious, 22-room mansion. It had ceiling frescos, opulent furnishings, and a swimming pool—the first home in Los Angeles to have one.

Pickfair was hailed as an architectural marvel, combining the elegance of a French chateau with the charm of a country lodge. It was also the center of Hollywood social life, host to lavish parties and dinners for Hollywood’s elite. Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Amelia Earhart, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were just some of the visitors who graced the halls of Pickfair. European royalty were also frequent guests.

After Mary Pickford’s passing, ownership of the estate shifted several times. The estate was also subdivided throughout the years. While much of the original structure was demolished in 1993 and replaced with a new mansion, the original Pickfair gates and the swimming pool remained.

Fleur de Lys:

The grandeur of a French chateau in the heart of Beverly Hills

Located in the Holmby Hills neighborhood, Fleur de Lys is not your typical California mansion. It’s a modern-day castle with heavy French influences. When its original owners David Saperstein and Suzanne Saperstein had it built in 1996, they asked architect Richard Robertson to model it after the Palace of Versailles, the former residence of King Louis XIV. After the couple divorced in 2004, Suzanne lived in the residence for a few years before putting it on the market. After going on and off the market several times, Fleur de Lys was eventually sold in 2014 for a record $88.3 million.

Fleur de Lys is a property fit for royalty. Sitting on 4.6 acres, this palatial estate has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, and a 50-seat theater. It also has a ballroom, gym, swimming pool, tennis courts, and a 3,000-square-foot wine cellar. The entry hall is a masterpiece in itself, welcoming visitors with a sweeping staircase and crystal chandeliers. But its most striking feature is the 24-karat gold trim that adorns the walls, ceilings, and doors.

Fleur de Lys is a property fit for royalty. Sitting on 4.6 acres, this palatial estate has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, and a 50-seat theater. It also has a ballroom, gym, swimming pool, tennis courts, and a 3,000-square-foot wine cellar. The entry hall is a masterpiece in itself, welcoming visitors with a sweeping staircase and crystal chandeliers. But its most striking feature is the 24-karat gold trim that adorns the walls, ceilings, and doors.

Spadena House:

The Witch’s House – A whimsical architectural gem

Spadena House in Beverly Hills, CA

Among the lavish mansions and contemporary estates in Beverly Hills sits a whimsical residence that seems as if it came right out of a storybook. The Spadena House, which is also known as “The Witch’s House,” stands out for its pointed roof and tiny windows.

Built in 1921, the Spadena House was designed by Harry Oliver, a Hollywood art director. The house’s original purpose was to be an office and dressing room for a film studio in Culver City. In 1926, the house was moved to its present location, and it became the private residence of the Spadena family. The Spadena House is now owned by real estate agent Michael J. Libow, who bought it to preserve the historical significance of this architectural gem. Now, The Witch’s House is one of the must-see attractions in Los Angeles, especially on Halloween.

The Spadena House is a 3,500-square-foot property that exudes a whimsical medieval style. Its windows are lopsided, the walls are crooked, and the landscaping was made to look eccentric on purpose. Inside the home, the hand-crafted wood accents and charming details give it the fairy-tale look that it’s well-known for.

The Manor:

Modern luxury in a classic setting

One of the most lavish properties in Los Angeles’ luxury market is The Manor, a 4.68-acre estate that has joined the list of Beverly Hills’ most famous homes. Located in the heart of Holmby Hills, The Manor was built for American film and television producer Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy. It has over 56,000 square feet of living space, with 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms. The Manor is larger than the Taj Mahal and the White House.

The Manor has a space fit for every occasion. The grand foyer greets guests with a 30-foot ceiling and a sweeping double staircase. French doors open into a sun-covered solarium while gatherings are typically held in the formal dining room. For play and entertainment, The Manor offers a game room, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

Maintaining this expansive paradise requires a dedicated crew. There are at least 50 people, including a team of landscapers, who look after The Manor’s many rooms and its sprawling grounds. As of now, The Manor holds the title of the third-most expensive home on the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, coming in at $165 million.

The Owlwood Estate:

A palatial retreat with a stellar Hollywood pedigree

Another legendary property in Beverly Hills is the Owlwood Estate in Holmby Hills. Built in 1936, Owlwood is a 12,600-square-foot property with heavy Tuscan influences. The Italian Revival-style property was designed by renowned architect Robert D. Farquhar. The estate has had a number of high-profile owners, including Tony Curtis, Sonny and Cher, and Joseph Schenck, one of the founders of 20th Century Fox.

Owlwood is a 10-acre Tuscan-style mansion, characterized by its arched openings, terracotta roof tiles, and earth-tone colors. Outside, guests are greeted by a sweeping driveway with a stone fountain atop a well-manicured lawn. Inside the main house, there are 9 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and an oval sunroom.

From the moment you step into Owlwood, it becomes clear why many of Hollywood’s elite wanted to make it their home. The luxurious pool area and its flower-packed walls offer the perfect environment for enjoying the sunny Los Angeles weather. The spacious bedrooms have a traditional, yet modern feel with its detailed cornicing and statement house plants.

The Beverly Hills Hotel bungalows:

A star-studded legacy

Side of the Beverly Hills Hote

In Beverly Hills, there’s no other property that’s more iconic than its namesake hotel. And while it’s not, strictly speaking, an estate, it’s certainly legendary! Its walls (both inside and outside) are blush pink, hence the hotel’s nickname the “Pink Palace.” The hotel has 210 guest rooms and suites and 23 bungalows.

The Beverly Hills Hotel opened in 1912, two years prior to the establishment of the city of Beverly Hills. Margaret Anderson, who owned and operated the 5-star hotel, played an essential role in shaping Beverly Hills’ identity as a destination for luxury. In the 1940s, the hotel was remodeled under the guidance of trailblazing architect Paul Revere Williams. He designed the instantly recognizable “Beverly Hills” script and the Crescent Wing, along with the hotel lobby and the Polo Lounge.

The Beverly Hills Hotel became a sought-after hideaway that gave Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elizabeth Taylor an ultra-secluded location. Its bungalows provided guests with total privacy, with separate entrances and lush greenery. Each bungalow now has its own unique history and design, which was inspired by the famous guests who stayed there.

Bungalow 1, in particular, was the home of Marilyn Monroe for several months. Since she favored this suite, Bungalow 1 has references to the Hollywood icon. Guests will find a Chanel N°5 beauty kit (Marilyn Monroe’s favorite perfume), a bottle of her favorite champagne Dom Pérignon, and several books on her life.

Hidden gems: Lesser known but still iconic

Beverly Hills has plenty of glamorous and luxurious homes, with some of them more famous than others. Here are some of the hidden gems that aren’t always in the headlines:

The Goldwyn Estate

Built in 1934, the Goldwyn Estate is a historic mansion that was owned by movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn and his wife, Frances Howard. The house features Georgian-Revival style architecture, with a white stucco exterior, black trim, and a red roof. Within the 10,982-square foot property are 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

The Goldwyn Estate had its fair share of legendary gatherings. Some of the estate’s most famous guests include Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, and Katharine Hepburn. In 2017, the Goldwyn Estate was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Virginia Robinson Gardens

A unique estate in Beverly Hills, the Virginia Robinson Gardens holds plenty of history and beauty. It was once the home of Virginia Robinson and Harry Robinson, who was heir to the now-dissolved J.W. Robinsons Department Store. Constructed in 1911, the 6-acre property was actually one of the first luxury homes to be built in Beverly Hills. The Beaux Arts-style mansion also has a library, pool pavilion, and tennis court.

The main attraction of the property are the botanical gardens. For more than 6 decades, Harry and Virginia Robinson traveled the world and personally selected most of the plants in their garden. Today, there are six meticulously maintained gardens that showcase an exceptional variety of plants. The Virginia Robinson Gardens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.

The Hearst Estate

Formerly known as Beverly House, this iconic property is a living piece of Hollywood history. The property, which was designed by Gordon Kaufmann in 1926, belonged to newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and actress Marion Davies.

The Hearst Estate is just as glamorous as the star-studded guests who set foot in it. The home’s design was inspired by the elegant villas in the French and Italian Riviera. Its 29,000-square-foot mansion features an H-shaped main house, with unique details such as intricate balconies and hand-carved wood paneling.

Explore Beverly Hills real estate today

When it comes to investing in real estate in Beverly Hills, working with an expert by your side makes a world of difference. One of the most recognized and respected names in the luxury real estate industry, Joyce Rey has represented some of the most iconic properties in Southern California. Her portfolio includes several of Beverly Hills’ famous homes, such as the Pickfair and Owlwood estates.

Get in touch with Joyce and her expert team of professionals. Give her a call at 310.285.7529 or send your inquiries here.

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