HOLMBY HILLS, Calif.
A reporter attending a Ferrari gala here on March 18 incorrectly referred in his report to the evening’s venue as the “Fleur de Lys Hotel”. Not exactly.
It may seem like a large hotel, but the Baroque-style 41,000-square-foot limestone monolith is, in fact, a private residence. The Luxist website last year bestowed upon it the distinction as “The World’s Most Expensive Estate.” The five-acre property is valued at more than $125 million – it cost more than that to build in recent years – but that it is the price at which it has been listed for sale since 2007 (when the owners divorced, just 18 months after its completion).
A five-acre estate may not seem all that large, in the global scheme of things lavish, but this one is in the Holmby Hills area – sort of a Holy of Holies enclave between Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Westwood in the greater Los Angeles area. It is the largest new home built in the area in many decades. “It was quite a feat to cobble together that big a piece of land, and to get the zoning approvals needed to build it,” said a realtor attending the Ferrari fest.
The house “features Italian marble walls, French limestone floors, gold-embossed leather wall coverings, gold-leaf crown moldings, a ballroom with ceiling frescoes, a library complete with rare books, two kitchens and a screening room with seating for 50,” according to the Luxist’s report. “Surrounding the mansion are rolling lawns, ornamental gardens and mature trees, a 3,000-square-foot manager’s house, staff quarters for 10 people, a spa and pool with a pavilion, a championship tennis court, and a lavish garden folly.”
The house, an homage to the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy, France, is stocked with meticulously period-correct 18th Century antique furniture. Ms. Saperstein, who was divorced from her husband David in a notorious 2007 case that went to the Texas Supreme Court, is known as a voracious spender in the art and couture world. Although terms of the divorce – sparked when her husband took up with their children’s nanny – were never disclosed, but Ms. Saperstein does not shy away from her nickname, “The Billion-Dollar Divorcee”.
No one is saying how much the Ferrari evening at the mansion cost; nor are they saying who paid whom – for what. But among the crowd of 500 were the requisite number of Hollywood celebrities, including actors Al Pacino, Patrick Dempsey and director Michael Bay. Grammy winner John Mayer provided entertainment. And a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia – the first to arrive in America – was donated by the Italian luxury sports car maker, for a charity auction to benefit Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Bidding reached $530,000; the winner’s name was not disclosed.
March 21, 2010