In 1492 Muhammad XII surrendered the city of Granada in Spain to Ferdinand and Isabella. Turning one last time towards the beautiful Alhambra palace, he burst into tears. Then, to make matters worse, his mother asked him, “Why do you weep like a woman for what you couldn’t defend as a man?” The spot where this is supposed to have taken place is known as el último suspiro del Moro – the Moor’s last sigh.
Hacienda de la Paz, located in the private gated community of Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, may have the same effect. But here the sighing never stops. Seeing something so amazing can do that. So be prepared to sigh and cry – but with delight. Here’s why.
Built over 17 painstaking years the 50,000 sq ft house occupies 7.27 hilltop acres. Side-stepping a one-story height limit for houses in the area, they dug five stories down to bedrock to add something extra. The result is a palace like no other.
At ground floor this is a hacienda deluxe – enough for those who wish to live in the sort of home that Moorish poets describe as “a pearl set in emeralds.” Here in over 20,000 sq ft are 8 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms with Moroccan hand-cut tile floors, and a guesthouse.
But for some extra Alhambrian magnificence look below ground. Take in the spectacular 10,000 sq ft, labyrinthine Moroccan-style Turkish bath with 24 carat gold tiles, sandstone arches, antique fountains and dazzling Murano glass tiled swimming pool matched to the azure of the Adriatic. Look at the magnificent five-story high grand ballroom – by night accommodating 350 guests for dinner with a 30-piece orchestra – by day a tennis court.
Outside is another tennis court, a reflecting pool, a bocce court, an infinity pool with 180 degree views over the Los Angeles basin and a garden with roses, a wide selection of herbs, wild flowers and orchards producing 24 varieties of fruit and nut trees.
This then is Hacienda de la Paz, one of Southern California’s largest private equestrian residences. It’s enough to make you sigh more than ever.