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In Place: Malibu

Known for wealthy celebrity residents, ten glorious beaches and an iconic surf culture, Malibu is one of the most beautiful and renowned oceanfronts in the world.  Malibu spans 27 miles of coastline from Tuna Canyon west to Point Mugu in Ventura County, with a 21-mile section of incorporated city. 

In the hills behind, trails weave through the canyons, waterfalls and grasslands of California State Parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains, capturing stunning views of the mountains, the curve of Santa Monica Bay, Santa Catalina Island and the San Fernando Valley. 

Wondering how Malibu got its name? The Chumash Indians named the area Humaliwo, or "the surf sounds loudly." Since the "Hu" in the word is not stressed, “maliwo” eventually became “Malibu.” By 1802, the area had become a 13,000-acre Spanish land grant. All of it was acquired in 1891 by Frederick Rindge, founder of what’s now Pacific Life.  The Rindges owned the entire Malibu coastline until 1926, when Frederick’s widow, May, invited a few wealthy celebrities to build vacation homes in a small sector dubbed Malibu Colony. In 1929, when the state built what is now known as the Pacific Coast Highway, she was forced to subdivide her property and begin selling and leasing lots.

Around this time, May also created Malibu Potteries, a local factory that produced decorative tiles in hybrid Moorish and Arts and Crafts designs. The highly collectible tiles can still be seen today in many LA public buildings, Beverly Hills homes, and the landmark Adamson House, built for the Rindges’ daughter and her husband, now part of Malibu Creek State Park.

Today, the original Malibu Colony is a gated community with multimillion-dollar homes on small lots. They command a spectacular coastline view known as the Queen’s Necklace, stretching from Santa Monica to Rancho Palos Verdes and the bluffs of Point Dume to the north. Other residential areas range from Carbon Beach (called Billionaire’s Beach and "the world's most expensive sandbox" costing over $200,000 per foot of beachfront) to family neighborhoods in the canyon and hillside areas.

Among the Malibu properties currently listed by John Aaroe Group is the spectacular contemporary home of Bill Curtis, co-owner and vice chairman of luxury magazine and lifestyle brand Robb Report, at 31454 Broad Beach Road. Tranquil, dramatic and stunningly beautiful, the one-of-a-kind masterpiece features an infinity pool, a 3,000 bottle world-class wine cellar with a separate tasting room, a home theater and more. It has been listed by Sally Forster Jones at $15 million.

Further along the strand at 31528 Broad Beach Road, Donovan Healey and Joe Lisciandro have listed a spectacular contemporary with 180-degree whitewater views at $4,499,000. Decks on both levels take in the sweeping Pacific panorama, from curving coastline to glorious sunsets. Completely renovated last year, the home is highlighted by enormous glass doors and walls that bring the striking views inside.

Set on over 6.5 acres in what may well be the most superb location in Malibu, La Villa Contenta is one of the most magnificent residential compounds in the country. Surrounded by exquisitely landscaped gardens, the gated estate includes a grand main house, extravagant guest house, office structure and spectacularly ornate ballroom with indoor pool. The estate, overlooking unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean at 26848 Pacific Coast Highway, is listed by Aaron Kirman and Maya Manshel at $25 million.