Almost five months after it officially hit the market with an eye-popping $250 million price tag—and just a few short weeks after its longtime owner, billionaire telecom pioneer Gary Winnick, passed away at age 76—the Bel Air trophy estate widely known as “Casa Encantada” (loosely translated to “Enchanted House”) has popped up for sale again, this time with a substantially reduced $195 million ask. Back in 2019, it also was quietly floated as an off-market pocket listing, asking $225 million.
Originally designed and built way back in the 1930s by architect James Dolena, to the reported tune of around $2 million, for Hilda Boldt Weber—a former New York City hospital nurse who married multimillionaire Cincinnati glass manufacturer Charles Boldt, and then inherited a considerable fortune upon his death in the late 1920s—the dwelling was later sold to hotel magnate Conrad Hilton for a mere $225,000 in 1950.
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After Hilton passed away in 1979, retired Dole Food Products chairman David Murdock bought the place for $12.4 million in 1980. He subsequently transferred the estate for $94 million in 2000 to Winnick and his wife, artist and author Karen Winnick, who spent more than two years and tens of millions of dollars extensively restoring the premises in collaboration with noted architect Peter Marino. The $94 million deal, it should be noted, was long a residential record for California but also was a non-standard sale, involving both cash and two large pieces of land.
Tucked away behind walls and gates, amid an 8.4-acre hilltop parcel that juts out over the Bel Air Country Club golf course, the H-shaped mansion is fronted by a motorcourt bolstered by a bubbling fountain and an opulent neoclassical portico entrance, and features seven bedrooms and 20 baths filtered across 40,000 square feet. There also are plenty of glitzy amenities, including a pool pavilion with a bar and movie theater.
Inside the primary 60-room residence, a grand double-height entry foyer displaying a sweeping staircase greets and flows to a reception hall resting beneath an 18-foot ceiling. From there, the living space is highlighted by dual living and dining rooms, along with a wet bar-equipped den/card room and handsome walnut-paneled study/office lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases. There’s also a 3,500-square-foot master retreat boasting double sitting rooms and baths.
The property, which has no neighbors on either side, sits atop a subterranean tunnel that connects two holes of the exclusive golf course, and overlooks picturesque city, mountain and ocean views; and the resort-like grounds also host rose, herb and tropical gardens, as well as an 80-foot pool, a desirable north/south tennis court with a viewing pavilion, an additional sport court, and numerous spots ideal for al fresco lounging and entertaining.
In addition to the Bel Air estate, which is co-listed by Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency and Drew Fenton of Carolwood Estates, Winnick’s widow still maintains a Charles Gwathmey-designed apartment on the 20th floor of New York City’s iconic Sherry Netherland Hotel that’s currently on the market for just under $4.5 million.
Click here for more photos of Casa Encantada.
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