…that Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva—she would be the filthy rich 34-year old youngest daughter of Uzbekistan’s autocratic president Islam Karimov—is the new owner of Le Palais, a genuinely prodigious and proudly palatial abode in Beverly Hills, CA, listed last summer (2012) on the open market with a publicity garnering $58,000,000 price tag.
Property records—at least none of the ones Your Mama scoured—do not reveal the purchase price and shield the new owner’s identity behind an ambiguously named corporate entity with a mail box address in a run-of-the-mill strip mall in Culver City (CA). However, children, our ever-intrepid informant Yolanda Yakketyyak swears on her bejeweled life that he new owner of Le Palais is none other than Miz Karimova and another source—a high powered real estate mover and shaker we’ll call Pete D. Propertypurveyor—snitched to Your Mama that word on the Platinum Triangle real estate street is that the garishly opulent mega-manse sold in mid-June (2013) for somewhere in the neighborhood of $47 million.*
This ain’t nuthin’ but gossip but we’ve been told twice by the sorts of people who know these sorts of things, including Mister Propertypurveyor, that Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva et famille—husband, Timur, and their three young children—had previously shacked up in a 12,000+ square foot villa in the guard-gated Beverly Park community that they rented from mid-priced handbag tycoon and hardcore real estate baller Bruce Makowsky. We don’t have an inkling, of course, of how much the Karimova-Tillyaevas paid but we do know that Mister Makowsky has the 8 bedroom and 10 bathroom spread back up for rent at $100,000 per month.
Anyone who knows a thing about the upper echelons of the Platinum Triangle real estate market knows that Le Palais, a brobdingnagian faux-French chateau wrapped around technologically advanced and decidedly contemporary interiors, was built on spec from the ground up by Mohamed Hadid, a Beverly Hills based developer of who earned a significant portion of his fortune building Ritz Carlton Hotels and has risen to pop cultural semi-fame as a bit player on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Mister Hadid, in case any of ya’ll somehow did not know, pals around with RHOBH queen bee Lisa Vanderpump and is the ex-husband of cast member Yolanda Foster who, some of the children may recall, hosted an on-camera cocktail party at Le Palais on the most recent season of the diamond encrusted drama-rama.
Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva, who maintains an extensive personal website that promotes her various diplomatic and philanthropic endeavors,** may be little known to most Americans but she hails from an internationally illustrious family with vast riches and, not surprisingly, a penchant for lavish living. In 2010 it was widely reported that Mister and Missus Karimova-Tillyaeva plunked down SFr43.4 million—about 41 million U.S. dollars according to Your Mama’s trusty currency conversion contraption—for an estate in Vandeœuvres, a swank Swiss suburb often referred to as the Beverly Hills of Geneva. Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva’s older sister, Goulnora—a well-connected and polarizing entrepreneur who currently serves as Uzbekistan’s ambassador to Spain—also owns a Swiss hideaway in the neighboring community of Cologny that she reportedly picked up in 2009 for $18.2 million.
Le Palais, steel-framed and faced with imported French limestone, sits just off a bustling and clamorous Sunset Boulevard intersection. The house measures in at a monstrous 48,000 (or so) square feet that’s tightly wedged on to a walled, gated and heavily secured two parcel property that encompasses a relatively compact 1.09 acres.
While the omnipresent traffic noise—not to mention the car exhaust—might be a deal breaker for some Richie Riches, La Palais‘ location directly across the street from the heavenly Beverly Hills Hotel is absolute perfection for those who fancy a quick daily luncheon at the world renown Polo Lounge where a (delicious) basket of Parmesan encrusted French fries will set a person back nine bucks and the Niçoise Salad rings up with at $36. (Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter both recommend the Mocha Ice Cream Pie. It’s a goddamn bargain at $10 during lunch and still worth it during dinner when the price inexplicably jumps to $12.)
Listing details show the—ahem—elegant and elephantine abode contains a total of 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms plus three additional bathrooms that serve the outdoor areas. Digital marketing materials Your Mama peeped and perused do not indicate any existing staff bedrooms in the main house but do reveal that a two bedroom and 1 bathroom staff apartment is planned over the the garage.
Hand-cut Lalique-style glass front doors tucked into a soaring carved limestone arch off the gated driveway and motor court swing boastfully open into a showy entrance hall that stretches a (melo)dramatic (and arguably pompous) 90 feet front to back and soars to 30 feet high over head. Elaborate wood paneling surrounds the door frames and more Lalique-esque glass makes a sexy and sinuous curve up to a second floor gallery. Formal entertaining spaces include a very large but well-scaled formal living room with 14-foot ceilings and wood burning fireplace with French-made Italian white marble mantel. There’s another wood burning fireplace with French-made Italian white marble mantel in the formal dining room that listing information states is well capable of comfortably seating 20-plus diners at a prairie-sized burled olive wood table.
Less formal but still preposterously proportioned family quarters include a library/office with paneled walls and built in bookcases that arch gently as they reach up to the ceiling. A ballroom-sized bar/lounge also has 14-foot ceilings, a third wood burning fireplace with French-made Italian white marble mantel, and direct access to the outdoor entertainment and recreation terraces. The colossal center island kitchen/family room combination has an coffered ceiling and is complete with informal dining space and a lounge area finished with a shelf-flanked fireplace surmounted by a flat screen television.
The sprawling lower level, accessed by stair or elevator, is a treasure trove of resort-style recreational amenities. There’s a grand ballroom that seats up to 200 with an adjoining commercial grade catering kitchen, a screening room for 40 (or more) movie viewing guests, a professional quality fitness room, and what listing information calls “Moroccan room”—whatever that is. Also downstairs and something of a hallmark of Mister Hadid’s gargantuan residential creations, is a sumptuous Turkish-style hammam with elaborately tiled 30-foot long indoor pool, steam and sauna facilities, and a private massage room. Rounding out the lower level, as per marketing materials, are a laundry room, various equipment rooms, and a secured underground garage for 10-12 cars.
Digital marketing materials reveal there’s one guest bedroom with private bathroom and walk-in closet on the main floor plus four family bedrooms and a junior master suite on the second floor. The main master suite, also on the second floor, comprises a private sitting room/study with a curving wall of glass, an adjoining bedroom with fireplace, two behemoth bathrooms—plus a powder room, and dual dressing rooms that arguably have more in common with upscale boutiques and haberdasheries than with what most middle-brow people think of as a closet. The “hers” bathroom—bigger than Your Mama’s entire garage—has a fireplace and the “his” has a hidden staircase that ascends to a 3,800 square foot roof top terrace with views that give a sweeping, low profile view from sunrise to sunset.
The grounds aren’t particularly expansive—this is a massive home on a 1.09 acre piece of property in the proverbial heart of Beverly Hills, after all—but there are none-the-less, according to marketing materials, expansive stone terraces girdled by carved stone balustrades, a chandelier-lit and fireplace-warmed al fresco dining area, a built-in barbecue and outdoor kitchen area, and a row of curtained cabana lounges just like you might expect to see at a swellegant Ritz Carlton resort. There are also, as per marketing materials, four rose gardens, a swan pond (!!), a couple of fountains, a fire feature or two, and a couple of garden sculptures as well as an allee of mature magnolia trees that line the long sides of the sixty foot long swimming pool and 20 person spa. The curving pool pavilion offers additional plein air lounging areas and several bathrooms and changing rooms.
Forget about the mortgage—believe it or not, butter beans, plenty of bazillonaires carry heavy duty mortgages—but Your Mama simply keels and reels at the exorbitant costs associated with staffing, securing and maintaining a private residence of this magnitude. This isn’t a beach cottage one closes up and padlocks at the end of the summer. No, puppies, a house like this has to be be fully staffed whether the owners live in it 365 days a year or—more likely—drop in for a few days or a few weeks a couple times a year. For chrissakes the owner of a home like this has to pay a full time person—probably a six figure earning estate manager—just to keep track of the army of low wage workers hired to mow the lawns, pull the weeds, wash the windows, vacuum the carpets, clean the pool, trim the trees, fix the oven, scrub the toilets, secure the perimeter on a 24-7 basis, and on and on and on. But, children, such are the excessive financial abilities of someone like, say, a prodigiously rich dictator’s daughter, right?
*All just rumor and conjecture, puppies, rumor and conjecture.
**Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva’s website shows she’s earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Law from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent”—that’s in Uzbekistan, kids—and “later received a doctorate in Psychology from Tashkent State University.” She heads up a couple of “major charitable organizations” that promote education and sports and champion the rights of orphaned and disabled children. She currently serves and “Uzbekistan’s envoy to UNESCO.” An unflattering, a September 2012 article on the Foreign Policy website claims Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva “is a business mogul in her own right” who owns a company that controls the import of Chinese goods. Although we have no way of verifying the accuracy of the reporting, Miz Karimova-Tillyaeva and her olders sister’s combined fortune was estimated in late 2011 to be about $1 billion.
listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International