Montecito, the promised land of Sussex: what it’s like to live in California’s richest and most powerful city

To “make the world a little less lonely place” (and, incidentally, to promote her ubiquitous wellness empire), Gwyneth Paltrow rented out the guest house of her luxurious residence in Montecito, California, on the Airbnb platform a few days ago. Had given. Lucky guests of the actress’ “sanctuary of relaxation and mental clarity” will enjoy an overnight stay in a casita (one bedroom, one bathroom, living room and infinity pool), a guided Transcendental Meditation session and dinner with Paltrow and her husband, producer . Brad Falchuk.

Clever marketing campaign designed to promote collaboration between rental platform and Goop hits headlines again

Montecito, a small California coastal town, has become a favorite destination for the most VIPs among VIPs, That includes, of course, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who set up residence in the city in 2020 and have added to the charm of this privileged enclave near the coastal city of Santa Barbara.

/ Panoramic of Montecito, California

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It’s also home (or at least a second home) to celebrities like Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry, Jeff Bridges, Ellen DeGeneres, Priscilla Presley, Adam Levine, and of course, Oprah Winfrey.

the epitome of california chicNancy Meyers, famous for her passion for the Magazine House and interior design, filmed Not So Easy there with Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep.

Located 140 km north of Los Angeles

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the area that currently includes Montecito, was home to the Chumash Indians for 10,000 years and until the arrival of the Spanish in the 18th century. In the 19th century it became a haven for thieves and bandits, who used its gorges and caves for clandestine activities, the Italians being the first to build farms and houses on its hills.

but it was

Architect George Washington Smith Which turned Montecito into a town with a Mediterranean character that has attracted celebrities and great fortunes over the last century. Washington had traveled to Andalusia, where he fell in love with the distinctive architecture of southern Spain, and after purchasing several pieces of land at Montecito, he began building the first colonial-style residences. Before his death, in 1930, he had built over 80 houses in the area.

When the Montecito was Hollywood’s best-kept secret

residential enclave, known as the American Riviera, attracted both

Noble European families adored film stars of the timeGreta Garbo had a home in the area, Clark Gable spent long periods there, and in 1928 Charlie Chaplin opened the city’s first hotel: The Montecito Inn, which continues to welcome guests nearly a century later.

However, none left such a mark on the city as the Polish-born opera singer Ganna Walska, creator of Lotusland, a beautiful botanical garden which she financed with precious jewels during her six marriages and which is the city’s great tourist attraction. It is made up.

The Montecito mansion is where the Sussexes filmed their Netflix documentary. ,


For decades, Montecito, which had always stayed away from pomp and limelight despite the rich old and new living in its impressive residences, was

Hollywood’s best kept secret, The town began to gain notoriety and press attention when Oprah Winfrey made it her habitual residence two decades ago.

In 2001, the promoter invested $50 million in the land, which has since doubled in value. There he rebuilt a mansion of more than 2,000 square meters from 1912, which he named The Promised Land and which includes more than 30,000 square meters of land and gardens. With Winfrey, Montecito became a favorite enclave for celebrities looking for a second home fleeing the high intensity (and paparazzi) of Los Angeles. That’s how Ellen DeGeneres or Gwyneth Paltrow end up in the small coastal town.

Opera singer and distinguished resident of Montecito Gana Valscal. ,


Montecito, where

The median home price on the market is $6.5 million, has also become the scene of multi-million dollar real estate operations between celebrities. In 2020, DeGeneres, who has accumulated several properties in the area, sold the Tudor-style mansion to Ariana Grande, who relinquished the residence after only two years, increasing its market value by more than two million dollars. And in 2022, Winfrey sold a Tuscan-style farmhouse to Jennifer Aniston, which closed for $14.8 million, according to the New York Post.

three years after moving to the city and buying an impressive

Mansion with nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms For which they paid $14 million, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are now Montecito’s most famous residents. But they are also responsible for the fact that the paparazzi, who always shunned the VIP enclave, have now become a regular presence on its streets.

Montecito: few supermarkets and many private clubs

Montecito, with over 8,000 residents, is also

synonymous with white privilegeAlthough Winfrey and Markle are undoubtedly its two most famous residents, only 0.4% of the population is African-American. It also has a relatively aging population, with a third of its neighbors over the age of 65.

The Montecito mansion where the Sussexes live. ,

Santa Barbara Luxury Homes

Much of the city is entirely residential, in fact there are hardly any supermarkets and its restaurants and small shops are located around the legendary Pacific Coast Highway that leads to downtown Santa Barbara. The Montecito Club was founded in 1918, consisting of a golf club and

Members must pay an entrance fee of $275,000The most famous and exclusive private club in the city, but it is not the only one.

Despite its rolling hills and postcard beaches, Montecito has a

Increasing problem due to natural calamities, In 2018, a landslide killed 23 people while they slept in their homes, and fires and torrential rains are becoming more common in the region.

In January, Ellen DeGeneres shared a shocking video of flooding in a coastal city. “We need to be kind to Mother Nature, because nature is not happy with us,” the presenter posted. Although climate change knows its own kind (and exacerbates problems of poverty and inequality around the world) it is also the main threat to the future of one of the most privileged communities in the United States.

“The civilization and culture of a people depend on the education of women” – Carmen de Burgos, author

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