For months, rumors have been bubbling that the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a.k.a. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have been house hunting in Los Angeles. The formerly royal couple already lay claim to the recently renovated Frogmore Cottage in London and currently bunk up in a rented $14 million mansion on Canada’s Vancouver Island, but it’s been widely speculated they eventually plan to call Tinseltown their home. And the materialization of those plans may not be so far off — word on the real estate street is that Meghan and Harry may plunk down somewhere around $20 million in a hush-hush, off-market deal for actor David Charvet’s stately, European-style estate in Malibu known as Petra Manor.
What’s the most surprising thing about their alleged purchase of Petra Manor? Well, considering the fact that Malibu is world-renowned for its white and sandy beaches, it may seem a bit odd that the tabloid-tracked couple have opted to drop so much money on a property that doesn’t have access to the sand. However, they’re far from alone in choosing off-beach properties. A few notable celebs who have opted for the comfort and privacy of the hills over the sand include household names like Cher, Lady Gaga, Chris Martin, Reese Witherspoon and Will Smith.
While having a property right on the beach may seem a real estate dream, there’s a big reason why celebs may opt to live near the white sand but not necessarily on it: All beaches in California are considered public domain and anyone has the right to sunbathe and walk freely on them no matter who owns the property fronting it. All that sand is considered fair game up until the average high tide line. Big name celebs who crave oceanside peace and quiet can avoid any looky-loos by opting for a home without beach access, but is still close enough to the Pacific to catch a cool breeze from a cozy deck or plant-embellished balcony.
So what to do if you’re a deep-pocketed celebrity who wants to live in Malibu but isn’t really into the whole live-on-the-beach-in-full-view-of-everyone thing? Fortunately, there are plenty of celeb-friendly nooks and crannies in L.A.’s favorite beach town, like the Point Dume neighborhood and the guard-gated Serra Retreat, that offer both seclusion and relatively easy access to the beach.
Check out the gallery to take a look at some properties a privacy-seeking celebrity might consider when looking for a home in Malibu that isn’t right on the beach and, hence, where the barely dressed hoi polloi can’t watch them sunbathe on their back deck.