Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Inside a $110m California ranch owned by Saudi entrepreneur Mansour Ojjeh - in pictures

If retiring to a ranch sounds like your pastoral dream come true, consider the historic for-sale El Rancho Tajiguas estate in Santa Barbara county

The Gaviota Coast is a lush and largely undeveloped stretch of land that’s often referred to as the jewel in southern California’s crown. Located about 30 minutes from the main city of Santa Barbara, the area is home to fewer than 100 people, most of whom are involved in organic farming, ranching and woodwork. The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute opened there in 2006, on the grounds of the storied Vista Del Mar School.

Unsurprisingly, new development is heavily regulated on the coast, and the sale of this estate presents a singular opportunity to invest here. The sprawling 3,500-acre El Rancho Tajiguas is located on an oceanfront cliff, with views of the Pacific as far out as the Channel Islands. With 1,100 acres of active ranch land and two opulent villas housed on-site, the estate melds pastoral and luxury living.

The former manifests itself as several hundred acres of picturesque avocado groves, a persimmons orchard and an active cattle range for a herd of up to 200. Access roads, water reservoirs and crop storage barns, as well as fertilisation and injection facilities, are also already in place.

Of the two villas, the Tuscan-style Villa del Mare directly overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The 10,000-square-foot home was built in 2014, and comes with hand-hewn walnut wood floors, steel windows, antiqued ceiling beams and a three-car garage. The 12,000-square-foot Villa Della Costa, meanwhile, was built in 2016, and comes with hand-scraped French oak floors, carved fireplaces made from Santa Barbara sandstone and a herb garden with a fountain.

Each villa has five bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, separate guesthouses, and an elevator, a swimming pool and home cinema. Their multiple outdoor patios and terraces are accessible through screened doors fitted with Sun Valley Bronze hardware, and the reclaimed roof tiles are from Spain and Portugal. Both are connected via a home automation system.

Despite its awe-inspiring size and privacy-attuned surrounds, the estate is about 20 minutes from Santa Barbara and the cultural city of Montecito, and both villas are fitted with helipads to be able to access the one at Santa Barbara airport.

The property has had a colourful string of owners: the surrounding land was originally farmed by the Chumash Indians (who were native to southern California) and El Rancho Tajiguas’s history can be traced back to King Carlos III of Spain; it was part of the 18th-century royal’s great rancho development. The estate is currently owned by Saudi Arabia-born Mansour Ojjeh, the former chief executive of the Tag Group and major shareholder in McLaren’s racing team. When Ojjeh bought the estate in 1981, he added smaller parcels of land, including a 16-acre hacienda once owned by John Travolta.

El Rancho Tajiguas is on the market for $110 million (Dh404 million), and listed with realty firms Compass in Los Angeles and Coldwell Banker Global Luxury in Montecito.

Updated: May 14, 2019 03:43 PM

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