Malibu is one of those dreamy, sun-kissed California beach towns that few people ever want to leave. The laid-back atmosphere, coupled with its striking natural beauty from sea to mountain and status as a celebrity retreat (everyone from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand reportedly own homes there) has always made the ‘Bu (as locals call it) a high-class barefoot escape. The town has come a long way from its more humble beginnings, and now touts a world-class art museum, a growing pool of great local wines (Rosenthal has been a favorite), upscale restaurants (Nobu, Maestro’s Ocean Club) and chic boutiques (Planet Blue, Ron Sherman) among its offerings for those residents who can afford its multi-million dollar real estate.
No one knows Malibu better than luxury real estate specialist Chris Cortazzo. He is not only Coldwell Banker’s No. 1 agent in Malibu, but he grew up on Point Dume, where he currently resides. A passionate surfer, art collector and home builder, Cortazzo has personally built or renovated six homes in the area as well. Clearly, he lives and breathes the Malibu lifestyle; he’s just the luxury expert we need to give us an insider’s view of his hometown just in time for the long Labor Day weekend.
1. No. 1 luxury value enclave in Malibu: “Point Dume. It’s become the family mecca of celebrities. There is an elementary school there and beach rights to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s a West Coast version of the Hamptons.”
2. No. 1 advice for buying in Malibu right now: “Be educated on the different areas and the different lifestyles that Malibu could provide for you.”
3. No. 1 locals-only secret: “A ramshackle little place near Topanga called Cholada Thai Beach Cuisine. It’s a hole in the wall with great food.”
4. No. 1 trend I’m seeing: “Architectural homes.”
5. No. 1 place to surf: “Little Dume. It’s hard to get to, has clean water and it rarely gets blown out by the wind. A very local spot.”
7. No. 1 place for sunsets: “Big Dume State Park. You can watch the sunsets and watch the whales go by during migration.”
8. No. 1 for celebrity sightings: “I would never tell.”