I’m not super Hope Ranch savvy. I’ve been there a handful of times over the years — attending events on the Laguna Blanca campus, visiting a few friends’ homes — and was once lucky enough to enjoy a day-long party at the private Hope Ranch beach. But on most days, all the streets look and sound the same to me, and the dearth of distinctive landmarks means that I’m at the mercy of my iPhone to get me where I need to go.
So I trusted my phone on a recent Saturday as I drove into Hope Ranch through the familiar wrought-iron entrance gates, past the lake and golf course in search of 4480 Via Esperanza. I felt like I was driving into another land as I wound along the curving lanes farther into the ranch. I passed a picturesque wooden barn with two horses looking my way, turned onto the appointed street, and passed through the gates onto the grounds of the estate that I soon learned was aptly named Shangri-La.
I was smitten before I even saw the house. The lush landscaping was a verdant tropical oasis. Olive trees arched across the drive as I got deeper onto the grounds, and parked under a trellis. A landscaped path directed me through a garden lined with manicured hedges. It didn’t quite qualify as a maze, but it added to my sense of passing into a secret fairy-tale world.
Palms flanked the front door of the house. I stepped through the arched doorway into a grand foyer with an intricately tiled staircase sweeping up to the left, and a peek of the kitchen through an arch to the right. Both of those options were tempting, but straight ahead, an absolutely mesmerizing view beckoned me through the formal living room to the terrace beyond.
The terrace runs the length of the house, with various entertaining, seating, and dining areas enjoying gorgeous views of the grounds and gardens. All of the rooms on the back side of the house open onto this wonderland, extending all of the living areas outdoors.
Not that the house lacks for living area. It encompasses more than 6,400 square feet, with 5 bedrooms and 5 ½ baths, and additional rooms including a library, media room, exercise room, wine cellar, sun room, and more. Even the laundry room made me gasp, with its marble counters, custom cabinetry, and sheer size. The garages — yes, there are two — total over 1,100 square feet, as does the three-room guest house that sits so far from the main house that I didn’t even visit.
Upstairs, the master suite is a feat in itself. The bedroom has a large private balcony with the same awesome view over the grounds and pool. The huge master bath features a sitting area, separate room with dual sinks, a huge bathtub set into a bay window, a separate shower, two balconies, a dressing room, and possibly the largest walk-in closet I’ve ever seen. Every detail is exquisite and feels elegant and yet at once comfortably inviting.
I came back downstairs via a back staircase off the office that’s tucked behind the master bedroom. I took a last lap around the first floor and a long final gaze at the idyllic view, and then I paused to admire the details of the impressive kitchen in which I had barely stepped foot on my first go-round. I knew I wouldn’t be able to recount all the details of this spacious, elegant home.
Much like a vacation to a long-anticipated destination, one can enjoy every minute yet know that some attractions will be left undiscovered until next time. So it is with Shangri-La. I admired every detail that I saw, yet knew that I had left many stones unturned. This idyllic estate will remain shrouded in mystery — a faraway land just down the street in Hope Ranch, waiting for its lucky new owner to come discover all of its enchanting secrets.
4480 Via Esperanza is currently for sale in Hope Ranch, listed by Colleen Beall of Compass. Reach Colleen at 895-5881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.