Luxury Towns Across America

Longboat Key, Sarasota

Deborah Beacham

Deborah Beacham
Michael Saunders Real Estate

With convenient access to both private and international airports, Longboat Key and Sarasota attract the discerning world traveler who seeks the finest in beachfront living with amenities you would expect to find in cities much larger.

Longboat KeyComposed of approximately 12 miles of crystal-quartz beaches framed by lush landscape, Longboat Key is a magnificent, sun-drenched destination that hosts all of the wonderful pleasures one could imagine for an active or relaxed lifestyle.

Elegant, perfectly manicured, Longboat Key is Sarasota’s center for glamor. Fifth Avenue style penthouse apartments co-mingle with expansive estates, the renowned private Longboat Key Club with world class golf and tennis and six restaurants for members and hotel guests.

During the winter season there are black tie events to support the many cultural arts in Sarasota almost every night. Reserve your limousine, and revel in the international lifestyle of Longboat Key’s residents. Or, if the nature lover in you beckons, you will find 32 acres to explore at the award winning nature preserve of Joan Durante Park where you can picnic in the gazebos, enjoy local varieties of plants, including a rose garden, or take a walk along the Couple Beach 2812965coastal hammock forest.

Just over the bridges, you can visit Mote Aquarium, Ringling Museum and Ca’d’Zan Mansion, Asolo Repertory Theater, Ringling College of Art and Design, New College, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, St. Armands Circle of shops and restaurants, Lido Beach, and nearby downtown Sarasota with boutique galleries, shops, restaurants, and much more.








Where To Find Luxury Golf Resort Real Estate in Florida

Jennie Heal

Jennie Heal
Supreme Auctions
Click Here To Contact Jennie

The Sunshine State is one of the most frequented by avid golfers – and, as such, you can expect to find plenty of golf resort real estate in Florida. But, just where are the most luxurious long-term golf resort communities? Here are my top 5 picks.

Palm Coast, FL – Ocean Hammock

Ocean HammockBetween St. Augustine and Daytona Beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast is where you’ll find Ocean Hammock, a private gated oceanfront community in the city of Palm Coast. It’s within this community that you’ll find one of the most exciting pieces of beachfront Golf Resort Real Estate Florida has to offer – a sprawling three-level oceanfront retreat that boasts over 5,800 square feet of high-end indoor living and another 2,000 square feet of outdoor space on numerous balconies.

Golfers will love the home for its exclusive club access to the Hammock Beach Resort Golf & Spa Resort with its Ocean Golf Course

and Conservatory Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, respectively. For those who enjoy the greens, they will find more holes here than on any other golf course in Florida. And, those who love to hear the wind and waves of the Atlantic, they’ll love the serenity of where this Caribbean style plantation home rests, and the private wooden walkway leads to the soft sandy beach.




Jupiter, FL – Admiral’s CoveAdmiral’s Cove

Take, for example, the custom-built $9.75 million, 14,452 square foot property at 370 Eagle Drive in this Jupiter, Florida golf community and you’ll realize just why it’s considered THE luxury golf community of the greater Palm Beach area.

From custom homes ranging from the mid-$50s top $15 million to more modest $500K -$2 million condo and patio style homes, over 900 property owners call The Club at Admiral’s Cove home – and the waiting list to get into the community is longer still.

Stuart, FL – Sailfish Point

SailfishNestled on the southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island on the southeast Atlantic coast of Florida, Sailfish Point is a private and prestigious community that requires no tee times for play.

Named one of Golf Digest’s 10 Best New Remodeled Courses for 2008, prices range from $475,000 for mere lots on up to $29.9 million for custom finished single family homes – in the middle of that price range you can fetch detached golf villas, condos and patio homes with golf or water feature views. It’s an impressive community with spacious lots, 520 residences and plenty of land options from oceanfront to riverside and right along the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.

Naples, FL – Talis Park

Talis Park in Naples considers itself a luxurious golf community for the young and the young at heart. With village homes starting in the $800,000s on up to customTalis Park 4,500 square foot Park Estate Homes starting at $2.5 million, the architecture takes its cue from the Italian Renaissance style.

The Talis Park Golf Club features a course designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, one of two in the world created by the partnership. The clubhouse boasts a spa, fitness studio and a market café – all lending to its hip spirit.

Destin, FL – Sandestin

SandestinMoving to Florida’s Gulf Coast is where you’ll find the Sandestin Community in Destin, Florida. Located on the famous 26-mile stretch of “sugar sand” white beaches of the panhandle, this is one of the most beautiful pieces of Golf Resort Real Estate Florida has to offer – and one of the most affordable areas. Unlike the more heavily developed South Florida areas of Palm Beach and Jupiter, Destin is less crowded, less “touristy” and tends to be a place where your dollar will go a bit further.

Featuring four amazing golf courses, including The Raven by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Sandestin has condos in the $200,000 range on the low end but most of the nicer luxury homes will run higher into the multi-million range. When it comes to great golf and a more small town feel, Sandestin is a fine choice.





Sarasota: Imagine the Complete Florida Lifestyle


Sarasota03Sarasota combines Florida’s most leisure-centric lifestyle with the upbeat rhythms of a small, progressive metropolis. Its natural beauty begins where the turquoise seas of the Gulf of Mexico roll gently onto the magnificent powdery-white sands of its lush barrier islands; then spreads eastward to encompass miles of in-town neighborhoods, gentrified horse farms, large acreage properties and majestic state parks.

Speak to anyone who knows Sarasota and you’ll hear raves about the unexpected array of cultural amenities that have long-since earned the city the undisputed title of “Florida’s Cultural Capital.” You will hear of a town that fiercely embraces the performing arts: its own world-class opera, symphony and ballet, one of Florida’s greatest art museums and botanical gardens. Sarasota supports more than a dozen live theater companies, scores of gourmet restaurants and the finest names in luxury retailing.

For water devotees, there are miles of open Gulf waters, sprawling bays and scenic rivers that invite boating, fishing and kayaking. Meanwhile, our award-winning beaches will become your year-round playground.

Sarasota07On land, abundant recreational opportunities cater to every interest—including numerous golf courses that challenge every level of play. No matter how you choose to spend it, each sun-drenched day gives way to a spectacular Gulf of Mexico sunset, after which the curtains go up on Florida’s most eclectic blend of cultural fare.

Sarasota’s ownership and rental opportunities offer just as much diversity. From luxurious waterfront estates and golf course villas to charming downtown bungalows, sleek high-rise condominiums and multi-level town homes, there are choices to fit every lifestyle and price range.

Serving the comprehensive real estate needs of Southwest Florida for nearly four decades, no other company is better equipped to familiarize you with Sarasota, its surrounding communities and neighborhoods, than Michael Saunders & Company. It’s our home town and no one knows it better.

Learn much more about Sarasota and its lifestyle opportunities by visiting

Beverly Hills, Cibola, City of Gold

BevHillsoct01With listings on luxury properties in 13 different countries and various states across the U.S., I am often asked the following question: Which city receives the most inquiries from affluent buyers worldwide? The answer is simple—the famous 90210. Beverly Hills.

Much of the most expensive part of Beverly Hills is, in fact, flat (known as “the flats”) and the origins of the city are rather ignominious. While drilling for oil on a bean field, investors instead found water that could support residential development—but this would have most likely failed without a congruence of luck and genius. To put it more succinctly, Beverly Hills owes its success to the construction of the Beverly Hills hotel and the glamour of the movie industry – whose most famous stars (in front of and behind the camera) became its most visible residents.

Fast forward a few decades and multiply that pizzazz a hundredfold.  Add in the apotheosis of conspicuous consumption of the Golden Triangle (anchored by Rodeo Drive, of course) and you have a destination of maximal attraction for home ownership and residency that appeals to all cultures, nationalities, races and religions. The only color that matters here is green, and if you want to own property in the most desirable locations in Beverly Hills, you had better bring a lot of it.

You want to know the power and appeal of Beverly Hills as it relates to realtors? I will tell you a true story: Any agent from any city in the U.S. can reel off a litany of reasons why someone should buy a home in their neighborhood. If they can’t, then they should be in a different occupation. In fact, even if they can, they should probably be in a different job. There are far too many of us in this industry. Anyway, I digress. Beverly Hills has power—the power to make an agent money. Just because it is. All the work has been done for you. The name sells itself.

In 1992 I had an office on Wilshire Boulevard (in Brentwood, not Beverly Hills). I lived on the beach and I didn’t want to have to drive through traffic to go to the office every day. And besides, I had listings in a lot of different areas in Los Angeles, so it really didn’t matter where I was located as long as it was central. Plus, my office had a great view and there was a Baja Buds across the street where my agents and I would go almost every day for the killer carnitas burritos.

BevHillsoct03One day I took a call from an agent on the East Coast whom I didn’t know and had never heard of. He confirmed that fact, basically saying: “I am nobody you ever heard of, just an agent with so and so realty in Connecticut and I have seen your ads for really expensive homes in magazines for a long time.” Silence. I figured uh, okay, so maybe he wants to ask me if I am getting buyers for my properties from the ads or am I just being milked and throwing away money, the usual questions other agents will often contact me about when they are considering breaking into their piggy bank to dip their toe into the world of 4 color mainstream advertising—instead of the local rag where you get your property listed 8 times for like 30 bucks, with a free subscription, and half price off a foot-long at their main advertiser Subway with double fake meat. (You know, the really effective advertising that a lot of agents like to sink their hard earned skrilla into, while praying for their dream buyer to show up who just won the lotto, is tired of looking at houses and being evicted from his apartment based on the fact he didn’t pay his rent for six months before he won the lotto, and conveniently also happens to be a recent brain donor…)

Turns out, that is not why he called me. He goes on to tell me he doesn’t deal with high-end properties, but he figured because of my advertising he would like to refer me a wealthy couple who would like to buy a house in Los Angeles. I said: “Great. Who are they?”

He said: “I don’t know.”

I said: “What?”

He replied: “I don’t know them. My friend is their translator. They told him to find a good agent in Los Angeles because they want to buy a house.”

I said: “Great, you found your man. What price range are they looking?”

He said: “No idea.”

I said: “None?”

He said: “No. How much are properties there?”

BevHillsoct04At this point I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it. I brought it back to my head: “It varies. They must have given him some idea of what they want to spend, yeah? Or what area in Los Angeles?” He replied: “I think maybe $3 or $4 million. They want a big house. They are flying out tomorrow and only staying one night. No idea where they want to buy. All I heard from my friend is they are completely demanding and fire almost everyone right away. Oh, and they are going to buy a house tomorrow.”

I was thinking: “Yeah, riiiiggght…” but I said, “Okay. No problem, have the translator call me and I will meet with them.”

Fast-forward to the next day. I arrive at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, meet their chauffeur, and he informs me they arrived in the morning. I asked him how the flight was and he says great. They have their own plane. I ask what type of plane—a lot of my clients have their own jets, so I have a bit of knowledge about that. He describes basically what is a converted commercial airliner, not an executive jet. I realize they have some serious money. He directs me upstairs where I meet them and the translator in a gigantic suite. They are a young, very formally dressed couple, and through their interpreter proceed to provide me details of the 14 other properties they own around the world, including one in Europe used by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev for a summit meeting. In about 4 seconds I realize the properties I had planned on showing them in the $4 million range would be better suited for housing their labradoodles and immediately went to Plan B, aka The Sky is the Limit.


BevHillsoct02As I know is also the case in other cities, in Los Angeles, the agents who represent the most expensive properties and clients as their main business all know and deal with each other all the time. There are always “pocket listings” that are not on the public market or the MLS, but are quietly available to qualified buyers. I called a few of my fellow luxury realtors and explained what I was looking for and immediately learned of 3 or 4 properties that would fit the bill. Although normally it would be 24-hour notice minimum to show these properties, I told the agents the buyers were in town for one day and were going to buy on this one day. I, thankfully, had the reputation and street cred to pull it off.

(Oh, except for one agent who I have done a half dozen major deals with who refused to arrange a showing on an enormous estate in Bel Air and said: “Oh, Bob, you know no one ever buys a property in this price range in one day…” We are friends so she will go nameless, but I still remind her of it.)

I end up showing them three major estates: two of which were really unbelievable in Bel Air, Holmby Hills and the smallest one in Beverly Hills at only around 14 thousand square feet. Neither the husband nor the wife spoke English throughout the entire day. The only statement, made by the husband, who even though it was about a hundred degrees, wore a suit and tie as tight as a garrote the entire day and didn’t appear to perspire, commented in passable English as we walked through a huge gym loaded with equipment in one of the houses: “Every house has a gymnasium! Don’t anybody work?”

I thought they really were favoring the one property in Bel Air, but when we arrived back at the hotel the wife rattled off a spate of Italian for about 5 minutes as I waited for the translation. Finally the translator turned to me and said: “Madame says for you to buy her the Beverly Hills house.”

I was a little surprised since the property in Bel Air in particular was a stunner, but I said: “Okay. Any particular reason they chose that one?” He turned to her and she went on for another few minutes in Italian. Finally he turned to me and shrugged: “Beverly Hills. Madame shops Rodeo and that is a shorter drive.”

And so became the highest priced sale in Los Angeles in 1992.

Beverly Hills is more than just a place to live. It is likely the most recognized city in the world—in a good and very valuable way. People of wealth will always want to live there and own property there.

Many years ago I was walking through the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi, Thailand and a wizened old Buddhist Monk came up to tie a sai sin, a sacred thread bracelet, around my wrist. He smiled and asked me if Arnold Schwarzenegger lived in Beverly Hills with all the other movie stars. I said: “No. In Brentwood. It is another rich neighborhood in Los Angeles.” He never heard of it.

Beverly Hills, Cibola, City of Gold


Service & Excellence with Laura Doughty

Luxury real estate is, undoubtedly, a service business that requires each of us as agents to strive for excellence.  Excellence has always been a life mission for me.  I understand perfection is not only unattainable, but for me it actually sounds pretty dull.  Striving for excellence is a journey with twists and turns; failures and successes.  Each moment molding and shaping you into more of what you are here to be and do.

At our company, excellence is one of our core values.  There are so many people that exemplify excellence – since I’m a huge football fan, Vince Lombardi is someone I love quoting.  Here’s one of my favorites: “The quality of a persons life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

So, excellence – the quality of being outstanding or extremely good – is something we can all strive for. From every breath we breathe, every step we take and every act we commit.

Service, on the other hand, is the act of helping or doing work for someone.  Serving our clients is something that is always in motion, never ending.  There is no real beginning or end.  Just as with excellence, it is a part of our existence (or at least it should be when you’re dealing with luxury real estate).

waiter logoA true test of any real estate agent is whether the word “no” exists in their vocabulary when working with their clients.  Many agents will quickly proclaim that they never tell their clients “no.”  But watch for the hidden “no’s” in their actions.  Here’s an example – dealing with a client who was leasing a beach home and the phone service was inconsistent.  When I called the listing agent, they told me that it was a Landlord/Tenant issue (hidden “no”).   While I agreed that the law only required the Landlord to have one operating line, I challenged the agent that surely there’s no way he could actually think that it was acceptable to represent a property knowing the phone lines had issues. (The phone company had confirmed there were similar issues with previous tenants.)  That’s when I got a “yes” from that agent. Fortunately for our client, “no” doesn’t exist in our dictionary, so we got busy making it right for our client and accomplished what was necessary for her to have working phone lines (plural).

Moral of the story, that agent clearly does not believe in or possibly even understand service excellence.  Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying – clearly there are situations, as agents, that are out of our control.  But, if excellence and service are a part of your constitution, then “no” is simply not an option.  Finding a solution is always your assignment.

Service excellence is not only a management philosophy; it can be a life philosophy.  It’s what separates the average from great.  The late Walt Disney said, “You can dream, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make that dream a reality.”  In other words, service excellence doesn’t just happen, it requires action. This doesn’t mean just meeting customers’ expectations, but going above and beyond to exceed those expectations. Sounds cliché, but it can and does happen.  With the right tools and a constant, focused attitude, agents can provide their clients with world-class customer service, thereby ensuring customer loyalty and retention.  More importantly, the client has a great real estate experience.


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