For years, Promises Malibu served as a detox destination to the stars. Celebrities such as Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan flocked to the retreat for an addiction program with a Hollywood spin: rehab, sure, but also tennis lessons, massages and horseback riding.
Now, the coastal compound is hitting the market for $19.95 million.
The listing is the latest development in the property’s storied saga, which started in 1989 when real estate developer Richard Rogg established Promises Malibu as the area’s first luxury treatment center.
It was there that Rogg coined the Malibu Model, an approach that offered a different type of recovery for its celebrity clientele. Cellphones were allowed, and patients could go off-site to hit the gym or keep up with appointments (in between high-end meals of lobster and osso bucco prepared by a chef).
“It was a combo of serious treatment and health spa,” said Sean Landon of Douglas Elliman, who holds the listing with Jennifer Johnson.
One of the three homes. (Simon Berlyn)
The pool. (Simon Berlyn)
The living room. (Simon Berlyn)
The family room. (Simon Berlyn)
The open floor plan. (Simon Berlyn)
The bedroom. (Simon Berlyn)
The patio. (Simon Berlyn)
Aerial view of the compound. (Simon Berlyn)
The tennis court. (Simon Berlyn)
The three-acre property. (Simon Berlyn)
The model was a huge success with Hollywood elite, drawing names such as Ben Affleck, Diana Ross and Robert Downey Jr.
Promises Malibu operated as a for-profit business in a traditionally nonprofit space, and before long, Malibu’s sweeping vistas and ocean-view cliffs were loaded with similar-looking rehab facilities wrapped in the sheen of a luxury resort.
But by 2007, the center was facing multiple lawsuits related to consumer rights, breach of contract and unfair business practices. One person told The Times that he paid $42,000 for a monthlong stay for his brother, but after Promises kicked him out for belligerent behavior five days into it, it kept all the money. In addition, its website listed multiple physicians and psychiatrists as staff members despite not being licensed to provide medical care.
Rogg sold the business, but not the land, in 2007. By 2018, the new owners declared bankruptcy, and Promises eventually closed. A new rehab facility opened in its place, and it still operates on the property today.
The buyer will have to honor the lease of the existing rehab facility, but after that, they can turn it into whatever they want. Landon says he envisions a tech or foreign buyer looking to develop the property into a private oasis, or potentially a developer hoping to turn it into a luxury assisted-living facility.
The three-acre compound boasts three single-family homes with a total of 12 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms across 9,300 square feet. Mostly Mediterranean in style, the homes have been updated multiple times over the years and come with amenities such as two swimming pools and a tennis court.
Oak and fruit trees dot the scenic landscape. In addition, there are three entrances and a sizable parking lot for guests.
“It’s a rare opportunity with three combined lots, so it has the feel of a compound,” Landon says. “There’s a multitude of structures, but also a feeling of privacy.”