After a decade of design and development, Le Palais Royal in the South Florida community of Hillsboro Beach is scheduled to be complete in November.
By Roger Grody
The Beaux-Arts style estate, inspired by the Palace of Versailles and other majestic European landmarks, is currently priced at $159 million, represented by One Sotheby’s International Realty.
Developer Joseph Leone, a French-born fashion industry entrepreneur, has made a monumental statement with Le Palais Royal on the Florida coast about 40 miles north of Miami. On a pristine 4.5-acre site sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, he has spared no expense to create one of the most palatial residences in America. Now, after more than 10 years and 2 million man-hours later, work has been completed on the 66,000-square-foot château.
Despite its grand scale, Leone insists the home has a remarkably human scale. “For such a large house, it’s very homey. You don’t feel like you’re lost in space,” he says. “The kitchen is spectacular, the living room is extraordinary and the office is to die for,” reports Leone, who demurs from identifying his favorite room. “Every room is a work of art,” he maintains, explaining that is why Le Palais Royal took so long to complete. Citing the home’s construction — poured concrete walls on a foundation of 1,300 piles — Leone also suggests that no modern-era home in America is so substantially engineered.
Literally a gilded palace, Le Palais Royal contains more than $6 million of 22-karat gold leaf, initially revealed on a 29-foot formal fountain in the motor court. Much more of it glistens from the wrought iron railing of a $2 million grand staircase clad in African marble. Hanging overhead is a spectacular 120-year-old Austrian crystal chandelier valued at $250,000, while more than $1 million was spent on trompe l’oeil murals that reinforce the Old World elegance. Skilled artisans from about 25 countries participated in creating the exquisite detail evident throughout this one-of-a-kind residence.
More than a dozen water features are found on the property, including a formidable 29-foot wall of water, a 4,000-square-foot resort-style infinity pool with a LED-lit double-loop slide and a glass-bottomed hot tub suspended above the grotto bar. The balcony of the master suite contains its own infinity-edge plunge pool and Le Palais Royal enjoys 465 feet of private Atlantic Ocean beach. Two docks can accommodate 140- and 200-foot mega-yachts respectively, and for those arriving by land, the home’s garage parks 30 cars.
Entertainment features include an 18-seat IMAX theater, the company’s first installation in a private residence, and a wine cellar accommodating more than 3,000 bottles. Showcased in Le Palais Royal’s crystal chandelier-illuminated kitchen are solid mahogany cabinetry inlaid with gold leaf, exotic Brazilian marble countertops and a Le Corneau range. Two 3,000-square-foot guesthouses, an ice skating rink and nightclub are planned for a second phase of construction.
“The house looks like a jewel because I was designing haute couture jewelry for 20 years,” insists Leone, who reports international interest in the property.