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Home of the Week: This $16 Million Moroccan-Style Mansion Brings Old Marrakech to the California Desert

The 16,800-square-foot Casbah Cove boasts its own 20-seat hookah lounge.

Casbah Cove Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Have dreams of rocking the Casbah? This extraordinary slice of Morocco in the California desert, affectionately known as Casbah Cove, will rock you with its sumptuous features and mind-blowing attention to detail.

Here you can entertain friends and family in the home’s 20-seat hookah lounge, watch the latest blockbuster on the 20-foot outdoor movie screen, kick back in the Moroccan hammam spa or swim laps in the 75-foot, black-granite-lined, saltwater pool.

Casbah Cove is perched high on a hilltop in the prestigious Bighorn Golf Club in California’s Palm Desert, 15 miles east of Palm Springs. Overlooking the Coachella Valley and surrounding Santa Rosa mountains, this 16,800-square-foot mansion took more than four years to complete.

The final touches—like lining the home’s elevator with mother of pearl, or laying the miles of exquisite mosaic tiling—involved teams of artisans being flown in from the Moroccan city of Fez, and spending months sweating the details.

Casbah Cove in Palm Desert, Calif.

Casbah Cove’s 20-seat hookah lounge looks out over the California desert.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

The estate was the vision of a Chicago-based real estate investor and design aficionado who had a dream of building a traditional Moroccan riad in the California desert as a winter retreat.

After settling on this elevated, nearly one-acre site in 2006, she commissioned acclaimed local architect Gordon Stein to come up with the complex design, and Thousand Palms, Calif.-based RAM Development to build it.

When completed in 2011, Robb Report was given unprecedented access to the home, featuring it in an article titled “Marrakech Expression.”

Like a traditional Moroccan riad, or palace, the two-story home has most of its rooms opening on to a central courtyard. But to ensure all-weather protection, the owner specified a retractable glass ceiling—costing a reported $900,000—over the entire courtyard.

Casbah Cove

Moroccan influences are even in the master bath.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Despite its almost 13,000 square feet of interior living space, the home comes with just four bedrooms. The main master suite features towering ceilings and a traditional Moorish-style alcove with intricate lace-like plasterwork.

In the master bathroom there’s a spectacular free-standing tub from the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. Slide back the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and you can soak with views out to a secluded garden patio, quaffing a glass of bubbly from one of the greatest little extras we fell in love with: the tub’s built-in Champagne ice bucket.

Casbah Cove

The master suite.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

On the ground floor, the formal dining room features a false-draped canopy designed to give the feeling of dining in a tent. Large, black metal-framed French doors open out on to a patio to give guests a jaw-descending view of the mountains.

The visual highlight of the home’s oversized kitchen is a spectacular carved, dark mahogany armoire-like cabinet that cleverly conceals the industrial-grade Thermador fridge and freezer.

Additional stand-out features for the home include seven bathrooms, eight fireplaces, nine built-in flat-screen TVs, a multitude of star-shaped skylights, a temperature-controlled wine cellar, radiant heat floors and a cozy office.

Casbah Cove

The library.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Outside, in addition to the lap pool, there’s a 40-foot circular pool with a Baja shelf for in-water lounging. For the pool’s covered area, Moroccan architecture switches to Roman for the imposing pillared loggia.

To guarantee partying in style, the home offers not one but three outdoor dining spots, spacious enough to accommodate 200 of your closest friends. If any stay over, there’s also a separate guest house.

Casbah Cove

The incredible courtyard has a retractable glass ceiling.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

For sports fans, just a short golf cart ride away is the tony Bighorn Golf Club with its two award-winning 18-hole courses, tennis courts, and bocce ball courts. And to ensure your Porsche collection stays pristine, the club offers an exclusive classic/supercar storage facility, called the Vault.

Casbah Cove

The pool.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Despite Casbah Cove’s one-of-a-kind design, buyers have yet to embrace its somewhat polarizing features. The home first hit the market in 2015 with a $24.5 million asking, which was cut to $21.19 million later that year. After being taken off the market in 2016, it re-emerged in 2018 with a $17.88 million price tag. Off again in June last year, it has just been re-listed for $16.1 million.

For this go-around, Jacquie Burnes at Bighorn Properties shares this remarkable listing with Ashley Wolf of Aaron Kirman Group at Compass.

Check out more photos of Casbah Cove below:

Casbah Cove

The living space.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

A sitting room.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

Outdoor patio.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

The outdoor kitchen.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

The gardens.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

Another living space.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

The front entry.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

The hookah lounge.  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

Casbah Cove

Casbah Cove  Photo: Juwan Li/Aaron Kirman Group

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