Almost two decades ago, Bobbi Topfer walked up and down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and said to herself, “One of these days I’ll be able to buy anything I want.”
She didn’t really believe it. “It was just a dream I had, but I’ve always lived in this area in my mind,” said Topfer, 70, an event planner and coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia.
“Then I called,” said Mort Topfer, her husband of 16 years and an Austin, Texas-based venture capitalist and philanthropist. The former vice chairman of Dell Inc. recently turned 83.
Now the neighborhood is hers in real life — for the last nine years, Bobbi and Mort Topfer have made their home at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel and Residences.
“I call it my little Disneyland,” said Bobbi Topfer, whose daily “out and about” routine covers a five-block radius around the Montage and within Beverly Hills’ “golden triangle,” where Rodeo, Canon and Beverly drives intersect with Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.
“It’s really the location. There isn’t anything like this in this area, so for us, it’s very convenient,” she said. “This lifestyle is one-stop shopping.”
Demand is rising worldwide for hotel-connected condos, according to a recent report from Savills, a London real estate services company.
Projects under construction in Southern California include Montage Hotels’ Pendry Residences West Hollywood, the Four Seasons Private Residences across the street from the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and residences in the renovated Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.
The couple made the offer on their two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,900-square-foot Residence 6D on the back of a napkin, said Soren Olsen, director of resales at Montage Beverly Hills. The next day, it was theirs.
Olsen believes “people fall in love with the Montage lifestyle.”
“We approach five-star service authentically, humbly and really looking for ways to wow our residents and guests,” she said. “I think people get a little addicted to that type of service.”
For a full-time resident, it’s a lifestyle that mingles home with hotel: house cleaning every day and turndown service every night, with staff preparing the bed linens. Even a mint on the pillow.
The residential director and concierge, along with 400 hotel employees, are at the residents’ beck and call, whether it’s French fries at 3 a.m., a car promptly waiting at the valet, or, for Bobbi Topfer, eggs and Diet Coke stocked in the fridge.
“The whole idea is that it’s effortless,” Olsen said.
The 20 Montage residences claim the top three floors of the hotel, have private elevators and have access to all the hotel’s luxury amenities, significantly discounted. That includes the 20,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, the rooftop pool, fine dining and exclusive bars — such as the Macallan scotch speakeasy Ten Pound Bar. Hidden up a secretive staircase, it’s the label’s only bar in the U.S., is reservation-only and flies in the water for ice from the distillery in Scotland.
Although the Topfers occasionally venture off-site, the property’s dining options include the Rooftop Grill and Michelin star chef Gilles Epie’s pop-up restaurant, Gilles @ Montage Beverly Hills, both favorites among residents.
“We come in Monday through Saturday, get in by 10:30 a.m., go have lunch at La Scala — you know the chopped salad? Then we eat dinner downstairs at Gilles. We’re here for a week and we’re eating at this restaurant,” Bobbi Topfer said.
Mort Topfer added, “We actually had a car here for eight years so we could go out to some places to eat. We put 3,000 miles on it, so I sold the car. If we can’t walk to it, we won’t go.”
Now, after nearly a decade here, the couple are moving out — but not moving on. They used to stay about 100 days per year at their Montage pied-à-terre; recently that decreased to roughly 50 days with the purchase of a Los Cabos residence, where they now spend winters.
The Topfers have put Residence 6D on the market with Ohana Realty, asking $7.295 million.
Most residents are part-time and have four or five additional homes outside Los Angeles, Olsen said. Only about a quarter of the homeowners are full-time, including one family with children enrolled in school in L.A. Another family visits its residence only two to three days a year.
As for the interior design of the 20 different residences, Olsen has “seen the whole gamut.”
“Every owner comes in and puts their fingerprint on it, everything from gutting the whole thing and bringing it down to the studs, opening walls, to just re-staining the floors or building some custom pieces,” Olsen said.
Bobbi Topfer renovated 6D with design duo Tomar-Lampert Associates, who are also responsible for the modern hallway design of the three residential floors; she opted for an Old Hollywood aesthetic.
The open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area boasts a 10-foot ceiling and an elegant palette of teal, black, red and white, with cabinets made of Madagascar wood and floors of marble tiles paired with dark-stained parquet walnut. The Topfers consider their balcony their “third room” and use it for lunch all the time.
“I’m all about outdoor living, and all of the other residences we looked at here were bigger, but the views weren’t as good. I get up in the morning and open up all the doors and nobody really sees in,” Bobbi Topfer said.
After the sale, the Topfers plan to visit Beverly Hills three weeks a year, staying at the Montage Beverly Hills as hotel guests.
“I will come to Beverly Hills as long as I am able to,” Bobbi Topfer said. “I do feel like this is my home.”