Country houses for sale

A beachfront villa once owned by a star of the international jet set, where the Kennedys and Hepburns once partied

The former home of American socialite Aline Griffith, Villa Annabel was the backdrop to some of Marbella's glitziest parties.

Marbella is full of exotic-looking villas, but few boast the glitz, mystery and intrigue are woven into the fabric of Villa Annabel, one of the area’s most extraordinary properties.  This opulent villa stands in grounds of a little more than an acre Los Monteros, one of Marbella’s most exclusive addresses, and is currently for sale through Callum Swan Realty.

Villa Annabel, Los Monteros

Grand and sophisticated, Villa Annabel is ideal for entertaining — especially because the interiors flow seamlessly into a vast terrace and the mature gardens beyond.

Indeed, the house was the backdrop for some of Marbella’s most glamorous parties. Built in the 1950s for Carmen Franco, daughter of Spain’s dictator, Gen Francisco Franco, it was bought a decade later by jetsetter Aline Griffith and her husband, Luis Figueroa y Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno, Count of Romanones.

The Quintanilla Countess Aline Griffith, pictured in 1964. Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images

A former model, Griffith was recruited as a spy by the American Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War. Clad in Balenciaga and passing as an American socialite, she was sent to Spain to report on possible Nazi ties among Spanish high society.

With rubies at her neck and a gun in her handbag, she quickly became a glittering star of the international jet set. Her double life continued well after she married Luis: a fashion icon, she garnered accolades as one of the world’s best- dressed women, as well as privately foiling attempts on the King of Morocco’s life — and on her own.

Villa Annabel grounds

She had a circle of high-powered friends that included Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Wallis Simpson, many of whom she hosted at this beach-front house.

The interiors span 9,322 sq ft and include five bedrooms and large, striking receptions rooms with panoramic sea views, as well as a separate staff apartment.

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