The ultimate oceanfront oasis, 'Bali Hai' is on the market

Jon and Julie Landaus' "Bali Hai" property, located on Old Highway on Plantation Key in Islamorada. Photo by CONTRIBUTED

The producer of “Titanic” and “Avatar” Jon Landau and his wife, Julie, who have more than 350 unique varieties of plants on almost four acres, are putting their Islamorada property on the market. 

Situated on the oceanside along the Old Highway on Plantation Key, the asking price is $13.999 million for the property Bali Hai. The Landaus named it after the 1947 book “Tales of the South Pacific” by James Michener. 

Landau is set to spend the next couple years in New Zealand filming “Avatar 2,” which comes out later this year and “Avatar 3,” which is scheduled for 2024. Landau’s been in New Zealand filming with the “Avatar” team since spring 2020.

The property was put on the market Jan. 6. It’s being marketed by American Caribbean Real Estate, Christie’s International Real Estate.

“I feel like it is a privilege to market this extraordinary property in Islamorada,” said Joy Martin, managing owner and broker of American Caribbean, Christie’s International Real Estate. Martin added that calls have already come in from interested parties regarding the property. 

An artistically designed gate is the entryway to a driveway cushioned by lush landscaping on both sides. Bali Hai contains large and rare specimens, with hidden pathways that meander through the property. Everything from the Old Man Palm, strangler fig, Thai beauty bamboo and more can be found. Most plants on the property have QR codes that link to information about the plant.

Bali Hai was on full display as the Landaus were gracious to showcase their property during the Upper Keys Garden Club’s annual Garden Walk in 2020. 

“This home was architecturally designed with a Balinese influence,” said Martin. “Bali Hai’s unique design has a complex roof structure resulting in gorgeous exposed beams. The exterior columns are covered in a green riverbed stone imported from East Timor and Bali. The balance is a natural beauty surrounding the home inside and out. When you arrive at the estate, you are immediately transported to your own private Balinese resort in the Keys.”

With six bedrooms and five bathrooms, the main residence also features wooden beamed ceilings, Brazilian honey teakwood flooring and 18-foot tall Ipe walnut wood milled in Manaus, Brazil.

A temperature-controlled walk-in 1,000-plus bottle wine cellar is complete with a computerized barcode scanning system. In the main living area, a coral wall fireplace accents the open, high ceilings and a custom-designed wet bar with vintage glass mural, liquor storage cabinet and grand elevator entrance. 

Other unique features at Bali Hai include a 7,000-gallon saltwater pond with tropical fish, a tennis court, a 300-foot dock with two boat lifts — the larger being a 27,000-pound boat lift — and a custom-designed hot tub with lighted accents and a fire pit in the center.

“This home is perfectly situated in Islamorada and has something for everyone,” Martin said. “From the game room to the gym overlooking the ocean, the pool and spa, the tennis court, or just relaxing on the wide verandas and taking in the sound of the waves.”

Bali Hai has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Coastal Living and Architectural Digest.

The Landaus were active in the community ever since their arrival to the Keys in 2010. They sponsored everything from Islamorada’s Fourth of July festivities to the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce’s holiday fest at Founders Park each year. They’re also big supporters of Mariners Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Upper Keys Humane Society and Coral Shores High School. 

Jon and Julie Landau. FILE PHOTO

Following Hurricane Irma, the Landaus sprang into action to assist the island chain with the Landau Family Hurricane Relief Fund in the Upper Keys. With help from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, grants were given to businesses and residents in need to rebuild and recover. Together with CFFK’s Emergency Relief Fund, more than $1.4 million was raised and distributed for Irma recovery in the Keys.

And during the pandemic, Jon and Julie Landau created the Landau Family COVID-19 Food Fund for the Upper Keys at CFFK to assist residents in dire need due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Landau Food Fund complements CFFK’s Florida Keys Emergency Relief Fund that is already providing aid, including food and supplies, through Keys nonprofits to families, seniors, service workers, and others who are out of work and affected by COVID-19’s economic impacts.

“What makes the Keys so special is the community of people that call this island chain their home,” Landau said when the fund was created in April 2020. 

Former Monroe County School District Superintendent Mark Porter, left, laughs when a Coral Shores High School teacher in the audience told Jon Landau, right, she’s willing to act in any upcoming movies during a visit on Aug. 13, 2018. WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

Real estate sales in the Florida Keys were hot in a 2021 year that saw many leaving big cities, northern states and as far west as California. Among the big sales last year was the private oceanside island in Marathon known as Palm Island, which sold for $11 million in March — the highest private island sale in the Keys —  after spending two years on the market. That same month, a home at 1150 Bulevar de Palmas in Marathon sold to a female oil and gas magnate from Texas for $11.995 million.

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).