The Sweet Life: Upfront with Joyce Rey


“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”  ~  George Bernard Shaw

You might say Joyce Rey is a connoisseur of fine homes, art, food and wine. As an award-winning luxury specialist with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills, Rey has been hailed the “First Lady of Luxury Real Estate” by everyone, from Haute Living to the Chinese media. She also has the lifestyle to go along with it (minus the secret service and rides on Air Force One). Between selling landmark estates in Southern California, attending glamorous galas at Versailles and traveling to far-off destinations like the Middle East on a regular basis, Rey lives and works in the highest echelons of society, exposed to the sweeter side of life. Of course, food and wine—what James Beard called “our common ground”—are always at the center of Rey’s social world, a point of connection for clients and business partners, whether they are dignitaries in Dubai, affluent businessmen in Shanghai or Hollywood celebrities. After all, what better way to cross language barriers, build relationships and warm hearts than enjoying a roast leg of lamb and bottle of 1990 Chateau Margaux together?

No one understands this better than Joyce Rey. For 40 years, the real estate veteran has set record after record, logging in nearly $2 billion in career sales…and it is all due to her talent for forging lasting bonds with people all over the world. She recently spoke to Previews Inside Out about her greatest loves: food, friends and real estate.

I can’t live without: My iPhone, my fabulous hairdressers (Umberto, John and Stephanie at José Eber) and dark salted chocolates.

Must-haves for summer entertaining: Sensational guests, fine wines and outstanding recipes.

My idea of perfect happiness is: Giving back, especially through the wonderful work of UNICEF, helping others and watching friends and family succeed.

If I wasn’t a real estate agent: I’d be involved in the film or art world or work for a non-profit organization.

Greatest extravagance: After 35 years, remodeling my own beautiful oasis, a Mid-Century architectural home in Beverly Hills.

Greatest necessity: My wonderful support groups, including my very talented real estate partners, fantastic office staff, amazing yoga teachers and incredibly loyal housekeeper.

Most treasured possession: My honest reputation.

Greatest achievement: It’s hard to choose one! My four greatest achievements have been: (1) closing the biggest sale in the United States in 1978 and 2010, (2) being chosen as one of the 35 Most Influential People In Luxury Real Estate in the United States, (3) receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Realty Board and (4) my California Spirit Award from the American Cancer Society.

Favorite pairing: Since I am loyal only to reds, I prefer Cabernet, Brunello di Montalcino, Bordeaux or Chianti with almost any menu.

Favorite restaurant in the world: The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the French Riviera or Nobu in Malibu.

Most interesting international cuisine:  Thai, Indian or Italian.

Most memorable meal: Wolfgang Puck’s own favorite, his Wiener Schnitzel at Spago in Beverly Hills. It’s right next to my office and one of my favorites.

Most memorable kitchen I’ve ever seen: In Le Palais, also known as “The Crescent Palace,” a breathtaking kitchen where you would like to spend your entire day. It has everything you could ever need or want: a large center island with an automated pop-up flat-panel television, Blanco sinks, a large walk-in glass refrigerator, a large walk-in glass pantry and a commercial-size freezer, a huge breakfast area, an informal seating area with fireplace and a butler’s pantry flooded with light.

A luxury kitchen feature that always sells: A spacious adjacent living area, which is part of the kitchen.

Last meal: I’m living forever!

Preview the Beverly Hills lifestyle: Stunning Mediterranean Villa in Benedict Canyon set on nearly 20 acres overlooking the city. Nothing like it…and an incredible value!

Joyce Rey leads the No. 1 real estate team for the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Greater Los Angeles company for 2012. She has sold some of the nation’s most historic and expensive properties, including Le Belvédère. 


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