Page 1

estate guide Sunnylands invites you to discover and experience the Annenberg legacy.


Above Leonore and Walter Annenberg pose in front of their A. Quincy Jones-designed home. Photograph by Gloria Etting. 1968.

Walter Annenberg (1908-2002) was a communications entrepreneur, diplomat, and philanthropist. His company, Triangle Publications Inc., published the Philadelphia Inquirer, Seventeen, TV Guide and broadcast American Bandstand. He founded schools of communications at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California. Under President Nixon he served as Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s (United Kingdom) from 1969 to 1974.

walter & leonore annenberg

Sunnylands was the winter home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg.

Leonore Annenberg (1918-2009) served as Chief of Protocol under President Reagan from 1981 to 1982. The consummate hostess, she welcomed world leaders and entertainment icons to Sunnylands for over forty years. During their more than fifty years of marriage, the Annenbergs were among the world’s most generous philanthropists, donating to a wide variety of cultural and educational organizations. A love of art resulted in a renowned art collection. Their Impressionist and PostImpressionist paintings were donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where they are on permanent exhibition.


Above Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate, was created as a haven for relaxation and peace in the desert near Palm Springs, California. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below President Barack Obama with President Xi Jinping of China in the atrium at Sunnylands. Official White House Photo, 2013.

legacy For more than forty years, presidents of the United States, heads of state, and leaders from government, business, science, and the arts found an oasis for reflection, relaxation, hospitality, and conversation at Sunnylands. The Annenbergs directed that Sunnylands be used to advance world peace and facilitate international agreement by continuing the tradition of convening private retreats to discuss how problems could be resolved, difficulties overcome, and solutions reached. Additionally, it was their desire that the public should have access to Sunnylands to learn about its unique place in history. From 2010–2012, the residence underwent restoration and renovation, preparing it for its new role as a highlevel retreat center and public venue. Extensive restoration work also took place on the grounds and golf course of the 200-acre estate. The couple’s vision is being fulfilled as The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands welcomes a new generation of global leadership to the historic estate. The June 2013 summit between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping paves the way for future historic national and international meetings.

Above Auguste Rodin’s Eve graces the atrium. Bathed in light from the skylight, the sculpture introduces visitors to the Sunnylands art collection. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

design team

Acclaimed architect A. Quincy Jones began designing the Annenberg 25,000-squarefoot residence in 1963 and completed the home in 1966. Jones served as dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California from 1975 until 1978. He is best known for the work he and his partner Frederick Emmons did with developer Joseph Eichler who built thousands of affordable modern homes in California. William Haines, a leading silent film star, became a favorite interior decorator for movie stars and heads of studios from the 1930s to 1970s. He designed rooms that were light and bright and his Hollywood Regency furnishings balanced the formal with the casual. The Annenbergs asked Haines to assemble a team to produce their Sunnylands home and he invited Jones to join in this effort. Jones and landscape architect Emmet Wemple provided the initial designs for the park-like grounds. Then premier golf-course designer Dick Wilson refined the layout, oriented the fairways to spectacular vistas, elevated the greens, ringed them with deep bunkers, and introduced challenging water hazards.


Above Tang Dynasty funerary figures from China grace the Royal Sitting Room where photos of the British royal family are displayed. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below The Room of Memories features photographs and mementos of family, friends, and significant events from the Annenbergs’ lives. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

interiors Architect A. Quincy Jones designed a large atrium and living room space that is 6,400 square feet. Diagonal views from the front doors extend across the atrium and continue through glass walls to the landscaped golf course and distant mountains, extending the indoors to the outdoors. At the center of this open space amid flowering bromeliads surrounding a pool of water stands August Rodin’s sculpture of Eve. This dramatic design focuses attention on the relationship of art to nature within the residence. Lava stone walls in the atrium provided a richly textured backdrop for the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings collection (now at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art). Other Annenberg collecting interests can be seen in the Chinese Tang Dynasty funerary figures, the Chinese cloisonné enamel pieces, a modern sculpture collection, and the selection of Steuben glass objects. The art complements the William Haines furniture creating a formal aesthetic mixed with a casual sensibility—a comfortable space for living.

Above The Annenberg Suite’s Hollywood Regency furnishings afforded a view of birds visiting Walter Annenberg’s cactus garden. Photograph by by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below Sunnylands guests retired to the Game Room for lunch, to play cards, or to watch a first-run Hollywood movie. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

The people and events that were part of the active and politically engaged couple’s lives are featured in the Room of Memories. The room’s contents include: inscribed books, signed photographs, Christmas cards from Britain’s Queen Mother, Andrew Wyeth’s portrait of Walter Annenberg, Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of George Washington, awards for Annenberg philanthropy, and various types of recognition for public service. Originally, the residence included the master bedroom and a guest wing with two bedrooms and the Game Room. In 1977, an extension provided three additional bedrooms. Each of the five guest rooms is essentially identical in size but decorated in a different color, providing a ready means of identification: pink, yellow, peach, blue, and green rooms. The Game Room is an exuberant mix of robust red and yellow. Presidents, actors, and friends enjoyed private film screenings there while indulging in Annenberg signature snacks—jelly beans, potato chips, and pretzels.

Above The historic Kwakiutl totem pole watches over a lone golfer as he positions his tee shot on the fifth hole of the Sunnylands golf course. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below Hole two offers a view of the Chinese Pavilion and the mountains beyond. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

For more than three decades, the Annenbergs played golf together almost every day they were at Sunnylands. They shared the course with visiting friends as well as United States presidents, British royalty, celebrities, and professional golfers. The importance of the designer and the stature of its players contribute to the historic character of the golf course. The course is now enjoyed by retreat participants and welcomes several community events each year.

golf course

Premier golf course designer Dick Wilson planned the nine-hole golf course at Sunnylands to 1960s standards. Large elevated greens ringed with deep bunkers, challenging water hazards, and spectacular mountain vistas are features of the design. In the late 1960s, the Annenbergs themselves determined the new placement of tees so the course could also be played as eighteen holes.


Š 2012 The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. All rights reserved.

The Annenberg historic estate features a Midcentury Modern residence and three cottages designed by architect A. Quincy Jones on 200 acres, as well as a 9-hole private golf course, 11 lakes, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a mausoleum where the Annenbergs are interred.

Private Entrance Eisenhower Palms

Mausoleum Delos Bench

Birds of Welco


Totem Pole

Cottage Campus

Chinese Pavilion

Nixon Magnolia Guest Wings Rose Garden

B ob H ope D rive

Tennis Court Sunnylands Center Annenberg Residence Cactus Garden

Public Entrance Sunnylands Gardens

historic estate


Retreat Pavilion

center guide 37-977 Bob Hope Drive (Mail to PO Box 1770) Rancho Mirage CA 92270 760 202 2222 contact@sunnylands.org Thursday through Sunday September through June 9 am – 4 pm July & August: closed


Above At Sunnylands Center visitors learn about the Annenbergs, depart for tours of the estate, and experience the nine-acre Gardens. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Right Bust of Diego on Stele III by Alberto Giacometti takes center stage in the Great Room of Sunnylands Center. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens is the starting point for public access to the Annenberg story and the historic estate. Completed in 2011, the Center was designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners, Architects, with references to stylistic elements of the historic home. Fisher explains, “A statement roof is a feature of the Annenberg home and of A. Quincy Jones’s work. The wide overhanging roof of the Center recalls the iconic pink pyramid of Sunnylands in a deferential way. Expanses of glass provide for immersion in the Gardens. The simple plan of Sunnylands Center incorporates flexible space and maintains Mrs. Annenberg’s love of nature, art, and design.” Decorator Michael Smith created a harmony of materials, colors, and furniture at the Center, referencing the original designs for the house by William Haines and Ted Graber. The art gardens, designed by The Office of James Burnett, recall the Impressionist and PostImpressionist paintings that were so beloved by Leonore and Walter Annenberg.


sunnylands center

Above A 20-minute orientation film is played on the half hour in the Center Theater. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

Guests may enjoy the mountain views, watch the orientation film, and experience the exhibitions and sculptures featured at the Center. Exhibitions pertinent to the history of Sunnylands change annually. Visitors are encouraged to view the 3-D film (no glasses!) on the design and building of the historic home and engage with interactive media stations, each presenting over one hour of information on six themes. • Midcentury Modern Architecture – meet A. Quincy Jones and the concepts behind Midcentury Modern architecture. • Outside/Inside – become acquainted with interior designers William Haines and Ted Graber, and explore the Dick Wilson-designed golf course. • Timeless Art – learn more about the art collections of Leonore and Walter Annenberg. • Public Life/Private Retreat – meet Walter and Leonore Annenberg and the influential people who visited Sunnylands. • Desert Living – explore how life in the Palm Springs desert is different from other places, and what efforts are being made to make Sunnylands sustainable. • The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands – review recent retreats and meetings in keeping with the tradition and plans of the Annenbergs.


Above The Great Room, with interior furnishings designed by Michael Smith, is the spectacular central space of Sunnylands Center, . Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below Benches offer an opportunity to pause a moment and take in the view of the Gardens and surrounding mountains. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

• Browse Sunnylands Shop, which features art objects, gift items, books, and note cards. • Stop for a refreshing beverage, lunch, or snack at the Café while enjoying the spectacular mountain views. • Take a tour. Guided tours of Sunnylands Center & Gardens are available daily; specialized guided walking tours of the Gardens are offered weekly; monthly studio activities are scheduled. • Check the calendar for lectures, conversations, performances, and special events. • Connect via the Wi-Fi network available throughout the property. • Lockers and the water fountain are located by the restrooms; baby changing stations can be found in both women’s and men’s restrooms.

what to do at the center

• Stroll through the Gardens on 1.25 miles of walking paths for an everchanging experience of desert plants.

• Photography for private use is welcome. No commercial photography is allowed. • Sunnylands is a smoke-free environment.

Above The interactive media stations offer six unique learning experiences . Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below The Café and Shop are adjacent facilities located in Sunnylands Center. Photographs by Ken Hayden. 2012.

• Pets are not allowed. Service animals are welcome. • Guests are reminded that they are visiting a desert environment that is home to a variety of plants and wildlife. They must be aware of their surroundings and ensure children explore safely.

planning your center & gardens visit

• Admission is free.

Above Guests with reservations for the historic estate tour leave on seven-person shuttles from Sunnylands Center. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012. Below A sculpture entitled Birds of Welcome greets visitors on the approach to the historic Sunnylands residence. Photograph by Ken Hayden. 2012.

Guests are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their tour. All tours leave at the designated time. Tours run rain or shine, and visitors are reminded that transportation is by open vehicle. Walking is required. Tours are limited to children ages 10 and above, and a ticket is required for every person on the tour. Cell phones must be silenced during tours, and all backpacks must be placed in the lockers provided. Food and drink are not allowed on the tour (water excepted).

taking a tour of the historic estate

From the Center, guests depart for their 90-minute, reserved, ticketed tours of the historic estate. Guided tours of the historic grounds and A. Quincy Jonesdesigned residence for seven guests on an electric shuttle are available for $35 per person. Limited group tours on Wednesdays only are available for $45 per person. Reservations can be made at www.sunnylands.org.


Fd Md

Accessible Restrooms



Café S S

West Terrace

© 2013 The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. All rights reserved.

Great Room


To Gardens

Sculpture Locations







Accessible Restroom Lockers Water Fountain


Accessible Restroom


To Gardens


Entrance Reception

Exhibition Hallway

Interactive Gallery



Estate Tour Shuttle Station

Profile for Sunnylands

Sunnylands Center and Estate Guide  

A brief history and guide to activities available at Sunnylands Center & Gardens and the historic Sunnylands estate. Learn about the people...

Sunnylands Center and Estate Guide  

A brief history and guide to activities available at Sunnylands Center & Gardens and the historic Sunnylands estate. Learn about the people...