Ever since it was first unveiled that the Barack and Michelle Obama would be visiting the Palm Springs Valley over Father’s Day weekend, speculation ran rampant as to where the glam political couple would be staying. Rancho Mirage figured prominently, with Sunnylands, The Ritz-Carlton, and the homes of billionaire Larry Ellison and of James Costos and Michael S. Smith on the shortlist. In the end, the Obamas did touch down at three of those spots after Air Force One alighted at Palm Springs International Airport late Friday afternoon.
As for their overnight accommodations, the Obamas chose the palatial Thunderbird Heights estate of their pals Costos and Smith. During their stay—while Michelle and eldest daughter Malia relaxed in privacy—Barack played rounds of golf at both Ellison’s Porcupine Creek compound and at Sunnylands, the former estate of media mogul Walter Annenberg and his wife, Leonore. Other than making a quick trip to Orange County to attend a fundraiser and to address the graduating class of UC Irvine, the president did not have any other official business in the desert.
It was a repeat visit for the President and the First Lady. She attended the funeral of fellow first lady Betty Ford in July 2011, and he came to Sunnylands twice in the last year. In June 2013, he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and last February he hosted King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Without a doubt, the Obamas will be back in the desert sooner rather than later. Rumor has it they’re quite enamored of the place, and that they may be thinking of purchasing or even building a home here. Oh, if I could be the interior designer to win the bid on that project! I know, I know…a boy can always dream.