Rancho Mirage is home to some of the most magnificent private palaces in the Palm Springs Valley, and I’m counting down the days until one of the most famous family fortresses of all opens its doors to the world for visits by the public. Of course, I’m talking about Sunnylands, the sumptuous 200-acre winter home of the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his lovely wife, Leonore. Designed by A. Quincy Jones and built in the mid-‘60s, this spectacular abode has hosted many a memorable guest, including plenty of presidents, kings and queens, assorted style-makers, and titans of business.
After a multi-year restoration that included amazing upgrades to the original house and to the gorgeous surrounding green grounds—not to mention the construction of an accompanying 17,000-square-foot Visitor Center and newly created gardens with over a mile of meandering paths—the estate is just about ready for its close up. (Even the delightful mid-century designed, nine-hole golf course has been redone to a tee—pardon the pun!)
Tickets to tour the 25,000-square-foot home will go on sale exclusively at www.sunnylands.org and will be released in two week increments. Most of the property will be off-limits when it is being used for its intended purpose—to host some of the highest-profile (not to mention most secure) high-level conferences imaginable, fulfilling the Annenberg’s dream of continuing to use their home and property to promote “world peace and international agreement.”
The Visitor’s Center, with some of the grandest gardens and views of the San Jacinto Mountains, will be open to the public for free. Truth be told, I recently got a sneak peek at this beautiful building and I can’t wait to show it off to every one of my frequently visiting friends. The house? That’s another matter. I’m going to have to wait in line with all the rest of you for that one. Gladly, my dears, gladly.