Fact Sheet

The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands 
In 2001, Ambassador Walter (1908-2002) and Leonore (1918-2009) Annenberg signed a Declaration of Trust outlining their vision for the future use of Sunnylands and itemizing permitted programs. They directed that their beautiful estate in Rancho Mirage, California, be available to serve as a sanctuary for generations of high-level national and world leaders seeking the privacy, the peace, and “the pause” needed for solving the most pressing national and international issues.

Governing Organization  
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. 
Trustees: The children and grandchildren of Walter and Leonore Annenberg 

  • Wallis Annenberg
  • Lauren Bon
  • Diane Deshong
  • Howard Deshong III
  • Leonore Deshong
  • Elizabeth R. Kabler
  • Elizabeth Sorensen
  • Charles Annenberg Weingarten
  • Gregory Annenberg Weingarten

President: Amb. David J. Lane

Sunnylands: A Historic Estate 

  • Sunnylands was commissioned in 1963 by Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Annenberg as a winter home. It was completed in 1966.
  • Named after Sunnylands, an Annenberg family home in Pennsylvania
  • Sun god logo was commissioned by the Annenbergs in the 1960s
  • The 25,000-square-foot house and 200 acres were designed by Southern California architect A. Quincy Jones

The estate also includes: 

  • Three cottages designed by A. Quincy Jones
  • Eleven lakes, a tennis court, and a nine-hole golf course
  • Dick Wilson designed the nine-hole golf course that also plays as an eighteen-hole course
  • Tim Jackson and David Kahn are the designers who restored the course to its original Dick Wilson design

Sunnylands Center & Gardens

  • Commissioned in 2008 by Leonore Annenberg, the 17,000-square-foot building, on a 15-acre parcel adjacent to the historic estate, was designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners and completed in 2011. Fisher references the A. Quincy Jones-designed historic house in his use of lava walls, trellises, and floor to ceiling glass.
  • The interior design is by Michael Smith, interior designer for the Obama White House family quarters
  • The nine-acre Gardens, by the Office of James Burnett, consist of more than 53,000 individual arid-landscape plants and 1.25 miles of walking paths
  • Educational kiosks provide information on midcentury modern architecture, Sunnylands interior and exterior design teams, the Sunnylands Collections of art and decorative items, Walter and Leonore Annenberg and their public service, desert living and sustainability, the gardens and grounds

Sunnylands Collections

  • More than 3000 letters from eleven presidents dating from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama
  • 3400 books about art, etiquette, birds, plants, journalism, history, geography, music, and government
  • Scrapbooks, photo albums, holiday cards, and personal correspondence
  • Silver-gilt, Chinese porcelain and artifacts, Meissen porcelain, Steuben glass, Flora Danica, 19th and 20th century drawings and paintings
  • Sculpture by 19th and 20th century artists, including Yaacov Agam, Henry Bertoia, Jean Arp, Alberto Giacometti, and Auguste Rodin.

Open to the public

  • March 1, 2012
  • Guided tours of house available by advance reservation and purchase of ticket at www.Sunnylands.org
  • Sunnylands Center & Gardens is open free Thursdays through Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Café serving snacks, sandwiches, salads, and beverages is open during public hours

Restoration Costs

  • Sunnylands Center & Gardens: $35 million  
  • Restoration of historic house and grounds, including golf course and cottages: $25.5 million  

Green Technology at Sunnylands  
The Center attained LEED Gold status for sustainability. There is a solar farm with 864 solar collectors, an underground geothermal system that heats and cools Sunnylands Center, a new low-water-use irrigation system, and a sustainability team that insures the use of best practices and operates under a Green Vision statement.

Sunnylands Guests (partial list)

  • President & Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • President & Mrs. Richard Nixon
  • President & Mrs. Gerald R. Ford
  • President & Mrs. Ronald Reagan
  • President & Mrs. George H.W. Bush
  • President & Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton
  • President & Mrs. George W. Bush
  • President Barack Obama
  • President Xi Jinping & First Lady Peng Liyuan, People's Republic of China
  • His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • HRH Queen Elizabeth & Prince Phillip
  • HRH Prince Charles
  • HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain
  • Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu of Japan
  • Princess Grace of Monaco
  • Secretary of State John Kerry
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell
  • Secretary of State George Shultz
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner
  • Vice President Dan Quayle
  • Attorney General William French Smith
  • Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer
  • 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Lee Hamilton & Tom Kean
  • National Security Advisor Susan Rice
  • Bing Crosby
  • Raymond Floyd
  • Bill Gates
  • Bob & Dolores Hope
  • Mary Martin
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Gregory Peck
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Dinah Shore
  • Frank & Barbara Sinatra
  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Lee Trevino
  • Barbara Walters
  • Tom Watson