Sunnylands, just outside Palm Springs in Rancho Mirage, CA, is a 200-acre estate formerly owned by Walter and Leonore Annenberg. They were both known for their business prowess, philanthropic causes, and as diplomates. They put Sunnylands on the map by hosting celebrities and politicians over the years. The Estate—built in 1963—served as the Annenberg’s winter retreat and was often referred to as the “Camp David of the West.”
Before the Annenberg’s passing, they created a non-profit that would preserve Sunnylands as a neutral meeting ground for dignitaries and political leaders; thankfully, they also wanted the public to benefit as well. Now, Sunnylands serves as a living museum with desert garden grounds, estate tours, and a visitors center for all sorts of interesting tidbits of history. Of course, the guest list of previous political leaders and Hollywood entertainers is impressive!
Which, lucky for us, the same can be said about our Palm Springs boutique hotel, The Willows. Past visitors to our historic Inn include some of the greatest minds of our time, former US Presidents, and many celebrities from the music and film industries. These people are drawn to our exquisite guest rooms and amenities, impeccable and discrete service, and our fantastic location close to all the exciting things there are to do in Palm Springs.
Stroll the Gardens at Sunnylands This Fall
As a guest at our Palm Springs Hotel, you’ll be about 30 minutes from the Sunnylands Estate. It’s the perfect day trip for an insider’s look into history with an informative tour, a stroll through the desert gardens, and viewing some fantastic outdoor sculptures, architecture, and art pieces.
Here are five things to expect on a visit out to Sunnylands just outside Palm Springs:
- Check out the Visitor’s Center: Modeled after the mid-century modern architecture that Palm Springs is known for, the 17,000 square foot visitor’s center at Sunnylands fits right in with the desert surroundings. The center has a glass facade with clean lines and bright light, the perfect space to display the impressive art collection and exhibits.
- View the Collection of Art and Exhibits: On display in the visitor’s center, you’ll find a collection of archives (the Annenberg’s kept meticulous records) filled with notes, documents, and ephemera related to the Estate. The Annenberg’s were also avid collectors of fine and decorative art, as well as an impressive grouping of service ware, including English silver and luxurious China patterns.
- The Tour Historical Estate: During October to June, private tours of the 25,000 square foot mid-century modern Annenberg’s estate are available. You’ll take the guided tour through history, with exciting stories and glimpses into the past.
- Explore the Curated Gardens: The desert garden feels more like an art installation, with highly designed elements, twin reflecting pools, and even a labyrinth that winds through rows of Wedelia. There are 70 species of desert flora on display on the nine-acre garden display.
- Enjoy a light lunch at the Cafe: Take in a beautiful view of the Coachella Valley from your table in the Cafe at Sunnylands. Flavorful salads, classic sandwiches, and sweet treats round out the menu for a light meal. Perfect after a warm stroll through the desert gardens.
Serene Guest Suites at Our Palm Springs Hotel
As you arrive at The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, you’ll instantly feel the old-world charm and relaxing atmosphere wash over you. Our secluded location is ideal, tucked in the hillside set back from the hustle and bustle of downtown Palm Springs, but just mere minutes away from the action. Our small luxury hotel is updated to contain all of the modern conveniences and amenities while maintaining the original historical designs.
Just as Sunnylands has strong ties to the history and the people that made Palm Springs what it is today, our Palm Springs Hotel connects the past to the present. As a guest, you’ll walk the same garden path that Albert Einstein enjoyed or stay in the same room where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard retreated all those years ago. Check our upcoming availability and book your stay with us today!