The site that is currently known as the Annenberg Community Beach House was originally a five-acre oceanfront property belonging to William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies. The lavish compound was designed in the Georgian Colonial-style by architects Julia Morgan and William Flannery and featured a three-story main house, three detached guest houses, servants quarters, dog kennels, tennis courts and two swimming pools. The couple's legendary parties had guest lists that often numbered in the thousands. Luminaries such as Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, Winston Churchill, and Gloria Swanson all spent time at the massive estate at one time or another.
The site operated as the popular Sand & Sea Club for decades, then sat vacant and boarded up for years until the city of Santa Monica announced plans to renovate and reopen it as a public beach facility. Renowned philanthropist Wallis Annenberg donated $27.5 million to the cause. During the renovation, all of the remaining original structures from the Hearst days were demolished, except for a 110-foot Italian marble swimming pool and one of the guest homes, now known as the Marion Davies Guest House. The Annenberg Community Beach House opened to the public on April 25, 2009. The site is open daily and is also used as a special events/wedding venue and filming location.
The Annenberg Beach House appears regularly on the television series Revenge as both the South Fork Inn and a swanky beach club. During its days as The Sand & Sea Club, the site masked as the Beverly Hills Beach Club on Beverly Hills, 90210 and the Malibu Sands Beach Club on Saved by the Bell. The Sand & Sea Club also makes a brief appearance in the 1990 movie Side Out.